Rock climbing is a demanding sport, challenging a person’s mental and physical strength, agility, and balance. And when you turn it into a competition, it really becomes a test of endurance. Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker takes us to the sandstone bluffs of Foster Falls at South Cumberland State Park, where for 12 hours climbers put it all on the line at the Ragnarok Climbing Competition.
When the sun set, the hard working team of Luis and Ardian came out on top, having both conquered over 100 pitches during the competition, for a grand total of 204 routes…an unbelievable number! To put it into perspective, no one had even reached 50 pitches in previous competitions. But they weren’t the only ones crowned champs…Lori Rooney and Meghan Reed won best costume for their Girl Scout attire, and Josh Johann and John Hardin came away with the best team name….Friends With Binerfits.
Foster Falls is known in the climbers’ world as one of the premier climbing destinations in the southeast, offering scenic and technical, bolted sport climbing. Climbers can expect highly technical, strenuous wall and roof climbs averaging 60 feet in height. Most climbs are in the 5.10+ range. The cliffs, made of steep, compact rock tailor-made for pumpy, technical routes, primarily face south giving you plenty of warm sunshine most of the day. The cliff line begins at Foster Falls, and runs downstream for nearly two miles, following the curving contour of Little Gizzard Creek. The climbing area is easily accessed via the 2 mile “Climbers Loop” that follows a portion the famous Fiery Gizzard Trail, passing by the beautiful 60 foot waterfall that gives the area its name.
From show 2909