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Backbone State Park

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Backbone Trail area 
Cake Walk and Razor Wall 
Devil's Backbone 
Drive In Wall 

Backbone State Park Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 42.614, -91.5625 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 17,214
Administrators: Bill McKirgan, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ash Burton on Jun 11, 2009  with updates from J. Stark
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Fia tree-ed these baby raccoons and would not stop...


During the summer, very thick vegetation makes it difficult to see more than 10 feet into the woods, but there's quite a bit of rock to explore here. Some good rocks to boulder, TR and difficult cracks for trad.

Climbers must register to climb at the SOUTH ENTRANCE park office.

Be advised, the DNR website as well as the signage around the park says the office is near the eastern gate, but it has moved to the south gate.

Getting There 

Just south of Strawberry Point, IA.

See the official site for more detail:

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 5.2 miles from here

22 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',11],['2 Stars',7],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Backbone State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Backbone State Park:
Stairway to Heaven   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Drive In Wall
Herniated Disk   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Devil's Backbone : Backbone East
The Razor   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Cake Walk and Razor Wall
Slot Machine   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Drive In Wall
A-Wall   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 65'   Drive In Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Backbone State Park

Featured Route For Backbone State Park
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing 'The Razor' on top rope, July 22nd, 2012.

The Razor 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  Iowa : Backbone State Park : Cake Walk and Razor Wall
On the North facing wall, start at the lowest point on the buttress. Climb up through overhanging terrain to top....[more]   Browse More Classics in Iowa

Photos of Backbone State Park Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Wicked off-width roof just downstream from the Dri...
BETA PHOTO: Wicked off-width roof just downstream from the Dri...
Rock Climbing Photo: main climbing area at Backbone
main climbing area at Backbone

Comments on Backbone State Park Add Comment
Show which comments
By Kaner
From: Eagle
Jun 11, 2009
If anyone knows names of rocks or routes, history, more info, please advise. Thanks.
By Kaner
From: Eagle
Nov 10, 2010
Admins- Please allow Ash to do a proper write up for Backbone.
By Bill McKirgan
From: Cedar Rapids, IA
Dec 7, 2013
Ash Burton can edit the Backbone State Park pages.

Sorry so late in replying to your request.
By TylerVaughan Vaughan
From: Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Dec 25, 2013
Is bolting prohibited in the park?
By J. Stark
From: Iowa
Dec 25, 2013
That is correct, Tyler.
By G R
Dec 10, 2015
Has anyone really explored the bouldering here?
By Eero46
May 20, 2016
Greg, I am thinking of checking it out soon if you're in the area.
By Paul Cartwright
Oct 17, 2016
What is the standard rack for the area? I don't have anything bigger than a BD C4 #3. Would that work for most routes that say "SR" in backbone?

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