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First Outdoor Kid Climb, Near Pigeon Forge TN, Ijams Crag.


Original Post
Michael Plumer · · Rochester Hills, MI · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 16

My family is heading to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in June. I’m looking for a good climbing area to top-rope with my kids. My 6 and 9 year old just stated climbing this year, both can handle Gym 5.7s and 5.8’s if they are not reach-ey. This will be their first outdoor experience. I’m looking for recommendations on an area where they can succeed and enjoy themselves. I can lead an set-up on a sport route. Any recommendations? Ijams Crag? Or is there another place? Any hidden guide walls?
Thank you.

waldo · · Knoxville, TN · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 30

Do you live in the area?  If so I know of a few places I take my kids to. I jams has some easier stuff on the far left. Sometimes the holds can be a pita I have had one or two break on me, only climbed there twice. Stay on the trail and keep the kids out of the poison ivy.

Obed has some easier routes too but might be a little more than you are looking for. It’s a little further but much more visited and has a couple of camping locations. Obed is frequented by climbers all year so you may run into someone that can help point you in the right direction. Plus if you decide to boulder they have that too. 
Feel free to contact me. I’m always looking for someone else with kids who is looking to take them out to the crag. 

Michael Plumer · · Rochester Hills, MI · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 16

Waldo,

We live in Michigan and are renting a place in Pigeon Forge. Thanks for the reply and the  poison Ivy advise (priceless). Looks like Obed would be great for me but a bit of a drive from where were staying. Do you know anything about Devil's Race Track Area? Looks pretty remote. Were coming in and leaving on I-75.
I'll shoot you a message. Thank you.

Ben Pellerin · · Spaceship Earth · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0

If your taking 75 from Michigan to Tennessee it might be worth stopping in red river. The most accessible climbing from Severville will be ijams in Knoxville. Obed will be about 90 minutes and there's tons of climbing in Chattanooga about 2.5 hours away.

pat a · · ann arbor, mi · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

Fellow Michigander Dad....

The Red is generally more friendly for small kids than Tennessee, so maybe just swing by on your way.  In Obed, even easier routes tend to be a little more horizontally blocky with longer reaches.  There's tons of stuff that my youngest got up when he was 5-7 years old in Kentucky, but he basically sat out our last trip to Tennessee.  

Always happy to offer up route suggestions in the Red!

Paul Coakley · · KY · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 15

Bays Mountain park is 1-1/2 to 2 hr drive from PF.  Good top rope set up.  Super great for kids.  I hit it up during a family visit in the area and it was fun.  Easy but fun.
https://www.mountainproject.com/area/111947944/bays-mountain

Michael Plumer · · Rochester Hills, MI · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 16

Pat and Ben,
I wish we could stop at the Red, we might have to make a detour on our way home.  It is the best place. I’m actually heading to the Red in late summer with the grownups. Thanks for all the help.

waldo · · Knoxville, TN · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 30

If you had the time and really wanted to take the kids out climbing I would say drag them up this.
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105874396/the-nose 

Or this.
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105887520/the-great-arch 
I have been trying to convince my son it would be fun for years but he is much happier staying low to the ground on top rope. 

Michael Plumer · · Rochester Hills, MI · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 16
waldo wrote: If you had the time and really wanted to take the kids out climbing I would say drag them up this.
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105874396/the-nose 

Or this.
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105887520/the-great-arch 
I have been trying to convince my son it would be fun for years but he is much happier staying low to the ground on top rope. 

I think a multi-pitch is a great place to start, jump in head first, in the deep end with no life jacket. LOL.

waldo · · Knoxville, TN · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 30
Michael Plumer wrote:

I think a multi-pitch is a great place to start, jump in head first, in the deep end with no life jacket. LOL.

Exactly. Lol

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern States
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