As of now, Canidae Cliff is officially closed for climbing.
There are a handfull of bolted routes and a few more top-rope climbs located on this natural limestone outcropping. Most of the routes are medium to high quality and range from 5.8 to 5.12. The cliff is entirely on private land and located immediatley off the edge of the road. Please be on your best behavior, wave and smile to the locals, remove all trash you may find, refrainfrom excessive chalk use (or scrub up after yourself) and stay off the road while belaying.
The crag is newly developed and is not entirely finished. As such, expect some loose rock and some routes to be a bit dusty. Some of the top-rope climbs will be bolted in the near future by the crag's developers.
On some routes, special hangers are fixed to the bolts that allow you to clip in and then thread a rapell if its just not your day. Please resist the temptation to simply rethread and get lowered as this will wear out the hangers quickly and require them to be replaced.
Canidae Cliff is in Hammond, Minnesota, in Wabasha county, 14 miles N of Rochester, Minnesota (center to center) and 61 miles SE of St. Paul, Minnesota. Please park off the road on the north side of the crag. An access trail to the top of the cliff is located approximatley 100 yards north of the crag.
From The Twin Cities: Take Highway 52 south past Zumbrota. Take Highway 60 east into Zumbro Falls and head south on Highway 63 to the small (don't blink) town of South Troy. Take Highway 11 east to the town of Hammond. Right before you cross the Zumbor River, take CR6 south. Drive 1/4 mile to the crag on your left, turn around, drive north past the crag to park on the shoulder (off the road).
From Rochester: Go north on 63 to the road that is marked to Plainview, hwy 247. Make a right. Go about 2 miles, and take the second left (there is one road intersecting per mile). This dirt road winds around and at one point you curve left where the road forks. After going down a little hill with couches and old dishwashers in the ditch to your right, you will come to a stop sign. The cliff is straight ahead. Park past the cliff on the right.
From Redwing: Head south on Highway 61 to Highway 63 south. Follow this to Zumbro Falls and conintue on as in the directions form the Twin Cities.
Originally 11b until a key hold broke. Now much more technical and demanding, but even better! Start on the right side of the slab (for full value avoid crack in corner) and dance your way towards the hanging niche above. Boldly forge upwards via a shallow 2-finger pocket leading to a hidden "thank-God" bucket and on to another left of the camoflauged anchor. Rappel hangers exist along this route to back off if its not your day....[more]Browse More Classics in MN
By Chris treggE Administrator From: Madison, WI Jun 21, 2007
Try to keep a low profile here. Stand back while belaying as much as you can as there is some loose rock remaining, but also try to keep out of the way of the locals driving past. Most of them either are ambivalent or find the climbing amusing, but one woman stopped and told us how dangerous this was. Please check out the link on access above also for more info.
Also, the fixed ropes that were up there for toproping were there over the winter. So please don't use them this season, just do the bolted routes or set your own topropes from the trees or better yet, use the chains on the established climbs.
By Chris treggE Administrator From: Madison, WI Jul 30, 2007
It should be mentioned that Dave Brandt from Prairie Walls found this cliff while driving through the area. He, as well as Tre Brandt, Shawn Tracy, Kiri Namtvedt, Darin Limvere, and several others put a lot of effort into developing this crag. It may be small but it's great for people from Roch who are trying to get out for a short workout after work, since it's only about 20 minutes (14 miles or so). Rumor is that Shawn saw a fox on top of the bluff, thus named Canidae (from Wikipedia: Members of the family are called canids and include dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, dingoes, jackals, and lycaons. The Canidae family is divided into the "true dogs" (or canines) of the tribe Canini and the "foxes" of the tribe Vulpini.)
My wife and I have hit this area a few times recently. It's small and a bit messy but a lot of fun! The climbing is very much like climbing at Barn Bluff in Redwing though not as crowded! Personally I think the best climbs would be B, C, G and H... An interesting under cling on G made this climb really fun. (As a note this was my first 5.10 lead and it was great!) Anyone know what the rating for the far right routes (O and P) would be? I started them but did not finish the route..seemed a bit harder than 5.10 so I was just wondering.
Finally, We both want to thank Dave, Tre, Shawn, Kiri, Darin, and any other person that has helped to develop this little area. Thanks a bunch!
Ron-- I PM'ed you. I have the topo/route descriptions, but I don't want to add any routes to this page if I haven't personally done them, so I didn't add those 2 you asked about. Glenn might be planning on it. Anyway, check your PMs. As an aside, please add your own thoughts about each route by rating it's fun factor and what you propose as a grade. The whole site benefits from this as we get a more accurate picture of each climb then. Climb safe, Chris
Thanks Chris. I will check out the PM in a bit. As for fun factor. Route s B and C were a lot of fun to climb. I would probably place them around 5.8 / low 5.9. Not too hard but they do have some tricky little moves and route B has an odd move where I had to pull like a 1/2 mantle to pull over a bulge. Basically, it forced you to be a bit off balance which was fun when it was top roped but a bit tweeky when I lead it. Route C on the other hand was pretty straight forward. A good climb with some really thin spots as far as hand holds go. My favorite route to this point though has been G and to a lesser extent H. Route G has a really fun start and it takes a bit of work to get over the slight overhang. There is some wild stemming thrown in about half way up and a decent little rest following that. Well decent is not really objective I guess. My wife hates that particular rest spot because she is quite a bit shorter than I am so she has a problem with longer stems. I would solidly place this at 5.10 maybe 5.10+ depending on your start. Route H is basically the same climb without slipping left to take the overhang. I would probably grade this lower than 5.10 but higher than just a straight 5.9. All in all its been a fun little area with lots of problems. Hope to take on some of the more overhanging sections soon.
As a note: We went out yesterday...the bugs were so bad that we just gave up. I guess with the fields coming out the ladybugs, boxelder bugs and some strange little biting, swarming, annoying black gnats decided the nice warm rock would make a good home. It was like a bad horror movie. Probably clear up once the weather cools off a bit.
Another note: I was up top roping routes O and P. There were some OLD placed ropes up there and they were so brittle that I just cut them down. In my opinion they were dangerous. I hope no one gets up-set about that. I am considering replacing those ropes with chains. Anyone that has been up there would probably know what I am talking about. Don't even think I would need to drill. But I will see what would be best for the route and for safety. I post when it's done.
Thanks for the great reviews and I'm glad you like the area. Also, thanks for taking down the old ropes that were mistakenly left behind. One of us thought the other took care of it and the other thought the same, etc.
I respectfully ask, however, that you NOT place any top-anchors or running bolts on routes established by other folks without discussing it with them first (bad Karma). We put alot of effort into cleaning those routes off and the ones without top anchors or bolts are WORKS IN PROGRESS. We already have plans for those routes' anchor locations and feel that we should have first shot at finishing our hard work. I appreciate your interest and enthusiasm though and would love to have you lend a hand with us next spring! Drop me a line and we'll plan it
....respectfully, Shawn Tracy.
Oh yeah! On another note, I did see a fox at the cliff, but the name came, mostly, due to the fact that the cliff's first established route (Room With A View), has a Coyote Den on top of it. Avoid the top of that climb from April-June evenings or mornings.
As per your question about routes; the first bolted line is "B" on the updated topo above. I believe I have updated all the routes I have access to here with current information regarding bolts, etc. ...and thanks!
A buddy of mine and I drove out to try and do some climbing here. We were coming from the cities and had an off day. The directions given to get to the rock were a bit off. I recommend that if you are coming from the north than take 52 to 61, past red wing (where barn bluff is anyways) and continue on with the directions from there. I think 61 runs into 63. But the drive is much more scenic and if you get discouraged at hammond, you can always hit up barn bluff. Routes are dirty and it feels like you are just waiting for your hold to blow out from under you. Not bad if your in the area, but I wouldnt try and make a day out of it.
By Chris treggE Administrator From: Madison, WI Jun 21, 2009
Heard there is a new access issue. Dave, Shawn, anyone-- any updates?
I asked and it seems that drivers on the road complained about climbing belaying in the middle of the road and blocking the road as they watched freinds climb. It seems to me that this closure was due to lack of attention of previous climbers and the irritation of the drivers. The land onwer and the neighbor (to the cliff) had no problem with us; just the drivers on the road. Maybe if the Mn Access fund or another group reaches out to the town of Hammond and the Wabash county sheriff (who posted the order) we can get this area back.