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Many Pines Buttress
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Jamboree T,TR 
Kamikaze T,TR 
Man and Superman T,TR 
Michael's Project T,TR 
No Trump T 
Ostentation T,TR 
Ottobahn T,TR 
Peter's Project T,TR 
Peter's Project Right Side T,TR 
Sewing Machine T,TR 
Superman T,TR 
V8 T,TR 

Peter's Project 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: First Top Rope: Peter Gardiner, late 1950's || First Lead/Solo: Unknown
Page Views: 9,187
Submitted By: James M Schroeder on May 27, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (127)
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Photo by Taylor Frechette.


Peter's Project is the route to do at Devil's Lake. Climbers for whom 5.7 is their current maximum will find themselves challenged aplenty by the route's low crux, but their toil will be rewarded with excellent climbing on the beautiful, lower-angle face above. More experienced climbers should not underestimate the funky body-English, required to negotiate the polished holds and finger-locks in the first twenty feet - more than one solid 5.10 climber has been humbled by the by the sequential nature of Peter's low crux.

After the first crux the angle (and difficulty) drop considerably. Climbers can choose to follow the crack they are in diagonally up and right to a pine tree, then finish on chunky, unaesthetic climbing. Preferably, and to get full-value from the route, many will head left, working into another crack system where they enjoy excellent climbing in a beautiful position. All should take full-advantage here, by pausing at one of the many comfortable rests, taking a deep breath, soaking up an amazing view of the valley below, leaning back, looking up at the sky and laughing at the world for a few seconds. It is here where, with the sunshine on their faces, many climbers find the answer to the eternal question "Why?"

For those climbers hoping to maximize their experience on Peter's, the route offers one more optional (although some purists and the 1970 Climber's and Hiker's Guide call it mandatory) challenge. Having taken the left crack system, climbers will find themselves deposited on a comfortable ledge, where they will encounter another ledge on their left that is separated from the main wall by a crack built to hold a #3 Camalot (a 48" sling is useful here). From this ledge a two or three move sequence can provide a somewhat tenuous upper-crux - the further left the climber stays the more difficult this sequence is.

After surmounting the "headwall" a move or two on blocky terrain deposits the climber at the base of a giant boulder. A few tricams in the pink-to-brown range and some excess webbing allow for a quick and easy anchor setup.


On the southeast side of Many Pines buttress, near the arĂȘte of Ostentation. The main starting hold is a (typically) well-chalked, half-moon affair at eye-level. One other distinct identifier is the famous "Idaho" hold, a block protruding from the crack, ten-to-fifteen above the ground, that somewhat resembles the outline of the state of Idaho.


Set of nuts (offsets useful)
Camalots .5-3
TCUs blue to red
A few slings

Photos of Peter's Project Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: John Knoerschild. Photo by Andrew Burr.
John Knoerschild. Photo by Andrew Burr.
Rock Climbing Photo: Josh Knapp of the HWDAMF getting stupid cleaning o...
Josh Knapp of the HWDAMF getting stupid cleaning o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tom A-B just above the crux on Peter's Project.
Tom A-B just above the crux on Peter's Project.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pete's Project
BETA PHOTO: Pete's Project
Rock Climbing Photo: Soloing Peters
Soloing Peters
Rock Climbing Photo: Just after the crux of Peters Project.
Just after the crux of Peters Project.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown free soloist on Peter's Project.
Unknown free soloist on Peter's Project.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dylan on Peter's Project #2 10-31-10.  Spooktacula...
Dylan on Peter's Project #2 10-31-10. Spooktacula...
Rock Climbing Photo: Not A HIKER!!  Unknown free soloist high up on Pet...
Not A HIKER!! Unknown free soloist high up on Pet...
Rock Climbing Photo: A different angle of climber Eric leading Peter's ...
A different angle of climber Eric leading Peter's ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Kendra leading
Kendra leading
Rock Climbing Photo: Up high on Peter's Project
Up high on Peter's Project
Rock Climbing Photo: Dylan on Peter's Project 10-31-10.
Dylan on Peter's Project 10-31-10.
Rock Climbing Photo: Contemplating the last moves on PP.  Not a whole l...
Contemplating the last moves on PP. Not a whole l...

Comments on Peter's Project Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 3, 2015
By Jeff H
Jun 14, 2002

A classic must do lead that feels more like 5.8 at times.
By Chest Rockwell
From: Lodi, WI
Jun 14, 2002
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

You know, Peter's was once known as "The Official Access Gully" for locals. If you think it is 5.8, then you have been climbing in Minnesota too much.
By Jeff H
Jun 15, 2002

Hey Breast Headswell,Sorry for not being clear.I meant my comments for the aspising 5.7 leader looking for a challenge. I really did not think a climber of your obvious skill and stature would be interested.
By Tom Anderson-Brown
From: Madison, WI
Aug 16, 2002
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I tend to agree with Jeff on the feeling of 5.8. And I don't think it's ratings creep. Just compare this climb to Curving Crack at Sandstone, or maybe an even better comparison would be Watermarks. Pete's Project is very much a "sequence" climb at the crux start. I've climbed this with people who were at least as strong as me who couldn't figure out the sequence and couldn't get more than a few feet off the ground. Once you get above 15' you're good to go, but I think the start is more 5.8ish.
By Terry Kieck
Aug 21, 2002

I would have to agree with Chest. Tom A-B compare Pete's with "Curving Crack" in difficulty but I think the crux on "CC" is the last few exit moves which are rarely done on TR. Pete's is definately easier than Birch Tree, Brinton's Direct or Chicago. IMHO Pete's is the 7 that all other 7's should be compared. Great Classic Lead!!!!!
By Tom Anderson-Brown
From: Madison, WI
Aug 21, 2002
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I guess I've changed my mind after climbing Birthday Crack last Saturday. Birthday Crack and Pete's Project are pretty close in difficulty and the ratings reflect that. Maybe Watermarks has an inflated rating. And Terry is right, the exit moves on CC are definitely harder than any move on Pete's or Birthday Crack.
By Jeff H
Sep 23, 2002

The feeling of 5.8 is just that based on the low crux and somewhat physical moves. I meant that now infamous comment only as a heads up to the new 5.7 leader and apologize for not being more precise. The rating is correct at 5.7. All of the 5.8 routes mentioned are harder than Petes. The exit moves on curving crack always get my attention. In fact in my current state of plumpitude they feel much harder than 5.8.
By Tom Anderson-Brown
From: Madison, WI
Apr 15, 2003
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

A little history I got off the web (care of Richard Goldstone):The Peter in Peter's Project is Peter Gardiner,not Pete Cleveland. I can't remember Michael's last name (as in Michael's Project). These were climbers from the Universtity of Chicago who climbed at Devil's Lakein the late fifties and early sixties. I met and climbed with PeterGardiner in 1961; Peter's and Michael's projects had already beenclimbed. I climbed at Devil's Lake from '61 to '66; I think PeteCleveland showed up around 1965. Ray D'Arcy was also there duringthat period, the legendary Dave Slinger was still actively soloinghard routes in carpenter boots, and John Gill had just left for hisstint as a meteorologist for the SAC.
By Tom Anderson-Brown
From: Madison, WI
Aug 23, 2003
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

A little epic to pass on to you all...Yesterday I was planning to knock a bunch of leads off, and the day started out well, with my leads of Birch Tree Crack and Full Stop. Third route was Peter's Project, which I'd lead before. I sauntered up to that bad boy, made the first few moves, and put in my first piece about 8 feet up. Then I dug in for the crux. A couple of moves into the crux and I started to waver a bit, so I down-climbed, took another look, then started up again. I felt a bit better this time, but couldn't get the right sequence to find a stance to put in my second piece. I was clinging for dear life, nervous that a fall would send me straight into the ground. Next thing I knew, I popped off the wall and headed for the ground fast, with no chance for catch from my first piece of gear. I screamed as I felt my feet hit the ground, hard. The rest of my body crumpled to the ground in a heap. My feet and ankles protested the impact like nothing I've ever felt before. I laid on my back, clutching my knees to my chest, unable to breathe or speak. My dad, who was belaying, knelt next to me, calmly asking me where the pain was. I said that all the pain was in my feet and my ankles. He kept questioning me about my back and my neck, but neither of those hurt at all. I caught my breath, slowly, and was able to calm down my adrenaline after many minutes. I tried rotating my ankles, and though there was pain, they seemed to function. I helped as much as I could to gather up our gear for the hike down. I slipped off my climbing shoes and put on my Tevas. Slowly I stood up and put weight on my feet. It was excruciating! I hobbled back to the head of the CCC trail, then made my way down the steps, one at a time, sitting on each one, using my hands behind me to support my weight.

We reached the bottom of the steps after about an hour, and with my arm over my dad's shoulders we made our way across the road to the car. We had driven separately, me from Madison, my dad from Milwaukee, and I told my dad I could drive myself home. He agreed, reluctantly, telling me to get to the ER for x-rays, and off I went. I moaned for the first 15 minutes, then got used to the pain. Once home, I got out of the car and crawled to the door. When I opened the door my dogs kissed me relentlessly, thinking that my crawling was a game. From a kneeling position I was able to fill two pans full of water and ice. I hit the couch and dunked each foot in. It was too cold to endure for more than 5 minutes at a time. After a while I gave up and laid on the floor. I was awoken by the phone. It was my wife, on her way home from a trip to Milwaukee with our 15 month-old. I told her I had injured my feet, but tried to hide the pain I was in. After speaking with her I knew I needed to get to the hospital to get some x-rays, crutches, and drugs. After 4 hours in the ER the prognosis came back. I had fractured my right heel bone and severely bruised my left foot. I was given crutches, and a prescription, and hobbled back out to the car to head home, where I met my surprised wife.

I found out on Tuesday, after visiting the Orthopaedist, that both of my heels have fractures. I'm now in dual air casts, sporting a KISS/Storm Trooper look. They said most people that fall that far crush the bones in their feet and require surgery, so I guess I got off easy.

Needles to say, be careful when leading, or at any time when you're up on the rock. Gravity is not your friend. You need to be constantly aware of what it can do to you. I got lucky, sustaining a relatively minor injury. It doesn't take much to put you out of commission for a good chunk of time.
By goatboywonder
Aug 2, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Excellent climb. So far, this is my favorite 5.7 lead at the Lake. The loose block below the crux that you have to yard off of made me nervous but sound like it has been there forever. Also, I though it was kind of run out at the top. No worries though, it is easy climbing.
By Tom Anderson-Brown
From: Madison, WI
Jun 21, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I definitely prefer to take the left crack when you get to the split. More interesting and continuous.
By Andrew May
From: Westminster, CO
Sep 22, 2006

I agree, I thought the right crack was a lot more fun. More options.
By Leo Hski
Nov 27, 2006

"The Official Access Gully of the DLFA" per The Extremist's Guide
By James M Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Dec 4, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

If you like Peter's you'll love Michael's Project just around the corner.
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Dec 4, 2006

If you like Peter's then you'd love Bagatelle. It's just a bit to the left...
By James M Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Dec 4, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Michael's Project now has a forum of its own in the midwest forums page.
By Chest Rockwell
From: Lodi, WI
Jan 17, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Errol Morris did the first lead of Peter's Project (AKA Chest's Solo)? He seems way too young, to have been walking on two legs at the time this route should have seen its first ascent. I mean people were leading 5.6 in the 1930's for gods' sake. Make no mistake about it this route is definitely 5.6, it's certainly no harder than False Perspective (AKA Chest Perspective) on the West Bluff, nor is it harder than Push Mi - Pull Yu (AKA Chest Mi - Chest Yu) or Cotamundi Crack (AKA Chestamundi Crack) here on the East.
By John W. Knoernschild
From: Wisconsin
Aug 31, 2007
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I have to strongly disagree with you Chest about a 5.6 rating. It sure is not close to a 5.6 at all. There is no need to make people think this is a 5.6 route and sandbag it even more than it already is. Like Jeff said, feels more like a 5.8 at times. Just cause you can climb alot better now, doesnt mean you should go around and downgrade everything below your skill level. That's how Devil's Lake got so sandbagged in the first place.
By Chest Rockwell
From: Lodi, WI
Sep 4, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b


Believe what you want, but this route is no more difficult than say Brinton's or Push Mi - Pull Yu. Two CLASSICS at the grade...

There is but one move on this route and it's barely off the ground.
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Sep 4, 2007

Chest, didn't I see you flail on this the other day? I thought I heard you say that the route is sooo hard for 5.7 and that it felt at least 5.10.
By Chest Rockwell
From: Lodi, WI
Sep 4, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Only in a place like Rumney would this be called 5.10, and it would probably be bolted there to boot.

As for me falling or flailing on this route, I couldn't imagine that ever happening.
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Sep 4, 2007

Chest, you wouldn't know a bolt if it hit you in your helmet, since you only climb at Devil's Lake on the 'projects'--Peter's and Michael's.

How many boyscout badges did you get for climbing Peter's?
By Chest Rockwell
From: Lodi, WI
Sep 4, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Well first of all I don't wear a helmet, second of all the only bolts I clip are rusty quarter-inch buttonheads...

Most importantly I was never in the boyscouts; they told my mom she couldn't sign me up. Something to do with not allowing 12 year old kids who smoke and steal cars into their petty little group. I'm actually grateful, who would have wanted to be a part of that club anyway.

You do seem to know an awful lot about their inner workings Jay, is this perhaps because you were once a scout? Or maybe you just have special place in, umm, your heart for the little fellas...
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Sep 4, 2007

I was a boyscout. I was a tenderfoot (the lowest, entry level ranking) for over three years. I think that's a record that still stands. My friends became eagle scouts, but I guess I was content to stay a tenderfoot. Then I quit. Story of my life.
By Peter Arndt
Sep 4, 2007
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Jay and Chest:

I was a cubscout till I was informed that we WEREN'T going camping. So I said "F This, I don't need this paramilitary bullshit". I then focused on hitchin out to the lake, rock hoppin, and cruisin chicks at the chateau. No merit badges but a heck of lot more fun.
By James M Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Mar 16, 2009
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

The older I get, and the more routes I see the more I love this route. I'd give it 100 stars if I could - if you only have time for one route at Devil's Lake this should be it.
By Ta-Chi Wang
May 24, 2009

Lots argument! I led this route a week ago with Karsten, that was my 6th trip to DL, 3rd trip to CCC, during the past 11 years since I came to Madison from Taiwan. And you know, you guys are lucky! This route is just such a great route to lead and to enjoy that too many arguments simply tarnish it.

For someone who would like to enjoy it, small nuts work particularly well on the lower section (the first 15 feet).
By Paul Dieterle
From: Pasadena, CA
Aug 28, 2009

Felt as hard as some 5.8's, but realistically it's a 5.7. Honestly, with a route as good as this, it doesn't matter.
By rgold
From: Poughkeepsie, NY
Jun 13, 2011

I can add a few remarks to the information Tom Anderson-Brown quotes me as saying above.

The Michael in Michael's Project is Michael Fain, who made the first top-rope ascent in the late fifties. The first top-rope ascent of Peter's Project was also in the late fifties by Peter Gardiner.

Both those routes were lead for sure by Steve Derenzo and I in the very early sixties before Errol Morris appeared at Devil's Lake; he was certainly not the first to lead Peter's Project, and for that matter I cannot say that Steve and I were the first to lead either of those routes.

Steve Derenzo leading Peter's Project, early 60's:

And here's me leading it, also in the early 60's

I didn't actually see it, but it would be entirely reasonable to assume that Dave Slinger soloed Peter's Project around that time too; he was soloing other things as hard or harder, and John Gill might have warmed up or cooled down on it as well. Roger Wiegand and Olle Swartling were active in that period and were fully capable of leading those climbs as well, although I cannot say whether they did.

All in all, I don't think there is any way to know who led or soloed those routes first.
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Jul 17, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Thanks for the info on this route- a classic no doubt! The photos have such a vintage luster to them- damn they look good!
By Deborah Sherwin
Aug 7, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Toproped this route and it was tons of fun. Even better, it was in a shady side on a sunny day. I took the right side after the split, so I wonder if I'm missing anything on the left side? I tried this route last year and the first few moves totally threw me for a loop. But this time I pulled hard and trusted the sketchy loose blocks (which don't seem like they are going anywhere), and then it was smooth sailing to the top.
By Joe "Big Boi" Osterman
From: Portland, OR
Jul 15, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I climbed this route 3 times today because it so good!
By Frogmen83
Jul 30, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Great route and fun lead. bottom section felt 5.8 with the rest of the route 5.7
By James M Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Mar 21, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This thing needs a better description! It's easily one of the top ten routes at the Lake.
By Chris treggE
From: Madison, WI
Mar 23, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

It's all you James.
By Joel Allen
From: La Crosse
Aug 3, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

No harder than 5.7 but it might feel hard if you don't see how to do it right away. Tricky onsight. The gear is bomber though and pretty comfortable to place other than maybe the second piece. Definitely a must do lead. Classic for sure.

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