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Bouldering in/near Gatlinburg?
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By JasonT
May 31, 2012
MS13 Training Arete

So Ive got a wedding to attend to in Gatlinburg in week and I was wondering if there was any good bouldering close to there. Im not gonna be there long enough to get over to Chatanooga so thats out of the question. Any suggestions?


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By sanz
From Raleigh, NC
May 31, 2012
One of my first trad leads, on Ooga Chocka at Crowder's Mountain.

Just go for a hike in the Smokies. One of the most beautiful places I have had the pleasure of seeing. Spend as much time as you can out there... and as little as you can in Gatlinburg. That place is hell on earth... no offence.


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By Drew Hayes
From Charlotte, NC
May 31, 2012
Lost in Space

What sanz said, I think the Big Creek ranger station is a 30-45 min drive from Gatlinburg and it has a couple of trail heads.


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By T.C.
From Whittier, NC
May 31, 2012

No climbing to speak of. If you are only going to have one chance to do something, go to the Alum Cave Bluff Trail. 10 miles r/t to the top where the Leconte Lodge sits. What's the Leconte Lodge? It's a secret most people don't know about. You can't stay there, they only take reservations one day a year, and you are lucky to get one if you are chosen in the lottery. The trail up is amazing in every respect. There is plenty online about both the lodge and trail to motivate you to visit.


www.gsmnp.com/pages/alum_cave.html


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By JasonT
Jun 1, 2012
MS13 Training Arete

No offense taken...Ive never been there and would probably never go if not for this wedding. Not much into hiking unless its into a crag or boulderfield but maybe Ill check out some of your suggestions. Thanks.


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By Brad Caldwell
From Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Jun 1, 2012

I'm shocked no one mentioned Look Rock on the Foothills Parkway, near Townsend and about 20 minutes or so from Cades Cove. The place isn't a destination by any stretch of the imagination, but for highball bouldering/rope soloing its got at least a handful of routes around 20-40 feet tall. We used to live in Knoxville and took some gumby relatives up there when they visited and wanted to try outdoor climbing...definitely a good area for easy top roping. Might not be the best, but its better than nothing. If I were you, I'd hit I-40 and book it around an hour and a half to the Obed and the Lilly Boulders...well worth the drive and a guidebook is available from Greener Grass. House Mountain is another resource near Knoxville, and maybe 45 minutes from Gatlin-hell. House only has a few boulders and the access has gone back and forth over the years, but if you're in Knoxville, you could detour to House on your way back to the redneck mountain haven along 40. When all else fails, give in and join them...ride all the go carts and do as much outlet mall shopping as you can:)


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By JasonT
Jun 1, 2012
MS13 Training Arete

Man....you guys are making this place sound like a shithole...is it really that bad? Do they at least have places to get good beer. IE stuff besides Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light etc?

Good Beer can help me through anything...


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By sanz
From Raleigh, NC
Jun 1, 2012
One of my first trad leads, on Ooga Chocka at Crowder's Mountain.

T.C. wrote:
No climbing to speak of. If you are only going to have one chance to do something, go to the Alum Cave Bluff Trail. 10 miles r/t to the top where the Leconte Lodge sits. What's the Leconte Lodge? It's a secret most people don't know about. You can't stay there, they only take reservations one day a year, and you are lucky to get one if you are chosen in the lottery. The trail up is amazing in every respect. There is plenty online about both the lodge and trail to motivate you to visit. www.gsmnp.com/pages/alum_cave.html


Oh man I did this one-way as the last day of a week on the AT... spent the night at the shelter on Leconte... what good memories. Great recommendation!


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By sanz
From Raleigh, NC
Jun 1, 2012
One of my first trad leads, on Ooga Chocka at Crowder's Mountain.

JasonT wrote:
Man....you guys are making this place sound like a shithole...is it really that bad? Do they at least have places to get good beer. IE stuff besides Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light etc? Good Beer can help me through anything...


It really is that bad. Think Myrtle Beach in the mountains. Not sure what the beer situation is but there is plenty of cheap Jack Daniels.


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By NOFF
From Big South Fork, TN
Jun 1, 2012

Hey Jason,

Gatlinburg can be a blast if you are prepared for the tourists. Just don't let them get to you. The GSNP is one of the most visited parks in the US for a reason, it's incredible. Stay out of Pigeon Forge, and you'll be fine. Check out Alum Cave Bluff trail as mentioned, great variety, even if you just go up to the cave. Check out Cades Cove, tons of history, and very scenic. Lots of good fishing around there. Places in Gatlinburg I recommend, Pepper Palace at the Mountain Mall. If you like hot sauce, it's the best, free samples of pain. China Bazzar on the strip. Get yourself a couple of big redneck knifes, and a blowgun to cap some people.

As far as bouldering, here are a few spots. The Roaring Fork motor nature trail, has a few easy boulders right on the road. A pretty good area, is on the way up to Newfound Gap, driving from Gatlinburg. As you head up the mountain, there will be a pull off area on the right, there are many, sorry I can't be more specific, but keep looking up to your left, and you will see a large bluff up at the head of a drainage. It may be hard to see with all the leaves in. But there are quite a few boulders spread up through there.


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By Drew Hayes
From Charlotte, NC
Jun 1, 2012
Lost in Space

sanz wrote:
Think Myrtle Beach in the mountains.

Hahahahah, this is exactly how I describe it to people. It's a fun place though, just drink Budweiser and do all the touristy stuff.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jun 1, 2012

From one westerner to another, I suspect that within about thirty seconds of stepping off the plane the humidity will hit you and you will lose all motivation to do any climbing.

Bring flip flops and swimming trunks and plan to spend most of your time with a drink by the pool.


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By Val C
From Nashville, TN
Jun 3, 2012

I would definitely hit up Lily Boulders at the Obed. It's an hour and a half away if you don't mind driving a little.


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