Description

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, Jody Jacobs and others in the 90s, not only on the Main Face, but at the White Wall and Middle Wall as well. 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

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.).

131 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.
V3 6A
 6
Yonah Boy
Boulder
V4 6B
 15
Red Sparrow
Boulder
V4 6B
 3
The Sinner
Boulder
V6 7A PG13
 4
Leviathan
Boulder
V6 7A
 5
Deadlift
Boulder
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 50
Dihedral
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 27
Three
Sport, TR
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 23
Four
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 19
Edges to Ledges
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 11
Special Edition
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 13
Stannard's Crack
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 19
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 28
Return of The Jodi
Sport, TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 13
Afternoon Delight
Trad, Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
 4
Kid Fears
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Yonah Boy Parking Lot Boulders
 6
V3 6A Boulder
Red Sparrow Parking Lot Boulders
 15
V4 6B Boulder
The Sinner Parking Lot Boulders
 3
V4 6B Boulder
Leviathan Parking Lot Boulders
 4
V6 7A PG13 Boulder
Deadlift Parking Lot Boulders
 5
V6 7A Boulder
Dihedral Main Face
 50
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
Three Lowers
 27
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport, TR
Four Lowers
 23
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
Edges to Ledges Main Face
 19
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Special Edition Main Face
 11
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Stannard's Crack Main Face
 13
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds Main Face
 19
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Return of The Jodi White Wall
 28
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport, TR
Afternoon Delight Main Face
 13
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Sport
Kid Fears Main Face
 4
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad
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Anyone know anything about the Roadside Crag, Gumby Slab, The Hobbits Perch,The Chickens Roost,Patriot Wall/Super crack? Their location would be helpful. I found some info here coolclimbing.com/topos1.htm but I am looking for more. I've also heard there is even more climbs then listed on Crowder's site. I want to explore this entire area, so trail location/directions is what i really need. Feb 21, 2008
Mike Anderson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Anderson   Colorado Springs, CO
There is also bouldering here. You can download a Dr Topo mini guide from this website. Jan 12, 2010
george wilkey
travelers rest sc
george wilkey   travelers rest sc
if your trying to find your way to yonah the turn onto chambers road is actually a right turn, not left as the directions above state. Nov 26, 2014
James Lee
Mobile, AL
James Lee   Mobile, AL
Access is not just a climbers' road and trail, but an official TH of the Chattahoochee NF, with all the associated signage and a pit toilet. The trail is blazed for the 1.75 miles to the army LZ, and signage is not easily seen when you enter the LZ. The sign for the Lowers and White Wall is in the trees to the right, and you follow the most worn trail for the Main Wall. The trail loops, to the right, behind a rock and you will see a sign and cable for the main face. Lots of unmarked trails; a bit of a hamster maze. There are several nice places to camp, but the only water is the stream, within the first quarter mile. Jul 26, 2018