One for the Chattanooga Bucket List: Learn to Climb in 2015

Graham Hodge
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With a brand new year ahead, the desire to try new things tends to grow stronger in all of us. We look for a fresh start, exciting new adventures, and accomplishments to add to our life experiences. If learning how to rock climb isn't already on your list of things to do in 2015, it should be. In Chattanooga, we are fortunate to live within a day-trip's radius to numerous crags and boulder fields.

As most people know or realize, rock climbing is an inherently dangerous activity and learning how to climb (and belay) as well as acting responsibly at the gym/crag and around other climbers is important to ensure everyone's safety and enjoyment. In Chattanooga, we have three dedicated rock climbing gyms to help you learn all the ropes—pun intended—of this incredibly challenging and rewarding sport.

1. The Original


Chattanooga's first and most seasoned indoor climbing gym is the Tennessee Bouldering Authority (TBA) located in the historic St. Elmo neighborhood. It is solely a bouldering facility, (no ropes) and offers 3,000 square feet of climbing with a wide variety of angles, a training area, and yoga classes. This is a good spot to get started as you get used to the height and for working on your falling technique not having to worry about a thing, as you'll be landing on a cushy mattress. TBA is currently planning new classes and clinics for 2015 that will include climbing and bouldering instruction for beginners as well as advanced levels. Check out TBA's website for more information.

2. The Urbanite

Graham Hodge

Urban Rocks is one of two full service indoor rock climbing gyms (offering climbing and fitness), located just north of downtown Chattanooga. Urban Rocks welcomes climbers of a skill levels by offering several classes, introduction packages, and programs for the beginner as well as for the more experienced climber wanting to break through a plateau. The Basic Belay Class teaches you how to safely "catch" another climber, and it's a must if you are just starting out climbing. As stated on their website, "Belaying is an important part of the climbing chain of safety and one of the most important safety skills that any climber must master." The Climbing 101 class gets into more of the nuts and bolts of climbing, teaching you how to tie in, climbing technique, how to communicate with your partner as well as body movement on the wall. Urban Rocks also offers more advanced classes specific to movement training and learning how to lead climb. Check Urban Rocks' website for class times, costs, and general information.

3. The Shiny New Toy

High Point Climbing and Fitness

Chattanooga's newest rock climbing gym is High Point Climbing & Fitness located right in the center of downtown. The High Point Climbing School works within the facility and offers a multitude of services, from beginner to expert and individual to group sessions, both indoors and outdoors. If you want instruction by the best of the best, you're in luck, as the climbing school is run by world-renowned climbers Lisa Rands and Wills Young . There are several beginner classes to chose from: the Explore Climbing Class is for those completely new to climbing, the Movement Class teaches climbing technique, and the Top-Roping class will teach you everything you need to know about basic rope skills. The classes can also be taken as a complete introduction package to climbing. Instruction is also available for the intermediate and advanced climber and can be tailored to specific needs. In addition to the climbing school, High Point also has extensive fitness programs to help improve your climbing, including services like Muscle Activation Technique, (a way to limit imbalances in your body to improve functionality) as well as one-on-one personal fitness training, yoga, cycling, and group fitness classes. Check  High Point's website for more information.

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