The 411 on Alabama’s Hospital Boulders
Please note: due to local and state guidelines surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, some information below may not be accurate. Before you travel and plan your next adventure, make sure to check each business/park/campsite for any closures or guidelines and for the most up to date information. Enjoy your adventure at Hospital Boulders!
The Hospital Boulders, outside of Gadsden, AL, is the new kid on the block in the southeast—at least in the sense of being an official climbing destination. The Southeastern Climbers’ Coalition (SCC) acquired the boulder field in 2012. Just a few months ago, the last, and final, payment of the SCC’s purchase was made with the help of generous donations and thus guaranteeing eternal climber access (cue the virtual fist pump).
The boulder field is easily accessed off of Highway 59, about an hour northeast of Birmingham and an hour and a half south of Chattanooga. The Hospital Boulders is the neighbor of the more known bouldering destination, Horse Pens 40, with just about 30 minutes separating them. (This should give you a clue as to the quality of rock that you can expect to find here.)
Fall, winter, and spring are the main climbing seasons at the Hospital Boulders like most other boulder areas in the southeast. You will be able to access the boulder field off the Scenic Highway, through a couple of unlocked gates, just past the parking lot for Mountain View Hospital, where parking is available at the SCC barn. There is no need to lock the gates, but please remember to close them behind you. From the barn, hike a few hundred feet to the north to get where the boulders are, and climb away.
In most new climbing areas there is still developing to be done several years into granted access. The same goes for the Hospital Boulders, so feel free to explore all of its sandstone glory with terrain ranging from overhanging roofs and slopers to high balls. The new-ness also means that residents in the area may not be used to having climbers around yet, so please be aware of this and act responsibly.
There are about 150-200 developed boulder problems as well as a few sport and trad routes currently, and it is likely that there will be a guide to the area very soon for your ticking pleasure. For now, a friendly local is probably your best option for grade ratings. The Boulder problems here have a wide variety of holds, which makes for fun and versatile climbing.
Some of the most noteworthy problems at Hospital Boulders so far are:
Green Mosster (V2): Starting at two low pinches and moving out to a crimp, then a sloper to, as the name suggests, a bit of a mossy top out.
Schadenfreude (V3): Starts at a lie back and moves through a hueco, sloper pockets, slopers, and a side pull before topping out on a slightly mossy surface.
Unfortunately, there is no camping available at the Hospital Boulders so your best bet is to head into Gadsden, which is the closest town, or to Birmingham or Chattanooga, both about the equal distance from Gadsden.
To get even more psyched on this area that we now can call “ours”, check out this video featuring the Hospital Boulders.
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Written by Sofia Bunger for RootsRated and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by ari32