Elevation: 45 ft
GPS: 42.758, -84.753 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 62,703 total · 432/month
Shared By: Chris Zuelch on Mar 21, 2007 with updates from ssp and 1 other
Admins: jon jugenheimer, Paul Peppin
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Description

Sunny sandstone top roping in the lower peninsula of Michigan right off of the Grand River. The cliff is only 40 to 45 feet tall at best, but offers very bouldery, challenging climbs. Classic climbs included:

Chips : 5.7
Doug's Roof : 5.10
Rocket Man : 5:10
Pigeon Shit : 5.9???

The cliff faces south and receives sun most of the day. It exists in a City Park, but currently the city is pro climbing. It is the only known cliff in lower Michigan that you can climb at.

Getting There

Find Grand Ledge, Michigan (use Map Quest or Google). Then head through downtown along Bridge St. Once you cross the bridge, hang a left on the first street. You will drive though a subdivision until you dead end at Oak Park. The approach to the cliff is obvious- simply hike down towards the river via trails that take you down to where the cliff breaks down on both sides.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Grand Ledge

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James Schroeder
Sauk County, WI
James Schroeder   Sauk County, WI  
It would be great if anyone with beta could start posting route descriptions. I'd be very interested to see what this place is all about. Apr 18, 2007
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
What G.L. is all about? Soft rock, regulations, short routes and crowds.
I was told all about it in the early 90's once by someone who enthusiastically encouraged me to try it out. In the end, I went with my girlfriend and both of us decided that the guy who so encouraged us to go there with his praise-laiden descriptions should actually check the place out for himself some time... Apr 18, 2007
James Schroeder
Sauk County, WI
James Schroeder   Sauk County, WI  
Tony-

Awesome job on that uncharacteristically pissed off rant! I've heard rumors that agree with your statements above.

Cheers,
James Apr 18, 2007
James Beissel
Boulder, CO
James Beissel   Boulder, CO
Grand Ledge isn't much, I sure wouldn't call it a destination, but it is virtually the only climbing available to Michigan climbers. Because of this, it is crucial that local rules are respected in order to prevent excessive erosion and to maintain good relations with the city.

No lead climbing
No rappelling
Use carpet to pad the edge under your ropes
Do not top out
Tread lightly when setting up TRs and around vegetation on routes

There are a limited number of routes at the Ledges and sharing ropes is the norm. It's a good idea to peek around at the top before you hike down and make sure you are comfortable with getting on someone else's setup. If you see something dangerous, tell the owner of the rope. There are lots of beginners here and I have seen some incredibly bad setups, but a little friendly advice has almost always been well received. Apr 19, 2007
Jason Haas
G1 Climbing + Fitness
Jason Haas   G1 Climbing + Fitness
edit:the old website is down but the guide has been updated and redone and can be downloaded for free at Fixed Pin Publishing's website Apr 20, 2007
Mike Mu.
hagerstown
Mike Mu.   hagerstown
i 2nd the sketchy setups. i went there once with my then girlfriend and was amazed at what people would entrust their bones to. sketchy! no lead climbing? is that because of rock quality or just some BS put up by the locals? Jul 31, 2007
World class, absolutely not, I would never go out of my way, but if you are near by it really is worth checking out. There is a lot of shit but a few gems mostly of mid-tougher grades. There should be at least one knowledgeable good climber around at any one time who would be happy to give a tour of the best stuff be sure to ask about The Trick (v2), Enigma (v6), Despondency (5.11), Resistance (5.13), Inappropriate Behavior (5.12-), and Raged Edge (5.12). It's easy to be negative about Grand Ledge, but put your ego aside and have a bit of fun. Jun 3, 2008
jay.kalamazoo
kalamazoo, mi
jay.kalamazoo   kalamazoo, mi
Grand ledge is really a special place. It is a good spot to see the impact climbers can have- both positive and negative.

many michigan climbers have stopped going to the ledges because of the negative impact- but there are a few short quality routes there.

- please please pad your anchors to reduce erosion and impact on the sandstone. Sep 13, 2009
Casey Erin
San Diego, CA
Casey Erin   San Diego, CA
Here are a few guide books I was able to find online.

higround.com/higround.com/G…

glc.cheapholds.com/Docs/GL_…

Hope this helps! Mar 14, 2010
Jason Haas
G1 Climbing + Fitness
Jason Haas   G1 Climbing + Fitness
Fixed Pin Publishing just revamped the old guide originally done by me and now offers a comprehensive, color guide with photo overlays for free to people to download off of their website

Hope you guys enjoy it and let us know what you think of it.


Aug 9, 2010
Juggler  
Update on the above directions: Note the park is called "Oak Park", not Lily Park

Directions from I96 East Bound: Going east from
Grand Rapids take the Grand Ledge exit Wright Rd
(Route 100). Take this south for about 4 miles,
merge turn right onto N Bridge St. Take a right on
W. Front Street just before the bridge(at the Lickity Split). Go all the way until it dead ends at Oak Park

Great place. First time was this past Mem. Day weekend. Met nice folks who are very open to rope sharing. Sweet climbs and only had time to do about 1/10th of them! Will look to come back soon.

Jason- Like your guidebook ALOT! May 31, 2011
Juggler  


Great early season climbing May 31, 2011
Juggler  
To All Chicago Area Climbers:

I am looking for partners to go to GL and other locations(Jackson Falls, DL, The Red, etc) with.

I have an Airplane and can fly us there. There is an airport right in GL they will take us to the climb for a day trip. It is just a little over an hour flight to GL. Please send me a PM if you want more details and the cost of sharing the flight expenses. Hope to meet a few of you soon. I can fit up to 4 climbers with me in the Cherokee 6(with room for gear). :) May 31, 2011
After reading the location info and earlier comments from several years back, I do remember why I've never made the drive out to see this place. Agree it is NOT a destination climbing location. Too short of routes is one reason. May 31, 2011
Juggler  
Woodchuck: Depends on your goals. It is a great place for the start of the season, it is REAL rock, great sandstone, not crowded, right on the river(great for kayaking too), camping close by, met some very nice climbers, and more.

Some of you folks are just a bit too ELITE and should not knock this sweet climbing area unless you HAVE come out to see it. The climbs are challenging though not tall- Kinda sounds like a local climbing gym that YOU and I frequent. I challenge you to try "Doug's roof" sometime!

It is nice for a day or 2 of climbing. I was pumped after 2 days, early season. Jun 1, 2011
Colonel Mustard
Sacramento, CA
Colonel Mustard   Sacramento, CA
As a visiting climber, I find it funny to see some criticize Grand Ledge for what it clearly isn't. It's a picturesque, Huck Finn locale with some short overhanging climbs you can cop a wicked forearm pump on. Doug's Roof would easily be a world class climb anywhere... well, if it were 70 feet longer and bolted, but still, if I find myself in Michigan in the summertime again, I'll definitely include some more sessions here on the sandbagged sandstone. So, to you Central Michiganders whose lot in life leaves you stranded in the largely flat lands trapped between the options of cornfields, an epic climbing commute, and the toprope haven that is the Grand Ledge, I salute you. Jul 8, 2011
Rich zz
california
Rich zz   california
hey guys. i might be relocating to saginaw. checking out what's around. are there any trad places in central MI? Nov 26, 2012
Bootz Ylectric
Chicago IL
Bootz Ylectric   Chicago IL
I'm really jealous of the town of Grand Ledge having such a cool little crag in it's backyard. World class? No. But if it was all you had, it would be absolutely amazing. My closest climbing is 3 hours away, so to see this crag sitting literally in Grand Ledge's backyard made me pine for my own neighborhood crag. There are some fun pumpy climbs and the backdrop is really nice. The locals all seemed cool, and willing to share climbs and be neighborly. I wish we could have stayed longer, but we were rained off. Hopefully I'll get to come back some time. Jul 28, 2013
I'll be in town visiting family this weekend and would like to make it out to climb at Grand Ledge one day, since I'm only an hour away and have never been. Anyone up for some climbing April 2nd or 3rd? Apr 30, 2015
Didn't see this info anywhere, but how do top rope anchors work at GL? Trees, bolts, ?? Aug 2, 2015
Parker Wrozek
Denver, CO
Parker Wrozek   Denver, CO
It is mostly trees with a few bolts hee and there. Just be sure to follow the rules posted up earlier.

Typically 2 30' runs of webbing or cord will make you a good anchor. Aug 13, 2015
I see a ton of really bad reviews of Grand Ledge, but it really is special. After reading the reviews, I put off going until last weekend. That was a huge mistake. Since I live in Michigan, the only rocks there are are at Grand Ledge. The climbers are genial, the extra anchers and ropes are plentiful,and there are some sick classic routes. I adored Doug's Roof (worth going just for that one route), and Rocketman was just sweet. Deffinitely go if you are in the area, it is beautiful, covered in sun, and while the rock quality isn't Yosemite-granite, it is much less chossy than most reviews make it out to be. I 100% recommend it! Feb 22, 2016
Tania Rita
West Bloomfield, MI
Tania Rita   West Bloomfield, MI
Does anyone know of anywhere you can camp nearby the ledges? Planning on doing some early climbing and wanted to come in the night before. Jul 13, 2016
I'll be in town for the holiday and heard it was still abnormally warm up that way. Anyone climbing in the next week... how about this Sunday 11/20/16? I won't have ropes but would love to climb with some of you beautiful people!

-Alex Nov 15, 2016
Seth Hogan
Frisco, Co
Seth Hogan   Frisco, Co
Kinda cool stop off if you want to break up a drive cross country. Interesting ethics in this spot though. It is sandstone, but pretty solid, this place has a some routes that would really eat up gear, in good rock too. But, the ethic seems to be no gear whatsoever with the idea that it preserves the rock. I was going to place a piece just for a directional, while still on top rope, and even got hassled for that, so we just took big TR swings (Real potential for swinging into other parties.) The use of carpets to pad the rock from your anchor with no moving parts but letting the rope repeatedly cut into the rock due to lowering seems like a strange idea to me.

I noticed a lot of people here climbing the day after it rained pretty hard talking about the ethics there to preserve the rock, that's great. However, sandstone requires a solid 48 hours after rain to dry out. You want dry sandstone because it is far less susceptible to breaking. The two most important things locals could do in this area, to preserve it, would be to #1. Not climb on the rock within 48 hours of rain and #2. Rappel down, instead of lower, in order to avoid creating rope scars in the rock.

Nice spot to break up the drive, and almost all of the routes here could be done with a pad or two as the top outs are very easy with trees to work with if need be and the cruxes were (in my limited experience) all down low. May 20, 2017
Nathan Stein
Butte, MT
Nathan Stein   Butte, MT
Can any Michiganders tell me if this place is worth the drive from Fremont? I'll be there for the summer and it looks like this is my most realistic prospect for any kind of climbing. I'd appreciate any other recommendations as well!! May 31, 2017
ssp
ssp  
Dec 29, 2017 Polar vortex in effect here. Literally just there about an hour ago. Was visiting some relatives for Holidays One heck of a cold place in winter but oddly enough the ledges were 'kinda' warm ( 14 degs no breeze !) due to southern exposure along the river shoreline. Cross bedded Sandstone some loose sections but alot of nice solid rock. Great Bouldering traverses and ascents. Steep. Short n Sweet though. For a nice afternoon or a couple days of river side bouldering / Tr, its a good scenic spot. As for the local ethics, it is what it is. Sandstone here is a finite resource that they wisely are trying to preserve by restricting climbing to TR and Bouldering only. Placing gear especially by beginners and inexperience climbers could result in a lot of damage to crack systems etc. Bolting the place up would also draw the ire of the town council. The climbing is just too short for that anyways. So for a small unique place thats the only real rock climbing for hours why not preserve it. All that said I cannot comment on locals per attitudes at the crag etc, i saw no one this day and Trash, Bad attitudes are unwelcome at any area. Is Grand Ledge a destination climbing area ? Well, I wouldnt make it the end all place to go but if you find yourself in central MI pining for some pulldown then spend a day along the river in the great heartland. The people that live here are super friendly and down home for sure. Just remember : Its hard when we as visitors try to compare places to what we're used to back home ( read as 'spoiled' ) in the Wild West or the old Northeast where rock rules. So an easy going mindset with a bit of levity and a dash of patience can go a long way when comparing and commenting on places like Grand Ledge, MI or Moss Island NY. which btw is another small TR place in central NY that locals cherish but outsiders might poo poo at. Dec 28, 2017
Looking for someone to lead three ladies on a Grand Ledge climb this Sat. Any info and pricing options? Would need equip! May 3, 2018