Though it's not a major climbing destination, Hurricane Creek is a great place to take new climbers for their first experience on real rock. Most of the routes are readily accessible from the top of the cliff to set up a toprope and there's a good selection of easy lines. Combine this with a pretty setting alongside a stream and a family-friendly atmosphere, and you've got a nice climbing spot just a half-hour from Birmingham.
There's another side to the coin, however. Hurricane Creek is a fairly new area that's largely unexplored, and there's a lot of potential for new route development. Even better, park management is encouraging this. So bring your pruning shears and whisk broom, you could bag a nice FA.
[Editor's note: since this area is not yet documented and the routes don't have "official" names, I'm indulging in a little whimsy by giving them names myself. When/if real route names become available, they'll be updated. -- JL]
Hurricane Creek Park is just outside the town of Cullman, AL. Take I-65 out of Birmingham to exit 310 (Hwy. 157); proceed east on 157 a short way to a left on Hwy. 31. Continue north on 31 for about 2-3 miles to the turnoff for Hurricane Creek. There's a $3 admission fee for the park.
From the parking lot, proceed along the clifftop to a descent trail that leads through a cleft in the rock to a picnic area along the creek. The established climbing routes start near the bottom of the descent trail; there's also untouched cliff for the adventurous on the other side of the creek.
If you're wanting to try your first sport lead, it doesn't get much easier than this. Follow the line of bolts up the left side of an outside corner on juggy holds and the occasional long reach....[more]Browse More Classics in AL
Just climbed HCP for the first time last weekend. Great location for beginning climbers and those working on their lead skills for sport and trad.
John M. (caretaker) explained that he's set up a progression for easing into sport leading: 1 - start on the BIG sloped boulder he calls 'the slab' (just upstream from the picnic area at Heavens Stairs, beside the creek) There are a series of bolts up the face where you can practice clipping in while walking up the slope, then practice setting up your rappell back down. 2 - there is a vertical face to the right of Heavens stair with 3 ledges and a bolt at each ledge. 3 - Just inside the big crack to the left of the stairs, going up the left side of the 'nose' is what John called "Country Boy Can Survive" (also called 'Cosmic Thing' on this site) Nice big holds and a good place to try out the sport lead skills...