Stone Door @ Savage Gulf State Park.
Submitted by: Brad "Stonyman" Killough
DescriptionAs with all areas in the south, the climbing is better on a seasonal time scale. Since sand rock sweats during humid times during the summer, it's probably best to climb during early spring and early into late fall! The rock there is sandstone and is quality climbing, but be careful, there is some loose rock. It's usually not too crowded at the trad routes, but there is a toprope wall at the base that Vanderbilt University uses for classes and it is sometimes a little crowded.
From the ranger's station, it's about a mile to the cliff line (great trail to the cliff) then it's down the staircase through the namesake "Stone Door," which is the access route to the bottom that the early Indians used. The tallest section there is about 154 ft. With a great view!! This area has 14 trad routes and a few toprope routes that go from easy to moderate trad routes from His Majesty 5.4 to Rude Awakenings 5.11 and the only top rope area is at the Vanderbilt Wall that goes from 5.5 to 5.8 at 65 ft. and is at the bottom of the staircase, the rest is trad only!
Getting ThereFrom Chattanooga, take Interstate 24 west to the South Pittsburg exit. Go left toward Kimball and Jasper to Hwy. 41 and follow 41 to Tracy City to Hwy. 56 to Altamont. Turn right on Hwy. 50 and follow signs to Beersheba Springs, then follow signs to Stone Door/Savage Gulf. At the parking lot, sign in, then follow trail to bluff's edge(Stone Door).
From Nashville, take Interstate 24 east toward Chattanooga and get off at Pelham/Hwy. 50 exit. Go left to Beersheba Springs and follow Stone Door/Savage Gulf signs to Stone Door parking lot.
From Dunlap, take Tn. 8/111 and take a left at Tn. 339 and from there you will see the entrance not too far from there. The other way is from McMinnville on Tn. 56 to Beersheba Springs, then turn left on a side road with the state park sign and follow to a fork in the road and then bear right to the entrance of the park. Make sure you go to the Stone Door area for climbing!!
They care about climbers in TN!
Red - Rude Awakenings, Blue - Monster Movie, Green - Black Widow, Yellow - Cornflake Crack
Rapping Cornflake Crack. I left gear there that can be used to rap from the top of the Crack instead of walking around to the tree. In the summer watch for snakes as you make your way across the ledge.
Can anyone confirm this as the start of Overhang Direct?
Looking up at Rude Awakenings.
Start of the Chimney route?
His Majesty 5.5 start.
Actual cleft is where the arrow points. Vanderbilt wall is on the right. The wall in the background has many routes also, not sure about TR setup.
CommentsJoey Wolfe Jan 21, 2008
Is Stone Door/Savage Gulf in the South Cumberland Rec. Area?
Brad "Stonyman" Killough Jan 21, 2008
I believe that it's part of the plateau. There are no shower's at this area and the bathroom's are at the office.
Justin Dansby Jun 3, 2008
Had a chance to visit Stone Door/Savage Gulf this past weekend. The camping is great at Savage Gulf, not for the faint of heart in the summer. We got covered in ticks. Also a highly populated copperhead and rattler area. Many great waterfalls to see at Savage and some decent looking boulders, although not sure if climbing is allowed there. Stone Door is right up the road from the Gulf if you don't hike it through the woods. We found Stone Door to be packed with hikers. Once we started climbing Cornflake Crack we started getting bombarded with rocks from above. Even though there is a sign stating not to throw rocks. People kept throwing even after having a few yelling matches with them. After climbing we talked to the rangers and apparently this happens really frequently, so maybe weekday climbing would be better. Not sure why people enjoy the rock throwing so much, but I had more than one golfball size rock hit the belay ledge within inches of myself.
Also worth noting Stone Door is the cleft in the rock where Indians used to access the rim of the valley from the floor. It has huge trees that were in danger of logging in the early '70's before the Nature Conservancy began helping out.
Amy Denicke Sep 4, 2008
We had someone huck an oyster size lugie off the top of Rustys Crack at Sunset. It landed right on our rope and tarp. Sortof frightening to think of rocks.
JDub1979 Sep 5, 2008
Yes, Stone Door/Savage Gulf is part of the South Cumberland Recreation Area and no, climbing is not allowed in the Savage Gulf area. Although I haven't climbed Stone Door yet, I worked there as a seasonal laborer in the Summer of 1997 during college, and even then rock throwers were a problem.
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