Rock climbing in the Southeastern USA

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Photo by Wayne busch - Example of some of the excellent bouldering found at RocktownGeorgia - Rocktown


Image - state of Georgia with yellow star showing location of Pigeon MountainLocation

Rocktown is located on top of Pigeon Mountain in the extreme corner of Northwest Georgia, about 1/2 way between Atlanta, GA, and Chattanooga, TN. It is nearest to the town of Lafayette, Georgia. Pigeon Mountain is actually a spur jutting northeast off 80 mile long Lookout Mountain. Rocktown lies between two popular Lookout Mountain climbing sites, Sunset Rock in Tennessee, and Sandrock, in Alabama, you pass by Lost Wall on your way to the top of the mountain.

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Photo by Wayne Busch - Free-standing pillar at Rocktown. Note three climbers on top.Description

Here, on the southernmost vestiges of the Cumberland Plateau, an area of large boulders has been exposed on the top of the broad ridge. Rocktown is the area of house sized boulders which shares the characteristics of Sandrock, Alabama. It is comprised of several acres of large sandstone boulders, averaging 30 - 40 feet high. The rock is unusually juggy, with tons of hand and foot holds, and some very unique formations. It is here that some of the best bouldering can be found. The very featured rock, long low roofs, and shear variety provide scores of challenges. Unlike Sandrock, this area remains in essentially pristine condition, unpolluted by the trash and graffiti of it's Alabama cousin. This is most likely due to the easy 1 mile hike in from the trailhead that discourages riffraff.

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Photo by Wayne Busch - Rock formation at RocktownDirections

(from points to the south) Take I-75 until north of Atlanta.

About 1/2 way between Atlanta and Chattanooga watch for I-75 exit for Resacca, Lafayette, (HWY 136) - Turn L onto HWY 136 & cross over I-75.

Go 6.5 miles to T intersection turn Right to stay on HWY 136.

Go 14.3 miles (through Villanow & over mountain) to T intersection & turn Left to stay on HWY 136.

Go 1.3 miles and turn Right to stay on HWY 136. (be careful this intersection will sneak up on you).

Go 3.9 miles to HWY 27/136 (traffic light) - continue straight ahead to HWY 27 in the town of Lafayette, Georgia.

Turn Left onto HWY 27/193 and go a short distance. HWY 193 north will turn Right.

Go 2.7 miles on HWY 193 to Chamberlain Road and turn Left onto Chamberlain (Fina station on Right)

Go 3.3 miles on Chamberlain Rd to Crockford-Pigeon Wildlife Area sign on Right - turn Right onto gravel road. Take this road approximately. 1.8 miles (as the road steepens it gets rougher, and goes up the Mt. via a series of switchbacks) Lost Wall Parking is just past the fourth switchback on the left. Continue past the Lost Wall pullout up the mountain. The road improves again once it levels off near the top of the mountain.

When the road splits, take the Right fork (Rocky Road ) 1.3 miles further.

Turn Left onto Rocktown Road (sign) dirt road 1/3 mile to parking area. Trailhead is @ the right corner of the parking lot, next to the information kiosk. There is a flat trail leading 1 mile to the climbing area.

If coming from the north (i.e. Trenton, GA or Chattanooga, TN), You can come across lookout mountain on 136. When you intersect 193, take it to the right. You will come to the Fina station at the right turn onto Chamberlain Rd after 10 minutes or so. This eliminates driving into and out of Lafayette, GA.

 

[ Yahoo! Maps ] Yahoo map of Chamberlain Road

Logo - Topozone.comTopo map (TopoZone.com link)

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Cliff Access

From the parking area, locate the Kiosk at the trailhead. It's an easy 1 mile hike into the climbs. When you start seeing the formations, you have arrived. Wander through the mazes of chasms and caverns, selecting climbs at your whim. You can scramble to the top of most any formation to rig top ropes if you so desire.

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Guidebooks

As far as I know, there has been no guidebook published that catalogs the many routes at Rocktown.

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Routes

Innumerable boulder problems and short climbs are found throughout the area.

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image - logo- National Forest ServiceLand Manager:

Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division

2592 Floyd Springs Road,
Armuchee, GA 30105; (706)295-6041.
Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area
Armuchee Ranger District
806 E. Villanow St.
PO Box 465
Lafayette, GA, 30728
Phone: 706-638-1085

Armuchee & Cohutta Ranger Districts Ranger:
Debbie Whitman
Telephone: 706-695-6737
3941 Hwy. 76
Chatsworth, GA 30705

Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division - Headquarters
2070 U.S. 278,
S.E., Social Circle, GA 30279;
(404)918-6416 or (706)557-3035.
General Information: (770) 918-6400

Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests

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image - caduceus -  symbol of medicineEmergency Information:

911, you are in Walker County

Walker County Emergency Service: 706-375-7810

Rangers here are trained in vertical rescue and cave techniques.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources: 706-295-6041

Nearest medical treatment: Lafayette

How to get to Lafayette: From the Trailhead, drive back to Rocky Lane, turn Right. Follow Rocky Lane across the top of the mountain until it intersects Rocktown Road. Turn Left to head down the mountain to exit the Crockford-Pigeon Mountain area. Follow to Chamberlain Road. Turn left onto Chamberlain, follow it to Main Road - Turn Right to go to Lafayette. Follow signs (H) to hospital.

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image - carabinerGear:

Standard top-rope gear, 50 m rope is plenty long, routes are short. No nuts, cams, chocks needed to rig top-ropes at Rocktown. With long slings or a piece of static line, you can rig almost any top-rope. Leave the lead gear home unless you're looking to lead routes at the Lost Wall. There are no bolts here, routes are too short to bother, though you may come across some fixed anchors at the tops of popular top roped climbs. If you're bouldering, a good crash pad is advised. There are some excellent overhung routes.

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Facilities:

None. Camping is allowed in woods surrounding parking area. My cell phone does not get service here. Nearest town / food / supplies is Lafayette

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Seasons:

Year round climbing, though summers are very hot.

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Photo by Wayne Busch - Jackie Busch top roping at rocktown.Access Notes

There is a guide map to the bouldering problems at Rocktown. Go to Drtopo.com and print off a guidebook.

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Miscellaneous

Pigeon Mountain is located in the Crockford-Pigeon Wildlife Management area. There is no camping in Rocktown, but you may camp at the trailhead. Fires are not permitted within the climbing area. There are numerous other primitive campsites located on the mountain, you'll see some as you drive in. This area see a surprising amount of visitation on the weekends by climbers as well as tourists.

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Links

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Rocktown Trip Reports

6/3/00 - Mom visits Rocktown - Submitted by Wayne Busch - Wayne guides a women's group which includes his mother.

4/19/00 - Gainesville Rock Gyms First Weekend Trip - submitted by Wayne Busch - Wayne guides gym trip to Rocktown.

11/7/99 - Pigeon Mountain, Georgia November 6-7 - Submitted by Wayne Busch - Wayne leads a group trip to Rocktown and Lost Wall

9/12/99 - Pigeon Mountain Georgia: Rocktown and Lost Wall - Submitted by Wayne Busch - Wayne leads a group trip to Rocktown and Lost Wall

8/15/99 - Sunset Rock, Tennessee and Rocktown, Georgia - Submitted by Wayne Busch - Wayne leads a group trip to both locations

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