Casket Quarry has been frequented by ice climbers for 30+ years. There was some rock development here in the 80’s (4-5 routes) but the incredibly chossy exfoliating rock is less than inspiring so it was pretty much abandoned.
With the rising popularity of Ice and Mixed climbing, more folks started using it as a training ground for other arenas. Top-roping on loose blocks/flakes and vertical kitty litter is great for testing the limits of adhesion and practicing your “I’m-light-as-a-feather” mantra…
Then the crowbars and drills showed up. Mike Dahlberg pioneered the use of RB’s or removable bolts to lead a couple mixed routes but since nobody else owned the uber specialized hardware, they never got repeated. In 2005 Mike and James Loveridge started putting some serious cleaning time in. Countless days were spent hanging from a rope with all sorts of home made “technical trundling” equipment dangling off harnesses. Eventually, if all went well, a route would emerge from underneath the choss.
Now the crag has close to 20 Ice and mixed routes all of which can be lead ground-up with good protection. If this crag were in Colorado there would be 50+ climbers there every weekend! Luckily it’s in Northern Minnesota… Come on up here, tie in and start getting’ on the sharp end! Oh, buy Mike D and J.Lo some beers for all the money they’ve spent on bolts…
Please Note: If you plan on TR’ing a route off the anchors, PLEASE use your own biners/draws to avoid wearing out the expensive hardware prematurely. If there are biners or other clip in replaceable hardware on the anchor, feel free to use them. If they are looking worn and sketchy, just replace with biners of your own. Thanks in advance for being a responsible and thoughtful crag steward!
From the South: Take 35 North to West Duluth then follow PARKING AREA directions below From Duluth: Follow directions to the PARKING AREA below
PARKING: Directions to the Loll Designs/Casket Quarry lot: 1. Take the 40th Ave W exit from I-35 2. Head northwest on 40th Ave W toward W 8th St 3. Turn left onto W 8th St 4. Turn right onto N Central Ave 5. Immediately turn left onto Highland St 6. Turn right onto N 59th Ave W (57th is the old parking area - 2 blocks away) 7. Turn right into the gravel parking lot. 8. Park on the far side of the lot, closest to the quarry.
DO NOT park anywhere near the RR tracks as you WILL get towed! PLEASE DO NOT block or in any way hinder access to the property and houses by the Quarry entrance.
DANGER: Please Note-
It is HIGHLY dangerous to rock climb these bolted routes in the summer! Even though the routes themselves are cleaned of large debris (mostly...) there are many hanging blocks on either side of the existing lines that could calve off at any time (I’ve seen 2 ton flakes come off without the slightest provocation) PLEASE - do not climb the Mixed routes at Casket unless it’s been below freezing for a week or so. Trust me, it really IS that bad...
Thanks to James Loveridge for submitting the above info.
This amazing route ascends the most improbable looking and continuously steep chunk of rock at the quarry. It is often bone dry but sometimes there is a smear at the slab at the bottom and the upper overhanging crack system is often choked with ice. Start under the left side of the huge hanging “Martini glass” shaped flake and climb straight up slab on small edges and delicate one tooth holds (in some years there is an ice smear to the left). Climb up and over the far left edge of the Martini ...[more]Browse More Classics in MN
It will all depend on when the temps drop. Right now we have been getting alot of rain so the streams are flowing and the groundwater level is high. So a couple weeks of below freezing temperatures leading into Thanksgiving and we should have some ice forming up. But a safe bet would be mostly drytooling.
By Sam Daley From: Minneapolis, Minnesota Jul 5, 2010
Please no longer park at the old 57th Ave West entry. There is a much safer and better gravel parking lot just opposite the old entry located off 59th Ave West. This lot is adjacent to the Loll Designs HQ building.
From Duluth, continue approximately 2 blocks past Medina on 8th to Central, turn right then immediately left onto Highland. Turn right on 59th Ave W, park in the lot on the right.
From the cities, take the Central Ave exit, turn left onto Highland, right on 59th Ave W and park.
The walk in is shorter, flatter, you will not be towed (no train tracks) and we will not block any driveways.
If you have questions, please contact me. Lucas Kramer 218-726-6257