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Missouri Rock Climbing 

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Submitted By: Erik Pohlman on Dec 18, 2006
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Beautiful Missouri Granite


The majority of climbing that has been developed in Missouri can be found on the Western side of the state with the exception of the St. Francis Mtns on the Eastern side. Much of our climbing is found along our many rivers and lakes and many of the bluffs face south, making most of them fantastic winter destinations.

Popular Areas Near Kansas City

Cliff Drive

Climbing can be found almost in the heart of Kansas City? Too good to be true? Nope, it's there!

Along an old scenic byway, right off the road, limestone can be found. The area is shady, in more ways than one, but it seems to be improving. The rock tends to be smooth, forcing harder grips and improved foot technique. Perfect for training.

Summer can be hot and buggy and winter can be cold.


Rock Climbing Photo: Resurrection

South-facing, decent quality limestone, lakeside bluffs. Sun all day, but usually windy. On good weekends, you may see 2 or 3 other parties.

Mostly vertical to slightly overhanging sport routes, though there are a few exceptions (trad, steep). Most require a 50 meter rope, but a 60 is necessary for the super sweet Tigerbill. Since access is from the top, toproping is also an option on most climbs.

Raven Rocks

Standalone sandstone towers. “Deep” water soloing. Year round climbing. Free Camping. Fixed steel lower-offs. And tons of easy to moderate sport climbs!

Popular Areas Near Columbia

Capen Park

Small crag with about 20 routes and around 75' tall. Most of the routes are tope roped due to poor limestone rock quality. Very easy access for anyone, so beware of non-climbers at the top of the cliffs.

There are a few bolts on top of the cliff but expect to build natural anchors off the trees up top.


Rock Climbing Photo: Around Town
Around Town

Just a handful of climbs all rated 5.9 and up. Most climbs can be top-roped with long runners but there are a few bolted routes. Classic crack climb needing large cams as pro.

Popular Areas Near St. Louis

Elephant Rocks State Park

Rock Climbing Photo: Tablecloth

Welcome to Missouri's finest granite bouldering destination! Elephant Rocks offers a plethora of bouldering problems for every level climber. The rock is a large grained granite, which can be quite sharp and abrasive. Very good for friction though. Elephant Rocks is located about an hour and a half from St. Louis.

The park can be really crowded with family tourists, but I have yet to see any other climbers there. Because of the crowds, climbing is only recommended on weekdays. Also, roped climbing is prohibited within the park.

Johnson Shut-Ins State Park

A direct quote from Jim Thurmond & Joe Reidhead's book Rock Climbs of Johnson Shut-Ins State Park:

"During the climbing season, Johnson Shut-Ins is an excellent place for beginner climbers to get off the ground outdoors. It is an equally excellent crag for the expert who wants to shred tips and get a good pump. Often, more then one route can be climbed using the same top rope. The density of the routes allows beginners and experts to climbs side by side."

Johnson Shut-Ins is Missouri's old school traditional crag. The wall cut out by the Black River offers great possibilities for traditional leads. Much like Vedauwoo or Joshua Tree, Johnson Shut-Ins is a great destination for all.

St. Francois State Park

Limestone is many areas around St. Louis can be of extremely poor quality, but at the park that is not the case. Upon arrival, hike up the steep trail and you will meet a bolted wall of extremely high quality rock. This is the first area. From here, head left, down the bluff line and there are there is one separate area with bolted routes you will find. The farthest area has three bolted routes with bullet-hard rock and one great looking trad climb up a dihedral.

Popular Area Near Springfield

Peters Branch

Rock Climbing Photo: Jabba the Hut
Jabba the Hut

Peter's Branch is a locally popular sandstone bouldering crag near Sparta, MO. Sitting within the Mark Twain National Forest with no official parking, it is not the most accessible crag. However, this crag does feature climbing from V0 to V10 on a some unique features in a remote setting. It is definitely worth the trouble.

Getting There 

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Articles on Missouri Climbing 

Climbing in the City of Fountains

Climbing Magazine Article On Missouri

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 1.3 miles from here

595 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',71],['3 Stars',201],['2 Stars',204],['1 Star',103],['Bomb',4]

Classic Climbing Routes in Missouri

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Missouri:
The Tennishoe Crack   V0 4     Boulder   EM: Elephant Rocks State Pa... : A: Picnic Area
Saddle Sore   V2 5+     Boulder   Swope Boulders : The Prow
Andromeda Sprain   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 100'   (Closed) Andromeda Sprain : The Andromeda Sprain Wall
Lighthouse Traverse   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 150'   WM: Raven Rocks : The Lighthouse (middle rock...
Birds of a Feather   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, TR, 50'   WM: Raven Rocks : The Lighthouse (middle rock...
Lefty   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 35'   WM: Cliff Drive : Big and Small Crack Areas
Rubens Range   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 35'   EM: St. Francois State Park : D: Thurmond Slab
Karp Tool   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 65'   North Area : Battress Area
North of the North Fourty   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   WM: Monegaw Springs : Burns Side
Chomping the Bit   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   WM: Cliff Drive : The Overhang
The Open Book   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   CM: Capen Park : Main Area
Planet of Sound   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   WM: Monegaw Springs : Burns Side
Onlooker   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 35'   EM: St. Francois State Park : B: Tre France Wall
Turn Your Head and Cough   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   WM: Trapper's Camp : Pontoon Wall
Little Trad   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 35'   EM: St. Francois State Park : B: Tre France Wall
Simple Math   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 60'   North Area : Battress Area
Pinkerton   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 45'   WM: Monegaw Springs : Burns Side
Streaker   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 65'   (Closed) Wilton : The Sport Wall
Tre France'   5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a     Sport   EM: St. Francois State Park : B: Tre France Wall
The Grand Finale   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 55'   WM: Monegaw Springs : The Refuge
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Missouri

Featured Route For Missouri
Rock Climbing Photo: Onlooker

Onlooker 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13  Missouri : EM: St. Francois State Park : B: Tre France Wall
Use small holds and get to a great pocket. Throw left and catch a good hold. Cross over right and work into good jug. Pull through one more tricky section and use good holds to reach the anchor....[more]   Browse More Classics in Missouri

Photos of Missouri Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo credit goes to David McGee
Photo credit goes to David McGee
Rock Climbing Photo: After years of wondering if anyone else would appr...
After years of wondering if anyone else would appr...
Rock Climbing Photo: Brad McConnell on No Way Out V3, Elephant Rocks S....
Brad McConnell on No Way Out V3, Elephant Rocks S....
Rock Climbing Photo: Marcus Floyd on New Beginnings V4, Lower Pool Boul...
BETA PHOTO: Marcus Floyd on New Beginnings V4, Lower Pool Boul...

Comments on Missouri Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 12, 2017
By John McMullen
From: El Portal, CA
Apr 25, 2009
Is Johnson's Shut-ins off limits to climbing? I used to climb there when I was a kid ... curious to know why it's not listed?
By Dan Rapp
Mar 8, 2011
Johnson shut inns is open to climbing from labor day-memorial day, you must have helmut, and fill out forms, rangers will check!
By haydefree
Aug 10, 2011
İs there any climber who live in branson??? I live in branson and ı cant find climbing wall or rock or partner!!!
By "J"
Aug 23, 2011
New to the KCMO area, in need of a climbing partner I am a solid 5.10* climber from NM and not sure how the climbs are really rated up here. I am around 180 pounds and I like to climb up (ha) so I may fall on you.
Any takers?
By Mike-R
From: springfield, Mo
Dec 27, 2011
Looking for a climbing partner to go crag hunting with me. I live in the Springfield area. The crag is 30 mins away from springfield. That's all I say. The crag is based on a topo map and needs to be explored. (found the cliff. Turns out you need a boat to get there across the river. Stay tune of more information)
By Eero46
Feb 20, 2012
Hey guys go check out the pickle springs area. I am trying to help develop the bouldering scene there.
By Mike-R
From: springfield, Mo
Apr 5, 2012
Any climbers going to trappers this weekend? I'm coming in from Springfield and it would be nice to know that others were around in case something happened.
By Paul Hutton
From: Boise, ID
Dec 2, 2012
I'm home in Blue Springs for 2 weeks. I top rope and sport climb, wanting to get a handle on trad. I like any assortment of difficulty. I'm goin to check out some crag at a quarry near stadium drive today. Hit me up! 816-529-5284

Edit 03DEC2012: Mmk nvm, I mixed up Columbia's Stadium Dr with my KC's Stadium Dr! So don't make that mistake!
By Tapawingo Markey
Dec 10, 2012
Hey, I had posted on the forums and didn't get any replies. Anyone going to be around Dec 23-30? I'll be in the KC area and either going to ibex or heading down to warsaw for a day. Let me know if you're interested, thanks!
By Paul Hutton
From: Boise, ID
Dec 12, 2012
I'm itching to hit Capen Park tomorrow (Thursday 13th). Hit me up! 816-529-5284.
By Donovan Allen
From: Subaru
Dec 30, 2013
Hey, anyone know of any climbing around Osceola or Stockton lake? I know there is plenty of rock down there. Just wanted to know if anyone is putting up routes in the area. Gonna visit some family who live by Stockton come spring. Def wanna climb even if I have to rap bolt some FA's, but I figure I should ask the locals opinion first.
Thanks - DoNstamos
By Jay Grave
May 19, 2015
Is there a rock climbing guide to bouldering and sport routes at Lake of the Ozarks State park? I can't find anything.
By Eero46
Feb 17, 2016
Found a good article discussing the KC climbing scene.
By Scott Riley
From: Columbia, Missouri
Nov 30, 2016
Since Mo' Beta's release on 10/4/16, 5 new routes have been developed in Boone County (Providence/Wilton) with more coming (as of 11/30/16). The climbing in Missouri is growing, pretty exciting!
By mike varlotta
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jan 12, 2017
I have the month of July to climb around the midwest. Our goal is to climb in as many of the midwest states as possible. We will be climbing from MI down to OK and possibly TX and AR. I know that it's not a great month to be climbing in those parts, but it's when i have the time off so I'm going to have to make due. We will probably only spend a day in MO. Can somebody recommend what the best summer destination in the state would be for a quick hit. I am hoping that with good beta about chasing shade we can get in a day that will be ok. Any other beta about destinations in the region not to be missed would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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