On December 5th, a new and long awaited climbing guidebook hit the shelves. Through several years of climbing, hiking, establishing routes, and taking notes and photos, Chattanooga's own local climbing legend Rob Robinson, finally decided to put the ink to paper by compiling a comprehensive guide to traditional climbing crags in the Chattanooga area. The guidebook, published by Rockery Press, is called "ChatTrad" and includes information on popular crags like Tennessee Wall, Sunset Park, Deep Creek, and Suck Creek. The guide is also full of stories and facts related to the crags as well as information on how to get there, parking, camping, fees, and other pertinent beta.
In an area like Chattanooga where history is paramount to Southern culture and tourism, Robinson has made sure to include as much of it as possible in this guide. Here, he describes how the massive cliff line that is now Tennessee Wall was fist discovered, "Our odometer crept forward a click or two when, suddenly, a pastiche of tantalizing rock fused into a solid whole. Beneath a cobalt blue sky, basking in the heat of the quintessential winter morning sun, was one of the finest sandstone cliffs any of us had ever seen."
This, along with many other interesting stories and facts makes ChatTrad a bit of a history book as well as a supreme guide. Hundreds of photos coupled with route descriptions and grades, make this 548 page deep climbing guide as complete as can be. So dust off your gear and head for the hills, for 'tis the season for trad.
If you ever wondered what it takes to put together such an extensive climbing guide like this, (I sure did), Robinson was kind enough to sit down with us and shed a little light on the subject:
Climbers have had access to traditional climbing areas in Chattanooga for years. What took so long to get a guide like this out?
Putting guidebooks together requires a lot of time and energy. As the owner and principle broker of a full service real estate company there's simply not been enough of me to go around in recent years to get the job completed. That all changed when Cody Averbeck proposed to publish the guide and finish the bulk of the work left that needed to be done — cliff photos, book layout, and the actual publishing process itself.
Usually when a new climbing guide comes out we see an increase in traffic to these areas. Do you see this happening to the traditional climbing areas around Chattanooga as well?
Well, I would have to say I certainly hope so. The Chattanooga area is home to a vast inventory of some of the finest, single pitch traditional style (gear protected) sandstone routes in the world. I'd love to see more climbers enjoying the routes which I have come to appreciate so much throughout the years.
I really enjoyed reading a bit of history and the stories about each location in the guide. How important do you feel it is for climbers today to know the history of an established climbing area?
I think it's tremendously important. I could probably write a short book on this particular subject matter alone. Understanding and appreciating the history of a climbing area enriches ones climbing experience and also provides a framework of understanding for a given area's climbing ethics.
If you're still looking for the perfect gift for the climber in your life, you're in luck, as Rockery Press is running a holiday special right now. Check it out.