Rock climbing spots near Austin and Atlanta

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of September 3-9, 1998
Rock climbing spots near Austin and Atlanta
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Rock climbing spots near Austin and Atlanta
Question: I tried rock climbing in Colorado last month and fell in love with it. Wondering if there are outdoor places I could go to near Austin?

Reza Shalchi
Houston, Texas

Question: I live in Atlanta and have recently become very interested in climbing. I would like to know if there are any places where I can do recreational climbing around Atlanta? Thanks for your time.

Meghan Fitz
Atlanta, Georgia

Both novice and expert climbers flock to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Adventure Adviser: Ahh, the plight of the urban climber. The sport’s growing popularity means more options for the city-dwelling climbing novice, usually in the form of rock gyms where you can fine-tune your skills. Fortunately, you both live in cities that have exceptional outdoor climbing relatively close by. For starters, I’d suggest hooking up with climbing groups in Austin and Atlanta. Call your local climbing gym, or inquire at an outdoor store that sells climbing gear for more information.

Just a couple of hours northwest of Austin is the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, one of the Lone Star’s prime spots for rock climbing. Here vertical spires of mauve granite rise eerily from the ground. Both novice and expert climbers flock here to scramble up what’s affectionately called the “big pink bubble.” A favorite spot for rock climbing clubs, Enchanted Rock is also popular with the weekend climbing set and novice class-takers. Call the park at 915-247-3903 for more information.

After Enchanted Rock, your second-best option is further afield. About 30 miles east of El Paso is the Hueco Tanks State Historical Park, which encircles three towering massifs, known as North, West and East Mountains, bursting up from the Chihuahuan desert. Numerous deep pits and naturally carved basins make for fun climbing; call 915-857-1135 for details.

Georgia’s foremost climbing area is Mount Yonah (Cherokee for “bear”), a couple of hours north of Atlanta and nestled between the towns of Cleveland and Helen in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Besides Army Rangers, who use this area for training, climbers state-wide come to Mount Yonah for its excellent variety. There are three separate climbing areas, covering the full range of skill levels. The Boulder is the easiest segment, ideal for a warm-up or for novices. As its name indicates, The Main Face is the central area and, thanks to the Army, there are six routes with permanent holds, as well as 12 other ascents of varying challenge. The Lowers area encompasses 11 more routes, along with some crack climbs for those with more experience.

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