an unseasonably warm weather weekend in late February draws out a drove of climbers, including three friends from Birmingham, AL, eager to scale a crag known as the Tennessee Wall, located just outside Chattanooga.
Alana, Luis, and James, all of Birmingham, AL, convene at a campsite near Prentice-Cooper State Forest outside Chattanooga, home to the Tennesee Wall (T-Wall), a crag popular with climbers in the area.
Luis’ dog Lola takes her spot in his van for the drive from Birmingham to Chattanooga. Luis and Lola spent six months driving through the American West, climbing at some of the country’s best spots and living out of the retrofitted van.
Climbing shoes and a tangle of gear as the group prepares to start a route. “Trad,” or traditional climbing, requires a variety of devices that climbers install along the route for safety and to support the ascent.
Alana entertains some of the many dogs who accompany climbers up to the crag, as one belays for a friend.
Luis and James discuss James’ first moves lead climbing a T-Wall route.
Luis preps rope before a climb.
Luis spots James on his initial ascent, before James has placed any gear and is at risk for an unsupported fall.
After a long day of climbing and a cold night camping, James takes some time on the morning of day two to regain focus and energy. He has been climbing for about 10 years, and T-Wall is one of his favorite crags.
Luis demonstrates how to build tape gloves as the group readies for a route that follows a large crack. Crack climbing often requires jamming ones hands into a break in the rock, and the tape helps the climber support themself and reduce painful cuts.
Supplies for the trip include drinks for hydrating in the sun, camp cookware, and a guidebook that describes and rates the many climbing routes at the crag.