Save Sandstone Bouldering


The Minnesota Climbers Association (MCA) is excited to announce the amazing bouldering area in Sandstone MN is about to be purchased for future climbers to enjoy.  Almost 10 years ago the MCA successfully worked with the Johnson family to get access for bouldering on their property.  For several years now boulder problems have been established and sent in this 108 acre parcel of private land.

This past fall a chance encounter between a hunter and group of climbers revealed that the Johnsons were anxious to sell the property.  Once the MCA got word of this a chain of events started to lead to a perfect resolution.  The MCA met with the Johnsons and were given the first opportunity to purchase the land.

The River Boulder along the Kettle River

With such a big project ahead of it, the MCA started working with the Access Fund to secure a short term loan for the roughly $250,000 needed to purchase the property.  Little known to the MCA was a local land trust called the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota (PTCM).  The PTCM works closely with the Minnesota DNR to purchase land to be integrated into state park and trails.  This was a perfect fit.

A request for assistance application was submitted to the PTCM and its board unanimously agreed to accept the project.  Over the course of the winter there have been meetings with the Johnsons to discuss details.  Finally a DNR certified appraiser was hired to evaluate the property.  Late spring the value was determined and an offer was made and a purchase agreement was signed.

Not only is the PTCM helping secure the property and eventually absorb it into Banning State Park, but it is helping MCA get bouldering and climbing allowed in the rest of Banning.  This will be very important as the land is transferred to the park system.

The PTCM has stepped out of its comfort zone on the purchase of this property.  Typically they wait for the DNR to indicate they are ready to purchase the property from the PTCM at the appraised value.  However, in this case the MCA and PTCM have determined that the risk this critical bouldering land will be sold to a private party is one that we can’t afford to take.  Both parties decided to move forward without any guarantees from the DNR.  There are a lot of risks with doing this.  The MCA has committed to help mitigate some of the risk with the purchase and has set a goal to raise $30,000 to help with the purchase.  Please help with your donations so the MCA can help the PTCM complete this transaction.

MCA is still working with the Access Fund with guidance and support on this project.  A grant application will be submitted for some of the money, but we still need to raise much more.  Even after the MCA meets the goal of $30,000 to help with a purchase, there are still things that will need funding.  It is hopeful that a parking lot can be established on the property as well as stairs and trail development.

Connor Hesch on All for V4

Photo: Jordan Seering

“The bouldering in Sandstone is awesome! You would never think such good rock could be found in Minnesota! It would be unfortunate to see the place closed down!” – Paul Robinson – World Renowned, Professional Climber.

For more information contact the Minnesota Climbers Association at


To donate now, click on this button to be redirected to the joint fundraising page on the Access Fund site. Want to donate by check? Email for our physical address.

MCA IS A 501(c)3 NON PROFIT – Donations are tax deductible.  Consult your tax professional.

** UPDATE: On 7/2/13, the goal was raised from $25,000 to $30,000 to include trail head improvements.