Chattanooga is widely known for having some of the best outdoor climbing in the country, but it's also home to a world-class indoor climbing scene, so no matter what the weather's doing, Scenic City climbers can still get their hands on some quality holds. Whether it's raining, or the summer heat and humidity strikes, or you're just trying to get in some quality training, here are three of Chattanooga's favorite climbing gyms:
1. High Point, the newest and largest of these gyms, is located in the heart of downtown and features 28,000 square feet of climbing both inside and outside. There are lead, top rope, and auto-belay routes scaling the former facade of the Bijou movie theater, but you’ll also find plenty of climbing inside, with two bouldering pits as well as a top roping room and lead climbing pit. For the more experienced climber, there’s even a campus, moon, and adjustable wall. High Point is a great place for both kids and adults, and climbing lessons are available through the High Point Climbing School, run by professional climbers Lisa Rands and Wills Young.
High Point also doubles as a cross-training gym, with all your standard weight and aerobic amenities, with member prices that are competitive with other local gyms, only that other local gyms don't feature 28,000 square feet of climbing.
After utilizing all that High Point has to offer, go next door to Mellow Mushroom for their always delicious and unique pizza creations, or to the more high-scale gourmet restaurant, Easy Bistro. Or if you just want a sweet, cold treat, Ben & Jerry's is at the end of the block.
2. Urban Rocks is off the beaten track, but not far from downtown. With 10,000 square feet of climbing surface, featuring top rope, lead routes, and plenty of bouldering space, there’s plenty to keep you busy. There’s even a dedicated kid's wall. Joshua Livasy, manager and climber, says Urban Rocks Gym “is an amazing place to bring family, friends, or even just yourself as walk-in's are always welcome. We work hard to make sure there is something for any and all skill and experience levels.”
Urban Rocks constantly rotates their routes and holds, so you can expect something new every time you visit. They offer classes ranging from simple belay lessons (for learning the skill of belaying and knot tying), to advanced climbing techniques and strength training, to yoga. If you’re looking for something for your kids or a group of friends or co-workers, Urban Rocks hosts birthday parties, after school programs, summer camps, lock-ins, boy scout merit badge courses and corporate team building programs. They also hold competitions and other events throughout the year, so follow them on Facebook. Urban Rocks has day pass and bouldering only rates, as well as monthly deals. Gear rentals, classes, and kid’s programs are available as well.
When you’re finished climbing and feeling famished, check out the Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar for excellent seafood dishes, sandwiches, and great views of the Tennessee River.
3. Tennessee Bouldering Authority is a boutique style gym. Located in an old warehouse in the historic St. Elmo neighborhood at the base of Lookout Mountain, TBA has been around since 2000. Built with affordable climbing training in mind, TBA offers over 3000 sq. ft. of bouldering walls with bold colors and angles. TBA has system training boards, hang boards, a compression beam, pull-up bars, gymnastic rings, and weights. Hang out in the comfortable lounge area, listen to tunes from their fresh sound system, and enjoy the energetic ambiance and inviting culture, without which, owner Luis Rodriguez says, “TBA would be just another run-of-the-mill sterile and uninspiring climbing gym.” Check out the training sessions, routines and courses available weekly.
Within two blocks of TBA, you can enjoy the best homemade burritos in town at Mojo Burrito , or delicious coastal-infused southern dishes at 1885 Grille , or a great cup of coffee at Pasha Cafe, or even authentic and tasty Thai food at Sawasdee.