SCC Works to Overturn Town Ban on Climbing at Signal Mountain


Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) is asking the town of Signal Mountain, TN to overturn a 1992 ordinance prohibiting rock climbing within town limits.

Signal Mountain sits on a ridge immediately northwest of Chattanooga, a few miles from the renowned T-Wall. The climbing ban was put in place after a 1992 rappelling accident. Despite multiple attempts to overturn it, the ban remains. “It's an SCC priority to see climbing legitimized there as a safe and fun local choice for outdoor recreation,” said SCC Executive Director, Michael Wurzel. “There’s significant potential for tall, airy sandstone sport and trad climbing.” Signal Mountain’s town council is still considering SCC’s proposal and remains concerned about potential liability in the instance of a climbing accident or injury.

When they vote on the issue next week, it’s likely they will vote on a slightly modified version of the ban, one that changes the wording of the ban to be only for town-owned property, not private property within town limits. “This is a baby step in the right direction, but most of the climbing resources are on town property,” explained Wurzel. “Our goal remains complete removal of the ban, and we’ll continue to work in that direction.”

Outright bans on climbing in a city or town are extremely rare, and in fact many municipalities own climbing areas that flourish. For example, Eugene, OR; Rifle, CO; and Austin, TX all allow and manage climbing in their parks and open space. SCC and Access Fund will continue working to address the town's concerns and get the ban lifted.