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Sand Rock

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A living history of Monte Sano. Near Huntsville, Alabama
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Sand Rock Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 1,653'
Location: 34.1804, -85.817 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 200,110
Administrators: saxfiend, Brad "Stonyman" Killough, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: saxfiend on Jan 5, 2007


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A long-time Alabama climbing institution, Sand Rock has had a colorful and sometimes dubious history. For many years, it seemed that lowlifes were in direct competition with climbers. Sand Rock was a destination for ATV riders, drunken late-night partiers and other examples of southern stereotypes. Broken beer bottles and overturned portapotties were common sights, and the cliffs were despoiled with spray-painted graffiti.

In recent years, the aesthetics of Sand Rock have vastly improved. Ownership of the site was taken over by Cherokee County which turned it into a county park. Sand Rock now has on-site managers, improved parking, picnic areas, a playground for kids and a nice bathhouse. Much of the litter and graffiti has been cleaned up.

Sand Rock is an excellent destination for climbers at any skill level. Its free-standing pinnacles offer an amazing variety of climbing, ranging from easy toprope jugfests, to crimpy face routes, to fine crack lines. Sport routes run side-by-side with tough trad climbs. Beginners can get easy access to set up topropes, and there's a plethora of good bouldering problems. And the many different areas are spread out enough that you can almost always find a place that isn't crowded. The approach is one of the shortest and easiest in the south -- walk about 100 feet from your car and you'll find yourself at the Pinnacle or Holiday Block.

Climbing at Sand Rock goes back to 1972, when the prolific Rich Gottlieb and friends began snagging FAs on routes like the classic Comfortably Numb. In the 80s, climbers like Curtis Glass, Gene Smith and others established numerous trad lines. Later, bolted routes became more acceptable, and poorly-protected sections of cliff began sprouting sport routes, including the Sun Wall favorite Misty. Johnny Arms has been a major source of new routes since the 90s.

Admission to Sand Rock is currently $5 per car. Camping is abundant near the parking lot and along the entrance road; be sure to register at the park office if you plan to camp.

Getting There 

From Atlanta, take I-75 north toward Chattanooga and exit at Hwy. 411/20 (exit 290). Follow 411 toward Rome, bypassing that city; outside of Rome, turn right on Hwy. 53 (and 411). Continue through Cave Spring and Centre, AL to the town of Leesburg. Turn right on Hwy. 68 and follow this road almost three miles, watching for signs for the village of Sand Rock. Turn left on County Road 36 and continue about a mile and a half to CR 70 (you should see signs for Cherokee Rock Village). Turn left on 70 and continue up the mountain ridge to the Sand Rock parking lot.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.7 miles from here

163 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',75],['2 Stars',70],['1 Star',8],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Sand Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sand Rock:
Knob Wall   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Sun Wall
Standard Route   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   The Pinnacle
That Eight (aka Kennel Club)   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Holiday Block
Pin Chimney   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   The Pinnacle
My Dog Has Fleas   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Holiday Block
Comfortably Numb   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 120'   The Pinnacle
Popular Science (Golden Flake)   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Sun Wall
Jaws   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 27'   Jaws Block/West Side Rock
Gravy Train   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 75'   Holiday Block
Six Toes   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Jaws Block/West Side Rock
Oyster   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Holiday Block
Too Pumped Chump   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   The Flintstone
Misty   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Sun Wall
Cinco de Mayo   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Holiday Block
Pigs in Zen (Tuesday's Gone)   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Holiday Block
Heave Ho   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Jaws Block/West Side Rock
Price is Right   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 35'   The Hole
Rabies   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Holiday Block
Never Believe   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Holiday Block
Dreamscape   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Sun Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Sand Rock

Featured Route For Sand Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Locking off hard to fiddle in brass at the crux

Fat Tuesday 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Alabama : Sand Rock : Holiday Block
This route has some of the best 5.12 climbing in the park! cryptic to decipher, but delightful once you get moving!Begin near the start of "Pigs in Zen." Move left on a jug rail, then fire straight up through long pulls on crisp edges and a two-finger pocket. Make a long throw over the roof from a small crimp (crux), then trend up and left on more moderate terrain passing a few rusted bolts to finish at a corroded anchor.Build your own anchor with cams in the alcove...[more]   Browse More Classics in Alabama

Photos of Sand Rock Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The peaceful side of Sandrock
The peaceful side of Sandrock
Rock Climbing Photo: 10a, Classic
10a, Classic
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: A nice short trad route near Faith 5.8
A nice short trad route near Faith 5.8
Rock Climbing Photo: They started to charge a fee when you enter.
BETA PHOTO: They started to charge a fee when you enter.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sand Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Paige on unknown route.
Paige on unknown route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sat Photo Of SandRock
BETA PHOTO: Sat Photo Of SandRock
Rock Climbing Photo: Sun Wall south end topo
BETA PHOTO: Sun Wall south end topo
Rock Climbing Photo: Sun Wall topo
BETA PHOTO: Sun Wall topo
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff giving a nice belay at Sandrock, AL.
Jeff giving a nice belay at Sandrock, AL.
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Main area topo
BETA PHOTO: Main area topo
Rock Climbing Photo: My oldest granddaughter and I ejoying a good day o...
BETA PHOTO: My oldest granddaughter and I ejoying a good day o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Grotto and Sun Wall topo
BETA PHOTO: Grotto and Sun Wall topo
Rock Climbing Photo: The Duke of Sand Rock (Johnny Arms)
The Duke of Sand Rock (Johnny Arms)
Rock Climbing Photo: Sun Wall far end topo
BETA PHOTO: Sun Wall far end topo
Rock Climbing Photo: Me on a fun, long V1 problem @ Sandrock
Me on a fun, long V1 problem @ Sandrock
Rock Climbing Photo: Five star bathroom! Hot shower after climbing!
Five star bathroom! Hot shower after climbing!
Rock Climbing Photo: Progress at Sandrock?
Progress at Sandrock?
Rock Climbing Photo: Bueno vista from the top of Standard on the Pinnac...
Bueno vista from the top of Standard on the Pinnac...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is West Side Block.  Has tons of easy toprope...
BETA PHOTO: This is West Side Block. Has tons of easy toprope...

Comments on Sand Rock Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 30, 2017
By tenesmus
Jan 6, 2007
This is a nice place to clip bolts on dry rock in the pouring rain. Especially the sunshine wall.
By BirminghamBen
From: Birmingham, AL
Mar 12, 2007
Unlike most spots in our great state, Sandrock is used and abused to the point of detracting from what would be an otherwise nice place to climb. Sandrock is typically crowded and loud...there are many nearby alternatives.
By Ben Griffin
From: Durango, CO
Mar 27, 2007
Ben Lyon is definitly wrong in my book. Sandrocks is a fun easy approach area for climber of all skill levels. A climber can find easy to hard everything at Sandrocks. The bouldering is fun, sport climbing is fun, and the trad is great. Sandrocks is very unique, when you look at the geological features of the area. My favorite spot to climb in the area is hole in the wall. Every route is overhanging and in the 5.11 to 5.12 range.
By BirminghamBen
From: Birmingham, AL
Mar 29, 2007
RIP Cinco De Mayo.
By bbrock
From: Al
Apr 9, 2007
I've lived and climbed in some of the most beautiful and quality areas this country has to offer. Sand Rock is NOT a world class destination climbing area. On the other hand it is so far from the crapfest you mentioned. The scenery is actually quite beautiful and the quality of the rock and routes is very good. There's just something about that place that keeps me coming back. If you don't like clipping bolts in a crowded, dirty, loud, crapfest, there's always Little River Canyon.
By micah stocker
May 11, 2007
This place is a total shit fest all topped off by the local young clansmen spray painting and destroying anything good this place has to offer. While the climbing is not that bad, it is just really hard to get over the total disrespect for one of the only cool places bama has to offer. AS for LRC that place is totally amazing and I understand why it is kept such a secret. Coming from Colorado I can say that place is ten stars.
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Jan 18, 2008
I'd say that Sand Rock is a fine place to climb. Just ignore the graffitti and the trash (which wasn't that bad anyway) and focus on the climbing. I found the climbs to be really worthwhile; with Misty and Dreamscape being some of the best of the grade I have ever done.

Don't let the above comments disuade you. In my opinion, Sand Rock is definitely worth a stop.
By Rhett Burroughs
From: Rock Springs, WY
Feb 6, 2008
I'm ready to crack some rednecks skulls! The last comment from a fight in the parking lot by the yokals " I hit him right upside the head I did#%!" You must wear blue jean cut offs and a wife beater.
By chris mcclendon
From: Gardendale, Alabama
Mar 24, 2008
Recently I found a ton of climbs with very little traffic. bolted routes, cracks, and what seems to be some amazing bouldering all at sandrock. if u r that antisocial just go to a route that all the ignorant newbies like myself dont know about and or cant climb. there are plenty at sandrock
By Brad "Stonyman" Killough
From: Alabama
Mar 31, 2008
Sand Rock is what you make it, it hasn't changed in years. The burning of the porta-john is childish and I thought S.R. was going to get a Ranger checking on the place? Maybe they need to step-up their rounds a bit.....!
By TeresaC
Apr 4, 2009
On March 21, (a few weeks ago) I was at S.R. partcipating in the annual clean-up fest. Where were all of you? I personally do something about things that concern me and therefore have very little respect for those who just sit back and complain!
I do agree that alot of visitors disrespect the place. This damage is brought on by kids, non-climbers or very immature climbers to say the least. I try to pick up as I move from one climb to another , every time I go. A bunch of us are going up and painting over the graff. with a faux paint techique as best at we can.
Since you show so much concern...can we expect to see you there? I hope so, we would love to have you. SCC lists the dates of all the clean-ups etc. if anyone is interested in helping.

Sandrock will be destroyed (just like the rest of the earth) if everyone "TURNS UP THEIR NOSES" and DO NOTHING to help preserve it. It is a beautiful place. My brother taught me to climb there, he passed away last year. Some of his ashes were scattered at our fav campsite at that "shitfest" as you so politely put it.
  • ************DO something nice for our planet today**************
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Jun 29, 2009
I just went to Sand Rock for the first time last weekend. Its not pure and isolated, but it is very good climbing. I'll go back.
By Peanut
Mar 14, 2010
I haven't been to SR yet, so what walls can you climb at in the rain that will have dry climbs in the below 5.10 and up to soft 5.12 ??? At sunshine wall this is the case? how many lower grade routes stay dry?? and what other walls are options?
By BirminghamBen
From: Birmingham, AL
Mar 17, 2010
Sun Wall is your best bet. There's a wide range of routes on that wall. Other nooks and crannies stay dry. Focus your attention there and branch out. It's not like it's an overwhelming place.
By Christopher Snipes
Jul 5, 2010
Fun area that's not too far from much of Georgia....about 3 hours from Fort Benning. Lot's to choose from and is a nice area if you can put up with the locals.

I would recommend camping just down the road a bit (perhaps a few hundred meters) from the end of the road to avoid the late night parties that show up.
By karl vochatzer
From: Cedar City, UT
Nov 28, 2011
Made a slight detour from Atlanta on a cross-country express trip in the car to check out this crag. Sampled a couple of good lines with some friendly climbers. Very enjoyable rock here, and yes, there was plenty of local flare on this Saturday. Noted the elevation and coordinates on the GPS: 34 degrees 10.82' N by 85 degrees 49.03' W at 1630 feet elevation at the parking lot.
By Adam Lazaro
From: Hiram, Ga
Jan 6, 2012
i found an illumination device near "my dog has fleas" on the holiday block on 1/5. anyone missing one?
By David Horning
From: Savannah, Georgia
Mar 6, 2012
Does anyone know of a way to find a topo for this location? I've tried to find a copy of the Dixie Craggers atlas, but the only one I can find is for some ridiculous price on amazon.
By Swamp Cookie
From: da Bayou
Oct 14, 2012
Just a heads up to anyone who loves Sandrock. Texas-based corporation Pioneer Green has come up with what they call “The Shinbone Ridge Energy Project,” a plan to build up to twenty 450-foot turbines along the crest of the mountain. Part of the facility will be located at Cherokee Rock Village on land leased by the Cherokee County Parks and Recreation Board. In addition to being an eye sore, they pose a danger to wildlife. There are also health concerns related to ultrasonic noise. The beauty of the area which attracts us all has attracted Pioneer Green who figured if no one was living there, it would be an idea place to build a wind farm.
By cello
Dec 30, 2012
I love Sand Rock. It is probably the closest decent place to climb if you live in Florida. If you camp at the cliff, you will wake up with a absolutely beautiful morning view of the river.
There are tons of sports routes with varied difficulties. Climbers are nice. Johnny just set up several routes in "New Wall", which is not presented in new Dixie guidebook. Sand Rock is definitely a valuable spot.
By Swamp Cookie
From: da Bayou
Mar 11, 2013
Here is the link for the new permit fees at Sandrock. Effective Aug 1,2013
By Kalaukoa
Mar 26, 2013
I am going to be in Alabama for work in April 2013 and was wondering if anyone wanted to do some climbing the weekend of the 20th? Hit me up if you are interested. I have all my own gear, and have been climbing for a couple of years.
By Shani Magosky
Apr 15, 2013
Looking for Huck from Atlanta. I have 2 of your quickdraws. Email me what color tape is on them and what pitch I cleaned for you so I can confirm it's you, along with your address, at, and I'll send them to you. Sorry, obviously didn't mean to take them :).
By Jacob Beard
Jun 26, 2013
If anyone finds a pair of Evolv Shamans near Jaws, please contact me. I can't believe I lost them :(
By Leann Hill
From: Leesburg, Alabama
Jun 5, 2014
Hi everyone! I'm attempting to create a central location for information specific to climbing at Sand Rock. I live about 8 mins from Sand Rock and plan to be up there a few times a week. A lot of the INfo out there is way outdated. There is a ton of stuff scattered across the web on different forums but no single place where a climber interested in Sand Rock can connect with others or find updated info about the routes, bolt conditions, etc. I've created a group on Facebook called Sand Rock Climbing. Friend me or find the group and join! I'm eager to connect with other climbers who frequent Sand Rock, especially those who are already familiar with the area or even live nearby. Thanks!
By Will Carney
From: Tallulah Falls, GA
Sep 2, 2014
Love Sand Rock! Park and camp next to climbable rock(for a fee;see prior post). Port-o-Johns onsite. Showers with HOT WATER! A nice pavilion with ample picnic tables. Potable water onsite. Climber friendly staff. Dumpsters onsite so there's no excuse for leaving junk. Great place to camp/climb with the whole family.
By Marcj Westfall
From: Jacksonville, FL
Sep 9, 2014
So uber excited about the new bath house!! It is awesome! The caretakers and SCC have done a fantastic job! Thank you!
By jonestyler22
From: Eau Claire
Oct 16, 2014
Hey everyone, I'm thinking about trying this place this weekend. Can anyone weigh in on whether or not the "Coyote" restaurant mentioned in the description is still around? I couldn't find anything online.

By Lyle Dean
Dec 2, 2014
I noticed in the introduction it said climbing started at Sand Rock in 1972. The first time I climbed there was about 1974 with Graham Wilson and Tommy Taylor and I know they had been there several times before that over the years. I always thought the climbing and the scenery were great. Spray paint , trash, and avoiding confrontations with the locals was just part of the deal climbing anywhere in Alabama back then. It's a bummer if that's still going on now.
By skelldify
Jun 2, 2015
Kinda bummed to see my first 5.12, Rave, isn't on here. I did it a few years ago, and came back to see if it had maintained it's rating. Regardless, it's an excellent route, and should be added, along with it's brother, Rant.

EDIT: Thanks for adding them!
By Michael Dom
Feb 7, 2016
I just stopped in again this last weekend and I found that most of the anchors here are in dire need of replacing. I found many rusted cold shuts and ancient bolts on popular climbs. I myself would like to help but I am just a visiting climber to the southeast.

I really hope someone in the SEC steps up to the plate to help update the hardware at Sand Rock.
By BirminghamBen
From: Birmingham, AL
Feb 10, 2016
The park is a profit center...they should foot the bill. Otherwise, look to none other than The Duke if you want to talk about SR bolting practices.
By Leann Hill
From: Leesburg, Alabama
May 28, 2016
Update: I'm the Chairman of the park board now over Sand Rock. We have an ongoing discussion with SCC members and reps to find the best solution for replacing old, outdated, broken bolts and hangers. Cherokee Rock Village is not for profit. All of the money taken in at the gate goes back into the park, its staff, etc. We are working very hard to keep the park clean and safe for everyone to enjoy. If you're visiting Sand Rock, stop by the cabin at the entrance and speak with the park manager about any concerns you have and we will do our best to address the issue and solve it. As an SCC member and climber, I want to make sure we are doing what we can to make the climbing experience at Sand Rock a great one!
By James Lee
Aug 30, 2017
My daughter and visited here for the first time last spring and will be going back this fall. This place is a nice place. If you don't know, the county took it over and turned it into a gated park. The fee is small, and for that, you get a secure safe location to camp and climb. They have a bath house, large pavilion, and a multitude of camping spots. The locals take pride in the place and keep it clean. You can camp on the edge of the ridge with great views of Lake Weiss and western GA. There is some sketchy hardware on the rock, but my impression is, now that it is a destination for professional guide services, it is getting some upgrades and new routes. I saw plenty of shiny new bolts.

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