GPS: 35.012, -85.584 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Ryan McCorvey on Mar 22, 2013 with updates from Robert Wilkey
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Lake Nickajack has a small cliffline standing roughly 50 feet tall suitable for deep water soloing. The water below is more than deep enough (60-80 feet I can't remember exactly)and the routes have clean falls. The rock features really cool tufas on some of the routes and some small roofs on others. There are many potential routes to be climbed and I'm sure a lot of them have been climbed. If anyone knows some more details about routes feel free to share them.

Getting There

You need a boat/canoe to access the cliffs. The easiest way is by putting in at Hales Bar Marina. From here go southwest under I-24 and look for the exposed rock on your right. The routes are visible from under the bridge (head towards the peninsula on the right).

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Classic Climbing Routes at Lake Nickajack Deep Water Soloing

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Warm Up
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Big Tufa
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Tufa Route
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13
Pistol Grip
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Warm Up
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b TR
Big Tufa
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a TR
Tufa Route
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b TR
Pistol Grip
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13 Sport
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Ryan McCorvey
Birmingham, AL
Ryan McCorvey   Birmingham, AL
If anyone has any information regarding route names/grades, feel free to chime in! Mar 22, 2013
I went climbing here at Lake Nickajack yesterday. Me and two friends put in at Hales Bar Marina and took a canoe and a kayak the approximately 3 mile journey to the rock face. The current in the open parts of the lake is quite strong and was going away from the rock face making our trip there very log and tiresome, be ready for your back to be a little tight and fatigued upon arrival to the rock face. The rock face itself at first impression was dirty; with dust, vegetation, and spider webs plaguing many of the hand holds and cracks along the routes. The wall is mostly difficult technical climbing with a lot of slopes and crimps. I would say most routes would be a 5.9 or higher based on my experience. Having to start off from the canoe adds to the difficulty of getting set on routes. All together, the rock face is difficult to climb but for experienced climbers could be a lot of fun with difficult climbs and fun falls to the water below and the lake itself is beautiful and peaceful (minus the major highway bridge 1 mile away.) My advice would be to keep a towel (to dry hands and climbing shoes) and chalk in a dry proof bag; because wet chalk = no chalk.
May 9, 2014
Great comment!! Mar 8, 2015
Charlie Jonas
Jackson, Wyoming
Charlie Jonas   Jackson, Wyoming
Looks like access would be shorter from Shellmound Campground or Marion County Park... Thoughts? Jul 16, 2015
This climbing was one of the highlights of the year we spent living in the south. It is pretty safe and fun to be out there climbing over the water, and you get a better workout because you have to paddle to hard to get out to it (bonus!). The only downside was how polluted the water seemed. Every now and again, a trash barge wold float by, and I often felt physically ill after being in the water for a while. But overall, really awesome. And we always had this place to ourselves. Jul 11, 2017
Punter Brewster
Chattanooga, TN
Punter Brewster   Chattanooga, TN Jul 24, 2017