Uniting Canada's Largest Climbing Community

The Crash Pad - Chattanooga's Boutique Hostel for Climbers
For an area blessed with so much exceptional climbing (bouldering, sport and trad), the Chattanooga region is surprisingly lacking in viable climber camping options. Sure, climbers can try to take advantage of the few free dirtbag sites in the area, but that option also comes with the drawbacks of no viable water sources, no facilities for human waste and the risk of break-ins and theft. State parks like Cloudland Canyon just across the border in Georgia, are a possible and affordable alternative, but the location is not ideal for many of the climbing areas.

Perhaps this is what the owners of The Crash Pad also recognized.
The Crash Pad

Photo by Mandy Rhoden

Started by Dan Rose and Max Poppel in 2011, The Crash Pad incorporates boutique hotel amenities (and aesthetics) with a friendly and community-based hostel setting. The result is a place that delivers all the climbing-campsite cred (similar to some other well-known southern campsites), but without any of the UN refugee-like camp squalor often encountered at these more “popular” sites.

Climbers entering The Crash Pad are met by courteous and genuinely motivated staff that are well connected with the local scene and willing to share any climbing, eating and drinking beta. It should be noted that the staff’s casual professionalism is a refreshing change from the typical apathy many climbers display when working service oriented jobs.

Sleeping accommodations range from single bunks with privacy curtains and storage to private rooms with queen-size beds and sinks. All the options are clean and comfortable with modern, sleek aesthetics. This approach carries over to the communal bathrooms and showers. Again, a refreshing change from many traditional climbing campsites.

The Crash Pad

Photo by Mandy Rhoden

The Crash Pad

Photo by Mandy Rhoden

The communal living space is clean and inviting and has two modern large-screen computers that guests can use. Anyone looking for non-internet-oriented distractions can browse the various climbing magazines and books. As with most modern hotels, The Crash Pad also provides fast and free Wi-Fi so climbers can easily update their 8a scorecard.
The Crash Pad

Photo by Mandy Rhoden

Like most hostels, The Crash Pad has a full communal kitchen stocked with all the tools and many locally sourced ingredients necessary for making personal meals. As an added bonus, the Pad supplies free coffee, eggs, fresh locally baked bread and spreads - perfect for fuelling up before climbing.
The Crash Pad
Perhaps the only area where the Crash Pad could improve (and this is a minor point) would be with the soundproofing for the private rooms.

“The soundproofing between the rooms is something that we're working on,” says the general manager John Ying. “We've tossed around the idea of putting more of that spiky, acoustic foam on the walls between the private rooms and the bunks.”

During our stay we never found the noise from the other spaces disturbing, so it’s refreshing to see that the Crash Pad is proactively addressing even these small issues.

It’s the attention to small details and the positive climber-oriented vibe that make The Crash Pad such a viable option for visiting climbers. Throw in the Pad’s central location, to both the climbing and Chattanooga’s rest day distractions, and it’s obvious why this is a top accommodation for anyone visiting this incredible climbing area.

Highly recommended.

For rates and other information check out
The Crash Pad website.

Follow the discussion of this and other climbing issues at
ontarioclimbing.com/forum.
Stacks Image p18970_n133191
Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 25 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid 80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.