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Tallulah Gorge

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Tallulah Gorge  

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Location: 34.74, -83.3931 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 113,386
Administrators: saxfiend, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: saxfiend on Dec 15, 2006
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Dinosaurs climbing in Tallulah Gorge


When you're ready for superb trad climbing in Georgia, you may be ready for Tallulah Gorge. Don't let the touristy Interpretive Center fool you -- when you leave the parking lot and hit the trail into the gorge, you're in wild country and serious climbing territory. This is not a place for beginners or toproping; apart from a handful of moderate lines, the routes at Tallulah are hard multi-pitch trad or mixed aid/trad. The rock is high-quality quartzite, the scenery is beautiful and the exposure will raise your pulse rate.

Because this is a state park, activities other than climbing sometimes take precedence. There are periodic weekend water releases from the dam to facilitate white-water kayaking competitions, at which time Tallulah Gorge is closed to climbing. Unfortunately, these closures are in late fall and early spring, which is prime time for climbing here (like other south-facing crags, Tallulah is not a great summer destination). So wait until kayaking season is over or take a day off during the week. The park will issue a maximum of 20 climbing permits per day, but it is almost unheard of for this limit to be met; Tallulah Gorge is never crowded.

Camping is available on the grounds of the park.

Getting There 

From Atlanta, head north on I-85, then exit to I-985 north. Follow 985 to where it ends, then continue north on US 441 to Tallulah Falls. Cross a bridge that is the dam to the Tallulah River, then watch for the Tallulah Gorge State Park Interpretive Center and turn right into the center. Pay the parking fee, then go to the main building and fill out a climber's permit.

Climbing Season

Weather station 8.8 miles from here

18 Total Routes

['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Tallulah Gorge:
Mescaline Daydream   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Main Wall
Digital Delight   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 300'   Main Wall
Into the Country (aka Out in the Country)   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   Main Wall
Primitive Paradox   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Main Wall
Punk Wave   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Main Wall
Wings of Wallenda   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 180'   Main Wall
Flying Frog   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   Main Wall
The Diagonal   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Main Wall
Flying Squirrel   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 180'   Main Wall
BT Express   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 90'   Main Wall
I Yam What I Yam   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Main Wall
Browse More Classics in Tallulah Gorge

Featured Route For Tallulah Gorge
Scott Perkins leads the exposed second pitch of Pr...

Primitive Paradox 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  GA : Tallulah Gorge : Main Wall
A great climb on beautiful rock, Primitive Paradox is well protected but strenuous in places. The exposure is some of the nicest in the gorge.P1 - start up an easy slab into a right-facing corner. Continue up the corner to mount a shallow ledge, then traverse left on the ledge to a bolted belay. 100'P2 - from the belay, move slightly right, then climb another short right-facing corner (pro is a little hard to find here). Continue up a blocky face to a right-leaning, right-facing corner. Clim...[more]   Browse More Classics in GA

Photos of Tallulah Gorge Slideshow Add Photo
Stephen at top of first pitch of Punk wave .10a wi...
Stephen at top of first pitch of Punk wave .10a wi...
Another of the many scenic falls.
Another of the many scenic falls.
Panoramic from the approach
Panoramic from the approach
Tallulah Gorge from the 3rd pitch of Digital Delig...
Tallulah Gorge from the 3rd pitch of Digital Delig...
Stephen at top of 1st pitch of Punk wave .10a with...
Stephen at top of 1st pitch of Punk wave .10a with...
tallulah gorge from punk wave
tallulah gorge from punk wave
Oceana Falls, Talluah Gorge.
Oceana Falls, Talluah Gorge.
Stephen at 1st belay of Punk Wave .10a with me fol...
Stephen at 1st belay of Punk Wave .10a with me fol...
The Center will you will have to get your permit t...
BETA PHOTO: The Center will you will have to get your permit t...
Tallulah Gorge from the top of the main wall. Phot...
Tallulah Gorge from the top of the main wall. Phot...
One of the many falls. Photo by Lauren
One of the many falls. Photo by Lauren
Beautiful falls we passed on climbers trail less t...
Beautiful falls we passed on climbers trail less t...
A view from the top of Tallulah Gorge, looking dow...
BETA PHOTO: A view from the top of Tallulah Gorge, looking dow...
Oceana falls, Tallulah gorge. This is why I don't ...
Oceana falls, Tallulah gorge. This is why I don't ...
Suspension Bridge lower down in the gorge.
Suspension Bridge lower down in the gorge.

Comments on Tallulah Gorge Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 9, 2014
From: The Briar Patch
Mar 12, 2007
Once down in the gorge, Tallulah offers some of the best scenery in the SE. Just be aware that permits are iffy following weather, you might be under surveillance, and there are commonly many loose rocks on the easier routes. Tallulah is a special place and worth preservation. Bring a double rack of cams and two ropes.
By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Apr 1, 2007
Just a comment on the approach. You don't actually need to make a rap, so you can leave your harness and rope buried in the pack until you reach your intended line. The short scramble/downclimb is easy 4th class for about 15'. Dogs and kids will be screwed here, but climbers capable of climbing the routes in the Gorge won't have issues here.
By saxfiend
From: Decatur, GA
Oct 5, 2007
All water releases for October and November have been cancelled, per the Tallulah Gorge State Park web site: gastateparks.org/info/tallulah... This is due to the current drought. So there should be no climbing restrictions for the rest of the fall.
By Rob Culbertson
Dec 1, 2007
"Climbing at Tallulah Gorge began in the 70s," Actually, climbing there began in the '60s with a US Army unit nailing what we called Army Angle [the exact same route Bert Reynolds did "free" in the movie Deliverance] in '67 we removed 10 or more nice Army Angle pitons from that and another line - I still have one of them somewhere.

A group of five Ga Tech students "discovered" the gorge in '67 and made climbing trips there practically every [dry] weekend for the next several years. These included Mike Byorick, Steve Poulsen, Mike Kimball, Alan Vandeford and myself Rob Culbertson. We were not great climbers at the time so nailed/aided many of the lines. Three of the group also made the first ground-up ascent of Stone Mountain [immediately left of the carving] over July 4 weekend '69. I have many great photos from this.

[I also have quite a few slides & b&w pix of the gorge and climbs before it was "destroyed" by the circus.]
By saxfiend
From: Decatur, GA
Dec 2, 2007
That's fascinating history, Rob. I'll pass it along to Chris for his next revision of the Dixie Cragger. I hope you'll post some of your photos.

Do you happen to know who did the FA of Mescaline Daydream? I've been dying to find out who that was.

By yetibreath
From: Nederland, CO
Jan 16, 2009
It's been over a year since Rob Culbertson posted comments about the early years of climbing in Tallulah Gorge, so I thought that I would throw in a photo to prove that we actually existed. The photo is by Mike Kimball and it shows us climbing a route near what is now called Punk Wave. Most of our climbs were probably first ascents, but we didn't name or document anything that we did, we just enjoyed climbing. Tallulah Gorge is a special place. I hope that generations of climbers will be able to enjoy it as we did. Have fun, be safe.

Steve Poulsen
By jeffinatlanta
From: Smyrna, Ga.
Aug 12, 2009
I consider myself lucky to have had the priviledge of climbing at the Upper Falls before it was closed. Now whenever I watch Deliverance it brings back fond and long ago memories...the John Voigt climbing scene, of course :)
By TomCaldwell
From: Clemson, S.C.
Jan 7, 2010
Make sure you call the office before you drive to see if they are even giving out gorge passes.
By Stephen F
From: GA/CO
Feb 13, 2013
2013 Whitewater Release Dates:
- Weekends - November 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17

2013 Aesthetic Water Release Dates:
- Wednesday & Fridays - October 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18 & 30
- Weekend - October 26, 27

No permits will be issued on the above dates.
By John Roark
Jun 6, 2014
Where can I find out about bolting regulations in Tallulah?

By Stephen F
From: GA/CO
Jun 9, 2014
To my knowledge, no new routes have been put up in decades. Bolting new routes in Tallulah Gorge is complicated by (1) vague regulations, (2) limited access, and (3) high non-climber visibility: Defacing the rock is illegal, but how permanent climbing anchors fit in appears untested by regulators. Climbing at any areas witin the park other than the main wall is officially off limits; this includes previously published areas. Tallulah Gorge's walls are very visible to a large volume of hikers and are watched by park rangers, making it nearly impossible to keep a low profile when down there. The gorge overlooks even have coin operated tower viewers.

One-for-one bolt replacement projects have been undertaken under the radar. Safety/necessity support these actions, and the projects were conducted during low volume times in the park. As to new routes, bolting could endanger already sensitive climbing access and would likely not be received well by locals. The main wall is all but climbed out. On the other hand, there are still dangerous bolts and open, established (but overgrown) routes that need revitalization.
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