It is hard to believe that you are about to enter one of the South’s best boulder fields – and the second leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series – as you pull into Montlake Golf Course in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. There is a certain weirdness about pulling into the country club for a day of bouldering…and it gets even more bizarre when you notice there are as many people carrying crash pads as there are people carrying golf clubs.
The golf course is incredibly welcoming of climbers (although, despite what you may have heard, there is still segregation in the South and climbers have to park in a special part of the parking lot). On arrival and before heading out to climb, you must enter the golf course’s pro shop, sign in, and pay three dollars to use their boulders for the day. On the days we visited, the pro shop attendant was kind enough to let us use their restrooms and fill our water bottles in their snack shack as well. It is also evident that climbers frequent the pro shop for stuff other than a day pass, as they stock chalk, stickers, guidebooks, ice cream, and cold drinks (including beer) in addition to the items golfers may need.
While paying for bouldering is a somewhat foreign idea to those of us in the Northeast, I assure you it is money well spent. The amount of bouldering contained at Stone Fort is huge. Ashley and I climbed three full days there and did not even make it to all the areas. In addition to the massive number of problems, the problems are also very, diverse offering something for everyone. There is easy stuff, hard stuff, tall stuff, short stuff, stuff close to the car, and stuff far from the car. The large majority of the problems are of an excellent quality and there are very few contrived problems. Our only complaint was the lack of a closer campground.