Horse Pens 40 is a wonderland of sandstone boulders located on Chandler Mountain in Northeast Alabama. After visiting a couple of times with my family, I couldn’t keep this a secret from the folks at the office anymore. None of three guys that traveled with me had ever climbed at HP40, and only one had experience climbing outdoors. I was happy to share the riches with them, especially because our SpeeDome tents work so well for camping close to the rocks.
HP40 has boulders to fit any skill level, and for a bunch of beginners, we were never bored with our choices. “The fact that HP40 has such a range of boulders and routes means that climbers of all skill levels and backgrounds can come together and create an opportunity for community,” according to Director of Design Ryan Torpey. Director of Sales and Marketing Jake Pugh added that HP40 intrigued him because of its “problem solving aspect” that shows “no brute strength, dexterity, or balance alone can make anyone a good climber. It takes patience, wit, and planning as well.” Marketing Manager Eric Culpepper embraced the challenge and the “rush of adrenaline” that helped him scramble up the boulders.
The campsites are literally feet away from the rocks and offer close proximity to restrooms. Eric said that he “really enjoyed the ease of unpacking the van” and all of us agreed that the sunset view at the Point Boulders a short hike from the campsite made the trip even better. Jake added that it was “very cool to wake up in the shadow of the rocks.”
The site also features a general store that has campsite essentials and rental gear. We decided to visit on what ended up being one of the coldest nights in Alabama this year, so we were grateful for extra firewood from the store. Cold nights at campsites can make for a difficult time setting up tents, so we were all grateful for the SpeeDomes that set up in under a minute, even while wearing gloves. Faster setup time meant faster cooking time and faster eating (and drinking) time to stay warm.
I don’t think I will have any trouble planning our return visit. Ryan said, “I’m slightly disappointed with myself for not getting out here to experience it sooner,” and that this time would definitely not be his last. Eric added that he was excited to share this place with his young sons as it is “like a playground with tons of options to choose from.” Jake said, “it is downright beautiful.” Maybe next time we won’t go when it is so cold, but it’s kind of what we do.
If you find yourself in northern to central Alabama, take a look at HP40. And, if you need a great tent for the trip, hit us up.
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If you happen to be going through Birmingham to get there dont skip the wings and BBQ at Rodney Scott's.
Coming from the other side? Try Capeside for some great seafood.