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The Holy Boulders

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The Holy Boulders Rock Climbing 


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Location: 37.6197, -89.4188 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 43,669
Administrators: Dave Hug, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Joe Sambataro on Apr 29, 2013
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Jason Kehl on Atlas V5 at the Holy Boulders. Photo...

Description 

THE BOULDERS: The Holy Boulders is the largest concentration of boulders in Southern Illinois. There are over 200 developed boulder problems from V0 to V13 and has the potential for hundreds more. The sandstone boulders and cliff line are known for their Fontainebleau-like perfect friction and aesthetic lines.

THE SEASON: Its highly recommended to visit the Holy Boulders October to early April and avoid a trip May through September when the humidity is high and the poison ivy, ticks, and chiggers are out. It is still a very wild place so be smart and climb safe!

THE HISTORY: The Holy Boulders are open thanks to efforts by local climbers, Illinois Climbers Association, and Access Fund to acquire the property when the Tripp Family put it up for sale in May 2012, putting the boulders at risk of indefinite closure. The Tripp Family owned the property for 47 years and gave climbers permission to climb when it was discovered in 2004, but public information was limited due to its unprotected status. Big thanks to all that have donated and volunteered already, including Climb So Ill, Conservation Alliance, Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois, Moosejaw, and countless individuals. For more information and history, go online to www.accessfund.org/holyboulders

THE RULES: Please remember to practice leave no trace ethics, pack it in-pack it out, and stay on existing trails where possible. Respect adjacent private property to the south and do not drive up or approach from Tripp's Lane. Overnight use, ORV/vehicular access, and hunting are not permitted on the property. Please contact Access Fund or ICA immediately if there are any concerns.

Stay tuned for updates and users are welcome to add boulders and boulder problems to this database. Happy bouldering and Go Online to Donate Today!

Rock Climbing Photo: Protect What's Holy
Protect What's Holy


Getting There 

The Holy Boulders are in Jackson County, Southern Illinois. It is 30 minutes southwest of Carbondale; 2.5 from St. Louis; 2.5 from Evansville; 3.5 from Nashville; and 5.5 hours from Chicago. It is nestled on the western slopes of Shawnee National Forest on both public and private land.

There are two parking areas off Macedonia Road to the west of the property. From the northern end directly across from FS Road 2078, spot a hiking trail just before a road cut to the powerline easement. Follow this path in the trees along a small stream before crossing the powerline cut. After 15 minutes (2/3 mile), you cross into Access Fund property and come to a small kiosk at the Mollusk boulder. Please remember that parking and the initial approach are on Shawnee National Forest - please leave no trace and do not improve the trail. Not all local roads are clearly marked in the area and cell service can be spotty, so upload the driving directions beforehand.

Click Here for Driving Directions

The main access point may change in the future. Check in for updates.

Rock Climbing Photo: 2012 Mini Guide
2012 Mini Guide


Climbing Season



Weather station 6.1 miles from here

87 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',11],['3 Stars',33],['2 Stars',37],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',2],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',1],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',3],['V2-3',26],['V4-5',21],['V6-7',21],['V8-9',6],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',7],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Holy Boulders

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Holy Boulders:
Public Enemy   V1-2 5     Boulder   Public Enemy Boulder
Tennis Shoe Arete   V2- 5+     Boulder   Shadow of a Man Area
The Mollusk   V2 5+     Boulder, 10'   Mollusk Boulder
KFC   V2-3 5+     Boulder, 10'   Shadow of a Man Area
Comfortably Numb   V3 6A     Boulder, 15'   Shadow of a Man Area
Your Body is a Wonderland   V3-4 6A+     Boulder, 5'   911 Aretes
Embryo Stasis   V4 6B PG13     Boulder, 8'   Vultures Nest Boulders
Enlightenment   V4 6B     Boulder, 10'   Illuminati Boulders
Atlas   V4+ 6B+     Boulder   Atlas Boulder
Tyler Durden   V5 6C     Boulder, 15'   Tyler Durden Area
Open Gates   V5 6C     Boulder, 10'   Open Gates Boulder
Shadow of a Man   V5 6C     Boulder, 15'   Shadow of a Man Area
Undercling King   V5-6 6C+     Boulder, 15'   Illuminati Boulders
Calypso   V6 7A     Boulder, 10'   Atlas Boulder
The Red Sea   V6 7A     Boulder   Red Sea Boulder
Flugelhorn   V6 7A     Boulder, 7'   Open Gates Boulder
Brown Cow   V6 7A     Boulder   Brown Cow Area
Onyx   V6+ 7A     Boulder, 10'   Illuminati Boulders
Jungle Book   V8+ 7B+     Boulder, 15'   Illuminati Boulders
Brown Recluse   V9 7C     Boulder, 18'   Brown Recluse Boulder
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Holy Boulders

Featured Route For The Holy Boulders
Rock Climbing Photo: Abbey Smith on the opening moves of Shadow  (from ...

Shadow of a Man V5 6C  IL : The Holy Boulders : Shadow of a Man Area
One of the best of the grade the Holies has to offer. Starting on a low jug, move up to a slopey sidepull, do some magic with your feet and reach your left hand up to a bad crimp. Get your feet up, and do a tricky move to a blocky jug in the middle of the face. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in IL

Photos of The Holy Boulders Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Ross McKinney on Shadow of a Man.  Photo by Thomas...
Ross McKinney on Shadow of a Man. Photo by Thomas...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jason Gatmaitan exhibiting the lack of footholds o...
Jason Gatmaitan exhibiting the lack of footholds o...
Rock Climbing Photo: The new kiosk!
BETA PHOTO: The new kiosk!
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo by Thomas Diehl
Photo by Thomas Diehl
Rock Climbing Photo: Thank these folks if you enjoy the new flattened/s...
Thank these folks if you enjoy the new flattened/s...
Rock Climbing Photo: Patrick Graham milk the Brown Cow.  Photo by Thoma...
Patrick Graham milk the Brown Cow. Photo by Thoma...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pete Temmens on a route next to the V3 on the firs...
Pete Temmens on a route next to the V3 on the firs...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pete Temmens on Shadow of a Man, proving yoga to i...
Pete Temmens on Shadow of a Man, proving yoga to i...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ross McKinney showing where the name Jungle Book c...
Ross McKinney showing where the name Jungle Book c...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Loberg on the corner route near Shadow of a M...
Jeff Loberg on the corner route near Shadow of a M...
Rock Climbing Photo: Corner route down by Seam's Easy (Root of the Prob...
Corner route down by Seam's Easy (Root of the Prob...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is what Seam's Easy does to the face.  Photo ...
This is what Seam's Easy does to the face. Photo ...
Rock Climbing Photo: from the comp 2014
BETA PHOTO: from the comp 2014
Rock Climbing Photo: from the comp
BETA PHOTO: from the comp
Rock Climbing Photo: Pete Temmens on an unknown route near Shadow of a ...
Pete Temmens on an unknown route near Shadow of a ...
Rock Climbing Photo: from the comp 2014
BETA PHOTO: from the comp 2014
Rock Climbing Photo: This is the map that is posted on the kiosk.
BETA PHOTO: This is the map that is posted on the kiosk.

Comments on The Holy Boulders Add Comment
Show which comments
By Lucas Chisausky
Nov 6, 2013
Hey I am just wondering if there is primitive camping in the holy boulders area, and if not where the closest camping would be?
By JD Borgeson
Feb 5, 2015
Best camping we found was at Murphysboro lake. we tried out devils backbone, but it was kind of sketchy. also read about a place called turkey bayou (?), but didn't check it out.
By Max Cody
From: Carbondale, IL
Jul 20, 2015
Anyone have beta for the trad lines here?
By Dylan Pike
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 30, 2015
I know of three traditional lines. From the large roof at the cliffline, head to the climber's right. You will see an offwidth, which I haven't climbed. If you continue (maybe 50 yards) you will come to a nice hand crack. I've climbed it a couple times. It probably goes at 5.7 If you head back the other way, pass the roof, and stop across from the shadow of a man area, you will see another roof with a fist crack leading up to it. Climb the crack to the roof, crawl to the left and finish in a slot. This line is pretty tame (5.6?)

The cliff is pretty short (40ft). Plan on bringing slings if you want to set up a toprope. You can scramble up to the top of the cliff, so no need to rap.
By Max Cody
From: Carbondale, IL
Sep 30, 2015
Thanks a bunch! I'm going to head out there in a few hours and try 'em out.
By Chris Arnold
From: St. Louis
Feb 8, 2016
If anyone is looking for another Holy Boulders bouldering partner, let me know. I'm rather new to climbing (July 2015), but would like to get some more outdoor experience. I do not have a crash pad as of now, strapped for cash for the time being. I have a few outdoor climbs under my belt at Stone Fort in Tennessee, usually as V4-V6 climber indoors.

Chris
By Daniel Arnold
Apr 15, 2016
Has there been a guidebook released yet for holy boulders? If not, are there any downloadable topos or other info anybody knows of?

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