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Elevation: 3,098 ft
GPS: 34.6372, -83.7141
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Shared By: saxfiend on Apr 4, 2007 · Updates
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Description Suggest change

A granite dome in north Georgia, Mount Yonah could fairly be called the state's climbing school. It's a long-time training site for Army Rangers and the scene of many first climbs by beginners.

The history of climbing at Mount Yonah goes back to around 1960, when the Army began using it for basic mountaineering training. A legacy of that period is numbers and colors spray-painted on the Main Face rock to identify routes, along with lots of bolts. The Army still trains at Mount Yonah, but the days of paint and indiscriminate bolting are gone.

In the 70s, non-Army climbers like Chris Hall and Dave Fortner put up harder routes in areas that didn't interest the military. Later FAs were made by Michael Crowder beginning in late 1970s, very busy on Yonah in the 1980s withody Jacobs and others through the 1990s into Y2K era not only on the Main Face, but at the White Wall, Middle Wall areas, Pin Wall, Saddle Club near Pink Mountain ridge and down the mountain bouldering as far as the road. Also did lots of bouldering on the North Side, ice routes up to a full rope length and one crag with an overhang and a few rock routes done in two short pitches. Crowder has also been instrumental more recently in working with the Army to replace many of the older unsafe bolts at Mount Yonah.

It's hard to categorize Yonah in terms of being a trad or sport area, especially with some of its unique features. For example, the Army Balance Climb area has a cable bolted to the face, starting at the trail and going up and across the tops of the climbs; you can set up topropes simply by climbing the cable (most of these can be led as well). The color-coded Main Face routes are heavily bolted. On the other hand, the "civilian" routes at the right end of the Main Face are either straight trad or mixed, similar to Stone Mountain, NC.

Though it's primarily a single-pitch area, Mount Yonah has a fair assortment of multi-pitch routes. For most routes, a 60-meter rope is plenty, but some of the Balance Climb routes are very long, so you might need two ropes in places. The Main Face is southwest facing, making it unpleasantly hot in the summertime, but other areas such as the Lowers can be shady enough to be tolerable in hot weather. The approach is long and fairly strenuous (an hour or so of uphill hiking), so pack light (a full rack is unnecessary).

Camping is permitted in certain areas; check the parking lot kiosk for details. At the end of the day, the big buffet at West Family Restaurant on Tom Bell Road hits the spot, or you can drive into Helen for more choices.

Don't forget to bring your Dixie Cragger's Atlas, the only known guidebook for the area. Also, some handy topos and a trail map can be found at Michael Crowder's website.

Getting There Suggest change

Mount Yonah is located about 1.5 hours north of Atlanta near the town of Cleveland. From Cleveland, drive north on GA 75 2-3 miles and turn right on Tom Bell Road for a short distance, then left on Chambers Road. Take a left onto a gravel road which will lead to a parking lot at the trailhead. Hike the trail to the first Army LZ, then follow signs to the different areas (Main Face, Lowers, etc.).

215 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mount Yonah

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V1 5
 7
Sweetheart
Boulder
V3 6A PG13
 16
Indiana Jones
Boulder
V4 6B
 28
Red Sparrow
Boulder
V6 7A PG13
 4
Leviathan
Boulder
V6 7A
 15
Deadlift
Boulder
V9 7C
 4
Bowl of Wrath
Boulder
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 68
Dihedral
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 56
Two Man Party Orange
Trad, Sport, TR 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 44
Three
Sport, TR
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 36
Four
TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 29
Four Bravo
Trad, TR
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 24
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 31
Face to Face
Sport
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 53
Return of The Jodi
Sport, TR
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 5
Diving Board
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Sweetheart Parking Lot Bou… > Hilltop Boulders > Trench Boulder
 7
V1 5 Boulder
Indiana Jones Parking Lot Bou… > Project Boulder
 16
V3 6A PG13 Boulder
Red Sparrow Parking Lot Bou… > Sparrow Boulder
 28
V4 6B Boulder
Leviathan Parking Lot Bou… > 45/Bunker Boulder
 4
V6 7A PG13 Boulder
Deadlift Parking Lot Bou… > Project Boulder
 15
V6 7A Boulder
Bowl of Wrath Parking Lot Bou… > Project Boulder
 4
V9 7C Boulder
Dihedral Main Face
 68
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
Two Man Party Orange Main Face
 56
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Sport, TR 2 pitches
Three Lowers
 44
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport, TR
Four Lowers
 36
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b TR
Four Bravo Lowers
 29
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds Main Face
 24
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Face to Face White Wall
 31
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Return of The Jodi White Wall
 53
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport, TR
Diving Board Lowers
 5
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
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