The Title of the climbing guide for Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama is titled 'Dixie Cragger's Atlas' and the song Dixieland has been stuck in my head since we left Kentucky. So I asked myself, what is Dixieland? Dixie refers to the 11 southern states that secede from the Union and form the Confederated States. Oh yeah baby, we are in Dixieland! And yes, there are those that still fly the stars and bars.
We have been in Tennessee now for about 10 days. After leaving Kentucky we made our way to Crossville, TN. This served as our base for one week while climbing in the Obed Wild and Scenic River recreation area. During spring and summer this is a white water rafter and kayaking destination. During fall through spring this is a rock climbing destination.
The rock climbing is concentrated at the confluence of Clear Creek and Obed River. The bluffs of sandstone overlook the respective rivers and face south to catch the weak winter sun. Those cliff bands that face primarily north are too cold this time of year. The approach hikes are relatively flat along the top of the cliffs. However, to get to the Tierney wall, it took us almost an hour of hiking. We were not racing, but also not lolly-gagging along. That was by far the longest approach we have done during this trip.
'The confident swagger is gone from your step'. That is what Tony told me on our last day climbing at the Obed. That sums it up pretty well. I did not adapt well to the climbing there. It is always an interesting phenomenon that the same rock, in this case sandstone, climbs differently between areas. The rock is less featured and instead of pockets and 'finger jugs', it is rounded and flat. The breaks can be punctuated by abrupt horizontal roofs. The roofs range from 12" to 30'. Flat, slightly downward sloping and rounded holds have never been a strong suit for me. I just don't feel comfortable or confident on the rock. Tony however had a much better time at the Obed. I am not surprised. He has always had a much better time climbing on those type of holds.
Onward further into Dixieland for some mountain biking and boulder snatching! (more on boulder snatching later)