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Areas in Governor Dodge State Park

Barrel Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 18 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 18
Barrel Ridge 0 / 0 / 0 / 29 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 29
Boat Landing Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
Boulder 401 Area 0 / 0 / 0 / 15 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Box Canyon Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 38 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 38
Complex, The 0 / 0 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Danny's Imaginary Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 15 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Deutschlander Wall 3 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
G Dodge Ice 2 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Group Camp A 0 / 0 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Group Camp B 0 / 0 / 1 / 99 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 100
Group Camp G 0 / 0 / 0 / 20 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 20
Group Camp H 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Group Camp Z 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Lonely Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 17 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
Qual Wall 3 / 16 / 7 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 24
Steve's ZZ Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Twin Valley Campground Bouldering 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Twin Valley North 0 / 0 / 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12

Description

Governor Dodge State Park has numerous rock features. Some are suitable for climbing, and some (perhaps most) are not. The overarching consideration for anyone climbing at Governor Dodge should be climbing only on formations that can hold up to the abuse. The rock here is Sandstone, and some of it is solid. Much of it, though, is fragile or crumbly and should be left alone. The rocks came before the climbers, so the rocks have the right to remain. Climbers aren't exactly adored by the DNR, so be overly considerate of the rock and other park users. The climbing history at Governor Dodge is not nearly as storied as it is at Devil's Lake, so we as climbers can take nothing for granted (not that you should at the Lake, either). There are some bolted routes at Governor Dodge. When the DNR found these it did not make them happy, so further bolting of routes is not acceptable. That said, enjoy!

See Qual Wall for the bolted routes, Deutschlander Wall for TR's and the remainder are bouldering areas.


Travis Melin FA on "It's Oral Over" V6 @ The Complex


John Dobbe on "Open Season" V4/5 @ Barrel Boulders


Katie on Highly Executed, Group B east side of Backbone Ridge.



Guidebooks:

The Wisconsin Bouldering Guidebook, which features bouldering at Devil's Lake and Governor Dodge, published alongside the Minnesota Bouldering Guidebook, is currently available online from Escape and at retail locations throughout the Midwest.

http://www.escapeclimbing.com/extra/mn-wi-bouldering-guidebook-2017-edition/

A second guidebook featuring Devil's Lake is reportedly nearing completion.

Equipment:

If you show up in WI without pads, you can buy a pad at Boulders Climbing Gym in Madison or Wildside in Baraboo (call before going to make sure they have one in stock). You can also rent a pad from Focus Boardshop/Wisconsin Climbers Association on the east side of Madison. All three locations currently stock the Wisconsin Bouldering Guidebook.

Getting There

From Madison, take Hwy 18/151 to Dodgeville. Turn right (north) on Hwy 23 until you come to the entrance a few miles up the road. The park is on the east side of Hwy 23.

Please Note:

Current issues:

1. Climbing is not disallowed at the park, we are simply another user group. Please do not do anything to jeapordize our relations with the park.

2. If climbing near a campsite, do not park at that site if there are people camping there or hike through if they are at their site. Find another way to the rock. Most areas have alternate directions.

2a. Please note the new parking recommendations for the Qual Wall and Lonely Boulders noted on the Qual Wall page.

3. No fixed anchors may be installed, ie. no bolts.

4. Holds break at the Dodge but please don't climb if it's obviously wet!!!

342 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Governor Dodge State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V0+ 4+
Seperation Anxiety
Boulder
V0+ 4+
High Anxiety
Boulder
V1-2 5
Picasso Right
Boulder
V2-3 5+
The Good Times Are Killing Me
Boulder
V3 6A
Another Day Dream
Boulder
V3 6A
Face Left of Wright's Arete
Boulder
V4 6B
Get the Hell Outta Dodge
Boulder
V4 6B
Only the Lonely
Boulder
V4 6B
The Godfather
Boulder
V4 6B
Out Past Curfew
Boulder
V4+ 6B+
Hangman
Boulder
V5- 6C
Nameless
Boulder
V5 6C
Split Personality
Boulder
V5 6C
Grounded For Life
Boulder
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
A Red Recollection
Sport
Seperation Anxiety Group Camp B > Plan B Area V0+ 4+ Boulder
High Anxiety Group Camp B > Plan B Area V0+ 4+ Boulder
Picasso Right Group Camp B > Backbone Ridge > W Side- Backbone Ridge V1-2 5 Boulder
The Good Times Are Killing Me Box Canyon Boulders > Godfather Boulder V2-3 5+ Boulder
Another Day Dream Lonely Boulders V3 6A Boulder
Face Left of Wright's Arete Group Camp B > Backbone Ridge > W Side- Backbone Ridge V3 6A Boulder
Get the Hell Outta Dodge Group Camp B > Backbone Ridge > E Side- Backbone Ridge V4 6B Boulder
Only the Lonely Lonely Boulders V4 6B Boulder
The Godfather Box Canyon Boulders > Godfather Boulder V4 6B Boulder
Out Past Curfew Boat Landing Boulders V4 6B Boulder
Hangman Group Camp B > Backbone Ridge > E Side- Backbone Ridge V4+ 6B+ Boulder
Nameless Group Camp B > Backbone Ridge > W Side- Backbone Ridge V5- 6C Boulder
Split Personality Group Camp B > Plan B Area V5 6C Boulder
Grounded For Life Boat Landing Boulders V5 6C Boulder
A Red Recollection Qual Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Governor Dodge State Park »

Weather Averages

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Photos

jon jugenheimer
Madison, WI
jon jugenheimer   Madison, WI  
@fatima. Yes. Jul 23, 2017
Hi is camping allowed at this park? Jul 23, 2017
Hey Joel -

Here are some tips I've found useful when bouldering alone -

1. Avoid problems with very uneven landings. These often require multiple pads - one on the rock and one below, for example.
2. Avoid problems that traverse - I'd rather fall from a little higher onto a pad than sprain my ankle on a tree root.
3. Consider investing in an organic slider pad ( organicclimbing.com/collect…) - they are incredibly useful for covering pesky rocks and free you up to use your pad in the main landing area.
4. Use sweatshirts similarly. Or stuff a puffy jacket into a durable backpack to prevent it from being ripped when used to augment your pad.

Hope that helps Oct 30, 2015
Remo
Madison, WI
Remo   Madison, WI
Hey Joel, you are in luck. Check out the Lonely Boulders, good landing with a couple good problem in that grade range. Check out Grounded for Life, Split Personalty, Nameless Arete, Venom, Get the Hell out of Dodge, Alpine Bouldering Club and others throughout the park, the list goes on. PM me if you have any other questions. Happy sending! Oct 30, 2015
Joel Allen
La Crosse, WI
Joel Allen   La Crosse, WI
Can anyone think of some good boulders in the v4-v6 range that could protect reasonably well with one jumbo pad? I'm looking for some good solo projects for when I randomly get time off during the week. It's kinda hard to tell from some of the pictures if one pad is enough. Oct 30, 2015
KurtH  
We were also approached by a very friendly Ranger this weekend at the Qual Wall. He mentioned that they had caught wind of reports (from Mountain Project) of plans to replace anchors on the sport routes. He mentioned that the current bolts are in illegally, and that replacing bolts / adding new ones could result in closing the rope climbing here. That said, he was polite, said they were open to dialogue about safety concerns of aging hardware, but until a formal conversation has been started / policy in place, any action could harm access. We all appreciated them going out of their way to talk to climbers and the ranger expressed their desire for climbers to fully enjoy the park. I'm not form the area, so I thought local leaders in the climbing community should know! Looks like this may not be something new though... Oct 20, 2014
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
Doug Hemken   Madison, WI  
Thank you to the LE ranger who took the time yesterday to chat with the climbers at the Plan B area, about various climbing management issues. That was very helpful. Oct 20, 2014
Chris treggE
Madison, WI
Chris treggE   Madison, WI  
boulder bash 2014 next weekend at governor dodge! Check out the promo video:

vimeo.com/106541711 Sep 19, 2014
Found a nice green wool cap on the backbone ridge at group camp B on dec 13, can leave at boulders. Dec 16, 2012
AdamH  
For anyone who wants I added a photo with the location of climbing areas at Dodge. This should hopefully clear up any confusion. Again these are approximations based on where I have been. Good luck! Mar 19, 2012
Josh Olson
Durango, CO
Josh Olson   Durango, CO
You will, the rock is great. When time gets closer, ask on here for a "guide." Mar 5, 2012
Eero46  
Sorry I am just heading up there in May and want a good experience. Mar 4, 2012
Chris treggE
Madison, WI
Chris treggE   Madison, WI  
As usual the Ninja simply says what everyone is thinking to themselves. Eero, I have thought about doing an overview of the park bouldering areas, but you would still need the directions since it would be way too "bird's eye" to be useful for navigation.

As Nick said there are topos for most of the main individual areas. The ones that are kind of hard to find include the ABC boulder (@ Barrel Ridge), the Complex, and the 401 boulder, as well as to a certain extent Steve's ZZ boulders. However, you seriously would have to be busy for weeks to months at the rest of the park to run out of stuff and feel compelled to go looking for the more obscure areas. Have fun and don't park where it's stated not to park. Feb 29, 2012
Dude, look around a bit before asking questions. Quite a few topos have been posted already and I think they cover almost the entire park. If some are missing there are clear directions to every area to which you could visit and draw a topo for the rest of us. Thanks! Feb 29, 2012
Eero46  
would anyone be willing to draw up a map of the boulders locations Feb 28, 2012
Paul Campbell
Waukesha, WI
Paul Campbell   Waukesha, WI
I imagine not yet. Really no days under freezing so far. Dec 4, 2011
Kale K  
Has anyone been by Stephens Falls lately to know if ice is forming yet? I live in Chicago, and would love to get some info from locals to avoid a 7hr round trip drive just to see. Looking forward to a great ice climbing year. Be safe. Dec 3, 2011
Yes, zip tied, so not thief proof but it was obvious they were meant to stay there. Aug 25, 2011
Chris treggE
Madison, WI
Chris treggE   Madison, WI  
Nick were the stolen biners zip tied?

I will donate new biners to the cause. Not sure when I will get out there on a rope again though. Unless of course the folks who accidentally cleaned them with their draws would like to fess up and return them. Or just return them. Aug 24, 2011
Remo
Madison, WI
Remo   Madison, WI
Hey glclimber, go to the park office and ask for a map of the park. Sometimes they just give you a little newspaper like publication with a map in it, but ask for the one-page park map with trail updates(free), it's better. Each major area on MP has nice little hand drawn maps which are super usefull if your new to the park, print those off if you can. Most areas are fairly easy to find like Group Camp B, Box Canyon and the Boat Landing Boulders. Some are a little trickier like The Complex, Barrel Ridge, Boulder 401 area, etc. Good luck, and have fun. Mar 27, 2011
Hello wisconcin folks...Im planning a visit to this area and was fishing for advice. Never been to this park, plan to treat it with the utmost respect, but als plan on getting lost. Is there a map of the bouldering anywhere? 10 minute hikes can turn into epic never-finds at some places, is the dodge like this? whats the best plan of attack to find the problems in general?
Thanks,
Steve Mar 27, 2011
Chris treggE
Madison, WI
Chris treggE   Madison, WI  
Sam, hit Group B. Highest concentration of good stuff and if it's windy, one side should be sheltered. Barrel Ridge would be ok too, and good concentration of stuff. The Lonlies are always fun too, but not as much to do. Nov 23, 2010
Sam Daley
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sam Daley   Minneapolis, Minnesota
I would love to visit Governor Dodge on a bouldering expedition this upcoming weekend. Is there enough southern exposure/ protection from the wind for winter bouldering to still be enjoyable? It looks like the temps will be nice on Saturday. Will anyone else be getting out there? Nov 22, 2010
TheBirdman Friedman
Eldorado Springs, Colorado
TheBirdman Friedman   Eldorado Springs, Colorado
Anyone want to climb on Sunday? I'll be at Twin Lakes campground site 278 bouldering by my lonesome. 732-299-8582. May 20, 2010
Chris treggE
Madison, WI
Chris treggE   Madison, WI  
The cave by group B or the cave by Twin Valley? Sounds impressive. Personally I worry more about the damn ticks. Apr 7, 2010
Has anyone seen the giant spiders on the rocks over by the big cave? they are out in the summer. The body is fist size of an adult person and the legs on these guys are at least 5-7 ". no kidding. first time I saw 'em was 2 years ago and of course I left my camera at home. posted 4/10
Apr 7, 2010
Mr. Mix
Sauk City, WI
Mr. Mix   Sauk City, WI
Great work Nick and Boulders, you should drop a note to the editors' of the Madison papers. It would be great to get a good will story out there about climbers giving back to the parks-positive pr. Nov 30, 2009
I don't know if this is already your plan, but when you organize the clean up, it may be worthwhile to get the park involved in it before the clean up happens, versus just stopping by after the clean up and showing them the trash. Nov 25, 2009
John W. Knoernschild   Wisconsin
Nice nick! Nov 24, 2009
Chris treggE
Madison, WI
Chris treggE   Madison, WI  
Wow!, yeah, word Nick. Nov 24, 2009
Langlois
NYC
Langlois   NYC
Awesome! Thanks for putting that comp together Rhoads Nov 24, 2009
I dropped off a check for $250 from Boulders Climbing Gym's fall Halloween comp/fund "razor" to the park today. Park staff was very appreciative! I will be planning a spring clean up in the park, stay tuned... Nov 23, 2009
Michael Bartosek
Los Angeles
Michael Bartosek   Los Angeles
My wife and I climbed out there yesterday for the first time (just moved here from California) and we were the only people at the crag!! Did we miss a memo? A beautiful day for climbing and some gorgeous routes, yet not one other climber in the area...wow. Anyway, we did the 10's on Qual wall and I thought all of them were good routes worth a climb. We'll be heading back soon to start working that 5.11a lieback, that thing looks awesome. Sep 20, 2009
Chris treggE
Madison, WI
Chris treggE   Madison, WI  
John I hear ya-- I sort of remember that exchange. I think Steve's point (pretty sure it was Steve) was that some of/most of the sandstone at GD is friable and stuff breaks even when bone dry. At Red Rocks, they say no climbing for 48 hours after rain for this reason. I don't know where the reality lies for the Dodge. I think some reasonable exercise in self-control is warranted. If holds are obviously wet, I say don't climb. Plus it's no fun then anyway. If it's been a day or two since the downpour and stuff seems dry... Sep 14, 2009
John W. Knoernschild   Wisconsin
Funny how I can mention that very thing Paul just stated, but I got flamed here on MP for even mentioning making people aware of the dangers of climbing on wet sandstone. So where are those people now??? Thx for pointing that out Paul, I for one agree with you. Sep 14, 2009
Yes, people climbing on wet sandstone should be politely reminded that it can easily break ruining it for future climbers. Apr 26, 2009
Paul Dieterle
Pasadena, CA
Paul Dieterle   Pasadena, CA
So today I saw a lot of people (a dozen maybe) climbing on the dripping wet Qual Wall. for future reference, do you guys think i should confront them? Apr 25, 2009
TravisMelin
Portland, OR, Roanoke, VA L
TravisMelin   Portland, OR, Roanoke, VA L
danny, I would say that a good majority of the obvious bluffs have been explored (mostly choss). All the good rock I have ever come across is posted on this site. That said there are still a bunch of less obvious spots that are in need of exploration, and may yield some sweet new boulders. If you want to do some exploration, let me know, and I will point you in the direction of some areas that might have some good stone... Apr 22, 2009
dannyolboy
crystal lake il
dannyolboy   crystal lake il
Any info on the rest of the bluffs thought the park? choss? bad lines? access issues? Ive been to the gov about a dozen times and the recent development is great! Apr 21, 2009
Chris treggE
Madison, WI
Chris treggE   Madison, WI  
Nothing permanent (ie. bolts). Similar to the Lake, TR is fine, but try for minimal impact at the top of course. Apr 12, 2009
In addition to group camp B, I think that would apply to Twin Valley North and The Complex as well.

As far as installing anchors does that apply only to permanent anchors or does it effectively mean no toproping either? Apr 12, 2009
We had a talk with the Rangers today about climbing and the following issues came up;

-Anyone caught installing anchors will at least severely damage climber relations with the park staff. And perhaps arrested I think, but consequences were not discussed.

-If there are campers in Group Site B do NOT walk through the site!!!! Please either park at the paved parking lot with the multiple bathrooms and walk up the hill or park in the gravel parking lot and head down the road a bit and then up the hill. They were VERY concerned about this!

-Please do not cut branches or try to establish trail. Park staff have been moving logs in the way to try and stop new trails from being worn in. They have better things to do with their time. TREAD LIGHTLY!!

-Do NOT drive around closed gates!!! The number one negative incident they remembered about climbers was when someone (who shall remain nameless) drove around the gates to Camp B. This was a MAJOR issue because it interfered with their sharpshooting!

Generally speaking, follow the park rules and there won't be any issues. They were very friendly to us and didn't have any hostility towards climbers but they have many user groups to manage and have to compromise appropriately. Apr 12, 2009
Just so it's clear please do NOT bolt anymore at G Dodge. If someone does it will risk closing the entire park to climbing. Seriously! Mar 23, 2009
Remo
Madison, WI
Remo   Madison, WI
The routes that are established are good enough. It is too bad we can no longer bolt, but all the more reason to seek out more boulders-am I right! Mar 23, 2009
You are correct sir! No bolting on DNR land I believe. Oh well. No Biggie. Keep in mind that much of the longer routes at Dodge turn into pure choss most of the time. Mar 23, 2009
Chris treggE
Madison, WI
Chris treggE   Madison, WI  
The following several comments are in response to a comment about bolting new routes that has since been deleted.

Correct me if I am wrong, but AFAIK bolting is not allowed at any State Park in WI, or MN for that matter right? Devils Lake and Interstate Park have no bolts. Same for Blue Mound and Tettegouche in MN. The bolts at the Dodge were installed in former times and the park has said no more. IMO we're lucky they're still there. Mar 23, 2009
Dobbe  
If you are climbing at Governor Dodge please respect the fact that this is sandstone. DO NOT CLIMB on flakes or crimps that look weak till every thing is dry. Be smart about what you are climbing, not climbing some thing for the day so that it can be there for years is a no brainer. Mar 17, 2009
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
Sweatpants, I'd be happy to make any changes that you see fit. Just email me and let me know.

As for ratings, some disagreement is normal and healthy for the site. However, if the original poster is waaay off (like calling a V2 a V6+) then, it might be the case that the op didn't climb the route. I'd just reassign it to someone who has. Just let me know what you think. Jun 20, 2008
sweatpants
Broomfield, CO
sweatpants   Broomfield, CO
One flaw i have found in this site is the inability to change details on climbs. for instance if someone loads a new climb as project no one but the person who initially reported it can change the name or grade. for instance that highball at Camp B that someone gave a grade of 6+ that's a v2. it would be nice to be able to change something like that so it doesnt mess people up in the future going to the area for the first time. Also it would be nice to be able to change a name once an FA is done. For instance the bulge project at camp b has 2 variations. when it's done it will then prolly have 2 names and 2 grades where at that point it would be nice to adjust it accordingly. just some thoughts... Jun 19, 2008

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