3 Ways to Stay Psyched on Climbing During a Hot Chattanooga Summer

Summer climbing at Deep Creek
Summer climbing at Deep Creek Granola Products
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You probably don't need a reminder of how hot it's been in Chattanooga this summer. Barely in the throes of July—with the dog days of August still waiting to leave their inevitable sweat marks—it's been a debilitating, oppressive kind of heat. While this is bad news for anyone who enjoys their summers mild and reasonable, it's especially bad news for climbers in the area. Southeastern rock this time of year is slick and hot, and generally unpleasant and unsuited for climbing. Luckily, there are some simple hacks to stay active in the offseason. Here, three easy ways to stay psyched on climbing during the summer months in Chattanooga.

1. Train, train, and train

Take advantage of all the training tools available when it's too hot to climb outside.
Take advantage of all the training tools available when it's too hot to climb outside. High Point Climbing & Fitness

Make a schedule or a plan and commit to spending a lot of time in the gym. This is the time to hire a trainer, a coach, and make friends with the campus board, hangboard, or any other torture...err, training device.

Find a training plan that fits your goals or try to make up your own. Be specific. Set up a long-term goal and a smaller set of goals to reach along the way. Make friends or recruit your existing friends to train with you to ensure accountability and boost camaraderie. Don’t be afraid to ask for expert advice; this is the time to do things right and the results will be better for it.

There is an abundance of great climbing gyms in Chattanooga—including High Point, TBA, and Urban Rocks—and if you get tired of your home turf, a day trip to Stone Summit in Atlanta or First Avenue Rocks in Birmingham will provide a change in terrain, a cure for boredom, and restorative kick to the psyche.

2. Get outside and climb all the easy stuff

With its cooler temperatures and lack of exposure, Deep Creek is a solid option for summer climbing in Chattanooga
With its cooler temperatures and lack of exposure, Deep Creek is a solid option for summer climbing in Chattanooga Granola Products

Any climbing is better than no climbing. If this is your mantra, there are plenty of crags in the Southeast that offer a great variety of easy and moderate routes. (Think Foster Falls , Leda , and Sunset Rock .) Simply save your tough projects for the fall.

This is the time to put in some vertical mileage, and luckily, some Chattanooga crags are actually tolerable in the summer heat—as long as you're willing to deal with the humidity, poison ivy, and snakes, of course.

Sunset Park can be very humid in the mornings but stays in the shade for most of the day and early afternoon is prime for summer trad climbing here.

Deep Creek is another popular summer crag. The temperatures tend to stay cooler, and though a bit humid, the lower temps make it one of the more tolerable crags in the area as long as it hasn’t rained in a few days. Leda does get hot, but it's generally okay for early morning burns on short and fun routes. And of course, you can always take a cool dip afterwards.

3. Go west

Beautiful views awaits at Beacon Rock.
Beautiful views awaits at Beacon Rock. Emily Korth

Okay, we won't lie: climbing can be downright miserable in the Southeast during the summer. If (i.e. when) you just can't take the heat anymore, or if you stall in your training goals, it might be time to plan an adventure. Get your friends together for a trip out west to the drier and higher elevation climates that don't make you want to throw in the chalk bucket.

Far from an exhaustive list, here are some of our recommendations:

Beacon Rock in Washington State, just across the border from Portland, is mainly a trad crag but also has some sport routes available. Comfortable temps and beautiful views makes this neat monolith in the Pacific northwest—which also happens to be the second largest in the world—a trip to remember.

California seemingly has a crag for every temperature, and for the hot season, Big Chief, near Truckee in Tahoe National Forest, is a great option. Located above Highway 89, this crag is easily accessible with a short hike and just a bit of scrambling and offers mostly sport climbing with additional development possibilities.

For the bouldering crowd, the Bay Area and beyond has a world-class selection of small boulder fields and areas that stay cool in the summer. On the Pacific West Coast and in the Berkeley Hills is Mickey’s Beach, Stinson Beach, Goat Rock, and Indian Rock to just name a few that are all worth a visit.

Whether you chose to train, get out on the easy stuff, or travel this summer, hopefully this combination will keep you psyched on climbing while you patiently wait for Southeastern sending temps to return.

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