Ascending The Pillars of Sandrock, Alabama

Cumberland Plateau
Perched 60ft up on an overhanging cliff edge holding onto a chunk of rock no bigger than a golf ball and one big toe jammed in a hole…I’m only thinking one thing…yes.  If I slip that’s a 15-20 foot whipping fall that will “hopefully” be stopped by a piece of 10.2 mm nylon rope.  I’m getting excited now just writing about it. Rock climbing…my favorite hobby.

Since I was a little kid my mind has worked slightly differently when it comes to most dangerous activities.  And one issue in particular that I find quite interesting about myself… is my reaction to heights.  Where as a majority of people don’t particularly like being up high or on the edge of something. I prefer it and enjoy it.  My mom always used to joke that if she couldn’t find me, all she had to do was look up and find me in a tree or on the roof of our house.

These days however I’ve graduated from jumping off house roofs onto trampolines and onto bigger…and I do mean bigger things.  This last weekend I road tripped over to Alabama to hit one of the best local spots for climbing close to Atlanta….Sandrock.


Just north of Gadsden, Alabama, Sandrock is an exposed cliff outcrop of a small mountain.  What makes it interesting though is that you find a series of small slot canyons where you would not expect to find them. Some great climbing, camping, and hiking tucked away in nowhere’s ville. Most of the surrounding area is relatively flat with Sandrock being a beacon of awesomeness near the end of the Cumberland Plateau.

Ascending walls with shear grit, skill, and brute strength with nothing to catch you but a flimsy rope. It’s my church.

The good? Sandrock is super easy to access, has some really fun climbing routes for all levels, and you can camp on the top of the cliffs with an absolutely amazing view of the valley below.

The bad? It’s super easy access.  Which means you get lots and lots of people. And when lots of people are around they tend to do stupid things like tag the rocks with spray paint, litter, and not climb properly allowing people to get hurt.

Regardless,  me and my crew spent the whole weekend tackling 30-70ft climbs during the day and making smores with hot apple cider by night. Pretty much a dream weekend for me.  All in the name of adventure! If your in the Southeast and need a climbing fix,…Sandrock will hit the spot dead on.

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