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Tettegouche SP (North Shore)

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Palisade Head 
Shovel Point 
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Tettegouche SP (North Shore)  

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Location: 47.3834, -91.1924 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Kris Gorny, Chris treggE, James Loveridge, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: nodin on Apr 5, 2006
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September mid day atop Palisade Head.


Climbing at Palisade Head with Shovel Point in the...
Climbing at Palisade Head with Shovel Point in the background. Poseidon Adventure, Henning Boldt and Kate Muehling. Sept 08, '09.

Tettegouche is the crown jewel of Minnesota climbing. Palisade Head boasts 100 or so climbs with potential for more and Shovel Point holds dozens of climbs. Dramatically positioned over Lake Superior, both areas carry an air of seriousness not found at other Minnesota crags. All climbs must be rapped in to lead or top-roped from above.

There is a strict no-chalk ethic in the area and nailing and bolting is not allowed. That being said, you will occassionally find people using chalk here and you will find old in-situ pins as well as old (and not so old) bolts on some climbs. A free permit to climb is required by the state park and can be picked up during business hours at the park headquarters. Some people get passionate about the chalk debate.

Both areas are good places to wear helmets as tourists abound. Be nice to them and hopefully they'll be nice to us.

Getting There 

Just north of Silver Bay and about 60 Miles north of Duluth on Highway 61. It's pretty hard to miss the sign for Tettegouche.

Climbing Season

Weather station 15.7 miles from here

78 Total Routes

['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',43],['2 Stars',20],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Tettegouche SP (North Shore):
The Great Yawn   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Shovel Point
Danger High Voltage   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 160'   Palisade Head
Dance of the Sugar-Plump Faeries   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Shovel Point
Superior Crack   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 90'   Palisade Head
Bluebells   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 90'   Palisade Head
Phantom Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 90'   Palisade Head
Scars and Tripes Forever   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 200'   Palisade Head
Ross's Crack   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Shovel Point
Rapprochement   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 120'   Palisade Head
Laceration Jam   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R     Trad, 3 pitches, 200'   Palisade Head
Urge to Mate   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   Palisade Head
A Feathery Tong   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 150'   Palisade Head
Don't bring a knife to a gun fight a.k.a. "Gun Fight"   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 105'   Palisade Head
Hidden Treasure   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 90'   Palisade Head
Mr. Lean   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 110'   Palisade Head
Poseidon Adventure   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 80'   Palisade Head
Soli Deo Gloria   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Palisade Head
Oz - (AKA The Road To Emerald City)   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 175'   Palisade Head
Superior Arete   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 100'   Palisade Head
Palisaid   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Trad   Palisade Head
Browse More Classics in Tettegouche SP (North Shore)

Featured Route For Tettegouche SP (North Shore)
Divesh Bhatt on Dance.

Dance of the Sugar-Plump Faeries 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  MN : Rock : ... : Shovel Point
This is a large slab that contains four different variations listed from climbers left to right. Don't forget your camera, this route allows great views of the climber below set against the turquoise backdrop of Lake Superior. Because of its high quality, closer proximity to the parking lot, and variability in difficulty, this is one of the most popular climbs at Shovel Point. #1 (5.7) climb the inside corner. #2 (5.8) climb the left side of the face using the small crack and othe...[more]   Browse More Classics in MN

Photos of Tettegouche SP (North Shore) Slideshow Add Photo
Claire Daley rappelling in to take on some offwidt...
Claire Daley rappelling in to take on some offwidt...
The Northern Ramparts with Shovel Point in the bac...
The Northern Ramparts with Shovel Point in the bac...
Palisade Head with Shovel Point in the background
Palisade Head with Shovel Point in the background
A shot of the north end of Palisade Head from Shov...
A shot of the north end of Palisade Head from Shov...
Looking north towards Palisade from near Shovel Po...
Looking north towards Palisade from near Shovel Po...

Comments on Tettegouche SP (North Shore) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 26, 2014
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jun 4, 2007
If I recall correctly from the late 80's/early 90's there was an older book for the North Shore areas of Lake Superior (IE Tetagouche- Palisade Head and Shovel Point) made a big deal about how that rock was so rare... That it was Rhyolite and that it was found there and in Turkey (yes, the country).

But if you go to the NM page, the comments there include some regarding rhyolite climbing there.

Can someone confirm that there was such a book in print and that it did say that? My memory is usually very accurate for that sort of thing, but 20 years is a long time for minutia.
By TravisMelin
From: Roanoke, VA La Crosse, WI
May 9, 2008
Anyone been able to climb up here yet this season? I am thinking about coming up may 18... What is late/mid may weather like up there?
By Dave Rone
From: Eau Claire, Wis
May 11, 2008
I've been hoping to get up there too, as I'm sure many have, but weekend weather hasn't been cooperative. What's it like in mid/late May? Anybody's guess. Could be shorts and tshirts, could be sideways snow. Keep an eye on weather forecast and cross your fingers!
By Drew B.
From: Mammoth Lakes
Mar 9, 2010
I was wondering how the conditions have been with this warm spell? Also how would you predict the climbing to be in a few weeks?
By Tyler Overby
Mar 10, 2010
A couple of us were up there this past weekend. Beautiful conditions. everything we got on was bone dry. Danger, driving in duluth, ex nihilo, and a couple others.
There's been people climbing up there for a few weeks now. Make the hike up there, well worth it to climb without hordes of tourists.
By Ryan Justen
From: St. Paul, MN
May 24, 2010
Just an FYI there is a local climber who worked hard back in the day when these routes were seeing their 1st accents who is enforcing the NO-CHALK ethic here.

He said the park service may (in the future) close down climbing in the park if chalk use continues. Or they may kick offenders out (permanently).

So don't use chalk...you really don't need it other than the mental release...
By Kris Gorny
May 26, 2010
Ryan, back in the day, you mean even before 90's and 80's ? I'd also suggest this debate is kept between climbers only -- without involving the park officials.
From: Duluth Mn
May 27, 2010
I climb at VE in Duluth and have lead a few routes at palisade. I always bring chalk when leading routes because it's my a** that's going to hurt if fall when attempting an onsight. I guess the park service is going to have to kick me out and send me back to VE for the summer.
By Justin Edberg
From: duluth mn
May 29, 2010
"Yup. Anyone that climbs at VE Duluth pretty much has no say in this matter unless you actually lead routes at "The Head." Go lead the classics and then give your ethical opinion. BTW, yes, the old school Duluth dudes did kick ass by developing this area. They are a proud few that deserve credit."

Darin you might what to shut up until you know who the people are you you are talking to. Ripping on strong climbers who train at Duluth VE, and who have had nothing to do with this conversation is about as dumb as the hole chalk ethic debate.
By Oklobzija
May 29, 2010
Is it possible to get strong at VE Duluth? I think that is a topic for real debate.
By Justin Edberg
From: duluth mn
May 30, 2010
What? Are you really asking that question? or are you just trying to be a d-bag. You know we don;t have nearly the training facility you do in the cities, but we do what we can with what we DON'T get from VE and NICROS. And to answer your question yeah it is; within are small climbing community there are a few strong climbers.
By Oklobzija
May 31, 2010
I was trying to be a d-bag...

But really, I was trying to brighten the mood by poking fun @ ve duluth and not the climbers that get stuck training there. And I feel your pain.
By Oklobzija
May 31, 2010
I think we should start rap'n and make this a east coast west coast but instead maybe a north, south thing? Now what rhymes with Duluth?
By Justin Edberg
From: duluth mn
Jun 18, 2010
Hey Nick Rhoads, if you stop by The VE in Duluth they have the book for sale there and you could, maybe find some people to climb with.
By Bob Kryzer
From: Minnesota
Jul 20, 2010
For me to not use chalk when climbing hard, someones going to have to pry the chalk bag out of my hands. Which I will lose, because my hands will get sweaty.
By schojess
Sep 15, 2010
Hate seeing a line of chalk, showing the way. Much prefer to discover the holds myself. Appreciate those who use no/minimal/colored chalk to hide their tracks.
By Oklobzija
Sep 16, 2010
When is this chalk fight going to die? It makes no sense to me.
By Tradoholic
Sep 16, 2010
If I may weigh in...

Sometimes chalk is necessary, otherwise holds become almost impossible to keep securely.

I personally object to the gratuitous use of loose chalk which can really get everywhere while the use of chalk ball tends to keep things more tidy and sightly. Colored chalk is preferred if available. If you can climb it without chalk, one style point for you, bravo!

Everyone can get along here if people are conservative as possible, at the North Shore and anywhere else!
By Mike Wallraff
From: My Van
Jun 29, 2011
Anyone know whats going to happen with this weekend and the state issue? Will it be considered trespassing if you climb at shovel point or palisade? Will the gate to palisade be unlocked? I haven't been following the news only hear that the "state" is shutting down.
By Bobby Marko
From: Seattle, WA
Jun 29, 2011
Wally612nd , We called Blue Mounds state park and they said that no day use of their park would be allowed. I would guess that it would be the same for all of the parks in the state and I'd imagine the Palisade gates would be locked. But you could call and get confirmation. I'm thinking of just going over to Wisconsin for the weekend.
By Bobby Marko
From: Seattle, WA
Jun 30, 2011
Actually Mike, it looks like day use is okay:

7. Will day-use be permitted at state parks during a shutdown? (6-28-11)
If there is a shutdown, facilities would be locked, roads and campgrounds would be closed and gated where possible, water would be shut off, and no services would be available. It would be possible, but not recommended, for day-use to continue at state parks during regular day-use hours.

Just might require a bit more walking...
By Lucas Kramer
From: Duluth, MN
Apr 10, 2012
FYI- peregrines are nesting. Stop in the information building when you are getting your free annual pass (because you are a responsible climber =D) and ask about which routes are temporarily closed. Applies to Palisade and Shovel. Not all the routes, but many are affected.

Nick: "It starts below the ledge with that pigeon on it."
Lucas: Silence. Strange look.
Nick: "That's not a pigeon"
By Ryan Steel
From: Twin Cities, MN
Aug 20, 2013
I understand the no-chalk policy. However, is it acceptable to use chalkless chalk or organic chalk? I'm about to climb up at Tettegouche for the first time, and I just want to make sure that I don't upset anybody, hurt the rock, or upset the peregrines and others in the local habitat (and I don't really want to start/continue the chalk vs no chalk debate, I'm just asking a practical question).

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
By Jordan Hirro
From: Colorado Springs/Glenwood Spri
Jan 26, 2014
I might be planning a trip from Colorado out here for what looks to be amazing climbing. Can anybody give me any information on the climbing seasons and if there's any camping in the area? Thanks a lot.
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