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Illinois 


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Submitted By: Jon Richard on Jan 23, 2007
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Last yeti seen anywhere in the midwest was 1983 in...

Description 

Great places to climb include: Draper's Bluff and Jackson Falls.


Getting There 

Southern Illinois. See guidebook


423 Total Routes


['4 Stars',56],['3 Stars',206],['2 Stars',113],['1 Star',25],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',14],['5.7',15],['5.8',23],['5.9',33],['5.10',98],['5.11',72],['5.12',63],['5.13',13],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',2],['V2-3',24],['V4-5',21],['V6-7',18],['V8-9',7],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',7],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Illinois:
The Mollusk   V3 6A     Boulder, 10'   The Holy Boulders : Mollusk Boulder
Enlightenment   V4 6B     Boulder, 10'   The Holy Boulders : Illuminati Boulders
Shadow of a Man   V5 6C     Boulder, 15'   The Holy Boulders : Shadow of a Man Area
Undercling King   V5-6 6C+     Boulder, 15'   The Holy Boulders : Illuminati Boulders
Chicken Shack   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch   Jackson Falls : Mr. Jimmy
Fine Nine   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   Jackson Falls : Lovely Tower
Master Marley   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Jackson Falls : Spleef Peak
Venom   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Jackson Falls : Mr. Jimmy
Cheerio Bowl   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Jackson Falls : Hidden Peaks
Group Therapy   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Jackson Falls : The Gallery
Into the Sun   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Jackson Falls : Railroad Area
Naked Blade   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Jackson Falls : Hidden Peaks
Lovely Arete   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, 35'   Jackson Falls : Lovely Tower
Wild at Heart   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   Jackson Falls : Railroad Area
Blue Velvet   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   Jackson Falls : Railroad Area
Hidden Treasures   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 40'   Jackson Falls : Lovely Tower
Detox Mountain   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Jackson Falls : Hidden Peaks
Everybody Needs Friends   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   Jackson Falls : The Beaver Wall
The Reckoning   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport   Jackson Falls : Battle Axe Tower
Who Need's Friends   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Jackson Falls : The Beaver Wall
Browse More Classics in Illinois

Featured Route For Illinois
Abbey Smith on the Mollusk (from the Key to So iLL Part 2)

The Mollusk V3 6A  IL : The Holy Boulders : Mollusk Boulder
Follow the very obvious line that goes along the slopey scoop on the right side of the boulder. The classic warm-up of the Holies....[more]   Browse More Classics in IL

Photos of Illinois Slideshow Add Photo
Plenty of big roof moves make Kankakee a fun place to climb. Almost all routes have an overhanging section somewhere. Woodchuck getting some dirt and loose rock on this ascent.
Plenty of big roof moves make Kankakee a fun place...
Bob Horan on the Vellum 5.10d, Rock Creek Canyon, Kankakee River State Park, circa 1977.
Bob Horan on the Vellum 5.10d, Rock Creek Canyon, ...
Another deep water start, or top rope lowered route at Kankakee River State Park. 'DeadWood Duck', 5.8. Without the crack, route is 5.9, 'Duck the Deadwood'.
Another deep water start, or top rope lowered rout...
Wendy goes up 5.9 cave corner route at Kankakee State Park, circa 1982.
Wendy goes up 5.9 cave corner route at Kankakee St...
Wendy Phingston climbs the 'yeti route' in the cave area of Rock Creek, Kankakee.
Wendy Phingston climbs the 'yeti route' in the cav...
Bob Horan traversing the Makanda Bluff Traverse, Southern, Illinois.
Bob Horan traversing the Makanda Bluff Traverse, S...
Makanda Bluff, Southern, Illinios, photo: Bob Horan Collection.
Makanda Bluff, Southern, Illinios, photo: Bob Hora...
A classic. Start from Feb. ice jam on Rock Creek and mid climb it finally broke loose and the whole mass of ice sped downstream into the Kankakee River in minutes. Awesome!
A classic. Start from Feb. ice jam on Rock Creek a...
Wendy Phingston, age 15 on Fetal Pig. 5.9
Wendy Phingston, age 15 on Fetal Pig. 5.9
Pulling the Triple D' roof move,(5.9). Route is several hundred yards upstream from the main climbing area on Rock Creek.
Pulling the Triple D' roof move,(5.9). Route is se...
loooong traverse Easy 5th
loooong traverse Easy 5th
Scott Danforth on main roof area of Rock Creek.
Scott Danforth on main roof area of Rock Creek.
Location of Midwest sandstone bluff
Location of Midwest sandstone bluff
Jams Dailey on 'Wendy's Phing', 5.7.  Water start or lowered from above to do this route.
Jams Dailey on 'Wendy's Phing', 5.7. Water start ...
Fetal Pig, 5.9 at Kankakee River State Park, circa 1982.
Fetal Pig, 5.9 at Kankakee River State Park, circa...
Ant Killer at Draper's Bluff.  This is a killer and sustain 5.9 dihedral crack.
Ant Killer at Draper's Bluff. This is a killer an...
Coffin Corner, 5.8 on Fishermans Wharf wall at Kankakee River State Park. 1982.
Coffin Corner, 5.8 on Fishermans Wharf wall at Kan...
Bob Horan bouldering along the Kankakee River, circa 1974.
Bob Horan bouldering along the Kankakee River, cir...
Get hyped!!!!
Get hyped!!!!
The first (and only?) tyrolean traverse of Rock Creek.  Scott Danforth in winter conditions, 1982.
The first (and only?) tyrolean traverse of Rock Cr...
Boulder Bash 2013
Boulder Bash 2013
Comments on Illinois Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 13, 2010
By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 25, 2007

Oh I am going to Jackson, going get ma fill.

By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Oct 13, 2008

Illinois Climbers Association:

iclimb-ica.org/pages/index.html

By cuclimbing
From: Las Cruces
Dec 16, 2008

To all you climbers stuck in Charleston, IL, don't feel bad. I grew up in the countryside, and go down any creek for long enough you'll find something to climb. The map I posted above has a spot of mine with a 20-30ft sandstone cliff. Rock quality is so so, if I still lived there I'd get a pic of the face. The Embarrass River has some faces too, but you gotta wade upstream for a few hours. Happy climbing!

By Woodchuck ATC
Nov 24, 2009

Took me long enough to get some Illinos photos posted up here. These are all 80-83 vintage Kankakee River State Park. It would be a very popular bouldering location today with many roof moves just off the deck and most walls less than 30 ft in height. many routes are 5.8 and 5.9 A shame the DNR would not budge on requests allowing us to continue climbing there as of June 1983.

By sweatpants
From: Broomfield, CO
Nov 24, 2009

Why did the DNR stop allowing climbing?

By Woodchuck ATC
Nov 25, 2009

They removed access stairs and forbid climbing because drunk kids with coolers of beer, in the park at night illegally, have trashed it up and fallen down or off the cliffs too. THAT in their mind was related to the use of cliffs for anything vertical. Senseless. But climbing had not yet become a widely known indoor sport back then; no X Games, no MTV or action sports media, so nothing for them to relate to except guys who fall off cliffs with coolers full of beer.
We wrote letters, made calls, had a meeting, explained our simple use, clean climbing, no pitons, toprope mostly, etc..and they still said NO. This was long before the Access Fund got started to the degree it is today. Chalk was not an issue, as it was the same substance and color as the dusty calcium carbonate limestone rocks. Fishermen leave bait containers and trash, and hike down the same rugged cliff trail that we do,but they get to stay. (they pay for stuff, we didn't; so go figure) Trespass and you would get your gear taken away plus a fine.
Since then, with the lack of climbing traffic on the cliffs, there is a major increase of plants on the blocky rocks. Many holds are gone from dirt and invasive plant roots prying them off the walls. Hard to believe we were safer than nature turns out to be.

By JamesW
Jan 4, 2010

If you visit Rock Creek you can see the remnants of past climbing...fixed pins on a lot of the walls. Rumor has it that Mike McCarrin had authored a hand drawn guidebook... I have also heard of some harder routes being established in the creek (.13ish) by McCarrin???
FYI;
A few years ago i was speaking with a local & was told that another canyon exists in the area. apparently it is on private property, but is supposedly deeper and more undercut than rock creek...does anyone have any info on this???

By Tradoholic
Mar 1, 2010

Is there an admin for Illinois? I was proposing to someone that some organization could be done, specifically for Starved Rock but there doesn't seem to be an admin. If not, any locals want to volunteer?

By Dan Roberts
From: Eastern Iowa
Jul 27, 2010

I am looking for old guide books. Midwest preferably, but I'd be interested in most anything. Kind of a hobby. I like to know the history and true route names of the places I climb.

By Remo
From: Madison, WI
Sep 12, 2010

I agree with Rhoads. Illinois needs an admin. There are some really bad route descriptions that could use some cleaning up. Anyone?

By Lee Frazer
Nov 22, 2010

Where's the best place to boulder in S. IL? Jackson Falls? Somewhere else? Any advice would be appreciated. In S. IL. for Thanksgiving, but going through rock withdrawal. Thanks folks.

By Tradoholic
Nov 23, 2010

Lee, lots of Boulders down there. Jackson Falls will have the most easily found high quality problems. Bring your harness and shoes as you will probably be able to hook up with some people for some belays.

By Clint C
Dec 13, 2010

I'm looking to compile some sweet photos of IL or any midwest climbing for a writing project.
Please send me any you have to clateboulder@yahoo.com

Please send in a jpg low resolution format.

Appreciate it,

Climb on

By mattmaxwell
From: southern indiana
Dec 13, 2010

Lee -- check out "The Sandstone Warrior" guidebook by Matt Bliss. book dedicated to bouldering in So Ill. popular (as in just a few people) areas: Jackson Falls, One Horse Gap, Dixon Springs, Holy Boulders, Giant City.......