Jake McCrary

Climbing at Pere Marquette State Park and First Ascent Peoria

Jenn and I left Chicago on Friday and arrived at the Pere Marquette State Park campground a little after midnight.

We woke up Saturday and had a challenging time trying to pay someone for our camping but eventually managed to find a person. We headed to the crag and arrived there around 11:30 am, not much earlier than when we had driven down in the morning.

We climbed at the other end of the cliffs at the Lily Wall and Lucky Strike Pillar. We once again opted for volume over difficulty and we climbed every route rated 5.10b or lower.

The weather was in the mid-80℉ range and mostly cloudy. It didn’t feel that bad at the cliff, perhaps because it was fairly windy and humidity was down.

We didn’t see another climbing party the whole time we where there, perhaps they were scared away by the 80℉ weather.

We were exhausted and called it quits around 5:30 PM and went into Grafton. The town was much busier than it was in March, with many folks enjoying the warm weather and loud music blasted by various bars.

We spent some time looking at the river and eventually grabbed dinner at the Grafton Pub. They had a good beer selection but their burger left something to be desired. The view from their deck overlooked the river and was quite nice.

We woke up Sunday to a weather forecast of all-day rain. We quickly ate breakfast and debated going climbing but then the rain started.

Instead of trying to climbing on mostly vertical cliffs in the rain, we drove to Peoria and climbed at the First Ascent gym there. This was great, as it let us get closer to home and experience a different climbing gym. While at First Ascent Peoria, we ran into a couple climbers that we had met at Pere Marquette during our first trip.

Overall, another fun weekend. The climbs are short but having very few people around you while climbing is nice.