In addition to epic downhill mountain biking and rugged, scenic hiking trails, outdoor enthusiasts now have another reason to head to Shepherd Mountain in Ironton, Missouri. As of last spring, 19 bouldering problems have been identified on the property, with “plenty of FAs still out there,” according to Nick Richards of the Eastern Missouri Climbers Association. 

[Editor’s note: FAs, or first ascents, refer to the first successful documented ascent to the top of a mountain, climbing route, or boulder problem and are much sought after by rock climbers.]

Richards and the Eastern Missouri Climbers Association worked with Shepherd Mountain Bike Park and the City of Ironton to locate and approve the bouldering zones — eight areas that can be found using the Mountain Project app ( Climbers can hike up from the parking lot or use the mountain bike park’s shuttle to reach the top of the hill and then hike down to the boulders. 

“It’s all granite rock, similar to Silver Mines [in the St. Francois Mountains] and gives a true Missouri mountain experience,” said Richards. “The City said it was discussed in their original plans to include rock climbing on the mountain, but they didn’t necessarily have the expertise. We were happy to help out.”