First and foremost I'd like to say that Little Rock City is a one of a kind boulder field full of amazing lines and awesome memories. The grades range from v0- to a brand new v13 put up last year by Jimmy Webb. The smooth southern sandstone is in top form at this boulder field just outside Chattanooga. There's no better place to learn the intricacies of southern bouldering than LRC. This climbing area is a true testament to the abilities of the SCC (Southeastern Climbers Coalition), and the hard work of many developers for years at a time. A lot of people put a lot of time into making LRC what it is today, so please read through this beta before hitting the boulders.
Approach: Little Rock City is located in Soddy Daisy, TN just about 15 miles outside Chattanooga. Here's a google map for ya.
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Leta: If you're just so happen to send everything in the boulder field, or it's just too crowded for your likings, there's actually a crag five minutes away from LRC. On your way up the mountain you'll notice several small turnoffs on the right side of the road. If you feel the desire to rope it up, pull off at one of these spots and then (carefully) cross the street and hike up to enjoy Leta's route climbing. While not as great as LRC in terms of rock quality or abundance, Leta does have some really fun routes for a day of rock climbing. Most of the routes can be found in the Dixie Cragger's Atlas.
Cost: Because the SCC is so great, we all get to climb at LRC for only $3. That's a pretty sweet deal when you consider the fact that most gym day passes go for between $15 and $20 these days. Trust me, this is way better. All you have to do is register in the clubhouse of the golf course with the person at the front desk, sign a waiver and get to climbing. The guys at the pro shop are really nice so don't be afraid to talk to them. Also, be sure to thank them for letting us climb on the golf courses' property. They don't have to allow climbers. It's only in recent years that access has become so wide open. You can also rent crash pads, and buy some climbing gear in the pro shop as well.
*note: The golf course debit card machine has a $5 minimum, so either bring cash or be prepared to buy a snack with your day pass
Guidebook: Yes there is one, and yes it is awesome! Andy Wellman over at Greener Grasses Publishing did a great job putting together this little beauty. It sells for $25.95 in the clubhouse or online and trust me when I say that it's the best purchase you'll make all year. The guidebook includes basic information like I'm giving you here, but also with way more detail and insight. Before this guidebook, we were all carrying around Triple Crown scorecards trying to decipher hand drawn boulders. But thanks to Greener Grasses, we now we have beautiful pictures of the climbs weren't not strong enough to send.
Code of Ethics: This is probably the most important part of the beta for LRC. The way that outdoor bouldering works in a place like Chattanooga is that we try our best to preserve the experience for other climbers by not being loud, obtrusive boulderers. Although access is at its best and we've successfully found ways to work with Montlake Golf Course, we still need to respect the nature of the golf course. What I mean is that LRC is not the place to go screaming when you send a hard boulder problem. It's also not the place to bring a boombox to listen to your favorite jams while you're crushing boulders. I've personally been very upset recently by the lack of respect I see climbers showing each other at LRC. Even if it weren't for the golfers, climbing for many people is a relaxing endeavor which means they probably don't want your rap music or obnoxious spraying about your latest send ruining their day. Think of it like a nature hike. It's also highly important that we don't leave trash around the boulders or climb on boulders not in the guidebook. These are just a few of the ways that LRC could be potentially shut down. In short, don't be an ass. Here's a video some dudes made about loud angry climbers. It's totally sarcastic, but it also kind of helps show what kind of climber you don't want to be.
Rainy Day Plans
Climbing Gyms: If you are unfortunate enough to take a climbing trip to Chattanooga and get rained out, we do have climbing gyms. There are two in fact, which are both great places to train and keep those arms strong for the sunny days. The two gyms are Tennessee Bouldering Authority and Urban Rocks.
TBA is a small strictly bouldering gym located in St. Elmo just outside of downtown. The problems and routesetters there are notorious for coming up with some of the hardest, most fun boulders you've ever climbed on. Check out their website for great deals which they offer almost every night of the week. A regular day pass is $8 not including shoe rentals.
Urban is a top rope/sport climb/boulder gym located off of Amnicola Highway on the other side of town. This is where you want to go to rope up indoors in Chattanooga. They've got a huge overhanging lead wall, lots of top roping and a pretty sizable bouldering area as well as a training area upstairs. A day pass for route climbing is $14, while a boulder pass is $12.
Both gyms are sure to give you a great workout, but be warned, climbers are strong in Chattanooga. So don't be surprised if the v grades in the gyms don't exactly match up with what you're used to.
Other Fun Stuff: Chattanooga is by far one of the coolest places I've ever lived. The downtown area is fun and accessible with more than plenty of things to do if you're only willing to look around. As far as restaurants go, I would highly recommend The Terminal and Aretha Frankenstein's. The Terminal is a brewhouse and burger place with some of the best beers and bison burgers you've ever had. Their oatmeal stout is outside this world! Aretha's is a fun place to kill an afternoon waiting on the best pancakes you've literally ever had. No kidding... ever. But be warned, their kitchen is small and they get super busy on Sundays.
There's also the world's first green movie theater (or so I'm told) in the heart of downtown, we also have a minor league baseball team (the lookouts) whose games are fun, and there are more than a couple awesome coffee shops you can check out. My favorites are Stone Cup and Rembrandt's. Both of these coffee shops are so great because they roast their own coffee beans. Stone Cup is an especially great place to bunker down on a rainy day because of its awesome view of the city. If none of that sounds appealing, check out bogonooga.com or chattanoogachow.com which are websites purely based on Chattanooga nightlife.