Elevation: 982 ft
GPS: 46.677, -92.253 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: nodin on Jul 15, 2006
Admins: Kris Gorny, chris tregge
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Access Issue: Access Restriction: Parking Details


Ely's Peak is Duluth's prefered home crag and lays within the Duluth City Limits. Climbs are short and relativley straight forward with a mix of crack and face climbing on solid basalt. There are two areas here as well as some bouldering. Climbs on the Tunnel Bluff are about 60' and closer to 45 or 50' on the Northwest Bluff. Duluth and the northshore area have a chalk free and bolt free ethic, though a few crags have started to sprout bolts. DO NOT BOLT at Ely's Peak and please leave bolting at other crags to the locals as folks up here are super senstitve about ethics. In general, DO NOT BOLT is the area.
The local schools and camps occassionally host classes at Ely's Peak so be prepared to share the crag. Mornings are generally quiet.
All climbs are easily top-roped and a few are good trad leads. Although there are a couple of stout routes here, the bulk of the climbing is in the sub 5.11 range with most of the classics (if such short climbs can be called such) in the 5.6 to 5.8 range.
Worthwhile climbs include Dislocation Overhang (5.6) and Bionic Finger Crack (5.12a) on the Tunnel Bluff and Corner Geometry (5.6), The Flake (5.7) and The Bulge (5.8) on the Northwestern Bluff.
Get gear at W-Trek Outfitters or Vertical Endeavors and get beer at the Brewhouse, all in Duluth.
Make sure to follow the new climbers access trail just left of the Superior Hiking Trail to access the climbing...DO NOT cut across the private property.

This area has access issues - make sure you know where to park so you do not get towed...also, the DNR is issuing tickets for trespassing so stay on the climber trail!!!

Getting There

From I35 heading north or south, exit on Midway Road and head east for three or four miles. Park at the new climber's parking lot (with the kiosk) just before you cross the train tracks. Follow the obvious trail for 1/4 mile to the old train grade and follow to the base of the Tunnel Bluff. Beware the "access" gully...it's loose and a bit scarier than any of the climbs...

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Classic Climbing Routes at Ely's Peak

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JJ Schlick
Flagstaff, AZ
JJ Schlick   Flagstaff, AZ  
There is some good bouldering that Luke Evans and I developed back in late 94/early95. Find the routes on the Northwest bluff and hike left along the base until you come across a lone boulder. There are a handful of fun eliminates on this chunk. Keep hiking up hill never leaving the sight of cliffs, and you will come across an area we called the Ghetto. There is a nice long wall with some v0s and also a few harder lines. Keep hiking left and there is more and more problems to be found. At the end of that incipient cliff band is a shallow cave. There are a bunch of problems here. We did all the obvious lines probably up to the v5-v6 range.

Down on the tracks there are also some stand out problems. I am sure you have all found them by know...

Peace- Aug 31, 2006
Peter Dodge
Duluth, MN
Peter Dodge   Duluth, MN
I'm thinking about about going to UM-Duluth for college. What other climbing crags are close to Duluth?...Any information on the school would be great great too. Thanks. Jun 4, 2007
Duluth, MN
nodin   Duluth, MN
Peter, crags close (within an hour) to Duluth include all of the Northshore areas - Palisade Head, Shovel Point, Sawmill Creek Dome, Section 13, Mystical Mountain Zone - Sandstone, plus plenty of bouldering and short roped climbs in Duluth, not to meantion a few new areas that we are developing. If you are looking for areas in the midwest to climb and go to school, it's either Duluth or Madison!
UMD has a pretty good reputation as well...worth checking out depending on your area of study.
Nodin Jun 16, 2007
Duluth, MN
nodin   Duluth, MN
NEW PARKING LOT...see "getting there" and new map. Oct 15, 2007
Zach Chase
Duluth, MN
Zach Chase   Duluth, MN
Be careful about parking in the lots at Ely's Peak. My car got broken into the other night and my passenger side window was busted in and my gps was stolen by some jackass. I was parked at the climbers lot and it happened two other times at the sht lot the same day. So heads up and dont keep anything valuable in your car. Maybe stay away from there for a while. Oct 8, 2010
As I was searching the net about my great, great grandfather, Harry Ely, who was a missionary way back when, I found this site that features Ely's Peak. I am not a climber whatsoever, but the photos are terrific and it makes me want to take a trip out there to see the area because of my descendant connection to the area. I was able to obtain his written journals of his tribulations and life as a missionary and how he and his family struggled in this wilderness, after leaving the comforts of Albany, NY. I appreciate the website and information/photos it provides to those to can climb and enjoy nature's bliss. Thanks for allowing me to add my comment... Jul 4, 2011
Betsy S  
I was Ely's Peak July 7 and 8. I am pretty sure I left a green stuff stack/ dry bag full of clothes there. It is either at the top the West Face past the top Bionic Finger Crack or at the base of the Northwestern Bluff near Corner Geometry or The Flake. Please contact me if you find it. Thanks Jul 11, 2012
Duluth Mn
BIATHLON   Duluth Mn
Becks road is still closed and you can not access the climbers lot from I35. You would have to go into Duluth and take Grand Ave to Becks road. Sep 1, 2012
Can any of you who've climbed here provide info on what the situation is at the top for setting up toprope anchors here? Do you build them off of trees or boulders? What kind of gear would you need? Jun 14, 2014
To answer my own question, in case it's useful for others:
There are essentially no trees at the top to set anchors from. There are some boulders/horns that are part of the crag itself that you can wrap slings around. They are pretty far back from the edge, so you need LOTS of gear. Our toprope setup used a 20 foot cordelette around one boulder, a double-length sling around a second boulder, another sling and short cordelette to extend those two anchor pieces to make them the same height, and then a 30 foot cordelette connected to both those two pieces with a locking carabiner that the rope ran through. Any less than that amount of gear and our toprope would have been rubbing over the edge. Also, this really seemed like the only place to set up a toprope- it was right over "Coming Unhinged" (10d) so we could do that one and the adjacent few routes with progressively bigger pendulum swings. I do not know what happens if 2 parties both want to climb in this area at the same time or if you want to climb the other routes without huge swings.
Routes were fun but I think harder than advertised (at least, on a hot summer day with no chalk, I thought the rock was pretty slippery and the Flake was more like 5.9 rather than 5.7). Aug 9, 2014
Lucas Kramer 1
Duluth, MN
Lucas Kramer 1   Duluth, MN
Ely's Peak anchor info:
Tunnel Bluff requires gear and a moderate amount of extending material (less than what is required for Shovel point and some of Palisade Head). Every route at Tunnel Bluff has quality gear placements on top, directly above each route. Setting for Bionic requires the most creativity with extensions but shouldn't be that challenging for any but the most beginner anchor builders.
Northwest Bluff requires gear and a moderate amount of extending material as well, maybe a little more than Tunnel Bluff. The setups at Northwest Bluff are more challenging than Tunnel Bluff for sure but there are quality setups to be found above each and every route. No Pendulums required. You may have to broaden your search for placements up/down the slope a bit but they are there.
Derby Wall (located just through the tunnel, good for groups of younger climbers) is all natural anchors (trees). Access trail is found by walking past the short 'Whoopee Wall' type climbing on your right, step up the trail and cut back along the ridge on the St. Louis River side of the trail. This is an established and obvious trail that should be fairly clear.

Access update: Spring 2015
Construction of the new rail lines has entirely closed the access to the Munger and the 'old' trail that cut across private land off 123rd. All access to Ely's Peak climbing should be made from the climbing parking lot found just west 123rd on Beck's Rd/Martin Rd, on the west side of a bridge. The parking lot is obvious as you drive past it... keep an eye out and you'll catch it the first time. We are currently sharing this access with the SHT and will until the rail project is finished. The private land owner that presented access issues years ago on 123rd was bought out by the Railroad, his house is almost completely demolished and as such he will no longer be an issue for access. That said, the new access is shorter, easier and all in all better so keep using the climbing parking lot!

For the foreseeable future I can be reached at lkramer@d.umn.edu with any questions. May 19, 2015
I was here a year or two ago and there was a bolted sport route up the roof of the old train tunnel. Any info on the route? Definitely out of my league but sweet to see a route of that style in MN. Jun 20, 2018