Cultivate Climbing (formerly ClimbMax Climbing Center) has been part of the North Carolina rock climbing community for over 25 years, and the gym continues to be a trusted source for instruction, guided trips and local tips. The knowledgeable staff regularly works with people of all experience levels and abilities.
The indoor gym has multiple climbing walls tailored to varying skill levels. Whether climbing on your own, with a small group or in an official class, there are plenty of surfaces and paths to train and practice on. For novices and travelers, equipment is available to rent.
Outside, there are even more opportunities than what’s at their indoor gym. From hiking and rappelling to multi-pitch and ice climbing, they cater to all types of climbing preferences. These routes can be explored through private instruction, half-day outings or full-day outings, or climbers can just ask the staff for some suggestions of where to head and go out on their own.
Importantly, the staff at Cultivate Climbing are knowledgeable, experienced and trustworthy. Not only do they have personal experience climbing around the Smoky Mountains, but many have AMGA certifications and there are USAC Certified Coaches as well.
This was one of the first rock-climbing gyms anywhere in the country, and it remains a highly respected institution within the regional rock climbing community. For scaling the Smokies, the guides at Cultivate Climbing are experts on both climbing and the local area.
A few of our favorites at Cultivate Climbing include:
Ask Stuart (the owner) or a staff guide for Private Instruction, and improve your technique while simultaneously exploring the mountains. They’ll recommend the perfect route based on your abilities and interests, and guides are good about rescheduling if inclement weather interferes with your plans.
Pop Up Yoga
Plan your indoor rock climbing for shortly before a scheduled Pop Up Yoga class, and use the class to relax and recover after your climbing workout. Classes last 75 minutes and cost only $8 for non-members.
Spend a morning or afternoon rappelling and climbing. The Half-Day Climb is a great introduction to both the mountains and the sport, and there’s no experience required.
If you are experienced and up for adventure, spend a full day on a Multi-Pitch Climb. Your abilities will be tested, and you’ll get up several hundred feet. Take time to enjoy the views prior to descending.
In winter, scale a frozen waterfall on a guided Ice Climb. You’ll be using specialized ice-climbing equipment, but there’s no prior experience required.
Don’t be afraid to bring children along for a climbing adventure. The outdoor climbs truly can be tailored to all abilities and skill levels, and many parents have brought children as young as six years old. A half-day climb is something that the whole family can enjoy.