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Areas in Tallulah Gorge

Main Wall 16 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
Slab Area 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Elevation: 1,441 ft
GPS: 34.74, -83.393 Google Map · Climbing Map
Shared By: saxfiend on Dec 15, 2006
Admins: saxfiend

Description

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.
Climbing Permit Needed-Seasonal Raptor Closure Details

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.

18 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Tallulah Gorge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Digital Delight
Trad 4 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Mescaline Daydream
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Primitive Paradox
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Into the Country (aka Out in the Coun…
Trad 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Punk Wave
Trad 3 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Wings of Wallenda
Trad
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Flying Frog
Trad
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
The Diagonal
Trad
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Backseat Delilah
Trad
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Flying Squirrel
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Rapture of the Steep
Trad
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
BT Express
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
I Yam What I Yam
Trad
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
A Rememberance of Jeff
Sport
Digital Delight Main Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 4 pitches
Mescaline Daydream Main Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Primitive Paradox Main Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Into the Country (aka Out i… Main Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Punk Wave Main Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Wings of Wallenda Main Wall 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Flying Frog Main Wall 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
The Diagonal Main Wall 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Backseat Delilah Main Wall 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Flying Squirrel Main Wall 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Rapture of the Steep Main Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
BT Express Main Wall 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
I Yam What I Yam Main Wall 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
A Rememberance of Jeff Main Wall 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Tallulah Gorge »

Weather Averages

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Prime Climbing Season
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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
John Paul Floyd
Atlanta
John Paul Floyd   Atlanta
I just checked with the rangers on April 13th 2017 and access is still closed due to the nesting falcons. Apr 13, 2017
Climbing will be closed starting February 16 for peregrines according to rangers. Feb 7, 2017
Be sure to call the Park and ask if they are issuing climbing permits before you head up here: Tallulah Park 706-754-7981

I highly suggest calling the day before and again the morning on your way there. I was recently (April 2015) denied a permit due to rain 36 hours prior. The Park service can deny permits at their discretion, in our case it was general wetness. We were very disappointed at this. I know a lot of climbers spent an incredible amount of time negotiating with the Park service to even allow climbing here, and to them: thank you. However, in my limited experience (2 visits), I've had to wait 1 hour for their determination and provide an extensive verbal climbing resume before I was given a permit 1st visit, and denied 2nd visit. Apr 27, 2015
Stephen Felker
Boulder, CO
Stephen Felker   Boulder, CO
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. Jun 9, 2014
Where can I find out about bolting regulations in Tallulah?

Thanks,
John Jun 6, 2014
TomCaldwell
Clemson, S.C.
TomCaldwell   Clemson, S.C.
Make sure you call the office before you drive to see if they are even giving out gorge passes. Jan 7, 2010
Jethro Bodine-Clampett   Hixson, Tn
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 :) Aug 12, 2009
yetibreath
Nederland, CO
yetibreath   Nederland, CO
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 Jan 16, 2009
saxfiend
Decatur, GA
saxfiend   Decatur, GA  
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.

JL Dec 2, 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.] Dec 1, 2007
saxfiend
Decatur, GA
saxfiend   Decatur, GA  
All water releases for October and November have been cancelled, per the Tallulah Gorge State Park web site: gastateparks.org/info/tallu… This is due to the current drought. So there should be no climbing restrictions for the rest of the fall. Oct 5, 2007
Will S
Joshua Tree
Will S   Joshua Tree
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. Apr 1, 2007
BirminghamBen
Birmingham, AL
BirminghamBen   Birmingham, AL
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. Mar 12, 2007

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