Added by Rob Giersch
Phenomenal array of sport climbing routes for the intermediate to expertBeautiful southern sandstone nestled amongst the trees with plenty of shade10 minute walk from the parking lotLocated in the heart of The Obed Wild and Scenic River
The Obed Wild and Scenic River is typically not found in the same conversations as Zion or Yosemite, but be assured this hidden gem of Tennessee is one of the East Coast's must climb destinations.
There are a number of climbing areas within the Obed worth exploring, ranging from bouldering to multi-pitch traditional routes. The Lilly Bluff area is a great introduction to The Obed as there are over 30+ routes, and the majority of these are bolted for sport climbing. With such a concentration of climbs located only 10 minutes from parking your car, Lilly Bluff is a perfect spot to knock out a multitude of climbs in a day trip.
From the parking lot cross the road and look for the trailhead running up the hill along the ridge in more or less a downstream direction when looking at the river. As you climb, the trail will fork to the right which leads you across the base of Lilly Bluff. Take your time to assess the wide variety of options and make the most of your day by starting out on some of the easier routes for a warm up before jumping on to some of the extended roof routes that will challenge even the strongest of climbers.
Most of the routes are in the 5.10-5.12 range, so experience with both sport climbing and solid belay techniques is recommended. If you want to do your homework in advance The Dixie Cragger's Atlas provides climb by climb details, and is an excellent reference for Southeast climbing in general.
When a break is required, or you have finished the day in the middle of summer don't miss the stream and associated waterfalls running down the point of the bluff back along the trail used to get to the base. The stream is wrapped within the dense forest, making for shadowed, emerald cover year round. Feel free to jump in the water but don't be surprised if the temperatures of the cool green pools make for a quick dip.
If you want to spend multiple days in the area (The Obed also offers some amazing whitewater paddling) The Lily Pad Campground is a climber's gathering spot. The grounds have a unique and "kitchy" style, and Del and Marte Scruggs, who run the property, are gracious and helpful hosts. Climbers from all over make for entertaining evenings and a cool vibe.
- Climbing harness, shoes, and helmet
- Dynamic rope
- Belay device
- Rack of sport climbing quickdraws (bring the full rack if you want to climb trad)
- Plenty of snacks and water
- Painter's pole for placing that first quickdraw
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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