Blue hole falls is a series of 4 waterfalls located in Cherokee National Forest, close to Elizabethton, Tennessee. Blue hole hosts a good amount of mostly sandstone boulders with a wide variety of climbing. Slopers, crimps, pockets, steep roofs, massive arÍtes and highballs can all be found jam-packed within a relatively small area. The longest approach is around 5 minutes from the car. The lower Blue Hole area has a hand full of quality boulders as well as a large crag for top roping. The Upper Blue Hole area is where you'll find the highest number of easy to moderate problems that are mostly in a lowball setting. For climbers looking for highballs, there is a trail on the opposite side of the road that will take you right by massive outcroppings of sandstone highballs. There is also a small amount of roped climbing at the end of the highball trail with a couple routes having double bolts for an anchor at the top. Go to the specific areas and boulders to find more detailed directions on how to get to these areas.
The waterfalls (and climbing) boast very easy access, which is probably the biggest problem for the area. A healthy amount of non-climbing traffic, especially in the summer, inevitably has led to a small amount of spray paint on the bigger walls as well as broken glass and other trash in certain areas. With that being said, solitude can be found within this climbing area if you look for it. Most of the rock here rarely receives sunlight, so if it has rained recently you can count on at least some of the rock being wet. If it has rained recently, the highball area is your best bet because it receives the most sunlight. This also means that climbing isnít too bad here in the summer, but the friction is much better in the colder months.
Camping is permitted here, so this area can serve as an awesome weekend getaway where you can camp 5 seconds away from some nice sandstone climbing. I urge anyone coming here to climb to pick up and pack out as much trash as you can, especially in the ďtrash gardenĒ area of the upper blue hole. Unfortunately, locals have dumped a huge amount of trash in this area and Iím hoping that having more climbers visit the area will have a positive impact on the land.
I am aware that climbing has happened here for quite a while but I am not sure of the history of climbing in the area. If someone has some info on that please feel free to let me know and Iíll gladly post it on here. Also, I know I didnít FA most of these problems, so consider the names given on here as placeholders for now. If you think you had the first ascent and have a different name for the route, please let me know and I will change it.
Located in Northeast Tennessee with easy access from Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina
Around 30 minutes from Johnson City, Tenn 35 minutes from Damascus, Va and around an hour from Boone, Nc
From Elizabethton, take route 91 to stony creek for around 10 miles. Turn left on Panhandle Road and continue for less than a mile to the main parking on the left. If you see Ricoís pizza, youíve gone too far.
From Boone, take 421 North until it intersects with Highway 91 South. Follow for 20 minutes until you see Ricoís pizza. Take the next right, Panhandle Road up the hill for less than a mile.
This link is to provide specific directions to the area. It is actually to Ricoís Pizza, which is just before the turn onto Panhandle Rd if youíre coming from Damascus and Boone, and just after the turn if youíre coming from Elizabethton.
This is the awesome and long arete problem on the puddle boulder. It is definitely the proudest and most obvious line up this highball. Start low in the puddle and work up the arete on slopey holds with heel hooks. Continue to the top and the boulder to the slopey but pretty easy top out. ...[more]Browse More Classics in TN