Where to Boulder in Oklahoma
Sendtember is finally here! It’s that time of year where the temperatures start cooling down, and there’s more time to climb outdoors. At least, climbers don't have to wake-up super early to get to the crag before the heat of the day hits.
When people think of places to boulder, they usually name off Colorado, California, Washington, or Texas. Normally, Oklahoma isn’t on the list. Surprisingly, the Okie state does have good bouldering areas one can send at.
When Should I Go?
Depending on the season, the best months to go bouldering are from mid-September to late May. In the fall, the air is drier, and the temperatures become tolerable to pleasant. One can climb during the winter, especially if it’s mild and dry. But sometimes cold snaps come through and make your climbing day miserable.
Spring is also good for climbing but can be wet, depending on the weather. Starting in late March going into May is Oklahoma’s storm season. That could put a damper on your plans. You don’t want to climb outside in the summer. The days are too damn hot and humid.
Where’s the Crag?
So, whenever you do decide to go, here are some of the places in Oklahoma you should check out for bouldering.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is located west of Medicine Park and Lawton. There are two main areas for bouldering in the refuge: Charon’s Gardens and Roadside Boulders. Both locations have smaller areas within them with good boulders to climb. Depending on the section you’re at, the grades can range from V0 to V9.
Quartz Mountain/Baldy Point
Northeast of Magnum is where Quartz Mountain or also known as Baldy Point is. Known for its “world-class granite,” Quartz Mountain is a popular place for bouldering and roped climbing. Backside Boulders and Munge Lunge Boulder are the main sites there. The bouldering grades range from V2 to V5.
Near Mannford, right off the Cimarron River is Zen Pen. This area is known for its sandstone bouldering. Zen Pen Area is where most of the boulders are. The rest are in smaller areas close by. There’s a variety of grades ranging from V0 to V10 in this section.
3 Fingers Bay
Not too far from Mannford is 3 Fingers Bay. What you’ll find is sandy sandstone bouldering like Zen Pen, but weaker and usually sandier rock. The Poppy Wall and The Tallgrass Sector are the main bouldering areas here. Their grades jump from V1-V3 to V6.
Just a short drive west of Sand Springs is Baby Bell. This area has lots of sandstone bouldering with many good boulder problems. There are three main sections to check out: Midten, Cosmic Corridor, and The Castle Walls. The quality of the sandstone varies here. Overall, it’s less than great, but strong enough rock that people come back to climb. The range of difficulty varies from V0 to V8.
This location has a small collection of less visited sandstone boulders northwest of Chandler Park and southeast of Baby Bell. According to Mountain Project, the problems are not well documented yet, but locals know what's where. The grades range from V2 to V8.
Osage Hills State Park is 12 miles west of Bartlesville and about an hour north of Tulsa. There’s a small collection of sandstone bouldering on cliff bands and the occasional block. The rock quality varies from superb to ugly. It’s a Cliffband!! is the main section with two smaller sections to climb in. In here, the grades range from V0 to possibly the state’s only V13 called Chaos from the Masses.
Located near Berryhill just west of Tulsa is Chandler Park. The area is popular with local climbers. It’s a limestone bouldering area. The holds can be polished smooth as glass. Upper Chandler Park or Main Area is where the bouldering fun is. The grades range from V0-V7.
Named after the town nearby, Fort Gibson has quality sandstone to boulder along a forested cliff band in the area. The topouts are guaranteed covered in moss, but a quick brushing can fix that. According to Mountain Project, there are many established problems, but more could be put up. Grades here range from V1-V9.
Robbers Cave State Park
Our last, but not least location is Robbers Cave State Park near Wilburton in southeastern Oklahoma. There are small bouldering areas within the park to climb. If you’re looking for easy bouldering to get some experience, this might be the place to be. All the problems are either V0s or V1s.
Do Your Research First
If you are looking to check out any crags, I recommend looking up Mountain Project’s website. There is a lot of information about locations, routes and bouldering problems, and personal beta on the site. It’s handy especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area you want to go. If you do go out, please bring at least two bouldering pads and have a spotter with you for safety.
Now you know that there are places to boulder in Oklahoma. I hope this helps with any future climbing trips you may want to go on. Until next time, happy bouldering!