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BETA PHOTO: This is West Side Block. Has tons of easy toprope...
Some climbers turn up their noses at Sand Rock, and it's not hard to understand why. Far from being a pristine wilderness setting, Sand Rock is a destination not just for climbers but for ATV riders, late-night partiers and other examples of southern stereotypes. Broken beer bottles and other trash are not a rare sight, and the cliffs are despoiled with spray-painted graffiti.
If you can get past the aesthetics and focus on the climbing, however, Sand Rock is actually an excellent destination. Its free-standing pinnacles offer an amazing variety of climbing, ranging from easy toprope jugfests, to crimpy face routes, to fine crack lines. Sport routes run side-by-side with tough trad climbs. Beginners can get easy access to set up topropes, and there's a plethora of good bouldering problems. And the many different areas are spread out enough that you can almost always find a place that isn't crowded. The approach is one of the shortest and easiest in the south -- walk about 100 feet from your car and you'll find yourself at the Pinnacle or Holiday Block.
Climbing at Sand Rock goes back to 1972, when the prolific Rich Gottlieb and friends began snagging FAs on routes like the classic Comfortably Numb. In the 80s, climbers like Shannon Stegg, Curtis Glass, Gene Smith and others established numerous trad lines. Later, bolted routes became more acceptable, and poorly-protected sections of cliff began sprouting sport routes, including the Sun Wall favorite Misty. Johnny Arms has been a major source of new routes since the 90s.
In more recent years, conflicts have sometimes developed between new route setters and the older guard who saw some of the new routes as squeeze jobs or retrobolts of existing routes. Something of a truce appears to be in effect for the present.
Camping is abundant near the parking lot and along the road in to Sand Rock. After climbing, a trip to the Coyote Restaurant in nearby Leesburg is not to be missed.
From Atlanta, take I-75 north toward Chattanooga and exit at Hwy. 411/20 (exit 290). Follow 411 toward Rome, bypassing that city; outside of Rome, turn right on Hwy. 53 (and 411). Continue through Cave Spring and Centre, AL to the town of Leesburg. Turn right on Hwy. 68 and follow this road almost three miles, watching for signs for the village of Sand Rock. Turn left on County Road 36 and continue about a mile and a half to CR 70 (you should see signs for Cherokee Rock Village). Turn left on 70 and continue up the mountain ridge to the Sand Rock parking lot.
Browse More Classics in Sand Rock
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Sand Rock:
Featured Route For Sand Rock
Paige on unknown route.
A nice short trad route near Faith 5.8
Jeff giving a nice belay at Sandrock, AL.
BETA PHOTO: My oldest granddaughter and I ejoying a good day o...
The Duke of Sand Rock (Johnny Arms)
Sign on the Highway.
Me on a fun, long V1 problem @ Sandrock
A view of Lake Weiss from camp.
Progress at Sandrock?
The peaceful side of Sandrock
BETA PHOTO: Sand Rock
Jan 6, 2007
This is a nice place to clip bolts on dry rock in the pouring rain. Especially the sunshine wall.
|By Br'er Rabbit|
From: The Deeper South
Mar 12, 2007
Unlike most spots in our great state, Sandrock is used and abused to the point of detracting from what would be an otherwise nice place to climb. Sandrock is typically crowded and loud...there are many nearby alternatives.
|By Ben Griffin|
From: Durango, CO
Mar 27, 2007
Ben Lyon is definitly wrong in my book. Sandrocks is a fun easy approach area for climber of all skill levels. A climber can find easy to hard everything at Sandrocks. The bouldering is fun, sport climbing is fun, and the trad is great. Sandrocks is very unique, when you look at the geological features of the area. My favorite spot to climb in the area is hole in the wall. Every route is overhanging and in the 5.11 to 5.12 range.
|By Br'er Rabbit|
From: The Deeper South
Mar 29, 2007
RIP Cinco De Mayo.
Apr 9, 2007
I've lived and climbed in some of the most beautiful and quality areas this country has to offer. Sand Rock is NOT a world class destination climbing area. On the other hand it is so far from the crapfest you mentioned. The scenery is actually quite beautiful and the quality of the rock and routes is very good. There's just something about that place that keeps me coming back. If you don't like clipping bolts in a crowded, dirty, loud, crapfest, there's always Little River Canyon.
|By micah stocker|
May 11, 2007
This place is a total shit fest all topped off by the local young clansmen spray painting and destroying anything good this place has to offer. While the climbing is not that bad, it is just really hard to get over the total disrespect for one of the only cool places bama has to offer. AS for LRC that place is totally amazing and I understand why it is kept such a secret. Coming from Colorado I can say that place is ten stars.
|By Jay Knower|
From: Plymouth, NH
Jan 18, 2008
I'd say that Sand Rock is a fine place to climb. Just ignore the graffitti and the trash (which wasn't that bad anyway) and focus on the climbing. I found the climbs to be really worthwhile; with Misty and Dreamscape being some of the best of the grade I have ever done.
Don't let the above comments disuade you. In my opinion, Sand Rock is definitely worth a stop.
|By Rhett Burroughs|
From: Valdosta, GA
Feb 6, 2008
I'm ready to crack some rednecks skulls! The last comment from a fight in the parking lot by the yokals " I hit him right upside the head I did#%!" You must wear blue jean cut offs and a wife beater.
|By chris mcclendon|
From: Gardendale, Alabama
Mar 24, 2008
Recently I found a ton of climbs with very little traffic. bolted routes, cracks, and what seems to be some amazing bouldering all at sandrock. if u r that antisocial just go to a route that all the ignorant newbies like myself dont know about and or cant climb. there are plenty at sandrock
|By Brad "Stonyman" Killough|
Mar 31, 2008
Sand Rock is what you make it, it hasn't changed in years. The burning of the porta-john is childish and I thought S.R. was going to get a Ranger checking on the place? Maybe they need to step-up their rounds a bit.....!
Apr 4, 2009
TO ALL THOSE NEGATIVE COMMENTS ABOUT SAND ROCK...
On March 21, (a few weeks ago) I was at S.R. partcipating in the annual clean-up fest. Where were all of you? I personally do something about things that concern me and therefore have very little respect for those who just sit back and complain!
I do agree that alot of visitors disrespect the place. This damage is brought on by kids, non-climbers or very immature climbers to say the least. I try to pick up as I move from one climb to another , every time I go. A bunch of us are going up and painting over the graff. with a faux paint techique as best at we can.
Since you show so much concern...can we expect to see you there? I hope so, we would love to have you. SCC lists the dates of all the clean-ups etc. if anyone is interested in helping.
Sandrock will be destroyed (just like the rest of the earth) if everyone "TURNS UP THEIR NOSES" and DO NOTHING to help preserve it. It is a beautiful place. My brother taught me to climb there, he passed away last year. Some of his ashes were scattered at our fav campsite at that "shitfest" as you so politely put it.
- ************DO something nice for our planet today**************
|By Sam Lightner, Jr.|
Jun 29, 2009
I just went to Sand Rock for the first time last weekend. Its not pure and isolated, but it is very good climbing. I'll go back.
Mar 14, 2010
I haven't been to SR yet, so what walls can you climb at in the rain that will have dry climbs in the below 5.10 and up to soft 5.12 ??? At sunshine wall this is the case? how many lower grade routes stay dry?? and what other walls are options?
|By Br'er Rabbit|
From: The Deeper South
Mar 17, 2010
Sun Wall is your best bet. There's a wide range of routes on that wall. Other nooks and crannies stay dry. Focus your attention there and branch out. It's not like it's an overwhelming place.
|By Christopher Snipes|
Jul 5, 2010
Fun area that's not too far from much of Georgia....about 3 hours from Fort Benning. Lot's to choose from and is a nice area if you can put up with the locals.
I would recommend camping just down the road a bit (perhaps a few hundred meters) from the end of the road to avoid the late night parties that show up.
|By karl vochatzer|
From: Austin, TX
Nov 28, 2011
Made a slight detour from Atlanta on a cross-country express trip in the car to check out this crag. Sampled a couple of good lines with some friendly climbers. Very enjoyable rock here, and yes, there was plenty of local flare on this Saturday. Noted the elevation and coordinates on the GPS: 34 degrees 10.82' N by 85 degrees 49.03' W at 1630 feet elevation at the parking lot.
|By Adam Lazaro|
From: Hiram, Ga
Jan 6, 2012
i found an illumination device near "my dog has fleas" on the holiday block on 1/5. anyone missing one?
|By David Horning|
Mar 6, 2012
Does anyone know of a way to find a topo for this location? I've tried to find a copy of the Dixie Craggers atlas, but the only one I can find is for some ridiculous price on amazon.
|By s f|
Mar 6, 2012
The new GA/AL Dixie Cragger's Atlas should be available very soon. Word is, they are have already been sent out to the printer. The new version includes Steele, Yellow Bluff, and (OMG) Little River Canyon.
|By Swamp Cookie|
From: da Bayou
Oct 14, 2012
Just a heads up to anyone who loves Sandrock. Texas-based corporation Pioneer Green has come up with what they call “The Shinbone Ridge Energy Project,” a plan to build up to twenty 450-foot turbines along the crest of the mountain. Part of the facility will be located at Cherokee Rock Village on land leased by the Cherokee County Parks and Recreation Board. In addition to being an eye sore, they pose a danger to wildlife. There are also health concerns related to ultrasonic noise. The beauty of the area which attracts us all has attracted Pioneer Green who figured if no one was living there, it would be an idea place to build a wind farm.
Dec 30, 2012
I love Sand Rock. It is probably the closest decent place to climb if you live in Florida. If you camp at the cliff, you will wake up with a absolutely beautiful morning view of the river.
There are tons of sports routes with varied difficulties. Climbers are nice. Johnny just set up several routes in "New Wall", which is not presented in new Dixie guidebook. Sand Rock is definitely a valuable spot.
|By Greg Berry|
Mar 5, 2013
I met an old timer at the convenience store on the corner in Leesburg where they sell bait and he told me that he would "borrow" farmers and rancher's ropes when they were in church on Sunday and go climb at Sandrock. This story blew my mind. This guy may have been the first technical climber in the south. I hope I run into him again someday. I was so stunned by his story I forgot to ask him his name.
Mar 26, 2013
I am going to be in Alabama for work in April 2013 and was wondering if anyone wanted to do some climbing the weekend of the 20th? Hit me up if you are interested. I have all my own gear, and have been climbing for a couple of years.
|By Shani Magosky|
Apr 15, 2013
Looking for Huck from Atlanta. I have 2 of your quickdraws. Email me what color tape is on them and what pitch I cleaned for you so I can confirm it's you, along with your address, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll send them to you. Sorry, obviously didn't mean to take them :).