Foster Falls has little to offer new climbers as most routes are strenuous and must be led to set up top ropes. There is no approach from the top. There are a handful of 5.8's, some excellent 5.9's, but the area really favors 5.10 climbs.
Rock Climbing at Foster Falls occurs on the cliffs which line the northernmost side of the gorge cut by the Little Gizzard Creek. The climbing is predominantly bolted "sport" routes on sandstone overhangs, aretes, cracks, roofs, and faces. Routes are typically vertical or overhanging, blocky with roofs, averaging about 60 feet in height. There are some excellent thin face climbs and aretes, routes are often strenuous. There is no low-angle climbing. You must lead all routes to rig top-ropes, there is no access to the top of the climbs. I know of no bouldering. There are a handful of fine traditionally led routes, but if you are looking to climb trad routes, go to T-Wall. Foster Falls is all about the best sport climbing routes in the Southeast.
Best Access and Parking Areas
There is a well maintained access trail leading from both the campground and the day-use parking lot to an overlook of Foster Falls (cross under the power lines). From the overlook, you can get to the climbing areas by two trails - one along the top of the rim and one at the base of the cliffs.
To approach from the top, follow the trails toward the falls, cross the creek on the steel footbridge, then along the trail that skirts the cliff tops (white blazes). There is a primitive camping area (Father Johnz with an outhouse) on a marked side trail. There are two marked climbers access trails (signs) that lead down from the rim of the gorge. The first will bring you to a point midway between Jimmywood and the Dihedrals. The second access trail will bring you to the base of the Rehab Slab.
There is a relatively new access trail to the base of the falls which provides more convenient access to the White Wall and the Bunkers, as well as a generally faster approach. From the main parking area, follow the trail, go left at the power lines (away from the falls). Look for a trail exiting the campground, crossing under the power lines, then follow the steps down (sign). Cross the creek on the suspension bridge, then follow the trail up and along the base of the cliffs. I prefer this trail as it is more scenic and seems a lot shorter.
The cliffs are divided into sections as they naturally occur. Starting at the falls, a trail leads along entire the base of the cliffs. The first section encountered is the White Wall. This is followed by the So What Area, the Crime Buttress, The Bunkers, The Dihedrals, (first rim trail intersects here) , Jimmywood, the Gutbuster Area, the Sanford Wall, the Rocket Slab, the Rehab Slab, (second rim trail intersects here) the Snatch Area, and finally, the Red Light District.
Best Seasons for Climbing
The climbs are generally well shaded, making for good summer climbing when other areas may be stifling hot. Spring and fall are good, as are warm winter days.
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets are welcome, just clean up after them if they do their business on the trails.