Why Climbers “Cut Their Teeth” at Devil’s Lake

By: Anne Hughes – Devil’s Lake Guru

Happy Summer Solstice!  The long days of summer quickly become a climbers best friend and it’s when many of us midwesterners head to Devil’s Lake.  With 500-foot, pink and purple cliffs rising above a pristine spring fed lake, Devil’s Lake State Park is not only the center piece of the Wisconsin park system but it is also one of the premier rock climbing areas in the nation.  Mike Ferris, author of The Falcon Guide to Rock Climbing in Wisconsin and Minnesota, says: “Devil’s Lake is the best known climbing area in the midwest… there are over 1,700 recorded routes to choose from, access is easy and it’s close to Chicago — no wonder it’s popular.  The Lake has the highest concentration of hard routes in the Upper Midwest… The layout of the cliffs does permit easy socializing and there is certainly more of a climbing scene here than at any other area in this guide.

It is amazing and beautiful, but “The Lake” is also one of the best places to cut your teeth as a rock climber, or to hone your technique and/or your lead climbing skills.  Climbers have been visiting these stunning cliffs for fun and adventure for more than 80 years.  Famous climbers through the decades have put their technique to the test at The Lake, pushing the climbing envelope on this unique rock.  The redish-purple quartzite is very solid but doesn’t have much friction.  It has great cracks for leading and jamming, as well as climbing features on the faces which tend to be edges.  These characteristics cause Devil’s Lake climbers to refine their climbing technique more quickly than climbers whose back yard crags feature rock with a high friction factor.  All this combined makes it a perfect place for Chicks! rock climbing clinics.

Chicks! clinics are held at the famous East Bluff, where there are so many quality climbs, so close together.  At the end of a fun day pulling down hard, The Lake also offers one of the best post-climbing activities…a refreshing swim in the Lake! In addition, camping is made easy at this state park as restroom and shower facilities are provided, however, you don’t have to be an expert camper to join Chicks! clinic, we have loaner gear including Marmot tents!

Devil’s Lake is only an hour drive from the Madison Wisconsin airport and four hours from Chicago or Minneapolis.  What are you waiting for — Chicks clinics provide comprehensive quality instruction and personal inspiration.  Join Chicks! in Devil’s Lake!

Anne Hughes rockin' Devil's Lake, Wisconsin

Anne Hughes Rockin’ Devil’s Lake

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