Ar­ca­dia Val­ley

Mis­souri’s Se­cret Boul­der­ing Hotbed

Gripped - - AREA PRO­FILE - Allen Ken­neth Schai­dle Gran­ite Climbs of Mis­souri: The Sil­ver Mines, Mill­stream Gar­dens, and Ami­don Sand­stone War­rior: A Boul­der­ing Guide to South­ern Illi­nois

Think to your­self: where in the U.S. is gush­ing with boul­der­ing de­vel­op­ment? Pic­tur­ing the lo­ca­tion? Good. Now, here’s a se­cret, it’s not where you i mag­ined. Buried i n the elapsed St. Fran­cois Moun­tains, is a val­ley. You’re prob­a­bly mum­bling, “What moun­tains?” Ris­ing through­out Mis­souri’s south­east­ern coun­try­side, the St. Fran­cois Moun­tains stretch from St. Louis’ south­ern sub­urbs un­til they col­lide with the Ozarks. Po­si­tioned among these for­got­ten moun­tains lays one of Amer­ica’s most over­looked boul­der­ing des­ti­na­tions, in­clud­ing nine grow­ing ar­eas and two deep-wa­ter-solo­ing lo­ca­tions. De­spite the pre­vi­ously dis­cov­ered zones, mo­ti­vated lo­cals con­tin­u­ously find un­climbed ar­eas ripe with first as­cents. So, what’s the name of this mys­te­ri­ous val­ley? It’s Ar­ca­dia Val­ley. The val­ley rem­i­nis­cent of Amer­ica’s pop­u­lar boul­der f ields be­fore crowds de­scended upon them caus­ing con­ges­tion. In Ar­ca­dia Val­ley, there’s an ab­sence of chalk-en­crusted holds, trash, and fist-pump­ing, hip-thrust­ing bros. De­spite t wo pub­lished guide­books (

by Jim Thum­mond and by Matt Bliss), which only high­light se­lect ar­eas, I’ve met few climbers here. Since my first tour, I fre­quent Ar­ca­dia Val­ley when­ever I find my­self back in the Mid­west, guz­zling gal­lons of gas into my car to ex­plore new roads, scour­ing pub­lic land for vir­gin climbs, and cre­at­ing ir­re­place­able mem­o­ries. On these trips, I’ve told many friends about the great climb­ing, many of whom have said the area re­sem­bles the Rock­ies’ front-range in Colorado. One of those friends is Matt Lan­caster. He de­scribes him­self as a part-time boul­derer. Re­gard­less, when Matt in­ter­rupts his teach­ing to climb, he un­leashes im­pres­sive raw, brute strength, de­spite con­stantly com­plain­ing of be­ing out of shape. Like me, Matt echoed my cu­ri­ousity as to why climbers weren’t in awe with Ar­ca­dia Val­ley. The re­mote­ness, un­spoiled na­ture, and world­class boul­der­ing, sur­round by the lo­cal ec­cen­tric cul­ture of ru­ral Mis­souri were all un­for­get­table.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.