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DescriptionTennessee 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. Theres something for leaders at all levels here, from trad novices to the hardest of the hardcore. (Theres even a few sport routes, but theyre 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, dont 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 youre 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, theres lots of good options for eating near T-Wall. As you come back down the road from the crag, dont pass up Shufords 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, Lupis Pizza is another climber favorite.
GuidebooksA 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 Craggers 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.
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.
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.
Classic Climbing Routes at The Tennessee Wall
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Prime Climbing Season