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Areas in Necedah (Petenwell Bluff)

30 Degree Wall 0 / 1 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
303 Spire (aka Canoehead Spire) 3 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Above Anthrax 2 / 5 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Air Spire 6 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Anthrax wall 5 / 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Brig, The 0 / 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Coyote Tower 4 / 1 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Fire Spire 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Friction Addiction Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Hell Wall (aka Quarry Wall) 6 / 8 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
Necedah Linkups 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
River side of Main Massif or Quarry Wall 5 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Square, The 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Y-Crack Wall 12 / 6 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 18
Elevation: 1,062 ft
GPS: 44.045, -90.02 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 117,714 total · 726/month
Shared By: Jay Knower on Oct 26, 2004 with updates
Admins: Doug Hemken, James Schroeder, Chris treggE


Perhaps the best sport climbing area in Wisconsin now that Gibraltar is closed, Necedah has been drawing Wisconsin's finest for decades. Comprised of solid, colorful sandstone, these walls offer interesting climbing on clean, steep rock. Upon arriving at the cliff, THE wall invariably grabs the climber's attention. Fifty feet tall and steadily overhanging, this wall holds some of the best climbing in the Midwest.

Y-Crack (also called Wide Crack) splits the wall, with technical and pumpy jamming on its left variation (5.10d/11a) and technical crimping with thin gear on its right (5.11c). Many difficult sport climbs broach the wall's flanks and feature technical climbing with no rests. Wisconsin's premier sport route, "Whiskey a Go Go" (5.13a) can be found here.

Spires are situated around the wall like moons around a planet, and a mega classic 5.9/10a climbs up the center of the largest spire. On a clear day Roch a Cri, Wisconsin's largest cliff (now closed), can be spotted from the top of the spire. Further down Necedah's backbone of rock, the adventurous climber can find many exciting trad routes and some hidden sport gems.

If you visit Necedah, please keep a low profile. Climbers have been here for many years and Necedah has remained a peaceful place to escape the Devil's Lake throngs. PLEASE KEEP IT THAT WAY.

Dont even THINK about camping there; we don't need to get this place closed.

Getting There

From the town of Necedah, drive east about three miles on Highway 21. You will see the sandstone towers right in front of you. Take a right onto the road that parallels the cliff (19th street) and park in a pull-out on your left a half mile down. A short hike through the woods straight back and then uphill to the left will take you to Y-Crack, the southern most formation.

Parking is at coordinates: 44.042510, -90.020508

81 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Necedah (Petenwell Bluff)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Phallus in Wonderland
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Whiskey Chimney (aka Pigeon Crack)
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Chucklehead Crack (aka Spike's Crack)
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Glass Balls
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Tower Route
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Mercy F**k
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Fire in the Sky
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Riverboat Gambler
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Y-Crack (aka Old and in the Way)
Trad, TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Dakota Farms Cheese
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Early Times
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Straight No Chaser
Trad, TR
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Whiskey a Go-Go
Sport, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Phallus in Wonderland Air Spire
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
Air Air Spire
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Whiskey Chimney (aka Pigeon… Y-Crack Wall
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Chucklehead Crack (aka Spik… Air Spire
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Glass Balls Hell Wall (aka Quarry…
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Hydroponics Coyote Tower
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Tower Route Y-Crack Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Mercy F**k Hell Wall (aka Quarry…
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Fire in the Sky Fire Spire
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Riverboat Gambler Above Anthrax
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Y-Crack (aka Old and in the… Y-Crack Wall
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, TR
Dakota Farms Cheese Y-Crack Wall
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Early Times Y-Crack Wall
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Straight No Chaser Y-Crack Wall
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad, TR
Whiskey a Go-Go Y-Crack Wall
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport, TR
More Classic Climbs in Necedah (Petenwell Bluff) »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Paul Campbell
Waukesha, WI
Paul Campbell   Waukesha, WI
Alex it is possible to top-rope sections of the crag. The main wall that contains Y-Crack and quite a few other routes has a (slightly sketchy) 4th class access route to the top. However, the majority of the crag is free standing towers and fins of rock that you will not be able to top-rope.

Apr 27, 2017
Hey yall! I was wondering if anyone has any beta on top roping. Are there any easy places to scramble up and place a top rope? Cheers! Apr 26, 2017
jon jugenheimer
Madison, WI
jon jugenheimer   Madison, WI  
Petenwell Rock
From the Juneau County attractions Page, a bit of history for us.
The largest scenic rock formation in northern Juneau County, Petenwell Rock is named for a star-crossed lover, who legend has it, leaped to his death from this spot with the local Indian Chief's daughter, Clinging Vine. It is said that the Indian gods returned Clinging Vine to the rock where she stands today, faithful to the memory of her lover, Peter Wells, surrounded by magnificent bald eagles that nest and soar over their special place. The eagles are particularly evident here in winter when they fish the bountiful open water below the dam. Mar 5, 2017
eRock Krantz   MN
Thanks for the help last weekend. My girlfriend was injured (previous knee injury that just decided to pop while on a route) last weekend and I had to carry her out. Big thanks to the nice woman who helped carry out our gear and to all the people who offered to help and showed concern. There was 5-6 of you and that's the kind of attitude we all need out there. Thanks again. Oct 15, 2016
Jacob Krenn
La Valle, WI
Jacob Krenn   La Valle, WI
First time to Necedah today, and I thouroughly enjoyed it! The views and exposure can't be beat for single pitch climbing in the Midwest! My partner was unable to clean my purple 0.5 Camalot on Little Rebel Crack (great route Steve!), as it seems to have walked itself into an overcammed position. It's just above the overhang, and fair game for whoever can free it. I'll be out of town for a couple weeks, and won't have the chance to go back anytime soon, so go grab yourself some booty! Oct 6, 2016
Steve Sangdahl
eldo sprngs,co
Steve Sangdahl   eldo sprngs,co
Madisonchoss, your welcome. I like to try and keep the history accurate and provide some stories to go with some of the routes. The history and the stories can make a route come alive. Almost every first lead has some kinda story. Peace NOW PUKE Dec 2, 2015
Steve Sangdahl
eldo sprngs,co
Steve Sangdahl   eldo sprngs,co
Chris tregg, thanks for the info. Still gotta down load the guide. Dec 2, 2015
Thanks for adding a bunch of info, Steve. Always like the stories. Dec 1, 2015
Chris treggE
Madison, Beersconsin
Chris treggE   Madison, Beersconsin  
Steve check your email. Dec 1, 2015
Steve Sangdahl
eldo sprngs,co
Steve Sangdahl   eldo sprngs,co
Does anyone have a copy of Ryan Hansen,s guide book to Necedah they could copy and send me? I would love to check it out for historical purposes and compare with my times there in the early eighties. Thanks.
On a side note we use to call it the Country Club Crags due to the Restaurant and bar across the street from the cliffs. Many a margarita was consumed there after a day of climbing and a swim in the river. The area always seemed pretty relaxed during our time. Peace and you know what. Steve S. Nov 30, 2015
Chris treggE
Madison, Beersconsin
Chris treggE   Madison, Beersconsin  
In general the climbs are on the east or west side. So, start on the west side then after midday, move to the east side. Aug 27, 2013
Laura Adrian
Saint Paul, MN
Laura Adrian   Saint Paul, MN
Are any of the climbing areas at Necedah in the shade? Aug 26, 2013
Brattleboro, VT
ZoeyG   Brattleboro, VT
There are some bouldering opportunities in the area. Might not be enough to fill in a full day, but will add to the fun having a pad and being creative with the rock. May 27, 2013
Steve Sangdahl
eldo sprngs,co
Steve Sangdahl   eldo sprngs,co
nick,thanks for adding/updating the info for this great wisco area.
some of the stuff we did back in the early 80,s is probably called something else now.but oh well.
Mr Canoehead was done by Jack Klein and myself circa 1981
thanks agin and pull dwn cut loose and throw up
steve s Jun 25, 2010
I have received a copy of the Ryan Hansen guide book for Necedah and I am attempting to reconcile all of the information within that book with the info on MP.

Some climbs are known as different names and I've noted that under comments and I have also added climbs with the limited info available. If you know details please chime in! Jun 11, 2010
Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams   Minneapolis
I was there two weeks ago and packed out 4 large trash bags worth of garbage. There are a lot of user groups here, and a lot of them leave empty cans, bottles, candy wrappers etc. Please help out and pick up any garbage next time you're here. Thanks.

Jonathan Nov 16, 2008
Peter Dodge
Duluth, MN
Peter Dodge   Duluth, MN
I really like climbing at Necedah, but I always get a little lost. I was wondering if anyone could make a little map of the bluff showing where the different areas are. Mar 20, 2007
Steve Sangdahl
eldo sprngs,co
Steve Sangdahl   eldo sprngs,co
this is a great crag for those who have done most dl climbs or not.there is a great dining /drinking facility at the base(is it still open?)an important feature.the rock is generally goodand has more friction than dl(anything has more friction than dl except maybe polished limestone in blighty (u.k.) the gear is okay especially since they added bolts to alot of the trad climbs we did years ago.Old AND IN THE WAY 5.10d aka y-crack is not to be missed as it offers some kick ass crack climbing.STRAIGHT NO CHASER,WHISKEY A-GO-GO will also kick ass of a different sort. to the right of y-crak wall is a small tower with a steep wall which we did on trad gear(5.10+?),this tower has some other easier climbs as well.on the opposite end the last tower to the north had a left? curving crack,short but hard,cant remember what we named it.there seemed to be some short hard thin cracks to the left of y-crack wall as well.all in all necedah is a quiet place to pull down please help keep it that way.peace and fuk-nes. Mar 31, 2005

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