They didn’t move to Chattanooga with plans to start a business, but rock climbers turned entrepreneurs will soon open a unique hostel on the city’s Southside. 

“It sounds like we are putting the emphasis – and to a certain degree, we are – on the outdoor enthusiast (audience), but we’ve created a nice enough product for anybody who wants a safe, affordable place to stay downtown,” Max Poppel said. 


Poppel and his business partner Dan Rose said construction on the hostel, called The Crash Pad, will be complete by the end of the month. The businesses’ ribbon cutting is schedule for June 3. 

Both went to Skidmore College in upstate New York and moved to Chattanooga about six years ago. 

The duo got involved in Create Here, a local nonprofit that supports arts, economic and cultural development. 

During a business course with Create Here, they fleshed out the idea for the hostel, which is nearly 5,000 square feet.  

The plan evolved from an idea to have a campground near Suck Creek to being an urban location. 

On the web 

For more information about The Crash Pad visit their Facebook page.

Did you know?

A “crash pad” is a pad that rock climbers use in bouldering. It is the cushion climbers fall down onto after scaling rock. 

“Construction has been going for about six months now,” Rose said. “It’s been informally being planned for maybe the last three years and pretty formally being planned for the last year and a half.”

The Crash Pad is located just off East Main Street, and the owners are working closely with other Southside businesses and artists as the project comes together. 

“The essence of South side – to us, this is Chattanooga,” Rose said. “Downtown by the river and the North Shore, they are getting a little touristy, which is fine because it’s bringing people down here. But this seems to be where Chattanoogans work and play.”

The two-story building has male and female bathrooms on both floors, each with two sinks, showers and toilets. 

There are 30 beds and custom-made sinks, some made with shards of glass bottles by a local company called Set in Stone. 

Visitors will have access to a kitchen, and outside the main building will be a pavilion, which should be complete a few weeks after the grand opening. 

The 1600-square-foot pavilion will have a gas fire place and outdoor space heaters as well as lots of seating.

“That’s a big selling point – if we want to get big functions in there, like wedding parties and whatnot,” Rose said about options for the pavilion. 

The structure also provides visitors another common area.

“Downstairs, the living room area is kind of small,” Poppel said. “We aren’t going to be able to fit 36 people in there. So we’ve come up with this pavilion. We are really trying to design this space to be as functional as possible.”

Visitors will have access to washer and dryers and free linens, which are to be returned upon check out. 

The building is secured and visitors get in and out with key-card access.

“They are not like the typical hotel cards, but the the beefier ones that get you in magnetic locked doors,” Poppel said. 

Prices, other amenities:

Custom privacy bunks – $27

Private rooms – $70

All bed prices include 18% tax, free breakfast and use of all communal amenities.


– Bike rack, rental bikes

– Live “green” roof

– LEED certified 

– Active art piece that is a 12-feet-tall, 12-feet-wide climbable structure

– One acre of green space 

Visitors will have options of sleeping either in a private room or on a super bunk. 

“We did a lot of research and visited over 30 hostels and found out what worked and, more importantly, what didn’t work,” Poppel said. “A big issue was sound – be it from old creaking buildings of bunk beds and mattresses.”

The Crash Pad is creating “super bunks,” which are made of wood and bolted into the wall, so they don’t move and shake when a person climbs up and down.

Each bed will have a privacy curtain, a fan and a reading light, plus extra electrical outlets, Rose said.

The entrepreneurs said they are expecting a good response to the opening. 

“We’ve been told by everyone we’ve ever spoken to about how seasonal the hotel industry is,” Rose said. “We’ve heard from a couple different places that they wouldn’t make it if they didn’t do long term rentals, but we are hoping that, because we are going for a niche market of outdoor athletes – the scene here is essentially year-round. And the summer, which is the only time where the climbing traffic sort of lags. Well, that’s peak tourist season.”