Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lets try this again...

I'm gonna start this back up but use it as a media resource for the lake. We'll see if that works any better. I loved the idea of the site originally but the expansion at the lake was a bit too much to keep up with and I lost interest in doing mini guides to each and every area at the lake.

More soon...

Monday, August 10, 2009

West Bluff - Massive Vertigo

Massive Vertigo is an old Peter De Salvo problem that's seemingly all by itself in the West Bluff Talus. In reality there is a decent amount of potential for the area and we'll hopefully see some development this coming Fall and Spring.

It checks in at roughly V8 and has only seen 5-6 repeats as far as I know. I'm not exactly sure when Peter did the problem first but the first time I saw it was on Todd's birthday challenge in 2004, I believe. It was the last hard problem left on his list and he pulled out a gutsy, last chance send. To say I was impressed would be an understatement.

Here's how you get there!

Starting from Ski Hi, take a right and drive to the "T" intersection. Go left and follow the road signs to the North Shore. Turn right into the park and drive down to the main lots at DL. Park and walk towards the west end of the beach to meet up with the Tumbled Rocks trail. Get on that and start walking south.

After a few minutes you'll see a sign talking about Quartzite on your right. A minute or so after that and you'll see the first of two benches. Walk past the first one and look for this one:

Walk past that a couple hundred feet and on your right will be a patch of grass just off the trail. This is the marker:

Go up and into the woods here. On your right there will be a talus field and you can sort of follow that all to the problem. I ended up going into the actual talus and found it that way.

Massive Vertigo sits on the left edge of the talus field above a small pit that you'll start in. It's maybe 75 yards up the hill in a small grove of trees. Just keep your eyes out and you'll be able to see it as long as you stay on the left edge of the talus.

It looks like this:

Massive Vertigo starts in the corner at the bottom center of the photo and ends just above the sloper in the upper left portion.

The problem starts on a small crimp rail and goes up through a series of hard, crimpy moves. It ends with a tough move off a sloper to a jug. Bring pads and spotters as it's not an ideal landing. Not bad, just not ideal.

There is plenty more potential in this area and needs to be developed more. Very cool little problem.

Friday, July 17, 2009

West Bluff - Anchorpoint

Here's one of my favorite areas at the lake. Everything has fairly good landings and is somewhat atypical for the Lake. The approach is pretty easy and there are overhung moderates!! Such a rarity at the lake.

So, starting at Ski Hi. Go right and stop at the "T" intersection. Turn right and follow the windy South Bluff road down into the valley. At the bottom you can either go left onto the dirt road where there is limited parking or you can go a little further down the road and park on the right at the boat launch lot. Either one is fine.

Walk down the dirt road, past the cottages and get onto the Tumbled Rocks trail that looks a lot like this:

From here, walk about 5-10 minutes on the asphalt trail. You'll pass the talus field for Alpine Club but just wait until the first huge talus field appears. It'll be pretty obvious. It looks a lot like this:

If you look closely you can see some yellow spraypaint on one of the rocks that some moron thought would look cool. Look here:

In the first picture of the talus field you can actually see the top of the Hogleg Boulder in the upper left. Thats where you need to go. Just start hiking and it'll be obvious.

We'll start on the right side and go left. First is a pretty cool traverse that needs some cleaning. It'll probably be a nice warm up. There is also potential for some problems going up the boulder but I'd like to say that we shouldn't clean off all the ferns on the top. There are plenty of problems already and we don't need to destroy plantlife to climb these ones. Just be happy with the traverse please.

Here's a picture:

The left arete of that is also a nice little V1 or so with fun moves and a cool topout. Heres a shot of it:

Just to the left of that is another nice overhanging corner. This one is a touch harder and is maybe V3 or so. I personally like this one better. It's really fun and is actually fairly overhanging. Here you go:

Directly left of that is Hogleg Overhang. It climbs up the overhanging face using whatever you want to use, as far as I know!! Classic and comes in with a grade around V5. It's a bit highball so bring pads and spotters! There is also apparently a direct version that goes at about V7 but I'm not sure what the exact line is. Here's a picture:

Directly left of Hogleg are a couple of problems that climb up the smooth face and corner. They range from V1-V3 and have interesting fall potential.

Anchorpoint starts on the obvious prow left of Hogleg. Start left hand on juggy side pull and right hand on the good flat ledge. Use whatever trickery you can to gain a high right crimp and topout squeezing slopers. Classic and super fun!! The big detached block is off. Here's a picture of the left side of it.

Just to the left of Anchorpoint is a short problem that does in fact use the block in question. Would also be doable without it but with MAJOR dab potential. I think this comes in around V1-2.

If you walk towards the back of the boulders you'll see one of the coolest slabs in the entire park! Great warmups on super unique rock make the Trust Fund Slab an absolute must do!

Up and to the right, past Trust Fund is another new V0 highball. This apparent classic is a jug haul the whole way. You can see the backside of it from Trust Fund. I believe it's being called TCC.

So there you go! Check it out and let me know what you think of the area! Like I said, it's one of my favorites and it's very unique for Devil's Lake!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

East Bluff - North Shore - Monolith Area

Last week we went back up to the Monolith Area for the first time in a couple years and I was hit with all sorts of nostalgia and remembered why it's one of my favorite areas at the lake. All of the landings are fairly clean, the climbs have enough height to make them fun but not too much to make them scary and most of the problems are incredibly fun. It's got an easy approach and is a pretty good summer destination if there is a nice solid breeze blowing through.

From Ski Hi take a right and go to the "T" intersection. Go left and follow signs for the North Shore of Devil's Lake. You'll eventually turn right into the park and go down the windy road past the Smooth Operator parking lot. Pass the ranger station and go over the railroad tracks. Take the first right after the tracks and park in the third parking lot on the right. Drive down to the south end of the lot if you can as that's where the trail starts up.

Walk past the bathroom that looks like this:

You'll walk on the left side of the bathroom and into the woods behind it and meet up with a trail that runs through the right side of the North Shore bouldering area. Walk up a hill with quartzite steps built into it and you'll eventually meet up with an asphalt trail at the top. Turn right and start hiking up the slight hill.

After a few minutes you'll see a chossy cave that looks a whole lot like this:

When you see this cave, go right and up around the corner. You'll see a really nice lookout and then you'll turn left. Keep following the asphalt trail onto the top of the bluff. Walk for another 5 minutes or so and on the left side of the trail you'll see this grove of trees and a small trail going down. This will take you to the Dadaism boulders.

On the other side of the the entrance you'll see these stairs:

There is also a second entrance down the trail a bit. On your left there will be a nice little clearing. Look for something like this:

The Dadaism boulders are super fun and have some tall moderate lines, as well as one very hard problem. The main wall has three problems on it. Sloper of Dadaism(V3), Dyno Project(V?) and Crack of Minimal Motion(V3). Sloper starts on the left on a good jug and goes up the left side of the face using the chalked up pocket. Long moves and comfy holds make this problem one of my absolute favorites at the Lake. Definition of classic.

The dyno project may have been done already but it's unconfirmed. It's very simple though. Climb up to good pockets, set your feet and launch for the big hold at the top. Full body length dyno. Crack of Minimal Motion is a bit trickier and a bit less fun than sloper, but still worthwhile. It starts at the right arete and uses the thin crack to the top.

Sloper of Dadaism, Dyno Project and Crack of Minimal Motion from left to right.

Just to the left of Dadaism is the hard climb, Axiom of Arete Aesthetics. It comes in at roughly V7 but is definitely hard and rarely tried. Very proud line though. Starts on the right arete.

Directly left of that is Pillar of Contemporary Movement. It goes up the face using whatever you want and is roughly V4.

Back on the asphalt trail you'll see Thunderbird Bulge on the right side. Thuderbird starts on two sidepulls and dynos up to the break. It clocks in at about V3-4. Apparently there is a hard problem immediately to the left as well. Thunderbird looks like this:

Just around the corner you'll come to what I like to call the Zoo. A nice little alcove with 4 high quality problems in it. On the left side is the Venus Rising block, which holds 3 problems on it. The left arete proper is about V2-4 depending on who you talk to. Physical moves up an arete and it always seems hard when I try it.

Venus Rising(V7) climbs the blunt arete up the center of the face. Starting on underclings climb your way up to a small crimp, match and throw for a dish up top. Many different ways to do this problem and is a classic for DL. VERY fun moves!!

To the right of Venus Rising is Bark Biter(V4). Another classic climb for the grade and a worthy tick. Start in the crack and go up using whatever you want. Cool moves the whole way up and a nice tree behind you to keep you honest! I've got a bit of a soft spot for this problem for many reasons. Do it!!

Arete, Venus Rising and Bark Biter from Left to right:

Directly to the right of this boulder is a V2 slabby face known as "Face right of bark biter". With the hardest moves right off the ground this is a great entrance to some of the headier climbs at the lake.

Around the corner from the Zoo there is a small valley with a boulder on each side. On the right is a nice warm up boulder with 4-5 moderate climbs on it. Shawns slab is on the front face and Broken Pottery is on the right hand face. Both have nice landings and comfy grips. On the left side is a nice balancy arete problem. And this isn't even counting all the variations and traverses. One of the best warm up boulders in the park.

Directly across the mini valley is the Spotted Cow Boulder. There are three variations and all problems are.....interesting. They go, from left to right, V3, V4-5, V2.

From the Spotted Cow Boulder turn you back to the asphalt trail and walk up the small valley. At the top turn right and look on your left for a small gully. Go down here and this will take you to the remainder of the problems.

The first problem you'll see is Sex and Chocolate(V7). It's the obvious wide arete that goes up to the break. Use whatever beta you can decipher and go! Either drop off at the jug or traverse off right if you want. There is also a possible direct project. Looks doable!! (Photo shamelessly stolen from Mountain Project. Credit goes to Brian Runnells)

Continue down the trail a little further and you'll see Perfect Medium(V9) and Manhattan(V1-2). Perfect Medium starts right hand on arete and left hand on the razor edge. Punch to a sloper and head up to a break. Hard and classic. Bring tape. Manhattan goes up the left face near Perfect Medium.

If you keep walking for 5-10 minutes past Perfect Medium you'll see the Thin Man Corridor. There are a number of easier highballs in the area and they tend to be pretty heady. Bring pads and spotters and you'll have fun.

All in all the Monolith Area is easily one of my favorites at the lake. High concentration of classic problems with reasonable landings make it a must visit area. Let me now if there are any questions!

Friday, June 5, 2009

West Bluff - Jenga

Yup, here it is. I know a couple people who wanted these directions posted and hopefully this will help you find this Devil's Lake classic.

A bit of a warning though, the hike in can be a bit of a slog. That's just my disclaimer. These directions are by no means foolproof.

So, first thing is first. Find your way to the 45 degree boulder, look !HERE!. Once you find that, continue towards the left on this trail:

You'll continue on this for a minute or so and turn a corner around the first real prow of this section of the west bluff. Keep following this trail and you'll eventually go down and to the right and into a mini cave, seen here:

Once in this alcove either go around it to the right and walk back up to the bluff or step on the log and walk up it. Either way you are going to be up by the bluff again. Follow the bluff for a couple minutes on a trail and after a few minutes you'll see a talus field on the right side of you. This is not the talus field that Jenga is in!! Keep walking, hugging the bluff as you go. You'll pass over a couple of blocks and sort of bushwhack your way through for a bit until you get back on the trail again. Maybe another 4-5 minutes on this and you'll start to see another talus field on the right. This should be the one that Jenga is in. Jenga is maybe 50 yards off the trail at the very top left hand corner of the talus.

Find a way down into the field and look at the top edge and you'll see the boulder in the upper left hand corner. It looks a lot like this:


Possible Project

Jenga climbs the line in the first picture. This is an old Peter De Salvo problem and when he found it he had to move about 3-4 feet of small pieces of quartzite to unearth the start holds. He said that it reminded him a lot of the game "Jenga", hence the name. It checks in at about V7 and is a classic for the grade. The landing gives you pause and even after the crux the quartzite slopers don't seem as positive as you'd like them to be. A committing final move completes this classic line.

Brian Runnells may have the most famous ascent with a more exciting than usual final move. I'll let him tell the story if he chooses to though.

Combining the landing, setting, comfy holds and quality of movement make this a very memorable problem for any that have tried it. Start the problem on the obvious start jug and move out to the holds on the right arete. Head straight up from there and throw for the topout jugs.

There is also a somewhat terrifying project to the right. This may or may not have been done but consists of maybe three moves over a heinous sloping landing. Kelsen and I worked on the landing for almost a full day trying to make it just a two tiered landing and failed. Committing and proud for sure. This line is in the picture below Jenga, above.

There are definitely other problems in the area as well. Steve Day and I dubbed one such area in the woods nearby The Candyland. A nice cluster of boulders that could use some work. Exploration is a must out here and there is pretty large potential for the area.

There you have it. Enjoy!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

West Bluff - Alpine Club/Beautiful Soup Boulders

In the Southern corner of the West Bluff Talus fields lay two premier boulders with 3 of the hardest problems at the lake. The landings are friendly, for the most part, and the approach is relatively easy once you find your way to it the first time. All of the problems are classics for their grade and are very high quality.

Starting at the Apple Orchard, take a right out of the parking lot and drive to the "T" intersection. Take a right and follow the winding South Shore road into the park. You've got two parking options. First one is to park in the boat launch parking lot right at the base of the hill on your right. This option is better for weekends and busy days. If it isn't as busy take a left onto Cottage Grove Road that looks like this:

And this:

And look for some of the parking spots on the side of the road:

If you do park in the boat landing parking lot just walk back up the road and start hiking along Cottage Grove Road. It takes an extra couple of minutes and will help you warm up a little.

When you get to the end of Cottage Grove Road, about 5 minutes maybe, start following the paved tumbled rocks trail. Another 4-5 minutes of light hiking will bring you to a small straightaway that looks like so:

Then you'll turn a corner and see a "S" curve in the trail:

Stop and turn left. If you see this:

Start walking up into the talus field. You'll start to see the Alpine Club Boulder in a minute or so.

There are two problems on the Alpine Club Boulder and both are worthwhile and fun. Corner roof starts on the left side of the boulder and climbs up a small roof to a mantle topout. It checks in at about V3 and is a good warmup for the brutal testpiece next to it, Alpine Club.

Alpine Club clocks in at a very hard V9. It's a classic boulder with two very pure moves that climb up a bulgy face. You start on the obvious ledge and move up to a right hand sloper. Lock it off and then pick a hideous sloper or an awkward gaston. Your have your choice and each one has its difficulties.

Alpine Club is one of the most classic hard problems at Devil's Lake and is worth any amount of time you can spend on its frustratingly hard moves. As of this time it only has 4-5 known ascents.

Nic on the first move to the sloper

Remo trying the crux second move

Katie trying out the crux move

Just uphill from Alpine Club is a nice tall wall that hosts a serious contender for the hardest climb a the lake. There are three known problems on the boulder, even if one of them is a traverse.

Beautiful Soup is an old Eric Z. problem that starts on the left side of the wall, to the left of the pit. Start left hand on a good sidepull and right hand on an OK ledge. Move up to a small and sharp right hand crimp and then find your way, either by throw or other trickery, up to the deceiving ledge up high. Traverse off right on moves that really shouldn't be underestimated. At V8 this is a very fun problem to work on and offers a good intro to hard climbing at Devil's Lake. Dynamic and powerful moves make this a DL classic.

Remo setting up for the move to the ledge, just above him

One of the other problems on the boulder is a traverse into the start of Beautiful Soup. I believe this comes in at about V4/5 and starts in the bottom right corner of the pit. If anyone has more info on this please let me know.

That brings us to the Keymaker. Brian Sandona put this up back in the early part of this decade and it still stands unrepeated. It has a tentative grade of V11 and is waiting for a repeat. It starts on the traverse and follows Beautiful Soup up to the juggy ledge. Instead of traversing out right you follow non existent crimps and top out the boulder direct. Hard and unrepeated, hopefully this one will receive some attention this fall.

There also seems to be a V2 mantle on the boulder to the right of Beautiful Soup. It starts on a pretty obvious looking ledge and goes straight up.

That's all I've got for Alpine Club and Beautiful Soup. Let me know if you want to know anything else!

Friday, May 15, 2009

West Bluff - Smooth Operator/Bud White

I figured this would be a good second area to post up since people always ask me where these problems are!

I first saw Smooth Operator and Bud White on Todd's Birthday Challenge. He finished up his circuit with both of these classic, fun and scary problems. Smooth Operator is the original stand start to the boulder and climbs up a wide arete feature to a sloping, polished mantle. You finish above the very edge of a landing that stands atop another talus field. The fall is safe, but can be pretty intimidating. I spotted Huston on his attempts and he took a relatively famous fall where his eyes may have actually been larger than dinner plates when he came off. All of that and it checks in at V4. Full value problem.

Bud White is the super sit start to Smooth Operator and goes at about V6. I need to get a hold of Todd for exact start beta but this was Todd's lone FA contribution to Devil's Lake. As far as I know it starts a couple moves down to the right. I'll get more info soon though...

For the approach, starting at Ski Hi Apple Orchard, take a right and go to the T intersection. Take a left(thanks brian!), past the fire road and follow the signs for the North Shore. You'll take another right past some log cabin homes and come to a stop sign with the entrance to Devil's Lake on your right and a putt putt golf course on your left. Go right. Follow that down the hill but look on the right for a parking area. It'll look like this:

Park there. Again you are in the park so make sure you have a park sticker! On the right side of the lot will be a large trail that looks a lot like this:

Walk down that and look for a smaller trail on the far side of the walkway. You'll basically head up into the talus now though. In early spring and late fall you can actually see Smooth Operator from the parking lot. It's not too far away, really. Look for the boulder below. It's at the bottom of the talus field and you need to go up into the talus when you see it.

Walk up and left into the talus going towards a grouping of boulders. It'll become more obvious as you go and you'll see a huge roof. Keep walking up and you'll hit the boulder. Here's a couple of pictures. They don't really do it justice though.

Smooth Operator starts on the small roof in the left of the photo.  Bud White starts near the big sloper in the bottom right and climbs into Smooth Operator.

I've got a few pictures of me and a couple others actually trying Smooth Operator and I'll try to find those soon and post them. Let me know if you have any other questions about either!