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!!


  1. it DOES exist!

    I'm not sure famous is the word to describe my ascent, but memorable it was. I've blocked out some of the details but I distinctly remember falling off doing the last move yet somehow reaching my arm out in an Inspector Gadget-esque fashion and latching the finishing jug AFTER I had begun my fall to earth. Good times!

  2. Hah! Yes it does exist! I was almost as surprised as you!! Need to go back with more pads though. Wow.