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The Tennessee Wall

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The Tennessee Wall  

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Caroline Schaumann on Razor Worm in evening light


Tennessee Wall is one of the premier trad climbing destinations in the southeast. Located just outside of Chattanooga, it features hundreds of great routes on beautiful hard sandstone. There’s something for leaders at all levels here, from trad novices to the hardest of the hardcore. (There’s even a few sport routes, but they’re not for the faint-hearted.) T-Wall truly has enough variety to keep you climbing for years.

Route development at T-Wall began in 1984, when climbers Rob Robinson, Arno Ilgner and Roger Fleming discovered the cliffline while exploring another crag across the river. Some of the earliest lines (the first was In Sight of Power, 5.8+) were put up in what is now referred to as T-Wall West. Classics like Art, Passages and Prerequisite for Excellence soon followed, and development continued through the early 90s. New routes are still being established today, especially in the west section.

T-Wall is predominantly a single-pitch crag, though there are some multi-pitch routes, mainly in the west section. Except where noted in the route descriptions, protection tends to be plentiful, and a rack of nuts, tricams and cams up to 4” is standard. Over the years, rapping from trees at the top of the crag was the norm, but pine beetle infestations have been killing many of the trees, so use of bolted anchors is steadily increasing. If you do rap from a slung tree, don’t blindly trust it! A look at some of the fallen trees along the trail slung with old tat will drive this point home.

As a south-facing crag, T-Wall is in full sun all day. This makes it a terrific winter destination (think t-shirts in January), and a miserable place in the summer. Prime time at T-Wall is September through June.

Camping is available at the parking turn-off; this area now sports a pit toilet. There is also pay camping further down the road. One note of caution (whether or not you’re camping): there have been numerous car break-ins at the parking lot over the years. The best way to avoid being a victim is to not leave anything of value in your vehicle.

After climbing, there’s lots of good options for eating near T-Wall. As you come back down the road from the crag, don’t pass up Shuford’s Barbecue, where you can enjoy pulled pork, ribs and banana pudding as Bear Bryant looks down on you from framed photos on the wall. Back in Chattanooga, Lupi’s Pizza is another climber favorite.


A new guidebook published in 2010 is the first such guide dedicated solely to T-Wall. The Tennessee Wall: A Rockclimber's Guide by Rob Robinson will probably be considered the authoritative guide to this area, given that its author is the godfather of T-Wall climbing. The Dixie Cragger’s Atlas by Chris Watford is an alternative guidebook to have on hand. The DCA has a “pocket” edition for T-Wall alone that will lighten the weight in your backpack. If you need climbing gear, hit Rock Creek Outfitters in Chattanooga.

Getting There 

Tennessee Wall is located in Prentice-Cooper Wildlife Management Area. From downtown Chattanooga, take US 27 north. About a mile after crossing the Tennessee River, exit on 127 north (Signal Mountain Road). Continuing toward Signal Mountain about 1.5 miles, turn left on Suck Creek Road (27 west). Continue about four miles (past a cement plant) to a bridge over Suck Creek and make an immediate left onto Mullens Cove Road (aka River Canyon Road). Follow this road through a residential area along the river for about six miles to the campsite parking lot for T-Wall. The trail to the crag starts a short distance from the parking lot.

Access Issues 

There are seasonal hunting closures in the spring and fall. Sneak in and you risk a hefty fine, so don't do it!

Fall 2009 hunt closures:

  • Sep 19-27
  • Oct 15-17
  • Oct 31-Nov 1
  • Nov 6-8
  • Nov 28-Dec 3

Up-to-date information is also posted on the Southeastern Climbers Coalition web site.

Climbing Season

Weather station 5.2 miles from here

186 Total Routes

['4 Stars',33],['3 Stars',83],['2 Stars',59],['1 Star',10],['Bomb',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Tennessee Wall:
Art   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   T-Wall East
Passages   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   T-Wall East
Prerequisite for Excellence   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   T-Wall East
Golden Locks   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   T-Wall East
Razor Worm   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   T-Wall East
In Pursuit of Excellence   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   T-Wall East
Open Casket   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 98'   T-Wall West
Margin of Profit   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   T-Wall East
Where Lizards Go to Die   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   T-Wall West
Cake Walk   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   T-Wall East
Crackattack   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   T-Wall East
Stepping Stone   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   T-Wall East
Super Slide   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   T-Wall East
Finger Lockin' Good   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   T-Wall East
Points O' Contact   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   T-Wall East
Sugar in the Raw   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad   T-Wall East
Fly with the Falcon   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   T-Wall East
Mrs. Socrates   5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a     Trad, 100'   T-Wall East
Scamper Proof   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   T-Wall East
Twistin' in the Wind   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   T-Wall East
Browse More Classics in The Tennessee Wall

Featured Route For The Tennessee Wall
Working up the corner to the roofs on Atom Smasher...

Atom Smasher 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  TN : The Tennessee Wall : T-Wall East
Climb a long and varied right facing corner, past a thin section, up to a roof. To get started, step up and out using an undercling. Fire out the stack roofs on great holds to a ledge featuring another corner system. Climb this up and out to the right to the rap rings....[more]   Browse More Classics in TN

Photos of The Tennessee Wall Slideshow Add Photo
night bouldering at the campsite  photo: robbie bu...
night bouldering at the campsite photo: robbie bu...
View of T-Wall westward in late December
View of T-Wall westward in late December
Jon and Jeff at T-wall
Jon and Jeff at T-wall
The view
The view
camping out next to a fun boulder
camping out next to a fun boulder
Ollie repelling.
Ollie repelling.
Fall colors at the T-Wall
Fall colors at the T-Wall

Comments on The Tennessee Wall Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 9, 2015
By Alexander Blum
From: Charlotte, NC
Jan 8, 2015
Be careful guys - a good friend's car was broken into on January 2nd in the T-Wall parking lot. We were in a group of several cars, but the last to leave. We are parked directly next to the side of the road. After talking to the sheriff, he said that he knew of at least one additional break in at the parking lot in the last month. Judging by the terrible, rainy day we were out climbing on this is almost definitely opportunistic locals driving by, taking potshots when they see a lone car. Be careful, keep all the valuables out of your car!
By Jacob Neathawk
From: Nederland, CO
Dec 4, 2006
What's the latest info about break-ins? Is it sketchy to leave your tent set up while out climbing?
By Rob Dillon
Dec 31, 2006
Top 5 T-Wall 5.9's:

1. In Pursuit of Excellence (corner)
2. Lizards (roofs)
3. Crash Position (arete)
4. Razor Worm (crack)
5. [your turn]. We need a face climb here...
By 426
Feb 27, 2007
#5. (possibles)

Surf's Up-5.11a/b in DCA, I give it a solid 11 rating...runout 5.8/9 below, well pro'ed crux. 1/2 anchor recently replaced. Still one rusty shut...

Twistin' in the Wind-5.12...boulder crux to amazing jugs out the 5' roof at top...still pumper. No hands rests if you're savvy. Cleans easy if the leaver biner is on 5th bolt.
By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Mar 4, 2007
#5 - Margin of Profit...great thin crack, thin crimpy face moves, very cool arete with exposure.
By Nick Stayner
From: Billings, MT
Mar 5, 2007
What are some good harder .10s to cut my teeth on? I've sent (and stumbled on) most of the .10as and bs and am looking for some harder stuff.
By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Mar 5, 2007
What about Point o Contact 5.10c? Or Finger Looking Good 5.10c?
By Nick Stayner
From: Billings, MT
Mar 20, 2007
Indeed, I've done both of those routes, as well as Blood on the Rocks & Hungry for Heaven in the harder .10s. I guess I'm just looking for things I might've overlooked.
By Amy Denicke
From: Aspen, CO
Dec 4, 2007
T-wall is such a dream. Highly recommend the South Side for all of you corner crack heads. It will definately get you pushing your limits. I ventured out there for the first time this weekend. Im sore.
From: The Briar Patch
Jan 12, 2008
Aretes...I like them...'Crash Position', then 'Margin of Profit'...then what?
By Peter L K
From: Cincinnati, OH
Jan 24, 2008
Anyone hungry for Doug Dogs? They're a local favorite.
By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Feb 7, 2008
Aretes...how about Steeplechase? Good one to TR.
By Joel Andersen
Dec 18, 2008
Many of the comments on MP.com and RC.com are old, and I have a few questions I'd like to ask.

I am thinking about taking an early January trip down to T-Wall.

The leading in my group will be restricted to 5.8 or less, would we be waiting in lines to get on routes?

Two years after the last post about it, how is the theft issue in the area?

Thank you very much!
From: The Briar Patch
Dec 19, 2008
Joel - You might wait for some of the classics, but there are enough routes in your range to stay busy. I haven't heard much about breakins of late, but it is still wise to take EVERY precaution available...I usually stash a friend's car somewhere, put all out gear and everything out of my truck into it, then drive my TOTALLY EMPTY vehicle back for the climbing day. If you are in one vehicle, put everything in the trunk, out of view...you know the drill. Have fun. January is a great time of year for The TWall if it's sunny.
By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Sep 15, 2009
Spring 2010 Closure dates for Prentice Cooper...

Apr 6-11
Apr 14-16
Apr 22-24
Apr 27-May 2
By Neil Kauffman
Apr 5, 2010
Is all the climbing at the T-wall effected by these closures?
By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Apr 5, 2010
By Stephen Carlos Rydalch
From: Golden, CO
Jun 14, 2010
My car was broken into while climbing at the T-Wall yesterday. We are from Colorado and stopped at the wall as part of a road trip. We lost over 3 grand in backpacking, climbing, and personnel items.

Our car was locked with the alarm activated when we left but, to the best of our knowledge, the alarm did not go off. The alarm was not going off when we returned to our vehicle. Whoever broke into our car has clearly done this before.

We were aware of the issues with break-ins and put all of our items in the trunk so as not to attract thieves. We tried to stop and empty our items out at a local pay-for campground but could not find an open site anywhere due to a festival that had everyone booked up.

We also stopped at the local climbing shop in town to ask about break ins and were advised that it's not really an issue anymore, there have been very few break-ins over the last year, and that the road is now patrolled by authorities. Finally, the parking spot we used was the closest one to the road. We parked here in hopes that our proximity to the road and its traffic would deter theft.

The deputy who took our report let us know that "this happens all the time here." He had several examples of past break-ins in the very near future, including another climber who lost several thousand dollars of gear less than two weeks ago.

The most disturbing thing is that the deputy told us the break-ins seem to be done by different parties. A previous perpetrator they caught was from Ohio and traveled to the trail head for each break in. This does not look like an issue that is limited to just locals or one perpetrator.

We had a fantastic time climbing at the wall prior to the break-in and I hate to take anything away from the area or all the hard work done by its developers. The issue is a real shame since the climbing here is so fun and unique.

I feel obligated to post what happened in order to be fair to future climbers and give them a chance to avoid such a devastating experience. I hope this problem is resolved soon so that I can feel more comfortable about possibly returning to the T-wall in the future.

If anyone has info about an alternate parking area to use or other tips and tricks to avoid theft I'm all ears. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like further information.
From: The Briar Patch
Jun 15, 2010
Stephen - First, I'm very sorry to hear of your incident and sorry you were misinformed at the outdoor store. Facts are that this is an ongoing problem. Read my post above from December 2008. It's not worth the risk and never will be.

Cragger beware...this is tweaker country...unfortunately.
By Stephen Carlos Rydalch
From: Golden, CO
Jun 21, 2010
Thank you for the comments. Overall I'm glad all I lost was some random backpacking and climbing gear and our safety was never compromised.

I'm encouraged to find out that climbing at the T-wall is still an option if the proper precautions are taken. It's a fantastic place and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

I'm going to sign up for renters insurance now so that my stuff will be covered next time this happens. Hopefully I won't have to use it. Thanks again.
By eparker-s
Oct 4, 2010
Does anyone have fall 2010 hunting closure info for the T?
By Kirk Brode
Oct 4, 2010
There is no North or South section at The T-Wall. The cliff is south-facing and runs almost perfectly West to East (left to right) as you are facing the Wall. It would reduce confusion if this site were organized according to the names of the different areas at the crag--Cibola, Paradise Lost, Paradise, The Wastland, Orange Blossom, Lost Blossom, ect. Not only is North/South geographically incorrect, it also ignores names of the different walls at the cliff. "West" and "East" would be an improvement, but even then the cliff-line is way too long to simply be divided into two enormous sections. Please at least break the cliff up into major sections--Cibola, Paradise to Valhalla, The Wasteland, The Orange Blossom Wall, and East and Lost Blommom Walls.
By willeslinger
From: Golden, Colorado
Oct 7, 2010
Seriously? North/South works fine. If you want to drag your Spot up there and rename the place, hell, you could divide every climb up ("well,this one faces slightly south by east at blah de blah degrees"). Or you could just climb and not worry about it.

Out-of-towners can always ask if they're having trouble finding a route. It's not like the place is going to be lacking in experienced tradsters this fall.
By Chad Wagner
Oct 29, 2010
Not to be a dick but the hunting closures at T-Wall are ridicous!! How many recreational areas close to just one group of people, obsured! I still give thanks to keeping this wonderful crag open. Although having a Road Warrior type bomb is the only way to feel safe here.
By Ben F
From: Benfield, Kolorado
Feb 20, 2011

The T-Wall probably wouldn't be open if it weren't for the hunters. Also, it's "absurd."
By Neil Kauffman
Mar 3, 2011
Visiting the family in ATL, psyched on the T-wall! As far as I can tell, the T-wall is open this spring, no closures, right? Any recommendations for roof cracks of all grades?
By Neil Kauffman
Mar 5, 2011
Climbable in the rain?
By Cpn Dunsel
Mar 19, 2011
Spring 2011 Closure Dates:

April 5-10,
April 13-15
April 21-23
April 26 - May 1
By James Arnold
From: Chattanooga
Jul 16, 2011
"One note of caution (whether or not you’re camping): there have been numerous car break-ins at the parking lot over the years. The best way to avoid being a victim is to not leave anything of value in your vehicle."

FWIW, Crashpad hostel is open and a great place to stay and maybe even meet people to hit the T-Wall...

By Chad Wagner
Aug 3, 2011
Ben F, isnt it ironic that your teaching me to spell when you spelled Colorado with a K. Thought that I would point out the obvious.
By Climb Apps
Aug 6, 2012
T Wall Right Side App is out for iOS and Android. 226 routes, everything on the right side. Random route pickers, Tap Text Out, "Drive to Crag" and many other features.

App Store

Google Play (Android)

Instead of north/south/east/west we simply use "Climbers' Right". Simple click on "Trail Meets Wall" from the home screen and walk right. Easy as pie!
By zFoy
From: Asheville, NC
Oct 12, 2012
Has anyone had any trouble with the reported "tweakers" actually bothering them while camping/climbing, or are all these safety concerns just related to break ins? What's the camping scene actually like?
By Tom Fralich
From: Fort Collins, CO
Dec 2, 2012
The guidebook indicates that there's another trail that accesses the western portion of the wall, between Cibola and Vahalla. We were not able to find any trail after several passes in the car and ended up approaching from the usual Paradise Falls trail. We also attempted to find the alternate route on the way out and ended up bushwacking back to the road (although there were some cairns and ribbons on trees, there was no trail).
By TKHouse
Jan 2, 2013
Regarding the trail to the Cibola and Valhalla end of the wall: there's definitely not a well defined start from the road. Last spring I was barely able to match a photo in the guide with a few of the big boulders by the road. After a short walk in the woods, however, a few orange ties on the trees begin to indicate a trail. Occasionally you'll run across some logs or rocks that help indicate the path as well.

It's definitely not as clean as the well packed main t wall trail, but it will save you some time compared to hiking the full length of the wall.

I have had trouble after dark trying to wander back down the trail, however. I highly recommend saving a GPS coordinate for where you park and using that to help guide your return. It's easy getting to the road, it's just turning left or right that can be the question...
By jmat
Feb 27, 2013
Does anybody know the name of this route and climber? It was taken about 8 years ago. I would like to use the photos for something and I need contact info to get permission to use his image.
unknown climber
unknown climber

unknown route
unknown route
By Raul P
Mar 6, 2013
I'm planning a trip to T-Wall in April, does anyone know if/what the spring closures are this year?
By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Mar 6, 2013
Prentice Cooper Hunt Dates - Spring 2013
Apr 2-7, 10-12, 18-20, 23-28
By Jr Peterson
From: Birdsboro
Apr 21, 2013
I'm gonna be in Chattanooga from the 24th to the 28th I was planning on climbing at the T wall but since it's gonna be closed is there any other trad climbing in the chattanooga area?
By D.Arnold
May 24, 2013
Does anyone know if you are allowed to have dogs at t-wall?
By Old Sag
Jul 17, 2013
I'm kind of wondering about the break-ins and how to prevent them. Anyone ever tried to keep their dog in the car while they climbed?
By DannyWR
Feb 12, 2014
Does the rock get pretty wet from runoff. For example, will the runoff from the snow make things wet this weekend?
By Evan Lukow
From: Roanoke, VA
Mar 22, 2014
Closure dates for 2014 anybody? Looking to head ther late April, early May.


By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Mar 23, 2014
Prentice Cooper Hunt Dates - Spring 2014
Prentice Cooper State Forest and Wildlife Management Area will be holding managed turkey hunts on the dates listed below. The area west of Highway 27 (Suck Creek Road) will be closed to visitors except hunters on these dates. The area east of Highway 27 including Edwards Point will remain open to the public on these dates: Apr 1-6, 9-12, 17-19, and 22-27.
By Kelsey Bohanon
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Sep 30, 2014
Anyone know the 2014 fall closure dates?
By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Oct 1, 2014
T Wall Fall Closure Dates: Sep 20-28, Oct 9-11, 25-26, Oct 31-Nov 2, Nov 29-Dec 4. From: tn.gov/agriculture/forestry/st...
By Rockery Press
Oct 13, 2014
T-Wall Day Guide (Sport)
T-Wall Day Guide (Sport)

You can download a FREE T-Wall (sport) Day Guide from Rockery Press by clicking on the following link: rockerypress.com/free-day-guid...

T-Wall (sport) Free Guide includes:
  • Driving & Approach Beta
  • Rules & Recommendations
  • Several days of route descriptions and recommendations
By Rockery Press
Oct 13, 2014
Tennessee Wall Day Guide
Tennessee Wall Day Guide

You can download a FREE Tennessee Wall Day Guide from Rockery Press by clicking on the following link: rockerypress.com/free-day-guid...

T-Wall Free Guide includes:
  • Driving & Approach Beta
  • Rules & Recommendations
  • Several days of route descriptions and recommendations
By Gable
Nov 26, 2014
Anyone lose a guidebook recently? If so message me to describe when/where you lost it and I'll try to get it back to you.
By Mary Wangen
From: Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 5, 2015
Which guidebook to get? The book specifically for the T-Wall sounds like the most popular, but I like that the DCA book also includes Sunset; is it missing anything critical for T-Wall?

And then I found this one: Chattrad (rockerypress.com/store-2/#!/Ch..., which looks really sweet, and newer, but is not mentioned in above description.

What do people think?
By Jeff Mekolites
From: HOTlanta, GA
Feb 6, 2015
They all have the same basic infomation. It may depend on if you are looking for just T Wall or other areas like you mentioned. You won't go wrong with any of the three.
By Young William
Feb 25, 2015
The lady seems to have lost her shoes with sunglasses in them at Twall under/near the Nappy area. If found, I can pick them up in Chattanooga or Alabama climbing area and you will be paid in full via beer, chalk, food, whatever your pleasure. They are women's miura size 35.5 with gold glasses and purple evolv's
By MLuke
Mar 9, 2015
T-Wall Closed/Prentice Cooper Hunt Dates - Spring 2015

Prentice Cooper State Forest and Wildlife Management Area will be holding managed turkey hunts on the dates listed below. The area west of Highway 27 (Suck Creek Road) will be closed to visitors except hunters on these dates. The area east of Highway 27 including Edwards Point will remain open for hiking on these dates: Apr 7-12, 15-17, 23-25, 28-30, May 1-3..

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