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Big South Fork

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O&W Wall 
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Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

John Muir Trail: Chestnut Ridge Portion
A nice contouring singletrack trail through hardwood forest. Near Oneida, Tennessee
Chestnut Ridge Loop
Easy, rolling trail with a great overlook. Near Oneida, Tennessee
Collier Ridge
Rolling singletrack through Big South Fork. Near Oneida, Tennessee
Big South Fork - IMBA Epic
A great IMBA Epic ride on the 5 mountain bike trails of Big South Fork. Near Oneida, Tennessee
Collier Ridge/ West Bandy / Duncan Hollow at Big South Fork
Rolling singletrack with a little gravel through the scenic backcountry of Big South Fork. Near Oneida, Tennessee
John Muir
Rolling singletrack with vistas. Near Oneida, Tennessee
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Big South Fork Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 36.4796, -84.6627 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 26,507
Administrators: saxfiend, Brad "Stonyman" Killough, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: saxfiend on Jun 18, 2009
Forecast:
Tonight

70°
Sunday

91° | 68°
Monday

89° | 67°
Tuesday

91° | 69°
Wednesday

89° | 66°
Thursday

86° | 62°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Jamie Dial Jeff Noffsinger on Vertigo on O&W Wall....

Description 

Let's say you're a 21st century southern climber; you got your start in the local climbing gym, then graduated to real rock at places like Sand Rock. Before long, you started leading at more serious Tennessee and Alabama crags, and when you wanted a bigger challenge, you moved further afield to the multi-pitch granite of North Carolina. Now you're looking for something more remote, more wild and uncivilized . . . and Big South Fork beckons. The question is -- are you ready for it?

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is one of the south's last climbing frontiers. It's a stunningly vast system of river gorges stretching from northeastern Tennessee into Kentucky; word is that there's more rock here than in any other part of the southeast. Though there's been climbing in the BSF for at least 20 years, the potential for route development has barely been tapped.

Documentation of the history of climbing in the BSF is sparse, but it's known that Bob Wheeley and Phil Barkesdale began establishing routes there in the mid 1980s after Wheeley started a rafting service in the gorge. Their first ascents include routes like the Original Route on the O&W Wall. A few years later, Jeff Noffsinger and partners began pioneering new lines in the Main Gorge and elsewhere; Noffsinger continues to be a prolific author of first ascents to this day. Others responsible for route development include Jeff Dopp, Frank Jackson, Ian McAlexander and Kelly Brown.

If you plan on climbing at the BSF, don't expect things to be easy or comfortable. Trails are not well marked or are non-existent; information from guidebooks is sparse; wildlife like rattlesnakes, bears and biting insects are plentiful; and rockfall is a serious concern. The BSF is a truly wild and remote area, so be prepared.

NOTE: Though the Big South Fork straddles Tennessee and Kentucky, all Mountain Project data on the area is included under Tennessee. There is a placeholder in the Kentucky section, but no routes should be added there.

Getting There 

How you get to Big South Fork depends largely on what section you're headed to and where you're coming from. Detailed directions will be posted in the various sections.

In the most general terms, from points south of Knoxville, take I-75 north to Huntsville/Oneida, then go west on TN 63 to US 27. Go north on 27 to TN 297 then go west into the park. From points west of Knoxville, take I-40 to Monterey and head east to US 127, then north on 127 to Jamestown. Take TN 154 a short distance to TN 297; turn east on 297 and head into the park.

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 7.0 miles from here

41 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',1],['5.8',3],['5.9',5],['5.10',14],['5.11',12],['5.12',4],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Big South Fork

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Big South Fork:
Original Route/Suicide Blonde   5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 220'   O&W Wall
Campobello Beauty   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 50'   Blue Heron : Carolina Training Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Big South Fork

Featured Route For Big South Fork
Rock Climbing Photo: O&W Regular route with Suicide Blond variation fin...

Original Route/Suicide Blonde 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c  TN : Big South Fork : O&W Wall
The first pitch is 5.6 and involves a series of ledges.The 2nd pitch is the crux and is easier than it looks...even if it's wet. Great pro!Stop and belay at the anchors on the wall above the top of the corner.Walk left on the big ledge and belay.The final pitch follows the edge of the void and primarily uses chicken heads for pro. The final moves are a bit pumpy and maybe harder than the actual crux but brief. Walk up and right through the forest and rappel off a tree back to the big ledge. You ...[more]   Browse More Classics in TN

Photos of Big South Fork Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: mop
mop
Rock Climbing Photo: Crystal Corner pitch of the Cave Route at Pine Cre...
Crystal Corner pitch of the Cave Route at Pine Cre...
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott Perkins leading off or maybe belaying on som...
Scott Perkins leading off or maybe belaying on som...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Noffsinger & Patrick Turner, high and dry, on...
Jeff Noffsinger & Patrick Turner, high and dry, on...
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the top of O&W
View from the top of O&W
Rock Climbing Photo: Pine Creek
Pine Creek
Rock Climbing Photo: High Ball bouldering on the Big South Fork from th...
High Ball bouldering on the Big South Fork from th...
Rock Climbing Photo: 911 wall
BETA PHOTO: 911 wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Picture of O&W
Picture of O&W
Rock Climbing Photo: Wayne climbing the splitter Lightning Bolt Crack
Wayne climbing the splitter Lightning Bolt Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset at Twin Arches
Sunset at Twin Arches
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Noffsinger on Suicide Hotline.  O&W wall.  Bi...
Jeff Noffsinger on Suicide Hotline. O&W wall. Bi...
Rock Climbing Photo: The O&W Ledge Party of 2013
The O&W Ledge Party of 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Noffsinger cleaning the second pitch of Tale ...
Jeff Noffsinger cleaning the second pitch of Tale ...
Rock Climbing Photo: O&W Wall from railbed bridge
BETA PHOTO: O&W Wall from railbed bridge

Comments on Big South Fork Add Comment
Show which comments
By D B
From: Denver
May 8, 2013
When does the season end for Big South Fork?
By NOFF
From: Big South Fork, TN
May 26, 2013
You can climb all year depending on your tolerance to heat and cold. By mid July it's starting to get pretty muggy, but if you climb early, you can go swimming when it heats up too much. Watch out for ice fall during a wet winter. You might even want to wear a helmet hiking along the base of some routes.

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