Chattanooga, Tennessee is located in the southeast corner of the state, just north of the Georgia state line. A large portion of the population of the United States is located within a day’s drive of the area. It is the state’s 4th largest city, with a population of approximately 170,000.
Sprawled across a wide valley situated approximately 680 feet above sea level, Chattanooga is ringed by low mountains cloaked in dense, hardwood forests, and capped by countless miles of sandstone cliffs. These cliffs comprise the biggest reserves of world class sandstone in the United States.
Located within a 20-minute drive of downtown, the Tennessee Wall is a spectacular ribbon of orange and gray colored sandstone splashed across a south-facing slope of Walden’s Ridge which is located deep within the confines of the Tennessee River Gorge. Soon after it's discovery in 1984 the British magazine Mountain included the Tennessee Wall in its Ten Best Crags in North America series.
The sandstone found along this mind-blowing, two mile cliff line is amazingly compact, fine grained and usually “bullet hard.” It’s also easy on the fingertips, and the soles of climbing shoes will adhere to small edges and smears with a tenacity that might even make the local mascot of the crag — the lizard — take notice.
It'll take a fair amount of climbing here in order for you to fully appreciate all that this diverse cliff has to offer, from straight-in splitter cracks, thin face climbs, knife-edged aretes, immaculate dihedrals — and lots of overhanging walls and roofs. The latter are a common feature of crags throughout the region, and this sun drenched, south-facing wall has been blessed with more than its fair share. Indeed, the Tennessee Wall is jam packed from one end to the other with — not hundreds — but thousands, of overhangs. These obstacles vary from in size from “manageable” on up to 30’ monsters (with a reputation for chewing climbers up and spitting them out like a discarded pieces of bubblegum).
Most of the Tennessee Wall routes are in the 5.7 to 5.11 range of difficulty and, more often than not, yield excellent protection. Moreover, the summits of many routes have been equipped with anchors ... a boon for setting up top-ropes and expediting rappels.
Whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned “rock rat”: the Tennessee Wall is going to amaze, inspire, and delight you for as much time as you have to spend here — be it days, weeks, or years.