World class bouldering is only 10 miles from the city at Boat Rock. This granite boulder field has a long history rooted in struggle and later, success. It was home to some of Atlanta’s first climbing competitions in the 80’s, but soon after, residential developers demolished nearly 70 percent of the back-side of the boulder field. The only reason why Boat Rock is still in existence is because Southeastern Climbers Coalition bought the land to prevent development. Today the boulder field is 7.8 acres, according to SCC. The climbing community continues to remain active in maintaining Boat Rock, with the annual Float the Boat fundraiser competition, that draws area climbers and clubs to support the park.
The boulders are granite, which make the climbs more difficult on toe rubber and hands. It’s a rare occurrence that the sections and boulders are marked with signs, so it is easy to identify many of Mountain Project’s betas.
What Makes It Great
For a V1 warm-up, try “Easy Crack” in the Easy Crack area. The only challenging issue with this boulder is that it is 15 feet tall, so be sure to use a mat. It’s a crack climb and you don’t have to pull hard.
An example of a characteristic boulder at Boat Rock is “Waves in Motion”, across from the Easy Crack area. It’s a popular 10-foot V3 problem. You have to trust your feet on the climb, and use the small sloping pockets for holds and smearing.
Nearby is the V3 “The Surgeon”. Climb the left face of the boulder using side pulls and crescent footing to reach the top.
“Spiderman”, marked by signs, has problems ranges from V2 to V4: crack, arete, direct and traverse climbs. Traverse involves crimpers and flake holds, so be cautious because flakes have been known to fall off.
On the upper range of difficulty, a seated start under the overhang of “Paint Can” makes it a V9 climb. Use the small incuts on the underside and sidepull the jugs to get over the crux. The rest of “Paint Can” is V5.
Who is Going to Love It
Bouldering at Boat Rock is ideal for the technical climber. Many of the routes involve smearing. Climbers that utilize their whole body will find it easier to overcome the crux by pushing and pulling with their toes and feet.
With Boat Rock just 15 minutes from the city, this is the ideal outdoor spot for climbers that just want to grab onto some real rock and practice their technique.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The parking lot is small, almost non-existent with no more than 8 parking spots. When the lot becomes filled, climbers will park in the surrounding neighborhoods. The boulder field has an outhouse on-site.
Be sure to hide valuables and lock your car. The biggest issue is car break-ins, but these can be avoided by following these safety guidelines. Climbing is prohibited after dark because the surrounding area of south Atlanta is not safe.
It is best to carpool together to avoid parking situations, and always climb in a group, that way you can have a spotter. Mats are recommended, and no steel brushes are allowed for scrubbing holds.