Protect What’s Holy

If you’ve been to The Crag lately or visited our Facebook page, you’ve probably noticed that we’re helping out with The Access Fund’s “Protect What’s Holy” fundraising effort to purchase The Holy Boulders in Southern Illinois. Since we have quite a few new climbers in our community, I thought I would shed some light on why we’re asking for your help and money.


Here are a few reasons why we want to Protect What’s Holy:

1. Access to outdoor climbing areas is always tenuous.

Many of the outdoor climbing areas across the country are either on private land or are part of larger national and state parks and nature areas. That means that a) the land can be bought and sold and b) access can just be taken away. In the case of The Holy Boulders, the land was about to be sold to a private developer, who was going to destroy the area to build a commercial development. No rock? No climbing.


2. The Holy Boulders are a crucial and important part of our “local” bouldering scene.

The Holy Boulders, while a relatively newly developed area, have some of the best sandstone climbing in the country. The area has over 150 developed problems, with more areas to be discovered and developed, all within a few hours’ drive from Middle Tennessee.

Photo by Abbey Smith


3. Preserving access to the Holy Boulders helps us preserve access in other climbing areas.

By purchasing and effectively managing The Holy Boulders and other areas such as Boat Rock (Georgia), Kings Bluff (Tennessee), Yellow Bluff  (Alabama) and other crags across the country, The Access Fund and local organizations such as The Southeastern Climbers’ Coalition help to maintain access for future generations, but also establish a model of how climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts can coexist.


You may still not be convinced. Maybe you’re saying, “Newton, I get that you love rock climbing, but…”

“…I’ve never climbed there.”

“…I’ve never climbed outside.”

“…I’m not a boulderer.”

To that I can only answer, “We can only fix those problems if we have places to climb.”

Photo courtesy


So, next time you’re at The Crag and have some spare change or folding money, throw it in the coffee can. Or if you’d like, visit The Holy Boulders website to donate. My offer still stands: Match or beat my donation of $27 and I’ll give you a free Day Pass. Heck, I’ll even take you climbing one day.

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