ApproachI know it's Georgia....but when it's good, it's good. Here at Hogpen Gap you have several hundred feet of 60 ft cliffs along a road that is 1.5 hours from Atlanta. Gidde-up!
From Atlanta, Take I 85 N to I 985 toward Clayton. You can then either take Rt 129 N or Rt 52 W toward Cleveland. Follow 129 N through Cleveland for several miles and you'll see a right turn toward Unicoi Gap, Helen, etc. Go down a few miles, turn left on Rt 348 up Hogpen Gap. You'll reach the summit in about 7-8 miles. Park on the right across from the road cut and you'll see plenty of ice. Careful if they close the road due to icey conditions.
Route DescriptionMultiple climbs including top rope, lead, and mix routes. Hike up the left side of the cliff line. You'll see a well worn path that parallels the cliff edge. Set up anchors from any of the trees/bushes. The temperature here can be 10-15 degrees colder than Atlanta and it's North facing and it will stay cold most of the day. You'll find every type of condition from fat, thick ice to chandelier, to mix and thin ice, and water running behind the ice. Temps in the low 40's in Atlanta, mean freezing temps up at Hogpen.
Essential GearStandard for toproped ice climbing...webbing and anchor building gear. When it's fat, the ice bulges will hold longer screws, but bring plenty of short ones just in case. Ice tools, crampons, etc.
Miscellaneous InfoCheck out Michael Crowder's book, Southern Fried Ice, for this and other ice climbing in the Southeast.
The following websites offer updated whether and ice conditions: www.foxmountainguides.com, www.coolclimbing.com