Chattanooga, TN has some fun and interesting boulders tucked away along side a golf course. I did actually get hit in the back with a golf ball while we were there, but it seems to be a rare occurrence resulting from a very poor shot. Nothing climbers should worry about. In fact, we discovered some benefits to a climbing area being on a golf course. There are very decent indoor bathrooms due to the clubhouse, a quick place to grab a cliff bar or drink without too much time away from the boulders, ample parking, and a nice little pro shop. The staff was friendly and the golfers just keep their respectful distance. The only downside we faced was the $6 a person, and a day fee. When you’re on vacation that not only adds up fast due to the rest of the money you spend on gas, food, etc, but it also is a lot of days in a row of paying that fee. We struggled a little bit to afford Chattanooga. All in all, it was a fun and worth while trip regardless.
We went to Chattanooga with the idea that the rock would be smooth and a welcome break from the sharp crimps of New England. This is what people had said at least. The rock in Chattanooga is not particularly sharp, but smooth is not accurate either. It is a gritty form of rock and therefore, breaks apart your skin pretty fast. At least, that is what we faced. My hands were looking a little like a zombie movie, with red scrapped patches, flappers, and plenty of blood. However, the climbs were delightfully fun. We wished we had been a bit more prepared for what would be down there.
The top outs are quite different from what we have experienced before. Many were, not necessarily hard, but technical to work out. The had interesting tops that required a little thought. Some of the climbs I got on reminded me of the Red River Gorge sport climbing, which I loved! Pockets everywhere, nice flakes, and interesting features. Some of the climbs I got on, I could just keep doing all day because they required cool movement and flowed well.
The climbers we met while there were mostly very chatty and friendly. We met a few people that within minutes, you’d think we were climbing with them our whole lives. They all showed a strong passion for the sport, a support of each other, and were fun people to be around.
About half way through our vacation, our skin was totally lost. We had little hope of recovering soon enough to make good use of the rest of our time. Ultimately, we left a little earlier than planned. We stayed at the coolest hotel ever, the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, had some of the best ever steak, and stopped at Miguels in Kentucky on our way home. I’m sure we will be back to Chattanooga in the future though. Some of the climbs we left unfinished will surely beckon us back because they were outstandingly fun.