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Iowa 


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Administrators: Bill Mc Kirgan, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Jon Lauters on Jan 19, 2008
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Striking walls but limestone choss. Mines of Spai...

Description 

The majority of outdoor areas with quality rock are located on the eastern side of the state. Iowans and folks from out of state gather in great numbers at places like Pictured Rocks county park, and Indian Bluffs state wildlife management area, both near Monticello, Iowa.

Backbone State park, near Strawberry Point, has a variety of climbs that are more spread out. Hoot Bluff, between Monticello and Maquoketa, Iowa, is a notable winter destination because the south-facing climbs are often warm enough for winter free climbing. In summer, Hoot as well as other spots become very hot, humid and difficult to get to when the vegetation expands and obscures trails and views.



A NOTE TO: Mountain Project IOWA DESTINATION VISITORS AND LOCALS

Please comment on this or any other Iowa page. If you have ideas about improving information in descriptions, directions, or anything we want to know and will be more responsive. An Iowa local has volunteered to help maintain and improve the Mountain Project destinations for Iowa. So far the Indian Bluffs page has been expanded so that routes are now divided into 'areas'.

While working on this some changes were made to descriptions and directions, and in each case the author of the page was notified of the plans and asked for their input or if they had any objections. If we cannot contact an author or don't hear back from them after a few days we may make editorial changes.


Getting There 

Head towards the eastern side of the state via I80 or other appropriate highway or gravel road. Most of the climbing is within 40 to 50 miles of Monticello, Iowa, which is located on Route 151. Many of the state roads are in excellent shape, but the path you take in Iowa will have many 90-degree turns. The 151 is a more direct / diagonal route in many cases.

Whatever path you take, you will no-doubt see lots of flat landscape, then rolling hills. Keep the faith, and ask directions if you need to. Folks will help, and you will be rewarded with an opportunity to spend some time on quality limestone and see the hidden gems of Iowa.


135 Total Routes


['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',51],['2 Stars',45],['1 Star',21],['Bomb',2]
['<=5.6',11],['5.7',12],['5.8',16],['5.9',12],['5.10',30],['5.11',35],['5.12',13],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',1],['V2-3',3],['V4-5',1],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Iowa:
Tarzan   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Sport, 50'   Pictured Rocks : Shiprock
Mild Iowa   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 40'   Pictured Rocks : Mild Iowa Wall
The Razor   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Backbone State Park : Cake Walk and Razor Wall
Jugular   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 40'   Pictured Rocks : Mild Iowa Wall
Over The Counter   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a PG13     Sport, 75'   Pictured Rocks : Shiprock
Schoolio   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 40'   Pictured Rocks : Ice Cave Wall
Virgin Lemonade   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 30'   Pictured Rocks : Wild Iowa Wall
Hope for a Boner   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 40'   Pictured Rocks : A Wall
Three Strikes No Balls   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 40'   Pictured Rocks : Comic Gallery
Silk Road (aka Somn Somn)   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 70'   Pictured Rocks : Shiprock
Tazmanian Devil   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 30'   Pictured Rocks : Comic Gallery
Ghost Dancer   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, 70'   Pictured Rocks : A Wall
Liberal Tendencies   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Hoot Bluff
Bird in Hand   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 30'   Pictured Rocks : Wild Iowa Wall
Flash   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 50'   Pictured Rocks : Comic Gallery
Super Fly   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 70'   Pictured Rocks : A Wall
Julie's Kiss   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a     Sport, 30'   Pictured Rocks : Comic Gallery
C N Red   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Indian Bluffs : Mother Wall
Soul Ignition   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 30'   Pictured Rocks : Wild Iowa Wall
Gravity Amp   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Hoot Bluff
Browse More Classics in Iowa

Featured Route For Iowa
Flash in the early spring.

Flash 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c  IA : Pictured Rocks : Comic Gallery
Climbs the big overhanging bulge the whole way up. Super Classic jug haul....[more]   Browse More Classics in IA

Photos of Iowa Slideshow Add Photo
Searching for Iowa rock- fast track to nowhere!
Searching for Iowa rock- fast track to nowhere!
Detail scan of topo map featuring Indian Bluffs State Wildlife Management Area
Detail scan of topo map featuring Indian Bluffs St...
where the buffalo roam
where the buffalo roam
Boulder Bash 2013.  <br />$15 for 15 and over. Kids 14 and under $10
Boulder Bash 2013.
$15 for 15 and over. Kids 14 a...
View into the Comic Gallery at Pictured Rocks. Flash follows the overhanging arete to the left. Schoolio is on the right, and Tazmanian Devil is on the back wall.
BETA PHOTO: View into the Comic Gallery at Pictured Rocks. Fla...
Somewhere in Iowa
Somewhere in Iowa
Comments on Iowa Add Comment
Show which comments
By Dan Roberts
From: Eastern Iowa
Jul 27, 2010

Looking for old guide books. Preferably midwest, but would be interested in pretty much anything. Thanks and see you at the rocks.

By Sam Daley
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Aug 30, 2010

Anyone know if there is climbing in Decorah?

By Dan Roberts
From: Eastern Iowa
Jan 1, 2011

Yeah some climbing. Most is pretty dirty. Some bouldering near ice cave, the falls, and pulpit rock. Better off driving to Backbone or Lacrosse if you are in the area. Even Mason City claims to have some decent bouldering. Decorah is a mountain bikers haven, but not so much for climbing.

By trisgo
From: Omaha, NE (at the moment)
Sep 23, 2012

Does anyone have any info on Lake Red Rock near Des Moines??