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Louisville Swamp Boulder (S/W Twin Cities Metro, near Shakopee)

Select Route:
Beehive sit start 
3 Finger Fitness 
Arise from the Swamp 
Beehive 
Dank Nugs 
Dank Nugs sit start 
Dyno 
Enter the Honeycomb 
Honeycomb 
Kill Whitey 
Lay-Z-Boy 
Pocket of Pain (direct) 
Pocket of Pain (sit start variations) 
Scour the Earth 
Sexual Heeling 
Svenska Solnedgång 
Swamp Sex 
Swamp Thing 
Viva Brasil! 
West Side Traverse 

Rest Day:
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From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Louisville Swamp Boulder (S/W Twin Cities Metro, near Shakopee) 


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Location: 44.7189, -93.6044 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 17,352
Administrators: Kris Gorny, Chris treggE, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Sean Wolf on Jun 8, 2009
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Nate Migdal at the ready to explore the island

Description 

This is a really cool boulder in the middle of a field. Pretty undeveloped - there is potential for some cool problems.


Getting There 

Turn west off of Highway 169 on the road just before the rock/landscaping company (about 2 miles past 145th St. W coming from Shakopee). The road comes to a T after 0.3 mi, take a right and follow the road into a dude's yard where a sign reads "No parking beyond this point." The road turns left. Walk for 10 minutes (0.5 mi) with marsh on either side, climb a small hill and stop where the gravel road, called Middle Road, intersects the park's main loop, the Mazomani Trail. The Big Rock, a gray and black bulk, larger than a city bus and approximately the same shape, sits out in the open past some trees on the right. Look for 'Glacial Boulder' on this map: www.fws.gov/Midwest/MinnesotaValley/documents/louisville_tra>>>
Also check out this article in the Star Tribune: www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/19490764.html?page=2&c=>>>


20 Total Routes


['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',6],['2 Stars',10],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',3],['V2-3',15],['V4-5',2],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Louisville Swamp Boulder (S/W Twin Cities Metro, near Shakopee):
Svenska Solnedgång   V0 4     Boulder, 10'   
Lay-Z-Boy   V1- 5-     Boulder, 11'   
Dank Nugs sit start   V1- 5-     Boulder, 10'   
Viva Brasil!   V1 5     Boulder, 12'   
Swamp Sex   V1 5     Boulder, 12'   
Swamp Thing   V2 5+     Boulder, 11'   
Arise from the Swamp   V2 5+     Boulder, 10'   
Beehive   V2 5+     Boulder, 13'   
Honeycomb   V2 5+     Boulder, 17'   
Beehive sit start   V2+ 5+     Boulder, 13'   
3 Finger Fitness   V3 6A     Boulder, 12'   
Kill Whitey   V3 6A     Boulder, 10'   
Enter the Honeycomb   V3 6A     Boulder, 25'   
Pocket of Pain (sit start variations)   V3-4 6A+     Boulder, 14'   
Browse More Classics in Louisville Swamp Boulder (S/W Twin Cities Metro, near Shakopee)

Featured Route For Louisville Swamp Boulder (S/W Twin Cities Metro, near Shakopee)
General line

Beehive sit start V2+ 5+  MN : Louisville Swamp Boulder (S...
This contains the same finishing moves as the stand start version of Beehive but begins with a series of fun crimp moves. Start by sitting to the right of the main route under an excellent jug to the lower left of a small overhanging section. Both feet are close beneath the jug, but you may have to sort through the grass a bit to find your left foot chip. Move left off of the jug into a short series of crimps. Then reach the shelf/crack above the start and traverse left from there, finishing wit...[more]   Browse More Classics in MN

Photos of Louisville Swamp Boulder (S/W Twin Cities Metro, near Shakopee) Slideshow Add Photo
repeat?
BETA PHOTO: repeat?
Louisville Swamp boulder is an awesome spot.
Louisville Swamp boulder is an awesome spot.
A fine sight she is. south face
A fine sight she is. south face
The Asteroid in the fall
The Asteroid in the fall
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BETA PHOTO: beta
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BETA PHOTO: beta
Some say it is a glacial boulder but all the locals know it was an asteroid.
BETA PHOTO: Some say it is a glacial boulder but all the local...
Nate seeking shelter by bouldering the sandstone overhangs
Nate seeking shelter by bouldering the sandstone o...
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BETA PHOTO: beta
Comments on Louisville Swamp Boulder (S/W Twin Cities Metro, near Shakopee) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 15, 2014
By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Jun 23, 2009

The Louisville Swamp contains the closest real rock to the Twin Cities. While the Big Boulder (granite) is the main attraction (I've done at least two dozen problems on it), there are two other bouldering areas to explore. One is located on the Mysterious Island in the middle of the swamp itself. It has problems on solid, nearly quartzite-like sandstone. It is only accessible in winter as you have to cross the ice to get there. The other is my personal favorite, The North Shore Overhangs. I am not going to tell you where it is, but if you find it you will be looking at some of the steepest moderate bouldering (V1-V4) in Minnesota. I have been working the lines there for years and some are really, really good. I'm talking sit starts on 8-10 foot sandstone roofs with funky topouts. There are more difficult lines to be done...

By Sean Wolf
From: Denver, CO
Jun 24, 2009

Sweet! Definitely going to try and scope out the North Overhangs when I'm in Minnesota this July.

By Sean Wolf
From: Denver, CO
Jun 27, 2009

Yeah give 'er a brush man, you'd be doing a service :D

By Sean Wolf
From: Denver, CO
Jul 1, 2009

I like your enthusiasm. I would say keep going for it on posting the problems. I'm sure most lines on the big boulder have been climbed but if you put up the descriptions then it gives others a better idea of what they can find on it. Then when I'm there again sometime I can try them out too.

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Jul 1, 2009

Yeah, I guess the cat is out of the bag, but why not. I just hope, as do all real boulderers, that the areas will not be trashed by the unclean and uninformed...like the citizens who insist on building a campfire on the northeast side of the Big Boulder. The bottom of the boulder has delaminated as a result, and the small foothold that used to be there is not there anymore. I also found a large campfire had been built next to, but not under (thank God!) the North Shore Overhangs last fall. The party-goers also left two dumped cans of beans on the ground, lots of beer cans and some large sausages were scattered about. Lucky summer conditions are so harsh down there or it would be party central in no time. I cleaned it all up, and am happy to report most all signs of the fire are gone. Spring flooding usually refreshes the Overhangs area each season anyway.

By Sean Butler
Jul 16, 2009

Can it honestly be said that ANY route on this boulder is 3 stars? Don't get me wrong, I think its cool that this boulder is in the middle of a field right in Shakopee, but a 3 star route should be "great" and I have to say that anything on this rock does not fall into that category

By Sean Wolf
From: Denver, CO
Jul 19, 2009

I feel like Beehive is an aesthetic line up a pretty clean face and for the grade deserves three stars (bouldering isn't geared towards the easier grades). That being said, I was there last week with a better climber who was working on a cool ascending traverse problem that covered that whole face of the boulder and it definitely looked like it would warrant three stars. But then again I just gave a problem near the Flatirons three stars today that four others had given no more than two stars. Talking about this is just silly though, as its even more subjective than grades. I understand that it could be deceiving to call a climb awesome if it is a chosspile as then people will be dissapointed for making a trip out to the boulder - but I definitely don't think that is the case here. And yes, beings that it is in Minnesota affects it a bit, but not much as I live on the Front Range where there is endless bouldering and I was pleased to spend an afternoon tinkering around in the swamp.

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Jul 29, 2009

I have had two very good summer sessions down in the Swamp the last couple of weekends. I am totally astounded at the lack of bugs, but the drought must have impacted the little blood suckers. I was curious about the new ss route that starts from the little round hueco/pocket on the east face of the boulder. From the looks of the chalk, the new line goes slightly right and straight up from the pocket and may be a first. The pocket is also the start for another sit start project I have been working on. It goes right for six feet and joins a standing start problem I did back in January of 2006. The standing start version, which begins with an orange sloper (six feet right and six feet up from the pocket) for the right hand and a black crimp for the left, seemed pretty hard. There are a few footholds, but the bottom of the problem is undercut pretty sharply. It took the ultra-dry conditions of January to send it. I called it Sports Medicine and figured it was at least V4. The sit start variation has to be a couple of grades harder than that. It may be one of the hardest problems on the boulder.

By Alex Oenes
From: mpls, mn
Aug 3, 2009

Anyone find a green (with some sort of pattern) chalk bag out there?

I'm not forgetful when it comes to trash, but when it comes to important things like my flashlight (long, skinny maglite), pocket knife (red swiss), and my chalk bag - I'm really spacey.

If anyone found it, please let me know. Thanks!

By Andrew Jay
From: minneapolis, MN
Aug 10, 2009

Hey guys!
Just went out and climbed it with some friends for the first time a few weeks ago, and it was pretty good time! Also we took care of the "pocket of pain" and had some intense bee extermination going on, check out the video here

By Alex Oenes
From: mpls, mn
Aug 16, 2009

Andrew - What bad ass videos! Laughed muh ass off through the extraction of the bees in the pocket of pain video (and got a kick out of the dino-ish start) ... and, I'm surprised how well the two videos did the place justice. NOICE.

Hope to run into you all out there sometime soon!

By Andrew Jay
From: minneapolis, MN
Aug 17, 2009

haha thanks tigerbeat!

it's always great to hear feedback, I'm glad you enjoyed the vids!
we're planning on getting back out there again soon.
we for sure will have to run into eachother sometime, do you climb at midwest mountaineering much?

By Cory Livingston
From: Indianapolis, IN
Sep 25, 2009

Approach Clarification:

My buddy and I went out here yesterday, and this boulder has some incredible features, and is worth the trek!

That aside, some clarification on the directions...

The road you want to turn off of (about 2 miles after 145th) is called Bluff Drive. You go west on Bluff Drive, then turn right at the T.

If you go all the way down and through the persons farm house road, you will have to cross some train tracks. Be very careful and inspect your car before crossing them! They have about a curb high bump you have to take, and it could severely damage your vehicle if it has a low ground clearance. (If you don't want to risk it, park about 300 yards up from the persons farm house on a pullout on the east side of the road.


We had a difficult time finding this place, and where we should turn off, that is why I am clarifying. I would love to know these other two places that you are talking about Paul, but it seems you are determined to keep them a bit of a secret (although some searching on the north side of the lake might yield results) ;)

Just to clarify, are they both in the park itself? Or are the North Shore Overhangs actually at the North Shore (aka Duluth and above)?

Next time we go out we are going to bring a brush and try and get the east/northeast side, it's really dirty. The Bees are docile as well now it appears.

By Injured Climber
From: Bloomington, MN
Sep 25, 2009

Thanks for clarifying the approach. The only problem is that driving on middle road past the train tracks is a bad idea. Its a wildlife refuge.

By Cory Livingston
From: Indianapolis, IN
Sep 26, 2009

Yeah I think that's what was confusing (for myself included), the only reason we drove past the train tracks was because it seems that their are about 2 parking spots before the gate (which is the entrance I believe), and we didn't want to park in the guys yard. I really didn't feel like we were parking on the wildlife refuge, but it's really hard to tell. Best thing to do (and what we will do in the future) is park up before the yard, and walk in (only adds a minute). Thanks for the clarification, it's a great area, and wouldn't want to get people upset at the climbers! :D

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Sep 28, 2009

By all means, please do not park beyond the sign that says "no parking beyond this point" (or something like that). Always park BEFORE the farmers yard and walk in. Cory has contacted me and I have given him directions to the NSO along with some sketchy beta on some of the better routes. I would wait one more weekend so the Renaissance Festival is over. I will be going back in a couple of weekends and clear the trail, stamp down the tall grass and brush off the holds. The fall season is about to begin!!

By Sean Wolf
From: Denver, CO
Oct 8, 2009

Hey Paul congrats on making it into the best of Rock and Ice (September Issue) :D

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Oct 9, 2009

I about fell off my chair when I saw it.

By Chris Craft
Dec 14, 2009

Cool to see that people are still climbing at the swamp- I've never climbed on the erratic, but the sandstone overhangs by the lake were pretty fun- I sessioned there a few times when I still lived in the area.

If you all enjoy climbing on granite boulders, head out to Swede's Forest one weekend- lots of fun stuff in the V0 to V5 range, with a few harder problems there as well.

I always wanted to climb on the stuff on the island, but never had the chance to get out there.

By Sam Daley
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Dec 17, 2009

Chris, or anyone who knows, where is Swede's Forest? I have only heard whispers of the bouldering there. It is always fun to explore a new place.

Also, does anyone know if the ice is thick enough to walk on yet? I am interested in exploring the island.

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Dec 21, 2009

There is an on-line guide that can be found on the Prairie Walls website, or just Google Swedes Forest and you will find it. There are also a number of videos showing some of the better problems. Swedes is good and worth the trip, but some the problems are a little mossy. Be very careful about access, which is no problem now, but don't do stuff like build fires or camp by the old quarry. The DNR gets very crabby about things like that. Keep a low profile and send.
As for the Island, only one way to find out about the ice...take the first step and see what happens!

By Nathan Migdal
From: Bloomington, mn
Dec 25, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone! This last Wednesday, while briefly bouldering (amid snowfall) the swamp's ISLAND with Sam et al, it became clear that this rocky oasis holds possibly the highest quality sandstone bouldering in the state. Paul, your description of this rock as being nearly quartzite-strong was no exaggeration. If only the Mysterious Island were larger and more of this near-perfect sandstone could be found around the swamp... Besides the NORTH SHORE OVERHANGS,(which actually feel chossy by comparison) and a few mediocre outcroppings, this bomber, weather-strengthened rock appears almost exclusively on the island. The potential for stellar traversing lines pretty high. Now with all of the snow we've gotten, I can't see bouldering here for a while unless a massive broom and leafblower-armed cleanup crew get to work on the place. Those of us there on Wednesday were talking about preexisting problems and ask that anyone with definite established Swamp Island climbs be a hero and post some info on them. This spot is pretty remote, so traffic shouldn't get too heavy out there... ever. Happy holidays.

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Jan 8, 2010

Hey Nathan, glad you were able to mount an expedition and explore The M Island. Conditions out there are pretty harsh in winter; the island catches blowing snow from all directions and drifting is a problem. Even on sunny days, the rocks can be thickly coated with frost and ice. Once spring arrives, the climbing gets better, but as the ice melts water starts to surround many of the boulders. I have done some problems out there; the obvious tall sharp arete, some sit starts and traverses and a couple of sit starts on a boulder sitting on the south side of the island that looks like a little flat iron. I have also been eying a couple of lines on the north side of the island. One in particular, a sit start under a dark overhang, seems like a good, hard line. Overall its just a fine little lump of sandstone that is unlike anything else around here. Next week it's supposed to warm up, so let's all get out there and send!

By Blake K
From: Carrboro, NC
Feb 12, 2010

Anyone up for an island expedition in the next couple of weeks? After hearing what ya'll had to say, I'm ready to see what it has to offer. Maybe we can get some of that gov't bailout $$$ and build a bridge so it can be sent in the summer too

By Matthew Carlson
Jul 11, 2010

Does anybody know if the river is still flooded? I went down there a week or so ago and the middle road was completely underwater.

By Sam Daley
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sep 13, 2010

Has anyone been to the overhangs recently? I am wondering if there are still submerged. Thanks for the help.

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Sep 28, 2010

I checked out the Overhangs a couple of weeks ago. It had dried out and was in climbable condition, but covered with sand and muck from the spring/summer flooding. I figured it will take a day or longer just to clean and brush it all off. The mosquitos were terrible! Now, I expect the area will be flooded again for at least a week. Probably same thing for the approach to the Big Boulder....water covered trail for at least a week or more. Such is the nature of swamp bouldering I guess, but fall flooding like this is pretty uncommon in my experience.

By Alex Oenes
From: mpls, mn
Oct 18, 2010

The swamps fall colors are dwindling and everything still seems to be underwater (as of wednesday of last week). I scoped out the overhangs and they were still swimming in at least six feet of water. I might check it out this weekend with my mtn bike, but without any high hopes.

Either way, october's a beautiful month for the swamp.

By Mr. Swan
Jan 16, 2011

Anyone been out to the boulder lately? Im thinking about trying to snowshoe in there sometime this week. It will obviously have a good deal of snow on it, but I am hoping to find some overhangs that are dry. Tons of snow means no need for a crash pad!! I grew up in Louisville township, and if I knew about this place back then, I would have been out there all the time. I need to go out there and climb everything I can. Definetly the boulder, and Island, and if I can find these overhangs!!! But Im pretty sure there won't be a trail to even get to the boulder. Luckily I live 5 mins from vertical endeavours now!

By Sam Daley
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Feb 4, 2011

Zach. I just went snowshoeing at the Swamp on Tuesday. The winter makes it easy to see the rocks clearly. You will not have any problems finding the North Shore Overhangs! If you make it out before it snows again, you should be able to enjoy top outs that I cleared on the island!

However! If you are out on the water be careful near the shores there are a few places where runoff has melted and thinned the ice, tread lightly!

By Mr. Swan
Feb 9, 2011

Im going to head out there on Feb 12th, temps should be mid-30s, and partly sunny. Ill bring a few brushes to clean and a camera to get some pics.

By nate moren
Feb 13, 2011

Found this pic of the louisville boulder the other day. It's from a magazine a long time-ago.

photo of a write up on louisville boulder
photo of a write up on louisville boulder

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Feb 17, 2011

I checked out the NSO yesterday. Melt water is running down the face just about all along the length of the crag. In other words, it was soaked. Aside from that, a nice day to be out. By the way, is that a copy of Vertical Jones that you have there Nate? That is pretty much the article that started it all back in the last century.

By Dave43
Mar 11, 2011

Any chance of bringing a noob out? I'll bring the beer.

By Dave43
May 29, 2011

The middle road past the train tracks is flooded. I walked about 200 yards through 2-3 feet of water and gave up after I walked within a foot of a 3 foot snapping turtle. Seemed like a little too much effort. I went to the 145th parking lot and hiked to the trail where it splits to jabs farm but that was majorly flooded also. Looked for the Northshore Overhangs but no luck. It might be possible to go south from the lot past the Ehmiller site to the rock but I didn't have time to try it.

By GarrisonH
Sep 19, 2011

I added a new route, West Side Traverse. Any thoughts on it would be great.

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Sep 19, 2011

You have posted one of the best problems on the boulder. You are not the first, but I get the feeling it hasn't been done corner to corner for a while now. Most people start from the gaston on the west face and go up and left from there. I agree with your rating. By the way, the man eating snapping turtles are gone and the approach is back to normal; even better than normal. Same for the Overhangs except the ground under them is totally saturated. Bring a tarp to put under your pad and avoid during weekends until the Ren Festival is over.

By Matt Swanson
Oct 17, 2011

Short Louisville Swamp Bouldering Video

By Greeley
Aug 21, 2012

Does anyone know if you need a crash pad to boulder here? I don't own a pad, and the boulder looks to be surrounded by grass. Is the grass enough to cushion a fall? Thanks.

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
May 7, 2013

The road into the Big Boulder is no longer under water. Wood ticks are out already. Otherwise the boulder is in good shape. I swear the split in the boulder is getting wider each year and the west face is a little more overhung than it used to be. Maybe one day it will fall over completely.

By Brettimus
May 19, 2013

Thanks for the update on this boulder, Paul! I just heard about it yesterday, and I'm excited to give it a whirl.

By Laura DeShane
From: St. Louis Park, Minnesota
May 20, 2013

Just a thought, the road you turn on to from 169 is called Bluff Dr. It might make the directions a bit more clear.

By Jack and family
Jun 10, 2013

Does anyone have info about the conditions?

I'm headed past the swamp on the way to Blue Mounds tomorrow, and would love to score a few ticks if it isn't flooded out.

By Ben I
Aug 23, 2013

This is an updates link of the FWS trail map:
www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Louisville%20Swamp%20Trail%20Map.p>>>

By Paul Getzke
From: Bloomington, mn
Jul 15, 2014

Has anyone done a complete traverse of the Big Boulder? I don't know of anyone who has. Its occurred to me that it may be one of the last great problems to be done on the boulder. I know when the flood waters retreat and the boulder is open for business again, that is going to be my next project. I welcome all to try it, too. Let us know if you send it.