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Pere Marquette State Park

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A: Lily Wall 
B: Lucky Strike Pillar 
C: Hornbein's Wall 
D: Community Effort Wall 
E: Ryan's Balcony  
F: Tombstone 
G: The Wall of Wild Things 
H: Eagle Wall 
I: Meadow Slab 
J: Boy Scout Cove 
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From MP's sister site:

Pere Marquette State Park Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 38.97116, -90.48796 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 49,087
Administrators: Dave Hug, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Dave Hug on Oct 17, 2016  with updates from Lisa Luedtke "Lage"
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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BETA PHOTO: Climbing Area Map


Please Note 

This area is IN PROGRESS. All climbing information will be added as soon as it is developed. As per the Site Superintendent, no development is to be done without the presence of the Illinois Climbers Association.

Area Ethics 

This is a brand new rock climbing site and it needs your help to protect and conserve the area. Always keep in mind that developing this site was a tall order and required countless labor hours to create what we now have. Always take into consideration that not everything will be clean and you will find holds to be dirty from time to time. Please do your part to be a responsible climber and help to educate others in the suggested site ethics.


-Please only use designated trails. We need your help to prevent erosion

-NEVER CLEAN HOLDS WITH A WIRE BRUSH! Limestone will eventually become polished, thus making it much harder/slicker to climb. If holds are dirty please only use Nylon or Horse/Board Hair Brushes to clean and remove dirt from holds.

-Do your best to abide by Leave No Trace Ethics

-Do not top rope from trees! It is extremely dangerous and has a good chance of knocking rocks free and onto your party

The Illinois Climbers Association has spent a lot of time and resources to create and give this area to the public. Please do your part to help them out and conserve this area for others.


The Illinois Climbers Association is proud to present Illinois' newest rock climbing destination, Pere Marquette State Park. Located an hour from St. Louis just outside the lively town of Grafton, Pere Marquette offers highly featured limestone formations great for climbing. Since early 2015 the ICA has been working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to gain their blessing for this project, which includes new trails, landscaping with natural rock steps, and both sport routes and top-anchors for traditional leads. This new climbing area will ultimately have over 60 climbing routes.

Rock Climbing Photo: Park Map
Park Map


Rock Climbing Photo: Illinois Climbers Association

Founded in 2002. The Illinois Climbers Association is a non profit organization dedicated to promoting climbing knowledge, conserving climbing environments, and serving the Illinois climbing community.

Importance/Significance of Pere Marquette 

This is the first time the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has reached out to the Illinois Climbers Association to develop a climbing area in one of it's state parks. Pere Marquette State Park is also the first Midwestern crag to be solely equipped with titanium fixed safety anchors. British-based Titan Climbing company's titanium "Eterna" bolts have been chosen for this project for longevity and high quality.

Come celebrate the ICA's huge achievement with the IDNR and enjoy a day of great limestone climbing!


Pere Marquette State Park has a nice campground located about 4 miles down the road right next to the visitors center. The park has some nice RV camping spots with electricity and a nice shower house, in addition, there is a primitive tent area located adjacent and separated from the RV area to help create separation. For more information and to reserve, Click Here The park also has a 1930's style CCC built lodge with nice accomodations as well. For more information Click Here

Getting There 

Refer to map

Special Thanks 

As written by David Hug:

A huge Kudos needs to be made to the volunteers who have donated so much of their time to this project. People are as follows:

-Ryan Richardson, former board member of the ICA, deserves credit at the one who got the ball rolling on the project. While spending time at Principia College, he and their club began cleaning up the faces, removing vegetation, and removing loose blocks from the wall. Thanks for your personal investment in the project.

-Bill Weishaar, huge proponent of the project. His contributions have been over the top and his investments include creating the switchback with stairs at the Lily Wall, helping to place equalized chains on many anchors, and helping to clean up/establish new routes in Boy Scout Cove, Meadow Slab, Ryan's Balcony, and Lily Wall

-Dan Rapp & Doug Rothe, both of which were also huge proponents for the project. They spent countless hours battling the heat and summer mosquito's to develop trails, remove invasive vegetation, and developing routes. Areas they helped create/develop include the Lily Wall, Lucky Strike Pillar, Meadow Slab, and Boy Scout Cove.

-Eric Ulner, former board member of the ICA, deserves credit and was incredibly helpful with negotiating with the IDNR to gain access to the climbing area.

-To the rest, thank you for your continued help and involvement in the site, we could have not done this without you.

Why Titanium? 

Pere Marquette climbing development is an important project for the state of Illinois. Due to its importance, the Illinois Climbers Association decided to use the best quality materials to bolt with. Since Titan Climbing is the only certified Titanium manufacturer, they were the clear choice. The lasting effect of Titanium will only been seen over time, and the hope is for the bolts to last generations.

A quick excerpt from Titan Climbing about the power of Titanium:

(Angele Sjong, PhD was commissioned to carry out an accelerated corrosion test using one of our titanium bolts and a 316 stainless steel hanger (the test was an ASTM G36 boiling magnesium chloride test). The stainless steel hanger cracked in less than 4 ½ hours, whilst the titanium bolt was still going strong after the full 28 days of the test’s duration. In fact Sjong concluded that the titanium bolt had remained completely unaffected. Sjong added “There is an enormous difference between these two materials. You cannot even compare the corrosion resistance of titanium and steel”)

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.9 miles from here

57 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',19],['2 Stars',26],['1 Star',10],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Pere Marquette State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Pere Marquette State Park:
Anchors Away!   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport   I: Meadow Slab
Spicy Guacamole    5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport   F: Tombstone
Welcome to the Glitter Side   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 35'   G: The Wall of Wild Things
Joeys Route   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport   I: Meadow Slab
Dead Mouse   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   A: Lily Wall
Keep Up Youth!   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad   A: Lily Wall
The Ring Neck    5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   A: Lily Wall
The Tallest Man   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   A: Lily Wall
River Nights & Flashlights   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport   F: Tombstone
The Mad Ferryman   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport   I: Meadow Slab
Catfish & Bottlenecks    5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport   B: Lucky Strike Pillar
Gillete Arete   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, 25'   E: Ryan's Balcony
Riverboat Gambler   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport   I: Meadow Slab
Piasa Pusher   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport   B: Lucky Strike Pillar
Hawkeye   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad   H: Eagle Wall
Mississippi Side Step   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 35'   I: Meadow Slab
Hespen Arete   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 40'   F: Tombstone
State Sponsored    5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   A: Lily Wall
Dietsche Legacy Ladder   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 40'   A: Lily Wall
The Father's Gift   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 35'   E: Ryan's Balcony
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Pere Marquette State Park

Featured Route For Pere Marquette State Park
Rock Climbing Photo: Dietsche Legacy Ladder

Dietsche Legacy Ladder 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b  Illinois : Pere Marquette State Park : A: Lily Wall
Begin climbing on the right side of the wall. Climb up and mantle on the ledge, clip in and traverse left. Follow the seam and mantle the top to reach the anchor....[more]   Browse More Classics in Illinois

Photos of Pere Marquette State Park Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Map
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview Map
BETA PHOTO: Overview Map
Rock Climbing Photo: The other fun pitch traversing on The Great River ...
The other fun pitch traversing on The Great River ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ashley campusing through the corner on pitch one o...
Ashley campusing through the corner on pitch one o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pere Marquette State Park
Pere Marquette State Park

Comments on Pere Marquette State Park Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 24, 2017
By Eero46
Nov 1, 2016
Any bouldering?
By Woodchuck ATC
Nov 8, 2016
Looking forward to exploring this new place on dedication date Nov.21st. Hope to get some pics of various routes, and hope to find a printout list at park office of these said new bolted routes too.
By Bill McKirgan
From: Cedar Rapids, IA
Jan 25, 2017
The hike in from the Great River Road parking areas is easy, but close to traffic so be alert and look out for each other. Once you are inside the gate the path is wide enough for one way traffic in a car! The picnic area is very nice and the trails are very well built.
By Tyler Metheney
From: St Louis
Feb 19, 2017
Does anyone know when the rest of the routes will be put up on the site? Ticked a few off the other day but have no idea what grade and or name. 3 were in the slab area an 1 was on the first wall you see from trail. Directly left of ringneck with a bouldery start.
By Dave Hug
From: Carbondale, Illinois
Feb 19, 2017
Hey Tyler,

Im doing my best to stay on top of the route database. Thanks for giving me an extra kick. As for the routes you say you "ticked" not sure what your talking about. everything in the "Meadow Slab" area is up and online, and as for a route with a bouldery start left of Ring Neck, those are all up to. Now we have added about 10 more routes recently, and you will see them up this upcoming week
By Tyler Metheney
From: St Louis
Feb 21, 2017
Awesome thanks man. You guys did really well out there. Much appreciated.
By Zee DreamLife
Feb 26, 2017
Lived here my whole life and without any climbing in this area, I literally moved to California for climbing opportunities. Just came back last week and went out today for a hike with a friend and noticed the anchors and bolts and we just looked at each other and smiled like kids with cake. This is epic! Definitely will be climbing here on a regular basis. So glad to see we are FINALLY getting some legit climbing out here! So Stoked! Would love to join the team making this all happen!
By Dave Hug
From: Carbondale, Illinois
Feb 27, 2017
Follow the Illinois Climbers Association on Facebook and check the website to stay up to date.
By k.konersease
Mar 7, 2017
I think I left my Black BD Belay gloves at the crag on Sunday Feb 26. If anyone sees them or has them, it'd be cool to be reacquainted with those hand protectors.
By Ed Henry
Apr 6, 2017
I would like to post a suggestion and a warning about the parking area after my last few climbing trips to Pere Marquette. First, please don't park parallel to the highway at the gravel pull-off parking area. Many more cars (and thus, climbers!) will be able to safely get to the crag if we park perpendicular to the road in this area. Second, when my crew and I were there this past weekend we noticed two pieces of gnarly metal poking out of the ground, right next to each other, in the center of the parking area. Beware! This stuff will surely cause a flat tire eventually. I should be going back to the bluffs in the next week or two and I'll take a sledge hammer to flatten this stuff. If someone gets there first and fixes this problem please post about it.

Oh! Hats off to the trail crew and the recent work they have done. Amazing!
By Patrick Rose
From: St. Louis, MO
Apr 23, 2017
The trail back to Boy Scout Cove and Meadow looks great. Big thanks to the ICA and all the volunteers that made this happen. I noticed there are two new bolted routes in Boy Scout Cove and another easier bolted route on the far right of Meadow, any word on route names/grades?
By Tyler Metheney
From: St Louis
Apr 24, 2017
Patrick if you look in the recent photos it gives the details on the new routes.


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