Rockwoods Reservation

Rockwoods Reservation

Coming Fall 2021

Rockwoods Reservation is located in the beautiful Henry Shaw Ozark Corridor between Wildwood and Eureka, Missouri. This unique limestone quarry is the one and only approved climbing area managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Climbing is available year round at the Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff. BETA Fund and MDC established a partnership to develop approximately 15 sport routes with more likely to come. Please know that parking is limited and consult the “more info” section before going.

Coming Fall 2021

Rockwoods Reservation is located in the beautiful Henry Shaw Ozark Corridor between Wildwood and Eureka, Missouri. This unique limestone quarry is the one and only approved climbing area managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Climbing is available year round at the Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff. BETA Fund and MDC established a partnership to develop approximately 15 sport routes with more likely to come. Please know that parking is limited and consult the “more info” section before going.

Directions

Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff is located within Rockwoods Reservation, 30 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri, between Wildwood and Eureka on land owned and operated by MDC. The Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff is located on the west side of Hwy 109 on Christy Avenue. When arriving, please use extreme caution as the turn onto Christy Avenue from Hwy 109 is sharp.

Approaching from the South

  • From Eureka, MO, I-44
  • Exit Hwy 109 and travel north for five miles
  • Drive past the main Rockwoods Reservation entrance
  • Turn left onto Christy Avenue
  • Park in parking area immediately on the right.

Approaching from the North

  • From Wildwood, MO, Manchester Rd./Hwy 100
  • Turn south onto Hwy 109 for about 2 miles.
  • Turn right onto Christy Avenue. Be cautious of the sharp, u-turn onto Christy Road.

Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff is located north from the parking area. Walk around the access gate (marked emergency vehicles only), following the gravel path uphill to the north for about 5 minutes.

Parking:

  • Park only in the designated parking area.
  • Do not block the emergency access gate.
  • Do not park along Christy Avenue or on Hwy 109.
  • Anyone parking outside of the parking area may be ticketed or towed; habitual violation of parking guidelines may threaten climbing access to the area.
  • Carpool to reduce parking issues. Consider parking at one of the main Rockwoods Reservation parking areas and carpool over to the climbing bluff.

NOTICE: A private residence is located past the main parking on Christy Avenue. Do not approach the private residence or block the roadway.

More Info

  • See WARNING notice below.
  • Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
  • Loose rock is present. Use extreme caution and climb on designated routes only.
  • No access is allowed on top of the bluff due to steep, leaf covered slopes, and loose rock.
  • Helmets are strongly recommended at all times for all climbers, belayers, and spectators.
  • Do not sling trees or other natural features.
  • No installation of fixed hardware.
  • Use climbing chalk to protect the limestone from polishing due to natural oils in your skin and sweat.
  • Use natural bristle brushes to clean holds of dirt, debris, and excess chalk. No wire or stiff bristle brushes allowed, as they carve into the rock and degrade holds.
  • Use caution during warmer months and be aware of snakes, ticks, and area wildlife.
  • No bathrooms available at 109 Bluff. Plan accordingly.
  • Leashed dogs are allowed by MDC, but not recommended at 109 Bluff.
  • Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff faces east with morning and mid-day sun exposure, dropping into the shade in the afternoon.
  • Climbing is only allowed at Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff. Do not climb in any other areas of Rockwoods Reservation.

Camping

Camping and overnight parking at Rockwoods Reservation is not permitted. Camping is available by reservation at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park and several nearby private campgrounds.

Missouri Department of Conservation’s Area Rules

All climbers must abide by MDC and Rockwoods Reservation Area Rules.

Climbing Access History

Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff at Rockwoods Reservation has a rich climbing history. Many of climbing’s early pioneers explored the area, learning new skills, and testing their metal before venturing out across the U.S. and the world. MDC previously established a partnership with a now-defunct organization called STREAM in which only members of STREAM were allowed to climb by obtaining a daily permit with area staff. Unfortunately, the process was cumbersome and frustrating to both climbers and staff. In 2014, when MDC embarked on a ten-year area management plan for Rockwoods Reservation, despite public input MDC’s plan officially closed climbing, even to former STREAM members. Climbing at Rockwoods seemed to pass into history, chalked up as a lost crag, never to be opened again.

However, in the summer of 2017, a sliver of hope appeared. MDC announced it would host statewide public meetings to gain feedback on the Wildlife Code of Missouri – the official rules and regulations legally governing hunting, fishing, and public use of conservation lands. BETA Fund saw these meetings as a slim opportunity to resurface the interest in climbing access with the conservation management team. BETA Fund put out a call to action and the climbing community responded. Over 30 St. Louis-area climbers converged on Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood, MO for a public meeting and MDC heard you! Following the meeting, BETA Fund was invited to meet with area staff and began planning. In November of 2018, just one year following that original public meeting, MDC and BETA Fund signed a Cooperative Agreement for the purposes of reopening climbing at Rockwoods Reservation. You did it!

Through many years of continuous planning, meetings, negotiations, field work, drilling, blood, sweat, and tears, the area is finally open for climbers to enjoy!

Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff has been climbed and explored since the 1980’s and likely earlier. Please contact BETA Fund if you have prior knowledge of the area and routes to help preserve and share climbing history.

WARNING

By climbing at Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff, I have read, acknowledged, and agree to the following:

I AM SOLELY RESPONSIBLE AND PERSONALLY ASSUME ALL RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH TO MYSELF AND/OR OTHERS ARISING OUT OF MY USE OF 109 BLUFF. I understand that climbing is an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious injury or death arising from hiking, climbing, loose rock, equipment failure, environmental conditions, misuse, and other risks and hazards associated with rock climbing and outdoor activities. Wearing a helmet does not eliminate the dangers associated with any activity, but in certain instances, a helmet can reduce the risk of permanent injury or death. Helmets are recommended and I understand that if I choose not to wear a helmet I do so at my own risk. The 109 Bluff is intended for use only by competent and responsible climbers who know how to climb, clean, and belay properly. Proper training is essential before using 109 Bluff.

Learn more about Rockwoods Reservation.

Route Descriptions

Colony Wall

The routes listed in this zone are listed from left to right as you approach on the first social trail. Routes are packed close together to maximize the climbable surface in this former quarry.

#1 – Troglobite, 5.7

6 bolts + anchors

Located about 25 ft left when you first walk up to the bluff from the social trail. Climb the highly featured pocketed face with some reach dependent moves. At certain times of the year, you’ll feel some cool cave drafts through the pockets at the second bolt.

#2 – Eft, 5.11b

5 bolts + anchors

This is the first route just to your left from the social trail. Locate the chains below the high perched block. Start on a super featured wall with lots of texture and easier moves up to the ledge. Clip the high bolt from the ledge first, then climb the thin, powerful face moves. You’ll then reach an incredibly fun heartbreaker finish on side pulls to a “thank God” jug at the chains below the perched block. This one’s a roller coaster, just like the life cycle of a newt. Google it.

#3 – Green Dragon, 5.11b

5 bolts + anchors

Chains are located just right of the high perched block to the right of Eft. Pull a boulder problem off the ground to a good jug and mantle up on to the ledge. Use the shark fin hold above and move up and slightly to the right. Stay calm, or not, at the upper boulder problem using right hand slopers with a thin left hand to reach a good clipping jug at the chains. Stay on the crux holds and don’t stray right into the next route.

#4 – Tragus, 5.9

5 bolts + anchors

Located about 15 feet right of Green Dragon. The direct line for Tragus starts with a super fun bouldering moves on good holds at the ground. Make your way to a good ledge. Climb the next series of min-boulder problems with good clipping stances. The right variation (5.8) climbs the easier of the two boulder problems off the ground and joins Tragus direct at the 2nd bolt.

#5 – Xylem, 5.10b

5 bolts + anchors

Quite possibly the best climb of the wall! Xylem is located right of Tragus in the corner. Like water moving up the stem of a plant through the xylem (science!), climb and stem your way up the dihedral on good holds. Pull through the crux at the fourth bolt in two small side pulling pockets. Gain the ledge with a good stance for the anchors.

NOTE: Choose your own adventure on routes #6, #7, and #8. The routes have closely located anchors and lines allowing for fun variations. After leading one route, you’ll easily be able to reach the other anchors to set top ropes. Please be respectful of other groups and don’t hog the routes.

#6 – Drill Bit, 5.10b

4 bolts + anchors

Located about 25 ft right of Xylem on the next prominent face. The route starts on the left side of the long drill mark with powerful moves low, leading to easier terrain above.

#7 – Cobb Wright, 5.10a

3 bolts + anchors

Immediately next to Drill Bit, on the right side of the long drill mark, you’ll find Cobb Wright, the namesake of the site’s mining company from the 1800’s. Similar to Drill Bit, pull through powerful moves low to easier terrain above. Tread lightly on decent feet between the 2nd and  3rd bolt which requires a high clip.

#8 – Blasting Cap, 5.9

4 bolts + anchors

Start on good holds that are far apart leading to a ledge with a tricky mantle. Stem through good, but slightly tricky moves at the 4th bolt.

#9 – Moonseed, 5.8

4 bolts + anchors

Located to the right of Blasting Cap, this route is marked by the low anchors below the high anchors of Grape Vine, the long route just to the right. Climb vertical terrain on good holds to the anchors. You can finish at Moonseed anchors, or continue up over the large block and link to Grape Vine.

#10 – Grape Vine, 5.7

8 bolts + anchors

This is the longest route by the wall, located just right of Moonseed with the high anchors near the top of the bluff. Moves are well sustained throughout, making for a really fun climb. Save some power for the last few moves at the anchors. Stay on route and close to the bolt line. Do not top out! Loose rock is present off-route to the left and right.

#11 – Pipistrelle 5.7

6 bolts + anchors

Start on flat horizontal jugs low through the 3rd bolt. Stem up to the 4th bolt, then move right onto some amazing slab moves to gain the anchors.

#12 – Crinoid, 5.7

5 bolts + anchors

About 50 feet to the right of Pipistrelle look for the anchors high up on the bluff face. You’ll need to scramble up a brushy, blocky area to reach the high belay stance. Climb the quality, sustained moves on this amazing line gaining one of the highest points on the bluff to enjoy the view. You might even see the ski slopes at Hidden Valley Resort to the south.

The next zone is located further north, past the high, chossy cave feature. Routes and the area are still under development.