SOUTH­ERN SAND­STONE

Climbing - - FROZEN IN TIME -

South­ern sand­stone would be boul­der­ing nir­vana if it wasn’t for the fric­tion-de­stroy­ing sum­mer heat. The rest of the year, how­ever, it’s pure bliss. The woods in Alabama, Ar­kan­sas, Ge­or­gia, South­ern Illi­nois, and Ten­nessee con­tain end­less cliff­bands and boul­ders of tight-grained sand­stone, fea­tured with baby-butt slop­ers, jug horns, hue­cos, pock­ets, and clas­sic mi­cro-crimps. Some of the proud­est, most sin­gu­lar lines in the world can be found here, prob­lems that make you go, “I want to climb that,” even if your pay grade doesn’t match the V-grade.

THE ORB (V8), ROCKTOWN, GE­OR­GIA

Per­haps the most fa­mous South­ern prob­lem, this oft- pho­tographed tra­verse moves along a UFO-shaped boul­der on bul­bous slop­ers. More re­mote than HP40 or Stone Fort, Rocktown has the clas­sic fea­tures that de­fine South­ern sand­stone, all on a pris­tine, forested plateau.

Nearby clas­sics: Golden Shower (V5), Sher­man Photo Roof (V7), Golden Har­vest (V10)

MOR­TAL KOM­BAT (V4), HORSE PENS 40, ALABAMA

The 20- foot, smooth, steep arête of Mor­tal Kom­bat is a rare Amer­i­can boul­der­ing fea­ture— one that climbs as good as it looks. Tall and spooky, with a bad land­ing that mer­its a slew of pads, this prob­lem re­quires mov­ing with con­vic­tion to the scoop at the top. The pri­vately owned Horse Pens 40, sit­u­ated on a moun­tain­top in north­east Alabama, might be one of the best mod­er­ate zones in the US.

Nearby clas­sics: Mil­li­pede (V6), Moon Arête (V6)

THE SHIELD (V12), STONE FORT, TEN­NESSEE

On a golf course above Chat­tanooga, Ten­nessee, there’s a light­ning-bolt seam that strikes though im­mac­u­late sand­stone:

The Shield. First climbed by the French boul­derer Tony Lamiche in 2006, the prob­lem starts on a pair of jugs un­der a bulge and then climbs a smooth, over­hang­ing wall of seams to top out 18 feet above the loamy soil.

Nearby clas­sics: The Wave (V6), Ce­les­tial Me­chan­ics (V7)

FIN DIESEL (V4), HUR­RI­CANE, AR­KAN­SAS

As Cole Fen­nel hi­lar­i­ously notes in his awe­some new guide­book

Ar­kan­sas Boul­der­ing, the strik­ing, semi-high­ball arête/blade of Fin

Diesel at the Hur­ri­cane Boul­ders is “bet­ter than the en­tire Fast

and Fu­ri­ous col­lec­tion com­bined.” Things can be a lit­tle moist and shady here, but the bul­let gray stone is rem­i­nis­cent of the best of Fon­tainebleau and well worth a visit, es­pe­cially with the new, im­proved ap­proach beta.

Nearby Clas­sics: Lost and Found (V2), Totem Pole (V6), Buzz Saw (V7)

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