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!