Elevation: 961 ft
GPS: 43.417, -89.732 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Admins: Burton Lindquist, Doug Hemken, James Schroeder, chris tregge

Description

Devil's Lake is a state park in Wisconsin that contains some of the best rock climbing in the Midwest. Located in a picturesque setting, these quartzite rock cliffs of upwards of a hundred feet in height attract climbers from all over the country. Over 1600 routes are listed in the Swartling & Mayer guidebook. There is no shortage of climbable rock in the park.

Famous climbers such as Joe and Paul Stettner, John Gill, Jim Erickson, and Eric Zschieschie have left their mark here. The legendary Pete Cleveland may have introduced 5.12 back in the 1960s. Son of Great Chimney, led onsight, may have been the hardest route in the country at the time of Cleveland's first ascent in 1968.

Devil's Lake offers mellow toproping, well protected leads, and some harder "headpoint" style leads. Bouldering is extensive, if a bit spread out. Those who intend to toprope here should remember to bring plenty of sling materials as some of the anchors wind up being a good ways back from the cliff edges. Some climbs are "occupied" for extended stretches during the day, but climbers are often willing to share the rock here with a friendly request.

The quartzite rock is beautiful, but it can be slick. Smearing is much less utilized than edging. Climbing here is traditional. There are no bolted routes at the Lake, so sport climbers may be dissatisfied here. Devil's Lake may have more quality moderate climbs (5.5-5.8) than anywhere in the country. There are also many well protected 5.9-5.11a leads. More difficult climbs are usually attempted on toprope and are led if and when they are wired. The harder climbs tend to be technical and the sequences tend to be cryptic. Maybe it's the smooth nature of the rock, but more than one climber has referred to Devil's Lake ratings as stiff.

There is a beautiful lake here with fishing, non-motorized boating, and even diving for the multi-day visitor for non-climbing days.

Dave Groth on "The Good The Bad and the Jacked"

Dave Groth on The Good, the Bad, and the Jacked. 1985. Photo: Dave Langhoff.

Andy Hansen on Lost Face Overhangs:

Great route. Photo: Peter Beck.

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A great film about the history of the DLFA by Darin Limvere, available for download on Vimeo: 

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/24156/65395216

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Bouldering

Devil's Lake has great bouldering. From the long established problems at Tombstone Rocks, to the neo-classics at the Reserve, there are many worthwhile areas. See Devil's Lake bouldering for more info on the wealth of problems that the Lake offers.

Organization

There are multiple cliffs in the area. These include the East Bluff, the West Bluff, the South Bluff, and the Sandstone Bluff. The greatest number of routes will be found on the East Bluff and West Bluff areas.

The East Rampart, a quarter-mile long cliff band, is the most popular climbing area and contains the highest concentration of climbs at the park. The area contains some of the finest climbs and longer climbs in this area. It tends to also be the most crowded.

Location/Directions

Devil's Lake State Park is located NNW of Madison and just S of Baraboo. From the North, you can access it off I-90/I-94 to US 12 and head east following the signs. From the South, you can access it from I-90 to US 12/US 18 which skirts Madison on its southern edge, following this to US 12. From the East, you can access it from I-94 to I-90 S to US 12. From US 12, follow the signs into the park.

A vehicle admission fee is required in the park. You can get a day pass at the self-serve kiosks in most parking lots.

Guidebooks

The most comprehensive guidebook for Devil's Lake is by Sven Olof Swartling and can be purchased at several Baraboo area shops and campgrounds. It's also sold at the REI in Brookfield, WI and on Madison's west side. Boulders Climbing Gym in Madison now carries the guidebook as well.

Mike Farris also wrote a guide to Wisconsin and Minnesota which briefly covers DL and gives a few other quality climbing areas (mostly in North/Northwestern WI). That's a Falcon guidebook.

A new DL route guidebook by MP's own Jay Knower is now available for sale locally (Wildside in Baraboo, Boulders in Madison). Order here: wolverinepublishing.com/sto…

A bouldering guidebook by Peter Bonamici and others for Minnesota and Wisconsin available here: escapeclimbing.com/extra/mn… (and also at AdRock, Boulders, and Wildside in Barbaoo)

A bouldering guidebook by Ian Cotter-Brown to Devil's Lake is available here: (also at Boulders, Wild Side, and the park admin building) kdanielspublishing.com/cart…

Accomodations

There is nearby accomodations available in Baraboo, just to the North. Camping is available in or near the state park, but it can be quite popular.

2,188 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Devil's Lake

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V2 5+
 82
Big Bud Arete
Boulder
V3 6A
 76
Slope of Dadaism
Boulder
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 291
Brinton's Crack
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 84
Lost Face
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 189
Peter's Project
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 102
Watermarks
Trad, TR
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 104
Roger's Roof
Trad, TR
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 80
Brinton's Direct
Trad, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 201
Upper Diagonal
Trad, TR
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 134
Congratulations
Trad, TR
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 125
Sometime Crack
Trad, TR
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
 84
Mammalary Magic
Trad, TR
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
 83
Dancing Madly Backwards
Trad, TR
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 117
Cheatah
Trad, TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 90
Thoroughfare
Trad, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Big Bud Arete Devil's Lake Bo… > … > E Bluff North > N Shore
 82
V2 5+ Boulder
Slope of Dadaism Devil's Lake Bo… > … > Monolith Area > E of Trail Boulders
 76
V3 6A Boulder
Brinton's Crack E Bluff 04 - E… > 07: Brinton's Buttress
 291
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Lost Face W Bluff 05 - W… > 01: Prospect Po… > 05: Lost Face Area
 84
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
Peter's Project E Bluff 04 - E… > 09: Many Pines Buttress
 189
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Watermarks E Bluff 06 - Ba… > 0 - Balanced Rock Wall
 102
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Roger's Roof E Bluff 07 - Ra… > 7.3 - Horse Rampart
 104
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Brinton's Direct E Bluff 04 - E… > 07: Brinton's Buttress
 80
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Upper Diagonal E Bluff 04 - E… > 05: Pedestal Buttress
 201
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, TR
Congratulations E Bluff 04 - E… > 05: Pedestal Buttress
 134
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, TR
Sometime Crack E Bluff 04 - E… > 05: Pedestal Buttress
 125
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, TR
Mammalary Magic E Bluff 01 - Sa… > 1. Old Sandstone
 84
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R Trad, TR
Dancing Madly Backwards E Bluff 01 - Sa… > 1. Old Sandstone
 83
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13 Trad, TR
Cheatah E Bluff 04 - E… > 11: Bill's Buttress
 117
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, TR
Thoroughfare E Bluff 04 - E… > 08: Two Pines Buttress
 90
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, TR
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