The route starts in the prominent crack system just around the corner from Pete's Project. While rated 5.7, it requires a somewhat awkward transition, and some pulling power, at the crux, which is approximately 10-15 feet off the deck. Follow the crack, which turns into somewhat of a corner, straight up to the top, stemming, jamming, and utilizing ledges as necessary.
Easy access and ample rock features make setting the TR anchor fairly straightforward. A couple of large runners and a mid-size cam or stopper is enough to do the job.
I climbed Michaels once and vowed never to do it again.
By Maikey Lopera From: Eugene, OR Aug 3, 2004 rating: 5.75a15V+13MVS 4b
This is an excellent climbing despite the priors comments. The start is somewhat strange because of the transition from the inside corner to the right. After this the climb is nice crack climbing with bomber pro (pro is bomber from the beginning). To protect the transition from the crack to the right use a medium size stoppers (BD # 6-7). Once on the right use cams, nut and hexes up to 2". Hexes (BD # 4-10) and big size nuts (BD # 10-13) are better choice than cams if you are comfortable leading with them.
I agree with those who said it was a less than stellar route. I see no reason to do this one again with so many other quality 5.7s at the Lake.
By Burt Lindquist Administrator From: Madison, WI Oct 12, 2004 rating: 5.8-5b16VI-14VS 4c
Micheal's is a hard 5.7. Perhaps easy 5.8. The move where you make the transition is the crux but has good pro. Weird reach over the right shoulder type of thing and then when you get the huge ledge thing with the hands a twist of the body follows and then a hefty hoist up for the grade cause the feet have to follow and the footholds just ain't around to make it at all easily easy. I think it is a good route for Devil's Lake. Good pro all the way and steep but with a multitude of rests. If you really want a fun protectable time but at a notch or two harder stay just in the corner and finger lock the strange sized flaring crack past the transition move that it is the normal route. Forget the name of it but it is a strange and challenging climb. Don't deny yourself a true DL experience and try it.
By Rob Riggleman From: Santa Barbara, CA Jun 2, 2005 rating: 5.75a15V+13MVS 4b
I led this route 4-5 years ago, and said to myself, "Never again." much like many of the people commenting earlier. However, I returned to it this fall and found it to be exceptional and well protected. Pulling out onto the corner makes one feel like a hero. The start is awkward and insecure, but once you commit to it the route improves significantly.
By Jay Knower Administrator From: Campton, NH Dec 3, 2006 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c
A terrible route. Do not be fooled by its nice appearance. You will struggle on this climb, and you too will vow to never, never do this route again.
By Jesse Bond Dec 4, 2006 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c
I too vowed never to even so much as look in the general direction of Michael's after an initial flail fest on it some time ago. But we dropped a rope on Callipigeanous Direct a couple of weeks ago...I dunno, some might use the word beckoning here.
As I lowered, the vortex that is Michael's project (coupled with a slightly bad choice of anchor positioning) sucked me right into it and I had a look on the way down. "Seems like fun." So I went back on my word to never ever touch it again and gave it a run on TR.
While fighting through the first section using such advanced DL techniques as "head jams," "shoulder scumming," "neck bars," and my personal favorite "the desparate toe smear," I began to swear off the route again. Especially when I realized that for all my grunting I was only 6 feet up. But I kept at it and eventually, I reached way out and latched onto that face jug. Then it was just stupid fun to the top.
In the sense that the first 15 feet or so is a trial by fire and the remaining length of the route is pleasant, this seems to me a lot like a clean cut version of Bucket Brigade (more direct line, no guano).
You get an intro section to warm you up to the wonders one of my favorite types of DL climbing--greasy, polished, flared cracks in a horribly akward inside corner. Then you get to enjoy a nice combination of big face holds and solid hand cracks. You can even squeeze chimney it up top if you like that sort of thing. Come on! This thing is classic!
Thusly and hereby, I nominate Michael's project as the perfect climb for anyone's special "first time at Devil's Lake." I know of none other that offers so much to the climber and asks only for their dignity, some primal climbing, and an obligatory muscle spasm in return.
I'm not saying you should climb it repeatedly yourself. But you should definitely suggest it to your friends as a "good starter."
I wholeheartedly agree with you on this one Jesse. An uber-classic "first" route at the lake. Something to the effect of, "I know this super-classic 5.7 just around the corner, and you just have to lead it!"
This is a great route for such purposes...
By Jay Knower Administrator From: Campton, NH Dec 4, 2006 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c
I can't believe you guys. You would actually recommend that piece of garbage? These new climbers you speak of may never come back to the Lake.
If you really want to "introduce" new climbers to the Lake, then why don't you tell them to go straight up Kamikazee? Or would that be too mean even for the likes of you?
I love this route! It's one of the ten best 5.7 leads at the Lake!
There are more bomber places for gear than you could possibly use, and your reward for climbing with confidence and keeping your face out of the crack is that the crux (the first 15-18 feet) isn't awkward. On the other hand, if you don't lean back, or you try to get in a lot of gear low ....
There are some easy/moderate routes I'd never get bored of (Peter's Proj, Orgasm, Curving Crack, Double Overhang, etc.). This is most certainly NOT on that list. I didn't have any problem bouldering the bottom 10 feet of it, it's just that the movement is so...extraterrestrial. I tend to agree more with Jay (2 bombs) than with the "4 star, ultra classic, first route" crowd. Time is better spent on Orgasm, Foreplay, Peter's, etc.
Simply put, I probed it once, and it was 2 times to many.
By Ryan Strong From: Golden, CO Jun 19, 2011 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c
Led this on saturday, tweeked out a little at the crux, hung once and then sent it. The reach back crux move is awkward and rather dumb. After you get through the initial nonsense it actually turns out to be a rather good lead at the lake. You follow perfect hand crack systems to the top , and have a good ledge for a belay. This climb deserves more than a bomb!
By Andy Hansen From: Longmont, Colorado Jun 19, 2011 rating: 5.14-8b+32X+32E8 7a
I would rather have giardia than climb this route. Nuf said.
The first portion of this route before you reach the jug can be somewhat awkward,[Beta alert] but there's a pretty good side-pull on the inside left of the crack a little ways up, this makes reaching around the corner to the jug a breeze. I enjoyed this route and the gear was excellent.
Michael's with perfect beta is no harder than Peter's with perfect beta (in fact it might even be easier). However, Michael's with imperfect beta, well, let's just say it isn't that much fun and feels like a grovel. Go back to it a few more times and when you have it dialed it will feel easier than Peter's.