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Fall River, Kansas 1980
ID 111370204 ·

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David Engel
Dec 1, 2015
Fall River, Kansas 1980  
Ryan Surface
Kansas City
Ryan Surface   Kansas City

Is there any more history you can dig up on Fall River? I recently repeated the Cave route and was surprised at the quality of the climb. 20 hours ago
David Engel
Santa Rosa, CA
David Engel   Santa Rosa, CA
Yes, this is Fall River. There is a series of great climbs just south of the railroad tracks. I climbed there frequently in 1979 and 1980. Perhaps I can dig up more photos. It does sound like it could be the "Cave Route" although we didn't use that name. It was the highest of the climbs at the site.

We never had access problems. I seem to recall that we asked once if we could park at the end of the road near the farmers house. We always parked in that area and never had a problem. No doubt, as time progressed, the landowner situation has changed. I doubt that the cliff is owned by the farmer above the cliffs. Most likely, it is owned by the railroad as it is just a few feet away. On the other hand, whose going to argue with an angry gun toting local. We camped on top of the rock at times.

I presume you could hike to the cliff along the railroad track from the town of Fall River. The cliff is at 37.608007, -96.002778. Although, these coordinates might not be exact. It was only 37 years ago that I climbed there. Using Google Maps, I measure that it is approximately 1.45 miles from the main street in Fall River to the cliff along the tracks. This street is named Merchants Ave. There are ways to make the approach shorter.

Perhaps some of the lower portions of the cliff were blasted by the railroad. However, most of the cliff is natural, well indurated sandstone. I am a geologist and I didn't observe drill holes or any blasting signatures on most of the rock. This area is rolling hills and Fall River cut downward through the sandstone. The photo shows jointing patterns and bedding planes seen in rock. Jul 30, 2017
This looks like it might be "The Cave Route" (unofficially 5.6 or 5.7) - tallest route in Fall River climbing area. Its 60 feet over the railroad tracks. This face was blasted by the railroad as it is above the river and they needed room for the tracks. This section of rock is all east of town and located by walking the tracks for about a mile or less. To my knowledge the land has always been privately owned and in the 1980's I climbed there with the Explorer post 888 (training) and camped and climbed there other times. I heard lots of stories of the owner running people off with a shotgun. If you can find Scott Heckathrone, he was by far the best Kansas climber to complete all the routes and attempt some that others from the outside rated. One was even stated to be 5.13 (unclimbable), which was a long vertical finger crack that flared out at about 20 feet up and then returned for the last 5 or so feet. Found about 40 feet to the right of The Cave Route just to the right of a low area of about a 12 foot vertical. Jul 6, 2017

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David Engel
Santa Rosa, CA