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The Holy Boulders

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911 Aretes 
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The Holy Boulders  


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Location: 37.6197, -89.4188 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 54,106
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!

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.

2012 Mini Guide
2012 Mini Guide


Climbing Season



Weather station 6.1 miles from here

69 Total Routes

['4 Stars',8],['3 Stars',31],['2 Stars',24],['1 Star',6],['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',1],['V2-3',20],['V4-5',18],['V6-7',18],['V8-9',5],['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 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   V3 6A     Boulder, 10'   Mollusk Boulder
KFC   V3 6A     Boulder, 10'   Shadow of a Man Area
Sukha   V3 6A     Boulder   Brown Cow Area
Comfortably Numb   V3 6A     Boulder, 15'   Shadow of a Man Area
Helios   V4 6B     Boulder   Brown Cow Area
Your Body is a Wonderland   V4 6B     Boulder, 5'   911 Aretes
Enlightenment   V4 6B     Boulder, 10'   Illuminati Boulders
Embryo Stasis   V4-5 6B+ PG13     Boulder, 8'   Vultures Nest Boulders
Inspector Gadget   V5 6C     Boulder, 7'   Public Enemy Boulder
Seams Easy   V5 6C     Boulder, 15'   Shadow of a Man Area
Tyler Durden   V5 6C     Boulder, 12'   Mollusk Boulder
Shadow of a Man   V5 6C     Boulder, 15'   Shadow of a Man Area
Undercling King   V5-6 6C+     Boulder, 15'   Illuminati Boulders
Comfortably Numb Arete   V6 7A     Boulder, 15'   Shadow of a Man Area
Onyx   V6+ 7A     Boulder, 10'   Illuminati Boulders
Brown Cow   V6+ 7A     Boulder   Brown Cow Area
Darkside   V7 7A+     Boulder, 7'   Public Enemy Boulder
Jungle Book   V8+ 7B+     Boulder, 15'   Illuminati Boulders
Browse More Classics in The Holy Boulders

Featured Route For The Holy Boulders
The Red Sea

The Red Sea V6 7A  IL : The Holy Boulders : Red Sea Boulder
start low and left. make a few moves on whatever holds feel best to a hard move to gain a good hold in the middle of the face. keep moving right then up the heady, somewhat slopey topout...[more]   Browse More Classics in IL

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

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?
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