Southern Illinois boasts several climbing areas, but none have more history then Giant City State Park. For Illinois, this is the birthplace for hard, progressive climbing.
Within the park there are two main areas, Shelter 1 Bluff and the Devil's Standtable Area. The Makanda Bluff, "aka Shelter 1" is primarily a top rope and traditional climbing area with the majority of routes ranging 5.8 - 5.11. This area is great for short training sessions in preparation for other big areas. One route that deserve mentioning is City Limits. At the time it was established, it was one of the hardest routes in the country, and the world. Another climb worth mentioning is the Return to Forever boulder traverse that runs along the base of the bluff line. Beginning from Jills and running to the Camel's Hump, this challenging boulder problem will have you searching for rests while fighting to not get pumped. For those looking for more of a challenge, there is a low variation, and a super long variation that begins at the Chimney in the woods and stretches to the Camel's Hump.
Royal Robbins climbing George's sometime after his Yosemite adventures
The Devils Standtable area is primarily a bouldering area but does contain a few top rope and traditional lines. Fun intermediate boulder problems worth mentioning are The Standard, Buzz Arete, and the Center Line. Great advanced boulder problems that visitors are recommended to attempt are Devil on a Leash, Jah Arete, and Higher Education. All in all the area is great for quick bouldering sessions and due to its proximity to Carbondale its hard to beat.
A visiting climber attempting Leashless Angel
For the sake of organizing areas on Mountain Project, another bouldering area nearby that is not exactly within the confines of Giant City, but is close enough, is The Orchards. This small, yet secluded area offers several challenging problems and contains one very hard project that supposedly is yet to be sent. The recommended problem here is Duraflame, and is a fun/challenging test of anyones roof climbing abilities.
As a last note, a huge thanks should be given to Giant City's early pioneers for their vision and dedication to Illinois first climbing destination. Thank you: Craig Barnes, Jim Foster, Cris Franks, Joe Dittamore, Joe Heally, Adam Grosowsky, Gene Charleton, Greg Bailey, Alan Carrier, and many others for all of your work.
From Carbondale take Highway 13 East. Turn right (near the intersection of McDonalds and Walmart) and head South on Giant City Rd. Continue for about 15 minutes and the road leads directly to the park. From the entrance follow the signs to the appropriate destination.
Climbing Season For the All Locations area.
Weather station 3.4 miles from here
71 Total Routes
['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',33],['2 Stars',18],['1 Star',8],['Bomb',0]
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Giant City State Park:
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Latest Regional Forum Messages
By roger fritz from rockford, IL
From: Rockford, IL
Oct 15, 2012
We took a side trip from jackson falls to Giant city shelter one climbing area. There are some fine lines there. Why has no-one posted these? Are you locals keeping them secret? Come-on share them with us!!!
By Dave Hug
From: Carbondale, Illinois
May 16, 2014
Hey Roger, I assume your Danae's father and I'm pretty sure I have met you once. Anyway I am not sure why nobody has updated this site for G.C. but I have taken it upon myself to do so. Keep an eye out for updates and thanks for pointing this out.