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Areas in Obed & Clear Creek

Fort Sandstone 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Lilly Bluff 10 / 38 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 45
Lilly Boulders 2 / 0 / 1 / 66 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 68
Little Clear Creek 0 / 55 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 55
Middle Obed 1 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
North Clear Creek 24 / 46 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 65
South Clear Creek 10 / 56 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 64
Tieranny Roofs 0 / 32 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 33
Y- 12 1 / 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 22

Description

The confluence of Clear Creek and the Obed River are home of a series of beautiful sandstone cliff bands and some of the best sport climbing in the Southeast. Just bring a rack of draws, a stick clip (high first bolts are commonplace in these parts), and guns (double entendre intended). The rock here is Cumberland Plateau sandstone, and the sedimentary layering of the rock tends to form huge horizontal roofs, jugs, and slopers. The rock is generally bullet hard and provides good friction. Climbing happens year-round — chase the shade or sun depending on the season.

There are several camping areas but by far the best is Del & Marti Scruggs' place. Del lives in the heart of the Obed and has quite a bit of land that he graciously offers to traveling climbers: As you drive into the Obed, after passing Doc Howard Road on the left, Ridge Road drops steeply down to the Lilly Bridge. Just before this drop there is a mailbox and a gravel drive to the right. Turn here and bear left at the fork. Camping rules and the pay kiosk are on the left (the fee is $5 per person, per night). If you make use of this incredible resource please leave the area nicer than you found it and be considerate: The Scruggs live right amongst the "campsites" which are actually just pulloffs along their driveway. Make sure to bring food/beer/stories to share around the fire on weekends!

Getting There

About 45 minutes NW of Knoxville. Take highway 27 North through Harriman and Wartburg. Take a left onto highway 62 and follow this windy road through the town of Lancing. After about three miles, turn left again on Ridge Road. This road brings one to the Obed and Clear Creek after only a few miles. For more specific directions, see the area pages.

359 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Obed & Clear Creek

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
 131
Rocking Chair
Trad, Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 197
Best Seat In The House
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 125
Shadowhawk
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 87
Christine
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 144
Tarantella
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 97
Ticks Are For Kids
Sport
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 198
Spawn
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 107
Double Feature
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 93
Pale Face
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 113
Pet Semetery
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 68
Lounge Lizard
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 53
Saddam Hussein
Sport 2 pitches
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 64
Clyde the Mega Dude
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 123
Heresy
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 73
Solstice
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Rocking Chair Lilly Bluff
 131
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Trad, Sport
Best Seat In The House S Clear Creek > Balcony
 197
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Shadowhawk S Clear Creek > Image Wall
 125
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Christine S Clear Creek > Stephen King Library
 87
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Tarantella Lilly Bluff
 144
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Ticks Are For Kids Lilly Bluff
 97
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Spawn S Clear Creek > Image Wall
 198
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Double Feature S Clear Creek > Balcony
 107
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Pale Face S Clear Creek > Balcony
 93
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Pet Semetery S Clear Creek > Stephen King Library
 113
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Lounge Lizard Lilly Bluff
 68
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Saddam Hussein N Clear Creek > N Clear Creek
 53
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport 2 pitches
Clyde the Mega Dude Lilly Bluff
 64
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Heresy Lilly Bluff
 123
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Solstice S Clear Creek > Solstice Cave
 73
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Obed & Clear Creek »

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Photos

TKHouse  
Worth noting there's now a fantastic full-color guide to the Obed:

greenergrasspublishing.com/…

A great investment for any climber who frequents the area! Dec 8, 2011
The Obed area is great. Staying at Del and Marty's is a treat as well. However, the bolts on pretty much all the routes are extremely rusty and need to be replaced. Oct 15, 2012
Jeff Thilking
Lynchburg, VA
Jeff Thilking   Lynchburg, VA
Anyone been to the little clear creek area lately? I headed down the trail today after finding too much ice and melt on Lily Bluffs. Took the trail right by the bathroom by the bridge and followed it to the creek, which was 3 feet deep and raging. Is there a good crossing or bridge I don't know about or should I just ditch the boots and roll up my pants? Feb 4, 2013
@Jeff sorry this is a little late, but whenever I got to Little Clear I just take my shoes off and wade (but there could be a better way I don't know about!). I did it this past January (brr!) and the water was frigid but totally worth it, you just gotta choose between wider and shallower or narrow but deeper. May 15, 2013
Jeff Thilking
Lynchburg, VA
Jeff Thilking   Lynchburg, VA
Hey thanks for the info, I barefooted too it in Feb and March and it was hella cold but also worth it. When the trail veers right there used to be a log bridge to the left but it was washed away(more like collapsed, logs are still there ) a couple of months ago. I'll probably try to bring fishing chest waders and rebuild it in the next couple of weeks. May 23, 2013
Chet Butterworth
Chattanooga
Chet Butterworth   Chattanooga
Any word on how the government shut down has impacted the Obed? I know it's a part of the National Parks System. Oct 2, 2013
Tom Gnyra    
any good spots to meet partners at obed? we're going as three and would like a forth probably. Feb 25, 2014
Adam Brink
on the road
Adam Brink   on the road
Is it possible to climb in the Obed in July? Is there enough shade to chase to make it worth it?
Thanks! Mar 4, 2014
Dave Vaughan
Boulder, CO
Dave Vaughan   Boulder, CO
Unless you and your car are ready for Nascar, expect about 1:15 to 1:30 from Knoxville depending on starting point. Super fun sandstone! Dec 24, 2014
I think I left a pair of blue La Sportiva TX2 approach shoes, size 40 EU, at South Clear. If anyone finds 'em a PM would be most appreciated! Gracias. Mar 30, 2017
I noticed that must of the trad routes here don't have anchors, do most people just top out and rap of a tree? Oct 11, 2017
Zach Buecker
Knoxville, TN
Zach Buecker   Knoxville, TN
Just a heads up...there have been six windows smashed in the parking lots in the week and a half. Take your valuables with you! Seem to be targeting people with out of town tags and mostly looking for cash/wallets. We had gear and other stuff in our car that was left untouched. The park service police are aware of the situation and are working on finding the person. Dec 4, 2017
Does the Lily Boulder field dry quickly after it rains? Rain is in the forecast, but Sunday's weather looks nice. Dec 19, 2017
Best areas here to climb during the winter? Jan 12, 2018

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