Ask most local climbers where bouldering hotspot Hell's Kitchen got its name, and the answer is likely to be the same as Joshua Edwards':
So, how’d Hell’s Kitchen really get its name?
Though there’s no official explanation, Adam Johnson says the area may have likely gotten its name because of its rough terrain, making it the perfect place for ne’er-do-wells and outlaws to hide from the law. Too bad they didn’t know they were surrounded by what Johnson calls “some really darn good climbing.”
For Edwards, the name is less symbolic of a place to be feared, and more reminiscent of a kitchen filled with treats.
Boasting more than 300 problems — with several more to come — the recently opened outdoor mecca adjacent to Cumberland Trail State Park, near Graysville, Tennessee, has a little something for daredevils of every skill level, with bouldering grades ranging from V0 to V15. Best of all, says Edwards, the boulder field is very concentrated, with many of the boulders no further than 100 feet apart, making it easier to sample all the treats strewn throughout the hellish playground.
"It just blew my mind that there was such an amazing boulder field so close to Chattanooga," he says.
Here are a few boulder problems he and Adam Johnson, South Carolina representative for the Carolina Climbers Coalition, recommend checking out at the newly opened climbing hangout.
DEATH DON'T HAVE MERCY ON ME
Considered the problem of the area, this classic is a beautiful overhanging arête with the toughest section right in the middle of the climb. At about 18 feet, you get an easy ledge to stand on, giving you just enough time to contemplate your fate before scaling the final 10 feet of the problem to attempt the sloped topout.
FIXIN' TO DIE
Fairly easy but plenty of fun, this problem is tucked away in a corridor on a wall full of perfectly sculpted sloping jug holds. Once you've warmed up, you can pop out of the corridor and attempt Cyclops Eye and Luna, more difficult problems surrounding a unique beachball-sized spherical inclusion in the rock.
Developed by Edwards, this problem's name originates from the perfect sphere of sandstone that juts out of the wall. The problem itself offers crimp-style climbing in a pure line and is sure to present a friendly challenge.
This huge, overhanging wall has hundreds of little Swiss-cheese-like pockets. It makes for a great hang-and-drop finish at about 15 feet, or you could continue to its 40-foot peak if you're feeling ballsy.