Kimber and I have been Rock Climbing several times since my previous blog on Rock Climbing in North Georgia at Mt. Yonah. Mt. Yonah is a great venue for introductory rock climbing but also for extremely challenging and scenic climbing routes. We decided to travel to the North Georgia mountains from our Atlanta bed and breakfast this Sunday morning bright and early. Temps were cool, 21′ in Cleveland, GA., probably several degrees cooler high on the mountain. Following the 3 mile hike from the trail head parking lot to the upper head-wall, we were greeted with the unwelcome sight of Ice. Ouch!
We scoped out the Dihedral Route at Mt. Yonah to rock climb and since you can’t see much of the route beyond the Dihedral portion, we decided to continue on to the Balance Climb area. Well, no surprise here, it too was iced across most of the routes. Undaunted, I climbed up the cables and set a top rope anchor and thus, let the fun begin! Let’s see…temp about 22 degrees, wind about 10 mph and waiting for the sun to make an appearance (the upper head-wall on Mt. Yonah faces SW…great in Winter..an absolute torture chamber in Summer). Well, after doing a “shall I trust the rubber soles of my climbing shoes” on the cold stone and “where are the small nubbins and tiny ledges” to place her feet, Kimber warmed up to the icy and cold rock and found her rhythm and scampered to the top anchor as hawks circled above the North Georgia rock catching the rising thermals. Yes…it was going to be a great day rock climbing in north Georgia at Mt. Yonah. All of a sudden, herds of climbers descended all around us and the party was on. As the sun slowly cast its shadows on the valley floor below and the rock warmed from solar radiation, the yells of ICE! ICE! became more prevalent. Oh, the joy of dodging falling ice. Luckily, most projectiles were of the pea to marble size variety…only occasionally would a stalactite missile by our shivering bodies. After doing our Balance Climb route numerous times, we stopped for lunch to view the sideshow in progress immediately to our right. A group of young climbers were getting their first taste of top rope climbing on the Mt. Yonah face. Crawl up, grab any hold with a death grip and glue yourself to the rock. Lowering was even more fun…did I mention the 30 minutes we stood in awe waiting to see if she would ever lean far enough back to put enough weight on the rope to be able to lower her. After much coaxing by her fellow companion on another rope adjacent to her, she succumbed to her inhibitions and finally reached the deck. Whew…now we can eat our thawing lunches.
All the time, I was watching two climbers to my left on the Dihedral Route on Mt. Yonah. Although I have climbed this route several times to the top with a walk-off to the start, I have never lead this route. It is a great route, fun and exciting with a reward of a fantastic view! After the initial Dihedral climb portion, you arrive at a wide and lengthy belay ledge with absolute perfect protection opportunities. I placed a #3 BD Camelot and two large hexes, rigged a cordelette and belayed Kimber on up. A nice, by now, watery climb (no ice, thankfully) brought me to two bolts at the base of the exit gully. Unfortunately, the gully is somewhat deep and shaded and, thus, was still icy. I decided it was too risky to attempt to lead climb, so I tied in and belayed Kimber on up. We enjoyed the North Georgia views and some welcome sunshine although the wind had picked up. I lowered Kimber and then cleaned the anchors and rapelled on down. FYI- a 60 meter rope will get you down with about 5 feet to spare from the bolts at the base of the gully.
All in all, a great climb on a great day with a great climbing partner. What more could you ask for??? So, if you’re looking for that next exciting thrill of Rock Climbing in North Georgia at Mt. Yonah, don’t pass up the Mt. Yonah Dihedral Route rated 5.6. It’s fun, guaranteed!