01 Oct

So many shoes…

Shoes and Chalk - 1Ted Bergstrand

Today we’re going to look at one of the most useful (and confusing) pieces of gear in a climber’s bag. I’m talking about shoes. Whether you’re thinking about buying your first pair or you’d just like to learn a bit more before you look for your next one, we’ll cover all the basics about climbing shoes. Different shoes are designed for different applications, so we’ll dive into each of the facets of the climbing shoe before taking a look at some of our favorites.


The rubber on our climbing shoes is what gives us friction against footholds. Rubber can  be hard or soft, thick or thin. Each type of rubber has advantages and disadvantages, which makes a shoe more suitable for one type of climbing than another. The rubber spectrum has two axes: softness and thickness. We’ll take a look at each of these aspects of climbing rubber.

You might hear climbers say that a pair of shoes is really “sticky”. Soft rubber has a higher coefficient of friction and can let you apply more of the shoe to your foothold or smear. There are a few downsides to soft, sticky rubber, though. Since the rubber is softer, they tend to be less durable than stiffer shoes. It also takes Herculean toe and calf strength to climb in soft shoes all day, particularly on footwork-heavy routes. Softer shoes are well-suited to for climbing gyms and rock with bigger, more frictiony footholds. I’m told sensitive slippers are great for sandstone cracks, as well.

Soft rubber is typically laid on a bit thinner to make sensitive shoes. This means we can feel exactly what is beneath our feet, which can be a lifesaver on boulder problems or climbs with small footholds. There is a downside, though. The thinner rubber will abrade quicker, so be conscious of your footwork.

Stiffer rubber can make the smallest footholds seem like huge ledges. Stiff shoes are great at edging. Although they may give you less friction than their softer counterparts, the ability to edge on little crystals can allow you to take advantage of feet that are unusable in softer shoes. Stiff shoes also tend to last much longer, as long as you’ve been practicing your footwork. Another advantage to stiff shoes is the ability to take take some stress off your toes and calves. The stiffness of the shoes allows you to use less muscle power to keep your feet in position on longer, more vertical climbs. As with sensitive shoes, the design of your climbing shoe will also be a factor in stiffness.

Stiffer shoes tend to have a thicker layer of rubber than their softer counterparts. This helps to keep the shoe stable when edging on footholds. The added thickness will make your shoes a bit more durable, as well.

Upper Material


There are two types of materials used for a shoe’s upper (the part that touches your foot). Uppers come in both leather and synthetic varieties. They have their advantages and disadvantages, but all-in-all, the material is less important than shape, fit, and rubber type.

First, we’ll look at leather. Leather shoes will stretch, so keep this in mind when you’re buying a pair. You don’t want leather shoes to be comfortable when they’re new. If you buy them big, they’ll turn into shopping bags by the time you’ve broken them in. That said, the stretch is what lots of people love about leather shoes. If you buy your leather shoes at an appropriate size, they will mold to your feet as you break them in. Leather uppers are also notorious for leeching dye into your feet. Colored feet are pretty much inevitable while breaking-in leather shoes.

The alternative to leather is a synthetic upper. Synthetic uppers are less prone to stretching, though they will over time. Synthetic shoes tend to be more comfortable out of the box. Synthetic materials lend themselves to sewing in a way that leather can’t match, but lack the stretch and durability (which is why you don’t tend to see synthetic slippers). You’ll find that the tongue and the softness of the shoe on your foot will be the main differences between synthetic and leather shoes.



Climbing shoes come in all kinds of shapes. If you’re intimidated, you’re not alone. There are two main shapes to climbing shoes, though they all vary to one degree or another. Shoes are designed around what cobblers call a “last.” A last is a foot-shaped mold that the shoe’s final shape depends upon. There are two main last designs, which are best used in different situations.

The traditional, or relaxed, last results in a standard, flat shoe. It’s the shape of your foot when you’re standing normally. Shoes with a relaxed fit are still meant to be worn tight, but the foot in is in a more comfortable position. These shoes shine on vertical and slabby surfaces because you can adjust your foot to get the most rubber onto your foothold.

The alternative is the more aggressive, cambered last. Aggressive shoes are curved in order to deliver the most power to small footholds. Aggressive shoes shine on overhanging routes and boulder problems, but lack of friction can cause real problems on slab climbs.

Closure System


There are three types of closure systems in climbing shoes. They each have their advantages and disadvantages, which I’ll detail below.


Lace-up shoes provide the the most customizable fit. You can adjust the laces all the way down the shoe to perfectly fit your foot shape. The adjustability also makes them the ideal choice for long, multi-pitch routes where you’d do anything for comfortable feet. They can also be the most annoying thing in the world after a long day of climbing. I’ll set the scene for you…

Your fingers are sore. You’ve been climbing all day and you’re closer than ever to finishing your project. But you have one problem. Your toes are starting to slide inside your shoe. It takes a second, but the realization hits you like a truck. You have to unlace your shoes and tighten them up to stick that last move. So with a heavy head, you spend the next two minutes whimpering as you tighten each pair of laces. If only there was another way to tighten your shoes…


Velcro closures solve the problem of sad fingers. They take no effort to readjust, but they come with a downside. Velcro closures don’t offer much help in the toe of the shoe. So when buying velcro shoes, make sure the shoe fits snugly before closing the velcro. Velcro shoes are generally preferred for bouldering because they’re easy to put on and take off.


Slippers are no-frills climbing shoes. They need to be tight to stay on your feet. Since slippers don’t have a strap or laces to hold your foot in place, they will stretch more than shoes with other closure methods. Slippers shine in the gym, because of their easy removal, and in huge splitter cracks, where laces can often get cut from repeated, odd foot movements.



Climbing shoes are meant to be worn tight. If you’re buying your first pair of shoes, you may not know how tight you really want them. This is totally subjective, so I’ll do my best.

After your shoes have broken in, there should be no extra space in your shoe. This means they should be tight at the store. But don’t go too small. If you’re crying when you put your shoes on, they’re too tight! If you’re thinking about your feet, you’re not thinking about climbing. Climbers don’t tend to wear socks with their climbing shoes, so if you’ve been wearing socks with your shoes, give it a try without them on your next visit to the gym. You’ll probably find you can size your shoes down another half-size.

Here are a few things to think about when you’re trying on new shoes.

Make sure your foot is in an active position when you put the shoes on. Your toes should be scrunched together into one big toe and they should be pressed against the front of the shoe. There shouldn’t be any air between the heel cup and your foot. Wiggle the shoe around on your foot. If it slides, it’s too big. If you can slide it off while it’s closed (excluding slippers), it’s way too big. Remember, leather shoes will stretch more than synthetics. If you’re in doubt, ask the person at the outfitter store how much a shoe will stretch.

So What Should I Buy?


If you’re looking for your first pair of shoes, here are a few that we recommend.

Evolve Defy (or Elektra, for our female climbers)

Mad Rock Flash 2.0

Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym


Other Great Choices

La Sportiva Solution – Bouldering

Scarpa Vapor V – Bouldering and Sport

Tenaya Masai – Slab

Five Ten Anasazi VCS – All-Around

La Sportiva Python – Personal Favorite


23 Sep

Where’d These New Climbs Come From?

Setting is one of the big mysteries for most people at climbing gyms. We get lots of questions about how we set routes. Things like, “How do you come up with them?” or “How do you know where it should go?” And it makes sense. Route setting is generally done behind the scenes. Walls come down and go up during off hours and you guys don’t get the opportunity to see the process.

To answer the those questions, setters have to get a little dodgy. It’s not that there’s some big secret or anything. But it’s important to remember that setting is more art than science. It’s an organic process that’s influenced by all kinds of things. We set based on our climbing history, the moves we enjoy, the moves we struggle with, things we’ve seen in climbing videos, etc. There’s an unending list of influences that float around together inside our heads. To be perfectly honest, we generally don’t really know what’s going to come out until we’ve laid out the foundation of the climb.

These influences all come together when we approach the wall. Before we start, we typically have a glint of an idea for the climb. For instance, we might want to use lots of slopers. Or maybe we want a technical foot move to cross into a hold. With that idea in mind, we’ll find a bunch of holds that will fit the angle of the wall and the grade we hope to set. After that, we put up our main holds and then visualize ourselves on the climb. Then we step back and ask ourselves a few questions. Where do there need to be feet? Does it look like it will be the same difficulty all the way through? Is there any obvious way to cheat through it? These questions help us lay out the climb before we test them.

After we’ve each set a few problems, we’ll typically put on our climbing shoes and fore-run the climbs. Fore-running is when we try everything out to make sure they climb the way we intended and that there isn’t an easier sequence. While fore-running, we make adjustments to the climbs. This is why it’s nice to set as part of a team. If one of us feels that there should be another hold on the route, we add it. If the feet don’t work well, we adjust them. Fore-running also helps to make sure holds don’t spin and that the moves are safe. There’s no room for ego when it comes to safety.

So how do we make sure they’re fun? That’s a really hard question to answer. But with the competition coming up this Saturday, I’ve been thinking about what makes a good problem. After more thought than I care to admit, I’ve decided that I have no idea. Everything I’ve come up with has had this nebulous, intangible quality to it. Things like “it flows” or “it’s fun” are totally unhelpful. Why does it flow? What makes it fun? And how much of that has to do with how we’re feeling when we climb it?

I’ve decided to attack the question in a different way. I’m going to take a look at what makes a problem bad. A boulder problem can be tough, tricky, or frustrating, and still be fun at the same time. But sometimes there are problems that are just plain bad. Now, the odds are good that the problem works for someone, but that someone is not you (and it’s probably not most people, either).

I prefer static movement, so the first thing I hate is bad foot placement. I don’t mean that a foothold is small or slippery. The real headache is when climbs feel reachy or cramped. In a gym setting, there’s really no excuse for this at the lower and moderate grade levels. It’s a little different when you need to force hard movement, but for the sake of this argument, lack of feet can make a climb bad.

Another thing that climbers often malign is an indoor problem that is inconsistent. It may have easy moves on good holds until the crux, but that crux move is near impossible. Bad holds, huge moves, and sketchy fall potential can all play into this. Unless your problem is a one-move-wonder, inconsistency can make a climb bad.

Yet another issue that we run into while setting at the gym is similarity. Now, you might do this on purpose. Say you’ve set a great V6. You know that only a handful of people are going to be able to climb it. So you might set an easier version of it, with better holds, somewhere else to expose other climbers to the movement. And that’s fine. The trouble occurs when you find that your climbs all feel the same or that a certain move is on every one of your problems. Be consistent in move and hold difficulty, but avoid move similarity.

This brings me to one that is a bit more important. Tweaky holds and moves that are hard on the joints make the worst climbs. Some holds seem like they were designed by hand surgeons to increase business. Don’t use them. Tweaky holds and awkward moves can hurt climbers, which makes this one of the worst mistakes you can make when setting. I’m not saying there’s no room for hard drop-knees or twisty shoulder moves. But they need to be set at an appropriate grade and there should be a safe way to bail out of the move (nearby jugs, etc.). Be cognizant of your hold selection and the positions you’re asking climbers to get into. Keep your injury potential low, or you’ll end up with a bad climb.

Another element of bad climbs is awkwardness. The nice part about indoor climbing is that we don’t have to set climbs that are arbitrary. Unlike routes outside, we have creative input in our climbs. Just because a move can be done doesn’t mean that it should. This is starting to get into that ethereal realm with “fun” and “flow,” but it does have a few concrete aspects. Forcing a climber to cut feet and radically reposition them can be awkward. So can making a climber commit to an off-balance dead point. Things like this can make for a cool move every once in a while, but on the whole, they should be avoided.

For setters, forgetting your strengths as a climber can cause problems, as well. It can make your climbs feel awkward or inconsistent. If you have incredible finger strength, you may underestimate the difficulty of a lock-off. If you’re powerful, you might forget how hard it used to be to generate power in certain positions. If you’re tall, reachy moves may feel normal. It’s important to check with someone else on the setting crew if your crux move happens to be one of your strengths. It may not be as easy as you think.

There are certainly more things that make bad climbs, and I’m sure each of us will encounter a few of these this week as we prepare for the competition. We looked at bad feet, inconsistency, similarity, tweakiness, awkwardness, and forgetting your strengths when you’re setting. We want to avoid these whenever we set, but it doesn’t really help us define what makes something good.

Sam SmilingTed Bergstrand

So what makes something good? I’ll tackle this in two ways. First, I’ll start with the opposite of bad. It’s not perfect logic, but it’s not a bad framework. Then I’ll take a look a the more abstract side with a few of my opinions on flow and fun.

This isn’t rocket science. I’ve just gone through the list and written the opposite of each mistake. For a good climb, you should follow these rules. Your climb should have adequate feet. It should be consistent in grade and hold difficulty. It shouldn’t be the same as all of your other problems. You should choose finger-friendly holds and make sure your moves don’t put climbers in awkward of dangerous positions. And finally, try to avoid exclusively setting to your strengths as a climber.

Alright, so let’s see how well I can tackle the abstract side of things. What makes something flow? A climb flows when all of the moves lead seamlessly into one another. If you use the right beta, you should find that each move sets you up for the next. A problem that flows will make the climber use continuous, dynamic movement or subtle weight shifts to link each move. If it feels forced or contrived, you’re doing it wrong.

Regarding what makes a climb fun, everyone will have a different opinion. I know it’s a cop-out, but it’s true. Some people love to launch themselves around with big, dynamic moves. Others prefer more technical moves. Regardless of your preferences, a fun climb will flow. Fun climbs tend to move in novel ways. They make you think. If they’re at your grade level, they make you fall. Not too much, but just enough to learn something new.

Whatever you think makes a climb fun, I hope that you’ve been able to get a glimpse of what goes into making the problems you climb. And I hope you enjoy the new stuff we’re setting for the comp on Saturday (9/26). If you’re not busy, you should come by and watch the competition in action. It’s a lot of fun.

15 Sep

Boulderfest ’15

Getting Ready for Boulderfest ’15 – 9/26/15



This post is written for kids as preparation for USA Climbing Youth Competitions, but it’s really about climbing your best and not getting in your own way (so it’s relevant to adults, too). The first section goes over the procedure for Boulderfest. The second is full of helpful tips to help you climb your best, whether you’re at a competition or just having fun. If you’re not competing, just replace the word “comp” with “practice” or “session.”

About the Comp

This competition is a USA Climbing Local Bouldering Comp. It will be held at Active Climbing on September 26, 2015. For more information, click here.

You will need to compete in two local comps to qualify for Regionals, later on in the season. Regionals will be held on December 12 at Vertical Ventures in St. Petersburg, FL. You will need to become a USA Climbing member for this competition to count towards regionals. You can join at http://usaclimbing.net/shop.

The style of the competition at Active is called a “red point competition.” A red point comp has different climbs, each with a different point value. The higher the point value, the harder the problem. Your five climbs with the highest point value will be counted for your score. The number of attempts will serve as tie-breakers in the event of a tie.

Remember, you must start with both hands on the start hold and finish with both hands on the end hold, to show control. You can’t touch any holds that aren’t taped for the climb, or the attempt will not count.

Each of you will get a score sheet. There will be a list with all of the boulder problems on it. Each time you fall off an attempt, you will put a tally in the “Falls section.” When you finish the problem, you need to get the initials of two people who saw you climb the problem. If you forget to do this, your climb won’t count!

At the end of the comp, or when you think you’ve finished, you can turn your score sheet in at the desk. We’ll count up everybody’s scores and then have the awards ceremony, where you’ll hear the results of the competition.

Check with your parents to see if they’ve gone to www.activeclimbing.com/comps for information on how to register.

If you’re in Youth D or Youth C

You and your parents will check-in at the gym between 8:00 AM and 8:40 AM. After registration, we’ll go over the rules. You’ll have time to warm up in the other room while your parents are checking you in. Climbing will begin at 9:00 AM and end at 12:00 PM. That means you have 3 hours to complete your 5 best climbs.

After climbing ends, we’ll add up everybody’s score and present the awards at 1:00PM.

If you’re in Youth B, Youth A, or Juniors

You and your parents will check-in at the gym between 11:15 AM and 11:45 AM. After registration, we’ll go over the rules. You’ll have time to warm up in the other room while your parents are checking you in. Climbing will begin at 12:00 PM and end at 3:00 PM. That means you have 3 hours to complete your 5 best climbs.

After climbing ends, we’ll add up everybody’s score and present the awards at 4:00PM.

Tips for the Comp


Before the Comp


Eat up!

Eat plenty of food the day before and drink lots of water. If you want to climb your best, your body needs plenty of fuel. If you don’t drink enough water, your muscles won’t be able to work as hard as you want them to.

Get Plenty of Rest

Your body needs to rest so that you can be ready to perform your best. Take a break the day before the competition. Don’t do a bunch of pushups or exercises because you want to be stronger for the comp. It will make you more tired the next day.

Get Excited!

It’s a big day. Competitions are so much fun. You get to see and hang out with your friends from other gyms and learn from the other climbers your age.

Pack Your Things for Tomorrow

Get your things together. You’ll want your shoes, chalk, some snacks, and some water. You don’t want to get to the comp and realize you forgot your chalk bag at home.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

This is super important. You have a big day ahead of you. A good night’s sleep will make sure your brain and your body are ready to go the next day.

During the Comp

Comp Kids

Don’t Climb All the Hardest Things First

If you try to climb all of the hardest things first, you’ll be too tired to make the hard moves on problems you’d normally crush. Start off with some climbs that you’re pretty sure you can get in two or three tries. Once you’ve finished five problems, then it’s time to give that cool, hard project a try.

Rest Between Attempts

Give yourself a full 4 minutes to recover before you try your climb again. Drink some water, shake out the pump, but give yourself the best possible chance to complete your problem in as few attempts as possible.

No More Than 3 Attempts at First

Don’t try a climb more than two or three times at the beginning of the competition. If you’ve fallen three times, it’s time to move onto a different route. You’ll get tired and you might not even be able to complete all five of your climbs.

No More Than 5 Attempts Total

You might be tempted to spend 30 minutes climbing the same problem. There’s just one move you’re having trouble with and you’re almost there. You know what I’m talking about. If you don’t get a problem in 5 attempts, move on. Talk to your coaches about it. Maybe you can come back to it later, once you filled out your score sheet a little more.

Look at the Whole Climb Before You Go Up to It.

You know when you see the older climbers moving their hands around in the air while they’re looking at a climb? They’re visualizing themselves on the problem. That means that they’re imagining themselves climbing each move. They’re looking for all of the footholds. They’re also making sure they don’t put their hands in the wrong places. Try to figure out how the climb goes before you get on it.

Use your feet!

Good climbers spend as much time spotting footholds and they do handholds.

If it’s not working, stop trying it!

You might have the wrong sequence. Take a step back and look at the problem again. There might be a better way up the climb.

Watch how somebody else does it

You’ll have climbers all around you, trying the same climbs. If your beta isn’t working, try their method.

Have fun!

Go up to every problem with excitement. You’re not nervous. You’re not scared. You’re excited to see where the climb goes. These problems were made just for you and we want to see you crush them!

Climb every problem with a smile.

After the Comp

If you think you could have done better, don’t get upset. You were there to have fun! Use your new experience to crush at the next comp! Take what you’ve learned seriously, but not personally. Sometimes things don’t go your way. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad climber. It just means you’re human. Learning from past experiences is what will make you great. We’ll figure out what you had trouble with and work on it, together, at practice.

If you did well, be proud. Be happy. You worked hard and it paid off! Don’t let it get to your head, though. The other kids in your division are going to be working even harder to train for the next comp. You will need to, as well.

We can’t wait to see you on the 26th!

11 Sep

Rock Climbing Spots Near Athens

Nick spots a high foothold at Rocktown.

“I want to climb outside. Where are the best places to go rock climbing near Athens, GA?”

We get asked this question a lot, so we’ve compiled a (non-exhaustive) list of many of the nearby hotspots. We’ve split them up into disciplines to keep things organized. The four sections are bouldering, sport, trad, and top-rope.

If you’re new to outdoor climbing, don’t be scared. Climbing outdoors is incredible to experience. Make sure to take your first few climbing trips with an experienced friend. Don’t have any? Well, you’ll have no trouble making some at Active Climbing.

Our members take climbing trips whenever the weather is good (and even when it’s not). During bouldering season, you won’t have trouble finding Active Climbing members who are headed out for a weekend of bouldering at one of the great boulder fields we have in the Southeast. There are also plenty of sport climbers and a handful of trad climbers who love to get out above the trees and remind the pebble pushers how thrilling it is to be exposed. Just ask around. Don’t be shy!

And as a reminder, be respectful and responsible when you’re out climbing. Take proper safety precautions, be respectful to the rocks and to other climbers, and pack out any trash you make or find. We’re stewards of the land and if we don’t take care of it, we can damage local ecosystems and permanently alter some of our favorite places. Remember that as an individual climber, you represent us all.

Without further ado, here’s the list.


Shaking Rock Park – Lexington, GA

Drew at Shaking RockTed Bergstrand
Drew puts on his shoes at Shaking Rock

Shaking Rock is the nearest outdoor climbing to Athens and has a few problems worth trying. It’s very small and isn’t the nicest place to look at. Broken glass, cigarette butts, and graffiti are par for the course. Do what you can to keep clean it up when you’re there.

Mt. Yonah – Cleveland, GA

Ted at YonahNick Hodder

The top of Yonah is where the Army Rangers do mountaineering training. Luckily, it has granite boulders near the parking lot, as well as further up the mountain. Most boulderers stick to the parking lot boulders to avoid the hike up the mountain, though.

Rocktown – LaFayette, GA


Located just outside Rome, the boulder field stretches as far as the eye can see. Rocktown boasts a host of classic boulder problems for you to try. There is no camping inside the boulder field, but there is a designated camping area just up the hill.

Horse Pens 40 – Steele, AL

Located outside of Steele, Alabama, HP40 has more boulders than you can imagine. HP40 is famous for its sandstone slopers and will challenge you, whether it’s your first trip or your 50th.

Stone Fort (AKA Little Rock City) – Chattanooga, TN

Sarah Anne mantles on a sloper at LRC

Little Rock City is located about 30 minutes north of Chattanooga. Its boulders sport iron features that give it more hold variety than other sandstone boulder fields. There is no camping at LRC.

Rumbling Bald – Asheville, NC

Rumbling Bald is the nearest ‘real’ boulder field to Athens. The boulders here are granite and gneiss, a nice change of pace from the southeast’s typical sandstone boulder fields. There is no camping at Rumbling Bald because of the damage it causes to the bald, but there are private campgrounds and even a few B&B’s if you don’t feel like roughing it.

Sport Climbing

Currahee Mountain – Toccoa, GA

Currahee is the redheaded stepsister of southeastern climbing. It boasts a handful of nice friction climbs, but the torn up dirt roads and graffiti can be a bit off-putting for some.

Sand Rock – Sand Rock, AL

A view of Lake Weiss from the ridge at Sand RockTed Bergstrand
A view of Lake Weiss from the ridge at Sand Rock

Sand Rock’s cliffs and towers offer a nice mix of climbing. The sandstone here has holds of all types, from jugs to cracks. The area is lightly vandalized and you can usually find trash scattered around. Be responsible and pack out any trash you create. While you’re at it, pack out what you find, as well.

Foster Falls – Jasper, TN

Sarah Anne slots her hand into her next hold

Located just west of Chattanooga, Foster Falls is a sport climbing hotspot. Obviously, you’ll find some nice waterfalls, which is a great change of pace from the typical southeastern climbing areas. In addition to the great sandstone climbing, you can cool off in the warmer months with a swim.

Trad Climbing

Rumbling Bald – Lake Lure, NC

From friction slab to roof cracks, Rumbling Bald offers more than enough classic lines to keep you coming back. There is no camping at Rumbling Bald because of the damage it causes to the bald, but there are private campgrounds and even a few B&B’s if you don’t feel like roughing it.

Sand Rock – Sand Rock, AL

Sand Rock’s cliffs and towers offer a nice mix of climbing and can be a great place to practice trad climbing. Many of the routes at Sand Rock can be easily top-roped. The area is lightly vandalized and you can usually find trash scattered around. Be responsible and pack out any trash you create. While you’re at it, pack out what you find, as well.

Currahee Mountain – Toccoa, GA

Currahee is the redheaded stepsister of southeastern climbing. It boasts a handful of nice friction climbs, but the torn up dirt roads and graffiti can be a bit off-putting for some.

Mt. Yonah – Cleveland, GA

Mt. Yonah might be the best climbing that you could call “nearby.” The Army Rangers do the Mountain Phase of their training here. Information on Mt. Yonah can be found in the Dixie Cragger’s Atlas.

Looking Glass Rock – Brevard, NC

Looking Glass is a fantastic granite dome with sheer faces, cracks, and slabs. In addition to free trad, there are also aid routes on the mountain. Looking Glass is famous for its eyebrow features.

Top-Rope Friendly Areas

Mt. Yonah – Cleveland, GA

Yonah’s climbs can be easily top-roped, thanks to a cable climb. There is a relatively steep 1.5 mile uphill hike to the faces at the top, so pack efficiently.

Sand Rock – Sand Rock, AL

No matter what your skill level, Sand Rock has something to offer. Top-Ropes can be easily set up on many routes, but it’s never a bad idea to bring a leader with you, to try some of the other routes.

Palisades Park – Oneonta, AL

Palisades Park has top-rope setups everywhere. Anchors can easily be setup and there are plenty of climbable routes, no matter how long you’ve been climbing. Because of the ease of top-rope setup, Palisades Park can be a great place to try your first trad lead. There is no camping at Palisades Park.

Have something to add or share? Give us some feedback in the comments section below. And don’t forget to like our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/ActiveAthens!

Lucy boulders on the featured sandstone at Rocktown.


Photos for this blog post were taken by Mackenzie Taylor Photography. For more great photos, check her out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MackenzieTaylorPhotos or on her website at www.mackenzietaylorphotos.com.

Oh… and Ted and Nick took a couple, too.

03 Sep

Wait… How do I breathe, again?

For our first blog post, we’re doing something a bit lazy unconventional. We’re spotlighting an article by our own Josh Rucci, Strength and Conditioning Coach at UGA and longtime friend of Active Climbing. The article is a long one, but you’d be crazy not to read it. In fact, it’s a heck of a lot more important than what I have to say, so click here to get a head start.

It sounds like a stupid question, right? We do it all day long. We even manage to pull it off while we’re asleep, for Pete’s sake. But I guess climbers are a special breed of stupid because the second we reach the crux, we forget how it works. Josh lets us in on a little secret: breathing isn’t just to relax our bodies and fight the pump. Breathing is also the source of our power and our tension.

Just like Josh, the article looks intimidating, but is totally approachable. And, as a climber, it’s the most important thing you’ll read this week. So put on your reading glasses and head over to TrainingBeta to change your climbing forever.


I want to give a big thank you to Josh Rucci for letting me kick off the blog with his article. If you like what you read, follow him on Twitter at @jzo17. He’s a smart guy and he’s very generous with his knowledge.

30 Aug

We Have a New Website

Hey guys, we’ve just put up our new website and we want to know what you think. Did we forget anything? Is something awkward of clunky to navigate? We want your opinions, so we can make it the best website it can be. In the coming weeks, we’ll be tweaking little things, as we try to iron out the kinks.

Let us know what you think. Do you like it? Do you hate it? Give us your honest opinion.

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