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Devils Lake. Crux of Stool Pidgeon. Photo: Henning...

Wisconsin Rocks 

Welcome to Wisconsin, home to some of the Upper Midwest's finest rock climbing venues. Probably, the most popular and highest quantity of climbing can be found at Devil's Lake. Nonetheless, there are other scattered crags in the state for those who are willing to drive and explore. Don't expect to find towering cliffs here, but there is an amazing quality and history to the climbing in the state.

Steve Schultz on Good Morning Veruca, Devil's Lake
Steve running a lap.
Steve running a lap.

Ted Kryzer on Wild West Homo, Devil's Lake
Ted Kryzer on WWH in the approaching storm. 07/25/09.
Ted Kryzer on WWH in the approaching storm. 07/25/09.

Henning Boldt climbing Fire In The Sky, Necedah (Petenwell Bluff)
Necedah, WI. Fire Spire. Henning Boldt on Fire in the Sky. May 02 '09.
Necedah, WI. Fire Spire. Henning Boldt on Fire in the Sky. May 02 '09.

2,685 Total Routes

['4 Stars',169],['3 Stars',1057],['2 Stars',1046],['1 Star',337],['Bomb',12]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Wisconsin:
Slope of Dadaism   V3 6A     Boulder   Monolith Area : East of Trail Boulders
The Godfather   V4 6B     Boulder, 15'   Box Canyon Boulders : Godfather Boulder
Sandstone Violence   V8 7B     Boulder   Backbone Ridge : West Side- Backbone Ridge
East Comfort Route   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   West Bluff - Cleo Amphithea... : Cleopatra's Needle
Queen's Throne   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, TR   West Bluff - Cleo Amphithea... : The Cleo Amphitheater
Air   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport, 95'   Necedah (Petenwell Bluff) : Air Spire
Brinton's Crack   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad   East Bluff - East Rampart : Brinton's Buttress
Peter's Project   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   East Bluff - East Rampart : Many Pines Buttress
Birch Tree Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   East Bluff - East Rampart : Pedestal Buttress
Roger's Roof   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR   East Bluff - Railroad Track... : Horse Rampart
Upper Diagonal   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR   East Bluff - East Rampart : Pedestal Buttress
Sometime Crack   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   East Bluff - East Rampart : Pedestal Buttress
Congratulations   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, TR   East Bluff - East Rampart : Pedestal Buttress
Cheatah   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 120'   East Bluff - East Rampart : Bill's Buttress
Thoroughfare   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad   East Bluff - East Rampart : Two Pines Buttress
D.L.F.A   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 29 pitches, 290'   East Bluff - East Rampart : Pedestal Buttress
Son Of Great Chimney   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Prospect Point Rampart : Great Chimney Area
Acid Rock   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   East Bluff - East Rampart : Gill's Buttress
Bagatelle   5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b R     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   East Bluff - East Rampart : Pseudo Hawk's Nest
Whiskey a Go-Go   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Necedah (Petenwell Bluff) : Y-Crack Wall
Browse More Classics in Wisconsin

Featured Route For Wisconsin
Picture doesn't do the problem justice.

Moj V8 7B  WI : Devil's Lake : ... : Super Slab Area
This thing is rad! Start low on left, establish left hand pinch and stab out right to good edge. Keep you core tight and get feet set to bump your left hand to the finish....[more]   Browse More Classics in WI

Photos of Wisconsin Slideshow Add Photo
Somewhere in southern Wisconsin...
Somewhere in southern Wisconsin...
Perhaps Cleo's 1st Ascent?  This was "borrowed" from the Wisconsin State Historical society site.  Taken by H.H. Bennett perhaps around the turn of the century?
Perhaps Cleo's 1st Ascent? This was "borrowed" fr...
View from Cactus Bluff near Sauk of the Lower Wisconsin @ dawn.
View from Cactus Bluff near Sauk of the Lower Wisc...
Fall '07 colors at Devils Lake.
Fall '07 colors at Devils Lake.
Poor photo/ light quality, but here is a shot of Chris Keller walking the high line we set at Pewits Nest last weekend.
Poor photo/ light quality, but here is a shot of C...
Devil's Lake from the top of the Old Sandstone bluff.  10/18/08 <br /> <br />photo by: John Knoernschild
Devil's Lake from the top of the Old Sandstone blu...
Devil's Lake. Looking down the East Bluff from the top of the Old Sandstone trail. 10/18/08 <br /> <br />photo by: John Knoernschild
Devil's Lake. Looking down the East Bluff from the...
View from Cactus Bluff.
View from Cactus Bluff.
Wisconsin climbing legend, Travy Melin.
Wisconsin climbing legend, Travy Melin.
East Bluff
East Bluff
West Bluff
West Bluff
Wisco sport bash 2013!!
Wisco sport bash 2013!!
View from Cactus Bluff looking downstream (west).
View from Cactus Bluff looking downstream (west).
Ammo Cams
Ammo Cams
Sauk County
Sauk County
Sauk County <br />Virgin Sandstone?
Sauk County
Virgin Sandstone?
Narrows Creek, central WI
Narrows Creek, central WI
"Flying Fin" <br />Sauk County, Wisconsin
"Flying Fin"
Sauk County, Wisconsin
Sauk County
Sauk County
Sauk County
Sauk County
A secret Wisconsin summit!
A secret Wisconsin summit!
Kris Gorny's 9.7mm Beal after a fall where the rope was stuck in a flake/crack at the Lake.
Kris Gorny's 9.7mm Beal after a fall where the rop...
Our awesome state
Our awesome state

Show All 52 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Wisconsin Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 26, 2014
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Apr 23, 2008
Anyone climb at the cliffs near Greenleaf off WI Hwy 57? One hiker mentioned it had the same Niagara escarpment limestone as High Cliff State Park but taller cliffs.
By sweatpants
From: Broomfield, CO
May 14, 2008
I was curious if anyone knows of any bouldering that's been found in southern wisconsin or northern Illinois that might not be very well known? Just figured I'd ask. any info is appreciated. thanks!
By TravisMelin
From: Roanoke, VA La Crosse, WI
May 14, 2008
I scoped out a great deal of the central area just north of the border (my folks live there). The best I found was a stone watertower (project still), and a stone barn (V5 traverse)....any true rock was all choss or too short.
By Leveille
From: Appleton, WI
Jul 26, 2008
Anyone climb around Niagara, Wi? It seems like there is a decently long and high cliff band with no houses on top or anything so it might be a city/county park. Maybe the mill there owns the part behind the mill but most of it seems pretty accessible. It does look quite virgin (dirty) though. It also looks like high quality High Cliff stone under the dirt/moss/etc. I checked out the Niagara's website and they don't really mention the cliffs specifically though it sounds like there are various other gorges, etc. in the area.
By matt oberley
Apr 14, 2011
The new Union South in Madison is advertising that they have a climbing and bouldering wall and is opening this week...anyone know anything about the size and/or quality of these supposed walls?
By Tradoholic
Apr 14, 2011
I am consulting for the U South Wall. It's about 30ft tall and features 4 auto-belays, plus a small boudering cave. The wall is mostly geared to beginners (I did the setting) with a harder route or two mixed in (5.10 max). There is also an awesome crack to climb (Jason Skinner FA). One of the auto belays is on a "realistic" wall which looks good but severally limits what you can set on it.

All the holds are Nicros and setting is mostly done by hold color and not by colored tape (less mess).

Hours are roughly going to be 4pm-9pm I think.

I believe you can go down and check it out starting next Monday.
By matt oberley
Apr 14, 2011
Thanks for the info...any pictures of U South?
By Juggler
May 31, 2011
To All Chicago Area Climbers:

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 Jeff VS
Jan 10, 2012
Devil's Lake: The top of Sunken Pillar/der Glotz on Balanced Rock Wall is missing! Large rock fall in the last few days. Doesn't change the rating of anything but there is a different look. Perfect climbing day today. 50+ degrees in the middle of January!
By Greeley
May 24, 2013
Is there any climbing in northwestern Wisconsin? I'm headed to some cabins this summer near Siren, WI and Hayward, WI and I'm trying to find something to climb on while I'm up there -- a mini-crag, a boulder, a retaining wall, anything! So far I haven't had much luck searching the interwebs.
By Remo
From: Madison, WI
May 25, 2013
Hey Greeley,

Check out Interstate State Park near Saint Croix Falls. Lots of great Trad, TR, and bouldering opportunities. Good luck.
By Greeley
Jun 9, 2013
Thanks, Remo. I know about Interstate Park, but I was hoping to find something farther north. Know of anything?
By Scott7777
Jun 28, 2013
Does anyone know the condition of the wall at willow? I heard there has been a lot of rain lately. Is it climbable?
By nicros fivten
Sep 18, 2013
The Minnesota Bouldering Guide is finished!

Get your copy here!

By al grahn
Oct 26, 2013
Greeley, you might be closer to Duluth. Check out stuff in Duluth and Ely's Peak and of course further up the Shore.
By C.J. DeYoung III
Feb 13, 2014
Hi all! My wife and I will be out west this summer sport climbing and bouldering (CO & WY) and we would like to break up our trip back east and WI looks like a good place to stop for a couple of days. Which area(s) should we look to stop and climb at? We won't have any trad gear as that's what we do regularly... Thanks for the beta.
By James M Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Feb 13, 2014

The bouldering at Governor Dodge and Devils Lake is excellent. As far as sport climbing you could check out Grandad's Bluff, Necedah, Hillbilly Hollow or Governor Dodge. Devils Lake is the mecca of toproping and a bunch of webbing with a set of nuts is all you'd need to see you through that.

If you choose Devils Lake or Governor Dodge drop me a line on your way through.
By C.J. DeYoung III
Feb 13, 2014
Thanks James! Governor looks great! We LOVE climbing on sandstone and there appears to be camping there as well? Hard to pass up a one stop area. We'll be coming in the later half of Aug and it would be great to meet up with a local!! Would you be willing to sent me your contact info at some point? Is there a guide book or topo available anywhere (in case we're not able to hookup)?
By James M Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Feb 14, 2014
CJ - Just send me a message through MP when it gets closer to you getting out here and if I'm around I'll meet up with you guys. As far as guidebooks go, MP has the most up-to-date info available.

By Keenan
From: Eau Claire, WI
Jun 6, 2014
I am looking for a partner around the Eau Claire area with ropes that would like to clean and establish some new lines.
By John Kenb
Jul 25, 2014
Out of the two areas (Devils Lake and Governor Dodge), which is more enjoyable to climb and find problems at? I'm looking to spend some time bouldering in these areas.
By Chris treggE
From: Madison, WI
Jul 25, 2014
John- how much time you got and what are your goals? High concentration of stuff with easy approaches at gov dodge, but rock can be suspect. DL stuff is more spread out with better rock but longer approaches. Either area you choose I'm sure you will have fun. There was a storm that knocked over some trees at the best area at the dodge recently (group camp B) and some problems are covered on deadfall right now.
By John Kenb
Jul 26, 2014
Hey Chris thanks for the quick reply. I plan on staying for 3-4 days bouldering in the area. I'm coming from Michigan and there are rumors here that most of the boulders in DL are hard to find due to lack there of a proper guide book. Dodge seems most appealing thus far, simply because of the sandstone(despite the choss) and the size of the area seems much smaller then DL.

Is there any word when some of these trees in the area might be taken care of?
By Chris treggE
From: Madison, WI
Jul 26, 2014
The downed trees are tricky because you are allowed to cut up fallen trees for campfires, but for that you need to rent a group site. You can't just show up and start cutting. So, the WCA is coordinating a time for that to happen but it won't be in the next few weeks probably. There is still plenty to climb.

If you get bored there, the "north shore" area at DL is easy to find, and from there you can hike the east bluff trail and there is a lot that's easy to find along there, too. Likewise, there are a couple areas that are easy to find on the west bluff along the tumbled rocks trail. Don't let the rumors dissuade you from climbing at DL. The guidebook is coming...