Hillbilly Hollow is a nice little sandstone bluff hidden behind a wayside along highway 39/51 in central Wisconsin. It has also gone by the following names Pasamead (Psamead?) Hollow, Area 51 and Liberty Rocks. It is a quiet getaway sporting about a day's worth of climbing.
At "The Hollow" one will find both traditional and sport routes ranging in difficulty from 5.6 to 5.13a. Two ultra-classic routes, Zig-zag Crack (5.10a Trad/TR) and Swiss Cheese (5.8 Sport/TR) make Hillbilly Hollow worth a stop if you are in the area.
Please be quiet and respectful when climbing here.
To find the Wayside start out southbound on Highway 39/51 from the Highway 21 interchange or further north. (Note: if approaching from the south one has to drive 5 min. past the wayside exit at Highway 21 and return southbound -- or poach the turnaround immediately north of the wayside "for emergency vehicles only") The wayside is located at about mile marker 120 (approx. 7 miles north of Westfield exit 113). Once in the wayside locate the shelter/bathrooms. Walk around the shelter on the left (east) side and locate a trail into the woods approx. 50 ft southeast of the shelter. Follow this trail through the woods, and slightly uphill. Upon reaching the shoulder of the ridgeline (this will all be apparent at the time), continue left to follow the trail into the canyon and the base of the climbs - or go right to access the top of the routes.
This is a great route that follows the Zig-zagging crack on the South facing wall of the canyon. There are lines of bolts on both sides of this route. It starts to left of what could be called a cave, but still surmounts an overhang in the beginning....[more]Browse More Classics in WI
By JJ Schlick Administrator From: Flagstaff, AZ Sep 26, 2006
This area was discovered by Dave Groth due to an off chance comment by a hillbilly at DL. "I seen rocks like this before..." or some such thing. Dave and Bechler lead all the gear lines and then added the hard lines on the left in the mid 80s. If you have not been here before, the rock quality is mostly excellent and on par with that of the New Sandstone area at DL. A very cool little canyon that could use some modernizing.
Regarding the name of the easy bolted route-- I don't know who set it, but the person that introduced me to climbing called it "Swiss Cheese"....Might not be commonly used though.....I Always had a certain affinity for it....Besides a couple trips to a gym, it was my first climb and then lead. Great site!
Wasn't or isn't this area also referred to as "Pasamead Hollow" by a lot of climbers Wisconsin? Just thought I would throw that little tidbit in there. Also, I love the ole bit of Sconny climber lore associated with this place--- permanent residence for Tommy Duechtler (sp?) for quite some time if I remember right???
I have been climbing at the Hollow for many years now and have even put together a climbing guide to the area and many other areas, but stopped because I did not want to see some of my favorite climbing areas overrun. Many of these climbing areas in Wisconsin have unique ecological niches and some are even off limits due to endangered plant species. Also, many of these climbing areas are not suited for large amounts or even a minor increase in visitors to the area. When providing information on climbing areas please keep in mind the overall impact of providing the information.
AS far as the rock quality goes I had a question about the lower faces on waht i think would be the north west face of the ridge (opposite end that the trail comes in with a fence near the rocks) is any of this good for bouldering?? most of it looked rather brittle and never cleaned. Is any of it solid???
By Jay Knower Administrator From: Campton, NH Apr 13, 2009
The long discussion about bolting at Hillbilly Hollow has been moved to the forum. You can find it here: Hillbilly Forum
If you have anything to add on this issue, please post it to the forum, not to this page.
If you're really concerned about access issues go to a public library somewhere in Marquette County and check out the Plat Maps in the reference section. They'll let you know without a doubt who owns that land. But also I'm with Nick Rhoads on this one. It's so close to the highway it almost has to be DOT land.
I am looking for partners to go to WI climbing and other locations(Jackson Falls, DL, The Red, Grand Dads, etc) with.
I have an Airplane and can fly us there. Please send me a PM if you want more details and the cost of sharing the flight expenses. Hope to meet a few of you soon. I can fit up to 4 climbers with me in the Cherokee 6(with room for gear). I also have lodging available in a log cabin in the area :)
By Josh Olson From: madison, wisconsin Jun 11, 2011
So I have been hunting down new lines in the hollow in the last month, and tomorrow I plan on sending these bad oscars. While looking through the photos on mp for this area, I see that people have at least looked at these lines. Am I missing the local ethic of not posting these routes, or have others not been as inclined to post up?
Josh, I probably took alot of the pics you are looking at and I haven't posted them cause I didn't climb them. Generally speaking don't post a route until you've climbed it. Exceptions being well established routes that just haven't been posted yet for whatever reason.
By Josh Olson From: madison, wisconsin Jun 12, 2011
Sounds good Nick. I don't plan on throwing routes up I haven't climbed, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Looking for a partner to climb with here on July 28th or around there. Will be in the area. Not sure how busy this place gets. Just looking to get some good climbing in while I travel for work. I will return the favor if you are ever in VT/NH/NY or ME. ropegun.r # gmail.com
This is a new four bolt route just left around the arete from Pine Tree Crack. We need comments to develop a rating. Its similar to PWB Arete or Pine Tree Crack, 5.8 or 5.9 ish. Please try it and submit feedback
Sunset Ascent This is a new sport bolted route left,around arete from Pine Tree Crack. Pine tree is rated 5.8, PWB Arete is listed as 5.9. Its in this range. I think its harder than PWB but EASIER than Pine Tree, so what does that say? Please do it and submit feedback to develop a consensus rating. Its safe and ends at the sling belay above Pine Tree.
Statement of Responsibility: I am taking responsibility for what I consider improving the anchor chains at the top midway between PWB Arete and Pine Tree Crack. It was previously one chain connected to two bolts/hangers. We cut the middle so now there are two independent chain/bolt anchors to thread via a single open link at the end of each. Safer, and easier to thread your rope thru the open links. Comments can be directed to myself for any criticism. email@example.com
Another Statement of responsibility: I have added a lower first bolt to Swiss Cheese. The Hollow has primarily safe enjoyable sport routes, but this route had a potentially bad fall before the first bolt. It is otherwise a great route enjoyed by many who either are able to boulder up the unprotected first bolt, toprope it, or stick clip it. I just want more people to have safe access. I will hear your criticisms/feedback if you care to share. If you must chop that bolt, I will not argue, but I'm sure there are many who would like to do it with reasonable safety. For the most part the bolted climbs at the Hollow are not hero climbs. I took this into consideration when adding this bolt. Email me your feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Josh Olson From: madison, wisconsin Sep 7, 2013
While a 50 foot 5.8 sport route is hardly anything to get upset about, I think you may have overstepped a little here. The lowest bolt on Swiss Cheese was easily "stick-clippable" and did not need to be supplemented. I was psyched to see your work across the canyon, but bummed to see this.
Ultimately I'm glad you were honest about it, and took responsibility here. I do wish you'd have started a conversation about it here first and tried to at least get a consensus instead of acting unilaterally. I don't think you'd have gotten much support, but maybe I'm wrong.
Anyway, as a general rule, existing routes should not be modified without the permission of the first ascensionist, or if that person isn't available at least a consensus within the community. The bolt can be chopped, but the hole cannot be un-drilled.
Your argument about safety holds no water. First, even if the route wasn't "safe" there is no reason to make every route safe - leave some adventure. Second, the route was perfectly safe, and a stick clip could easily have saved a bolt here.
Upon further review, now that I see where the bolts are on your other line I'm not psyched. Totally within reach of the crack. I can see good trad gear next to both of the bolts I can see. Ease up on the drill guy.
By Josh Olson From: madison, wisconsin Sep 8, 2013
Not to mention that crack has been led dozens of times on gear.
I also wish you would have started a conversation here before taking this irreversible action. My guess is community consensus would have been overwhelmingly against the alteration of either of these climbs. In my opinion Swiss Cheese was a perfectly safe climb and I fail to see how adding an additional bolt helps anything. Additionally the person who bolted this route is extremely safety conscious and felt there was no need for a lower bolt. As for the other route, if is has been led on gear no hole should have ever been drilled.
1. I cliped the new first bolt on Swiss cheese today. Guess now I just don't need to find a stick on the ground. I am fine with the addition of the bolt. It makes for less of a run out to the old first bolt without the need to stick clip. Thanks for your 12 bucks or whatever a bolt costs to save me 3 minutes.
2. Climbed the new bolted route on TR. Thought it was in the 10's. Harder than the climb on the left side of that same wall. Yes, there is gear to be found by the first two bolts, but not the top two bolts to get to the tree anchor. I personally am not much of a fan of mixed routes. Either bolts or gear, no need for both on a 30' route. With a little more scrubbing, a fun route.
3. I believe that there is room for more routes at this crag.
By Jay Knower Administrator From: Campton, NH Sep 21, 2013
Another bolt on Swiss Cheese? That route stood the way it was for over 15 years. I'm not a fan of adding bolts to existing climbs (or subtracting bolts from climbs, for that matter) without the blessing of the FAist, or without the consensus of the local community. I'd be concerned that this recent situation on Swiss Cheese might begin a dangerous precedent of subsequent climbers altering routes to their liking.
On yet further review (in person this time)-- I think the new route is good, and the bolts are legit, so I apologize about bagging on you for it. I also clipped the new bolt on Swiss Cheese, and don't think it was needed, but I'd be strongly against anyone chopping it because I think no good can come from starting that trend either.
I'd call your new route 10a, it definitely felt harder than PWB. Totally different climbing than PWB too, steeper and more slopey. I liked it, thanks for putting it up. Give it a name and post it up. I finished it up to the chains at the top of the face, a .5 or .75 Camalot would protect the run-out real well if one were so inclined.
Thank you all for your comments both on the new route left of Pine Tree Crack... now named "Sunset Ascent" and on the Swiss Cheese added bolt. Would like more feedback on rating the new route. As for the "bolting controversy" on Swiss Cheese, I agree with the suggestion that I could have asked for comments on here first. The first ascent owner is not listed here for consultation, but that doesn't mean I couldn't have found him/her with a little research. I apologize for the urgency I displayed. On the route description it is essentially described as a stick clip start. I never understood the rationale for designing a route in such a way when bolts are cheap and the standard here is generally pretty safe. When climbing there I have heard nothing but criticisms of this start, which is why I placed it, but nonetheless, I could have sought comments first. For those of you with jobs, children, responsibilities for others, and otherwise small huevos, enjoy the new bolt (I do NOT exclude myself from this group).
Nope! I definitely jumped the gun on the new route (sorry) as I thought it could be led. Appears to be a nice new addition. However, I do still feel that community consensus is always a good policy especially when access can be an issue (not saying it is here). As for swiss, it's hard to argue against safety. I am still not sure another bolt was needed but if people are for it and it encourages more people to get on it then it will be a nice addition.
By Chris treggE Administrator From: Madison, WI Sep 25, 2013
Sorry, I meant has anyone done Booze Pigs or Turkish Revenge in the past 10 years?
I did booze big maybe 7-10 years ago. It could use some bolts up top from what I remember. I don't remember Turkish Revenge needing any bolts but that might be because the start is super hard and I don't think we got far.
I was TRing Booze Pigs not too long ago and definitely noticed that it and Turkish Revenge would benefit from retrobolting. With hard climbing on sketchy bolts and big runouts I'm not too eager to try to lead either.