Just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee lies Stone Fort, also known as Little Rock City, which is a world-class bouldering destination renowned for its unique rock formations and challenging problems.
Stone Fort is characterized by a unique type of rock known as Cumberland Plateau sandstone. This type of sandstone offers climbers exceptional friction and a variety of features, including slopers, crimps, and cracks. The boulders at Stone Fort range in size and shape, creating an endless array of climbing challenges that cater to climbers of all skill levels. The textured and sculpted nature of the sandstone provides climbers with an intricate and engaging climbing experience.
Stone Fort boasts a remarkable concentration of high-quality boulder problems within a relatively small area. The dense cluster of boulders provides climbers with countless opportunities to push their limits, explore new routes, and discover their own climbing style. The extensive range of grades caters to both beginners and seasoned climbers, ensuring there is something for everyone.
The variety of boulder problems at Stone Fort offers climbers the opportunity to hone a diverse set of climbing techniques. From powerful and dynamic movements to delicate balance and intricate footwork, climbers can develop and refine their skills across different climbing styles. This diversity contributes to the area’s appeal as climbers can continually challenge themselves and grow as athletes.
Stone Fort is home to a number of classic and iconic bouldering lines that have gained legendary status within the climbing community. Problems like “Golden Harvest,” “Super Mario,” and “The Wave” have attracted climbers from around the world, drawn by the challenge and reputation of these sought-after lines. Climbing these classics has become a rite of passage for boulderers visiting Stone Fort.
Stone Fort has fostered a vibrant climbing community that is passionate about preserving access, stewardship, and responsible climbing practices. Local climbers and organizations have played an instrumental role in maintaining the area and creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. The sense of community and camaraderie adds to the overall appeal of Stone Fort, making it a destination where climbers can connect, share knowledge, and forge lasting friendships.
However, this climbing paradise has not been without its struggles. The development and preservation of climbing access at Stone Fort have not been without obstacles. In the early years, access to the area was uncertain and subject to landowner permissions. Climbers faced challenges related to land ownership and land use policies. The land on which Stone Fort is situated was initially owned by the Brown family, and climbers relied on the goodwill and generosity of the landowners to climb there.
To secure permanent access, the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) and the Access Fund collaborated with the landowners to negotiate a conservation and access agreement. The agreement ensured that climbers could continue to enjoy the area while preserving the natural beauty and ecological integrity of Stone Fort. This successful collaboration between climbers, conservation organizations, and landowners resulted in the permanent conservation and climbing access that exists today.
In the end Stone Fort (Little Rock City) has triumphed over access struggles and land ownership challenges to become a beloved and iconic climbing destination. Its unique sandstone formations, concentration of high-quality bouldering, and rich climbing culture have earned it a place in the hearts of climbers worldwide. As climbers continue to explore its intricate routes and push the boundaries of their abilities, Stone Fort remains a testament to the power of collaboration and perseverance in preserving access to cherished climbing areas.