GPS: 33.761, -86.88 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Jason Watts on May 13, 2012
Admins: saxfiend, Brad "Stonyman" Killough
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This is the few thousand feet of virgin rock off of the Thompson Creek Trail in the Sipsy Wilderness in Northwest Alabama. While there is more development farther down the trail, there is so much rock here that it deserves it's own area.

Virgin Rock: Development of this area has just begun. With that in mind, some of the routes and faces are cleaner than others, some are more solid than others, some are downright scary. The rock is generally hard sandstone, but all holds need to be cleaned with a brush to feel comfortable throwing for them.

There are currently three distinct sections to the cliff-line, delineated by small streams (and waterfalls if it has rained) on the cliff face. Faces vary from south facing to west. However only the tallest southern faces receive direct sunlight. The western faces are the coolest.

Be ready for an adventure when climbing here. While there has been significant work establishing access routes to the top of the cliffs, they are still very new. There are currently no fixed protection or anchors on any of the routes, but trees exist in abundance along the cliff. This is no Sandrock (or even Steele for that matter) are far as ease of access, but know that there are 100's of FAs ready to be claimed.

Development will continue on this area and will include fixed anchors and bolts, but we are wanting to have more workers come in and help. This could be a really nice area with almost limitless potential if people just started putting in time to continue what has been started.

Getting There

Trailhead is the same as for the Shiprock Section. I will update with better directions shortly.

Approach: About 1.5 miles on the TC trail there is a 90 degree bend in the creek that has caused a small island (when there is water in it). The trail splits up here with one fork cutting across the creek and one continuing on a contour around the valley. This bend is directly in the middle of the three sections and there are a few campsites scattered in this area as it is the coolest and water is abundant.

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ashley holmes
ashley holmes   decatur,al.
Nice to see people climbing here for every one route established there are hundreds more waiting!I have been climbing in the shiprock area for over a decade now good and bad to see it get recognition May 14, 2012
I was there with Jason to help set this up. I'll be posting some video from our trip soon.


Adam M. May 15, 2012
Jason Watts
Jason Watts   Boulder,CO
Yeah, I've been talking to Brad a bit about this area. There are some amazing lines (and some scary ones). We cut an access trail to the top of the tallest face (we called it the Will Robinson Area) so now it is up to the people that want to work.

Let me know if you know about any ascent history in the area. May 15, 2012
ashley holmes
ashley holmes   decatur,al.
i have several first ascents in the kings cove and bee branch areas would be glad to give you some beta on the area.ive never climbed in the places you described but i have walked those bluff lines and seen some nice lines,there is good rock there just got to know where to look and willing to clean on rappel and work.its basicly one of my home crags so i dont mind the work so much,the pay off has been worth it!good luck out there and watch for snakes! May 29, 2012
Jason Watts
Jason Watts   Boulder,CO
snakes for sure. there is a reason we names that one area the will robinson area because there was much danger at the the big part was the loose rock, which we got a lot of it off, but we found 2 snakes within 30ft of each other. I have to get the other route description in here. it was in that area, an 8 8- that climbs a fairly tall line with a rewarding view from the top. I just moved to boulder, so I will keep Adam and Nathan motivated to go out there. Jun 12, 2012
Just a forewarning; this is within the wilderness boundary which is a federally protected tract of land. Please don't create "access trails" and please if you must climb here, be respectful and go with someone who has wilderness first aid. It's a long hike out if you have an emergency and there is only 1 ranger and a dozen volunteer rangers in the Sipsey. I love to climb but leave it to the accessible areas. The Sipsey is sacred and should remain as such. Believe me, I drool when I admire these bluffs and would love to throw a sling around a tree and get on rope, but there is a proper place and time for this. Nov 5, 2013
There are some very easily accessible bluffs at the terminus of the Mitchell Ridge trail (210). They are clean and don't look like you would have to brush anything. The established trail runs right along the bottom of the bluff, no need for bushwhacking or creating access trails. The trail actually runs along the top of the bluffs and then drops down and switches back to the bottom. If you hiked in from the Gum Pond trailhead, the approach would be about 1.5 miles. Nov 5, 2013
Jason Watts
Jason Watts   Boulder,CO
I will make a note, climbing is legal in National Wilderness areas. There are some restrictions in the Wild and Scenic River designation, none of the crags here fall within the WaSR boundaries. I fully agree in protecting the nature of the area, but until you have actually gone out there and seen what has been done, you can't make a judgement on that impact. There were game trails and footpaths along the base of all of these crags. The only "trail building" is a few rock steps to make those trying to climb to access the top (where there are logging roads on the top of the cliff) safer. I agree, do not try and climb here if you are inexperienced in climbing or self rescue. Stick to the gym or Sandrock. Putting a description on a website will not change the fact that this is a 1.5 mile approach in a state where people complain about the .2 mile hike at Steele. Dec 7, 2013
Chuck Sullivan
Memphis, TN
Chuck Sullivan   Memphis, TN
Are there any locals following this thread? Apr 30, 2018
I live in North East Mississippi close to the stateline and this is about 2 hrs from me. My wife and I would be down to help and work.

I have recently found a good bit of undeveloped areas near Hamilton Alabama and we are starting to clean routes already. May 27, 2018