BETA PHOTO: GPS trail map from parking.
Convenient location, easy approach, nice rock, a mix of trad and sport climbs -- what more could you want from a climbing destination? Well . . . in the case of Leda -- longer routes and more of them. But this little roadside crag is still a worthwhile destination when you have limited time or T-Wall is closed for hunting.
Like other crags in the Chattanooga area, Leda is a sandstone cliff. The rock quality is mostly very good, and a nice variety of routes can be found here. Many of these are sport lines, with a number of easy routes ideal for the climber making his or her first lead. Probably the most popular route at Leda is Jody's Route, also known as Chris' Route, an outstanding 5.10c/d either way, you choose to call it.
There's also enough good trad climbing at Leda to make bringing your rack worthwhile. Nice routes to scope out include Ox Stone Crack (5.8+) and Cracked Actor (5.10).
Leda is on privately-owned land, and a one-time liability waiver is required. A short distance along the trail is a climbers kiosk placed by the Southeastern Climbers Coalition, where you can find the form to fill out and deposit in a holding box.
Editor's note on ratings: My experience of climbing at Leda is that many, if not most, of the easy to moderate routes are harder than the grade in the DCA. In some cases, I've taken the liberty of giving these routes ratings that I think are more in line with what you'll encounter at other local crags such as T-Wall or Foster Falls; in each case, I've also listed the rating given in the book. Anyone who disagrees with this rating method is welcome to contact me, or better yet, give it your own consensus rating.
Background and Resources
The history of climbing at Leda is not well documented, and little first-ascent information is recorded in any known guides.
For years, the only guide to the place was some photocopied pages that referred to the routes by letters of the alphabet. The more recently published Dixie Cragger's Atlas
shows the routes by their actual names; this is mostly based on a handwritten guide by Matt Sims. If you can find it, Micah Gentry's PDF guide
was a reliable source of information on both Leda and Lower Leda, but internet links to it are no longer valid. The Chatt Steel guidebook includes Leda, but with a number of inaccuracies. Rocker Press
offers a more up to date full Leda guide for purchase as well as a free day guide from their website, here.
Access and Fees
As of 2016, there is an $8.00 access fee per climber payable at the Montlake Golf Course Clubhouse. Each visitor must also sign and submit a Liability Waiver at the clubhouse as a one-time process. The waiver can be downloaded and printed off from the Southeastern Climbers Coalition Site, here.
After the original pull-off parking area was posted as no parking, volunteers created a short access trail that connects to a paved parking area to the northeast of the crag.
From downtown Chattanooga, go north on U.S. 27 toward Dayton. Take the Chickamauga Dam exit; going left from the exit travel along Dayton Boulevard and then take a left on Montlake Road soon after crossing Chickamagua Creek. Keep following this winding road until the parking area can be found at the top of a sharp hairpin across from Terrace Falls Drive.
From the parking area, follow the access trail west passing beneath some power lines (see beta photo). The trail takes approximately 15-20 minutes to travel.
Weather station 3.2 miles from here
44 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',19],['2 Stars',19],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Leda
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Leda
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Leda:
Walk By Me 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 60'
Fanfair 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport, 1 pitch, 60'
Vogen Slab 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport, 1 pitch, 40'
Old Foot 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport, 1 pitch, 75'
Girls Only 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport, 1 pitch, 60'
Smoke 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport, 1 pitch, 60'
Lock Down 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport, 1 pitch, 70'
Varmint 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport, 1 pitch, 70'
Featured Route For Leda
Jody's Route (aka The Chris' Route) 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Tennessee
The signature tough sport climb at Leda, Jody's Route has an interesting background. According to local climbers, Jody Evans had his eye on this line and planned to do the first ascent, but never got around to it. Instead, the two Chrises (Gibson and Willis) bolted it ground up on lead. So Leda old-timers call it The Chris' Route (plural, not possessive). Most people who climb here, however, don't know this obscure history, so Jody's Route it is.This excellent and aesthetic route has a tough...[more] Browse More Classics in Tennessee
BETA PHOTO: Micah Gentry pages 1 and 8
BETA PHOTO: Sign in the lobby of the golf course.
BETA PHOTO: Know before you go.
Warm hands on a chilly January morning. Nice fire...
May 12, 2010
Since Dr. Topo went down, I was wondering if anyone had the .pdf guidebook mentioned in the area description. I did some searching and couldn't find it elsewhere online. I've got the DCA, but it would be nice to see some updated info on lower Leda.
Jul 29, 2013
I haven't confirmed this personally, but per a post on the SCC website, parking at the main Leeda cliff (in the road pulloffs) is now reserved for emergency vehicles.
Not sure if parking lower down the road is permitted or not. Be careful heading up or down the road, people fly through there!
From: Knoxville, TN
Aug 3, 2013
Yes, to confirm, all pulloffs are for "Emergency Parking Only." There is a small paved pulloff up the road directly across from the first entrance to the Montlake neighborhood, we saw a few climbers park there.
By Rockery Press
Oct 13, 2014
You can download a FREE Leda Day Guide from Rockery Press by clicking on the following link: rockerypress.com/free-day-guid...
Leda Free Guide includes:
- Several days of route descriptions and recommendations
Mar 30, 2016
Nice climbing area. When taking the trail from the parking area, it is best to fallow the creek and power lines down until the trail picks up again. It appears that it continues across the creek and up. Countinuing up takes you to the top of the climbs for setting up top ropes. Careful if taking that route as it is a little sketchy up there in spots.
I found a pair of scarpa climbing shoes by the Vogen slab. Contact me if they were yours.
Also if anyone has picked up a pair of smith sun glasses around speedway boogie they might be mine. I live too far away to drive back to try and find a them..
By Jeff Mekolites
From: ATL GA
May 16, 2016
It seems we are getting submissions for routes that are already in the database. I think its because some of the names that are used in the Chatt Steel book are different (for some reason) that the names that existed in the old PDF of Leda and the names listed in the DCA. We probably need to come up with a plan on which routes names to use so this doesn't continue to happen. Ideas/Suggestions? Thanks.
By Dallas R
From: Traveling the USA
May 27, 2016
The Jun 7, 2010 link form LID still works. Pullouts are well posted for no parking. We started going to the golf course pay our dues then driving back to the emergency pullout just above the LEDA kiosk and dumping gear and climbers. Then one hardy volunteer would take the vehicle back up to the parking area and hike the trail back. We tried walking the road one day and that was just scary, no shoulder. Unfortunate that the price has gone up to $8.00 per person.