Route Guide - iPhone / Android - Partners - Forum - Photos - Deals - What's New - School of Rock
Login with Facebook
Mississippi Palisades

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Blank Face TR 
Crack-a-Toe-a T,TR 
Difficult Crack T,TR 
Double Overhang T,TR 
Ethos TR 
Face Off TR 
First Crack T,TR 
Java TR 
Knob Off TR 
Next To Nothing 12.a TR 
Nosey T,TR 
Over and Up TR 
Pretzel TR 
Pretzel Face TR 
Return Engagement TR 
Second Crack T,TR 
Sentinel Chimney T,TR 
Sentinel East Face T,TR 
Sentinel North Face TR 
Snaky T 
Third Crack TR 
Twin Cracks TR 
Up and Off TR 
Unsorted Routes:

Mississippi Palisades 

Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 42.1454, -90.1662 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 15,276
Administrators: Dave Hug, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: metrozen on Jun 11, 2008
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Blank Wall Area showing routes left to right@SEMIC...


The Palisades is a great area for anyone living near Chicago who can get away for a weekend. It is located on the Illinois side of the Mississippi river, just across from Iowa. The limestone bluffs rise roughly 180 feet above the river level in some places, though none of the climbs are actually this long. Pretty much everything here is top-rope, with tons of natural anchor options in the trees and some boulders on top of the walls. This limestone can get pretty manky - especially with wet and even just humid weather. There are a few routes that are in bee territory here, which can make the climbing very exciting. Because of the humid and buggy summers, the best time to climb here is October to November. A nice dry crisp fall morning here is ideal.

The favorite section here goes by a few names, but most people know it as "The Cove". It is a stone ledge roughly 30 feet by 30 feet behind the dominant Sentinel Tower. Several routes can be found in this small space, easy to moderate, plus a few harder lines. Getting into The Cove requires a class 4 scramble over some well worn holds (smooth as glass) and a few boulders.

Due to the close nature of the routes in The Cove, things can get very crowded here. Overlapping belay stances can be a hassle, but climbers with half a wit and a dose of courtesy shouldn't have any trouble. During the busy summer weekends the whole area can become overrun with gearless trundle-happy yokels who WILL step on your rope, gear, dog, etc. Be advised. Watch for flying cigarette butts from the observation deck above.

There are a few other areas along the palisade - please contribute if you are familiar. I'll do my best to update this soon.

Getting There 

Use a map to find Savannah, Il and then head north a few miles to Mississippi Palisades State Park. Camping is available at the north end of the park, but if you want to get away from the Good 'ol RV Folk (who mostly stay huddled within their giant rolling metal crap houses), you'll have to pack it in a mile or two to the primitive sites on the eastern hills. This is not recommended for climbers, however, as you'll be an awfully long walk from the crag. Instead, look for tent sites at the south end of the campground (sites #45-60). You'll be reasonably far from the RV's, and you can still car camp and then drive to the crag, which is located at the south end of the park. Ask park staff for more details and a map.

24 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',12],['2 Stars',9],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Mississippi Palisades:
First Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   
Nosey   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   
Third Crack   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     TR, 40'   
Sentinel North Face   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 60'   
Difficult Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   
Double Overhang   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   
Pretzel   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 60'   
Blank Face   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- E4 5c     TR, 1 pitch, 60'   
Browse More Classics in Mississippi Palisades

Featured Route For Mississippi Palisades
Climbs from left to right Next To Nothing 5.12 Blank Wall5.11 Turtles For Peace5.10+

Blank Face 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c  IL : Mississippi Palisades
Little pockets are the trick on this one. Big first move with smears up to mono and 2-finger pockets. Sustained for the first two thirds, then it mellows out a little....[more]   Browse More Classics in IL

Photos of Mississippi Palisades 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, ...
TR Anchors setup for Nosey, Son of Godzilla, and Pretzel.  Also used it for the bottom section of 2nd Crack, but be warned it will tend to draw you around Nosey if you loose your footing. <br />Had Two nice bolts and a simple sling around th top rock as my backup.
BETA PHOTO: TR Anchors setup for Nosey, Son of Godzilla, and P...
A view of the Ol' Miss from the sentinel chimney.
A view of the Ol' Miss from the sentinel chimney.
Scott Begins a crusty traverse under Ozzie's Point
Scott Begins a crusty traverse under Ozzie's Point
good view of Sentinel area.  Starting from the large crack on the left which is 3rd crack (5.7), you can see graduation day (5.12, pretzel face (5.9),Son of Godzilla (5.11), Nosey (5.6), Second crack (5.5), Blank Wall (5.10), and ending with 1st crack (5.6)
BETA PHOTO: good view of Sentinel area. Starting from the lar...
Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters
Old Ed gets ready to rap off North Face.
Old Ed gets ready to rap off North Face.
Lucy and Tom on Sentinel.
Lucy and Tom on Sentinel.
Looking at Nosey from the bottom of the Sential Wall.
Looking at Nosey from the bottom of the Sential Wa...
Crack-a-toe-a 5.4
BETA PHOTO: Crack-a-toe-a 5.4
java 5.4
java 5.4
The Sentinel.
The Sentinel.
Ethos (5.10)
Ethos (5.10)
Comments on Mississippi Palisades Add Comment
Show which comments
By Gary Taylor
Sep 26, 2009

The area between the Sentinel and the main wall is referred to many times on this site as "The Cove". Climbers in the 80's called it "The Quadrangle". In the 60's it was known as "The Cleft". It is a wonderfully pleasant place to spend an afternoon climbing and socializing.

By Joe Ballent
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 16, 2009

agreed! was there this october and witnessed a wedding on top of the Sentinal- the groom led the route in his tux! pretty impressive.

By A.J. W
From: Stillwater, OK
Mar 27, 2010

wondering about the routes referred to first and second crack? depending on what website and person these can be two different route each. I understand first crack to be between pretzel and double overhang and second crack to be between nosey and black face. I added third crack as a route located between blank face and up and off. wondering if anyone has clarification or whether this naming can be agreed on? thanks and the cove is a great little crag for the midwest

By Dan Roberts
From: Eastern Iowa
Jul 27, 2010

A top rope version of Red Wing, Mn. Fun place to climb with great views and exposure. Good footwork refresher after climbing at Pictured Rocks. What is the story with those beautiful cliffs south of the Indian Head? Did I spy bolts?