Where we climb
The gyms and crags mentioned below are the most common places the club climbs at but is by no means a complete list of all the places throughout the country that members go to climb. The club owns an extensive library of guidebooks for around the country that can be checked out if the information is not listed below.
Tucked away in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, Jackson Falls, or just Jackson for short, is the club’s home crag. It is home to miles of cliff line with tons of amazing climbing including sport, trad, and bouldering. Jackson is the site of the club’s callout trips as well as the place where club members most often go climbing. Its beautiful scenery, concentration of spectacular climbs, and proximity to Champaign make Jackson the favorite spot of many club members. On any weekend with nice weather, it’s a good bet you will find some familiar faces at Jackson, many of whom are there almost every weekend!
Red River Gorge
If you’ve only heard of one climbing area in this half of the country, chances are it’s the Red River Gorge. The Red is a world-renowned climbing area with thousands of sport and trad routes. There is plenty for everyone, with tons of beginner-level routes as well as the burly overhanging routes the Red has become famous for. Located in Kentucky, the Red is a bit farther than the other areas club members often visit, but the drive is well worth it for the sheer amount of amazing climbing available.
The Holy Boulders
Recently acquired by the Access Fund and opened to the public, the Holy Boulders is located in southern Illinois and is home to some legendary bouldering on world-class sandstone boulders. While it’s definitely not the only bouldering area in southern Illinois, the Holies is the largest, with over 200 established problems, making it a must for all local crash pad warriors. There is also an annual competition to to help preserve the climbing area that many club members attend.
First, yes, there is a place to deep water solo in our fair state. It is called Kinkaid Lake. This is a popular destination for climbers in the spring and summer months when you won’t die of hypothermia if you fall in the water. The routes start at mid 10 and go to the 12d/13a range.
The beta for Kinkaid is that there are two ways in. By boat or by hike. You can rent pontoon or smaller boats from the Kinkaid Marina. Also canoe or kayakable.
- Get to Ava Road off of Highway 127 however you want.
- From Ava Road go about 8 miles or just over to Lone Oak Road – turn left. There will be a sign for a winery or something.
- Go about 1.8 miles then turn right on to Ash Road. (a small gravel road, easy to miss or confuse as a driveway.
- Follow it around left till it ends at a IDNR Parking lot.
- The trail should follow two tire tracks through a grass field which runs into a forest.
- Follow the trail behind the gate through a couple fields and woods down to the lake. The trail you need to follow is plotted on one of the photos.
Just remember its easiest to walk through the plowed parts of the field. Hike is about 30 min. Watch for ticks and horseflies, both are especially bad this year.