The Sandstone Area is an anomoly at Devil's Lake. The rock here is high-quality sandstone with round edges and good friction. The area consists of two main rock formations. The Old Sandstone Area is the western sandstone cliff. It is higher and contains more moderate climbs than its counterpart to the east, the New Sandstone Area. The New Sandstone Area is currently closed to climbing. It is a shorter cliff with hard overhanging climbs.
To find the Sandstone Area drive 1.25 miles east of the CCC parking lot. After driving this distance you will see the backside of a 35 MPH speed limit sign on the left (north) side of the road. Just before this sign there is a dirt pull-off on the right (south) side of the road that accomodates 4 cars. Directly up the bluff, if there were no trees, you would be able to see the Sandstone Area. To access the Old Sandstone Area park at this pull-off and cross the road to find a trail just (about 1 foot) east of the speed limit sign. Hike up this trail to the base of the cliff. To access the New Sandstone Area continue east .4 miles past the speed limit sign to another more obscure pull-off on the left (north) side of the road. Park here and walk west 150 feet and take the imperceptible trail (or just bushwack) up the bluff until you hit sandstone.
Pacific Ocean Wall is the large scoop on the right hand side of Old Sandstone--it looks like a crashing wave. Also, it looks like the crux is under the wave or pulling out of it. Wrong. Thin but positive flakes bring you to the lip of the wave. Above the lip, expect sloping handholds and subtle smearing--classic sandstone climbing. A few tough, insecure pulls deposit you at the top of one of the best routes at Devil's Lake....[more]Browse More Classics in WI
the old sandstone area is a great crag,lots of fun climbs and the old farmer use to come down with his shot gun to scare us off. also not a good place to visit during hunting season unless you are wearing red.
the new sandstone area is also excellant but perhaps closed at the time.i feel the routes should be documented for historical as well as to establish a climber presence inthe past for future access.Lazer Beam 5.11b far left thin crack first lead rich bechler1982 solo its been soloed too.Donkey On My Mind aka donkey diehedral 5.12b frst t.r. ralph schimtt first lead Steve Sangdahl,Rich Bechler and Dale Moir 1983 killer splitter corner 3 starsShaking hands with the chimp 5.13a first t.r. Rich Bechler ?30 ft right of donkey lies this gem.Kingsbury Cruise 5.11a first lead ralph schimtt1983 overhanging crack in corner to bulge then straight out roof 3 stars also the arete to left goes at5.12b non alcholic versionWEt Paper Bag 5.10d first lead Steve Sangdahl 1982 thin laybacks to hand crackThin Tips B1 boulder problem right of Wet paper bag.also low level bouldering traverse from thin tips to donkey.
under "more conversation" my comments about the new sandstone area and list of routes ,Lazer Beam was led by rich and my self ,we then both soloed it at a later time.i have a great picture of prunes leading it,long hair and freaky outfit, i will post it later as well as other pics of new area climbs
I edited this out because it apparently pissed off a lot of people. It was a post about possibly putting up a sign of info about how fragile wet sandstone can be. I was simply trying to help out, but I guess it was a bit misguided.
By Jay Knower Administrator From: Plymouth, NH Apr 21, 2008
I've climbed at the cliff during almost every month of the year and I have never had a hold break. If the hold you are referring to is the one I'm thinking of at the start of DMB, then I think that hold has been waiting to go for a while now. Other routes (Mammelary, Curving Crack, Tarantula, PO Wall, etc) sure seems solid to me, even when the cliff is a bit damp.
I think it would not be a good idea to put up a sign. The sign would not represent the mindset of the community and one person putting it up would be pretty unilateral. Anyway, I think it's better to be low-key regarding the sandstone areas, and I think a sign might draw some negative park attention.
I tend to agree with you on this one Jay. As long as people pay attention to conditions, which most do currently, things will be fine. A sign would bring attention to an issue that isn't one to begin with.
Cars in the dirt pull-out are no longer just due to climbers. The new hiking trails in the area make it much harder to tell how many people are up at the Sandstone just by looking at the number of cars.
Are you sure people are climbing on damp sandstone, when the quartzite has been dry and warm for 3-4 weeks now, and pretty uncrowded?
In the 15 years I've been climbing at the Sandstone, I can't say I've noticed any obvious deterioration of any of the routes .... I appreciate your concern, and I'd also like to see the Sandstone last forever as it is, but I can't help feeling that concern based on one unusual experience doesn't really represent what is generally happening up in this area.
Second: I can appreciate your intent, but I think Sandstone will be just fine without it.
By Jay Knower Administrator From: Plymouth, NH Apr 22, 2008
I'd trust Peter's judgment on classic rock any day. He's an expert in my book.
The rock at sandstone is not like the other sandstone in the state. It seems much more solid. Maybe it's a bit closer to quartzite geologically. I'm not so sure, but I know that holds breaking has not been a problem in the past at Old Sandstone.
I general though, holds sometimes break. I'm sure we all remember the block on False Perspective. It just pulled out one day. As Ron Long says, "A rock's job is to fall down and become dirt."
I don't think any special signs need to be put up.
Thanks a lot for the responses guys. I really did want to know what everyone thought. And I trust the vets for sure. I had researched sandstone and found some conflicting info. But I do agree that the sandstone at DL is a lot more solid than say... at Governor Dodge.
I will leave it be.
By Ron L Long From: Out yonder in Wisco. Apr 25, 2008
I hadnít had much of a chance to weigh in here earlier, though I did manage to get quoted. I for one appreciate your good (if misguided) intentions with the sign. As has been stated, unilaterally posting a sign would be a bad idea, bad for more reasons than I care to get in to here.
I have personally been climbing at Sandstone when holds have broken, twice that I can recall, both times they were crisp-dry fall afternoons. Then again I was there when the block pulled out on False Perspective (oh yea I did it), and that is of course quartzite. Maybe I am a one man geologic event. Bottom line is, holds do break. Erosion is a simple fact of geology no matter what the rock type is, and not matter the season.
Thank you John for posting your thoughts/question; thank you as well for posting that you have decided to not follow through.