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Group Camp B

Wisconsin > Governor Dodge SP
Access Issue: DO NOT WALK THROUGH THE CAMPSITE Details

Description

Bouldering at these areas first began in the mid to late 1980's with visits from David Groth and Mike McCarron. Both of them were strong as nails at the time. David always had a preternatural ability to zero in on the best stone and lines around, and Group Camp B is no exception. True to form for that era, little to no documentation took place as bouldering beta was spread by campfires, libations, and scribbled notes on bar napkins rather than the internet. The 1980’s were all about hard free ascents with a rope. It would be a decade before the bouldering boom of Y2K would sweep the climbing world and legitimize bouldering in the eyes of many.

GCB is filled with large separated blocks and short walls of hard grey sandstone. The quality of the stone is excellent for the park, and the bouldering consists of just under or just over vertical lines. A couple steeper lines can be found but they’re short lived pleasures. The highballs truly dominate the pine woods with a broken down palace sort of atmosphere. It is a very nice hang mid week when it’s quiet.

 The problems are host to an array of archetypal holds- pockets, crimpers, slopers, pinches, you name it! This stone was made for bouldering. For the most part the climbing here flows well, and with some of the highballs it is more like climbing a route than a "problem".

The area is divided into two sectors. First the Plan B area which is a collection of Boulders and a small wall. Backbone Ridge is a conspicuous ridge of rock which juts out of the hilltop with bouldering on both sides. It’s pretty classic for the Midwest and showcases the park test piece Sandstone Violence which is as good as it gets for the style.

Getting There


As of 2009 the park rangers have asked us **NOT TO HIKE THROUGH THE CAMPSITES**! Please see thread or map below for alternate ways to get to the problems. There are a lot of different user groups packed into a relatively small area. Common courtesy and respect for the campers experience will go a long way and help keep this gift from the gods open to climbing. Don’t be “that” guy.

Updated (2009) Group B topo with Plan B Area and the Backbone Ridge split into east side and west side. Alternate approaches are the dotted lines.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Updated (2009) Group B topo with Plan B Area and the Backbone Ridge split into east side and west side.  Alternate approaches are the dotted lines.
[Hide Photo] Updated (2009) Group B topo with Plan B Area and the Backbone Ridge split into east side and west side. Alternate approaches are the dotted lines.
No cars, No problem.
[Hide Photo] No cars, No problem.
Toprope rehearsal for sick highball send.
[Hide Photo] Toprope rehearsal for sick highball send.
Aarron S. on High Anxiety V1
[Hide Photo] Aarron S. on High Anxiety V1
JessM way high at the group site B boulders, observe the fantastic spotting.
[Hide Photo] JessM way high at the group site B boulders, observe the fantastic spotting.
They closed the road to the Group Camp area and Quall Wall. Dec. 13th 2008.<br>
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We walked in.
[Hide Photo] They closed the road to the Group Camp area and Quall Wall. Dec. 13th 2008. We walked in.
Aaron Stetzer on Split Personality V5/6
[Hide Photo] Aaron Stetzer on Split Personality V5/6
Rough topo.  Includes many of the better lines, but not all that have been done.
[Hide Photo] Rough topo. Includes many of the better lines, but not all that have been done.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Remo
Madison, WI
[Hide Comment] Hey Trav, what we found works well is to drive towards Group site A. Park on the road(doesn't seem like a problem) before the camp and hike straight up the hill. You get to the back of the Plan B ridge near Press it out. From there you can get to the boulders easily. Short approach for sure, and less awkward. Aug 17, 2008
Remo
Madison, WI
[Hide Comment] The gate for Hickory Ridge is open! Mar 31, 2009
[Hide Comment] 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. Park staff were VERY concerned about this! Apr 12, 2009
chris tregge
Beersconsin
[Hide Comment] Nick-- thanks for posting this. I have been at least moderately concerned about this issue since last fall. One day this spring, I was one of 11 (ELEVEN!!!) cars parked to climb at Group B. All it will take is one camping family or group to complain about climbers there to get it looked at. Likewise, please don't yell expletives when you fall off your project. That will make any camping parent cringe and probably complain (yes I've been within earshot of that).

TO REITERATE: 2 options for parking for Backbone/Group B: Park at the bathroom and walk directly uphill. When you get to the cave walk along the ridge to the right. Alternatively, turn left when the road forks (towards site A) and park along the road on the right and walk directly uphill. You will come to Press It Out and then walk northwards to rest of the climbs.

FYI I was parked along the road for Barrel Ridge earlier this spring and when I was walking down from the ridge (sans pad), a ranger was inspecting my car. Asked me if he could help me at all. I said no, I was fine, and he replied that generally the only cars parked on the side of the road were people that were in trouble. I'm still not sure if that is cool or not. Apr 12, 2009
[Hide Comment] That was running through my head as well when we were parked at Barrel Ridge, and I can see the rangers not wanting people parking on the grass like that. If this ever becomes an issue it may be possible to approach from the south by parking at the pull out for what I believe is the Gold Mine trail along the road to Twin Valley Campground, and hiking along that trail. It'd be a long approach, but its better than nothing. Apr 12, 2009
chris tregge
Beersconsin
[Hide Comment] Correct, on that trail (really a nice hike) you go by the top of Barrel Ridge which would be to your north (left if hiking east). Apr 12, 2009
sweatpants
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] Last week when I was in the main building buying my new pass for this year I was speaking with a female ranger. I let her know that I was a climber and said thank you for letting use their beautiful park. She kinda just said that they don't necessarily condone climbing but do know that we are out there and would like us to continue to keep the areas clean and stuff like that. Apr 13, 2009
sweatpants
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] Great Job Chris! Thanks for your hard work sir Apr 15, 2009
chris tregge
Beersconsin
[Hide Comment] Found this sweet video on Vimeo, hope the author doesn't mind my linking it. Nice job Brent, great video!

vimeo.com/9326114 Jul 19, 2010
TravisMelin
Portland, OR, Roanoke, VA L
[Hide Comment] Cool video...Egg, you make SV look so much better though. I dont like to watch people struggle like this. Jun 14, 2011
Alexander Stathis
Athens, GA
[Hide Comment] Is this approach beta still accurate? We parked at what we thought were the bathrooms just after the left hand turn to Campsite A (there were showers there also).

We followed what we thought was the marked trail at the back of the parking lot. It started between two disability parking signs, was rather overgrown, and ended about 20 feet in. We bushwacked through a lot of thorny bushes to the base of the cliff and found what we thought was the cave. We headed right from the cave around the base of the cliff bushwacking through a lot more thorny bushes and eventually arrived at the top of the cliff, kept hiking in what we thought was the same direction, and ended up at Press It Out. Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend anyone do this, it seriously sucked.

When we hiked out we tried to the find the trail from below Press It Out to the road. This was arguably more comfortable than our approach, but we did still have to hike through about 15-20ft of thorny bushes in a small valley near the road. Maybe we missed the nice trail? Sep 8, 2016
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
[Hide Comment] Those berry bushes grow fast - so the informal trails tend to get grown over in the summer. The best approach is to park where you did, then head directly up to High Anxiety. But this can be hard to pick out when there are still leaves on the trees. Sep 8, 2016
chris tregge
Beersconsin
[Hide Comment] Yeah the approach from anywhere except through camp B sucks this time of year. If nobody is camped there, that's the easiest. You can come up from the bathrooms or from the A side but don't walk through the B campsite if people are there. Sep 8, 2016
chris tregge
Beersconsin
[Hide Comment] The park has (again) stated that access will be limited/revoked if climbers keep walking through the B campsite to get to the boulders if there are campers there. PARK AT THE BATHROOMS AND HEAD UP THE HILL, CUT RIGHT AND HUG THE CLIFF BAND UNTIL YOU GET TO THE CLIMBS. DO NOT WALK THROUGH THE CAMPSITE.

See alternate approach beta in one of several posts above. Aug 22, 2018