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Routes in Winona, Sugar Loaf

Air Pig S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Amoeba Route S 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Buzz S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
East Face S 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Exterminator, The S 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
First lead S 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Franklin's Tower S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Green Room S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Leftover Salmon S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Lonely Arete S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
NW corner S 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
One Eyed Lady S 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Ramp Route S 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Rope Thief S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Running Scared S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Saga, The S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sherriff, The S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Six Pack S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
West Face Overhang S 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Winona Alpine Club S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
pillar, The S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Elevation: 1,058 ft
GPS: 44.028, -91.627 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 15,555 total · 166/month
Shared By: EB on Jun 14, 2010 with updates
Admins: Kris Gorny, Chris treggE
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Sugar Loaf is an iconic place in Winona, MN. Sitting approx 600 ft above Winona, the Sugarloaf is a unique man-made tower; a result from quarrying in the 1800s. It offers routes on all aspects of the tower ranging from 5.3- 5.11 in difficulty. The majority of routes are in the 5.6-5.9 range. Currently 20 lead routes and a few additional top rope anchors with approx 8-12 more routes to be bolted. Most anchors have stainless steel wiregate biners at the anchors for easy TRing and cleaning. Almost all anchors are glue in bolts with the remaining expansion bolts slated to be removed by the end of 2017. There is a comprehensive trail plan approved by the city that will offer better access and develop the park as a designated rock climbing area. Routes are listed beginning on the NW corner and moving right from there around the formation.

Getting There

At the intersection of Mankato Ave and Highway 61 in Winona, head south on 43 to a quick right hand turn to E Lake Blvd to a quick left on Sugar Loaf Road, next take a left on W Burns Valley Road, go past fire hydrant on the right side of the road and there are steps that lead to a water tank. Go up around the water tank on the right hand side. ( this parking area will be moved to the north side of the bluff as soon as the new trail is developed). DO NOT hike up the large deep gully as you walk around the water tank! This is a horrible approach and is eroding the hillside with each new hiker. Walk another 40ft past it to a nice old "trail". Follow this to the top.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Winona, Sugar Loaf

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Ben Clark
La Crosse, WI
Ben Clark   La Crosse, WI
Sugarloaf is a great place to bring people who are in the process of learning how to climb or are interested in climbing. With that being said the north face has routes with great exposure that are sure to be enjoyed by all climbers. All the climbs are in close proximity and the rock drys out real fast making this place quite accessible. Nov 8, 2017
EB   Winona
Route count up to 20 lead routes as of 8/17 Aug 15, 2017
EB   Winona
There are currently 16 lead routes now on the sugarloaf with approx 12 more to go in this summer/fall. There are now some more challenging routes located on the North Face all of which have bolted belay anchors. Jul 1, 2017
I am a very new rock climber and would like to climb this rock in June. What is the easiest way up to the top? Can I do it alone? Do I need ropes? Thank you Mar 19, 2016
EB   Winona
The sugarloaf has been getting a facelift in the last few months with a number of new top anchors being installed as well as new lead lines. There are now 7 lead routes on the formation and 16 top anchors. New anchors on the summit make for an easy rappel.
More routes are being added this fall. Granted the climbing is pretty easy, this is one of the better places to learn beginner to intermediate skills and the top is pretty cool! Oct 5, 2015
Joel Allen
La Crosse, WI
Joel Allen   La Crosse, WI
Pretty chossy. Not worth going way out of the way for this thing but if you are already in the area it's fun to go sit on top of the tower and eat lunch/hangout/take pictures. Plus all the people hiking look at you like you're crazy which is always fun. Aug 12, 2015
My wife and I, still wet behind our ears in 1983, saw this formation and thought we were getting close to Devil's Tower! After assuring ourselves that Minnesota was a bit too wide for that, we took every turn leading toward the tower in sight, finally making it to Winona.
I recall soloing some peculiar, 3' deep, but only 6" thick, megashelves on the way up to the promontory. My wife chose a more sensible path. At the base of the tower, two guys were installing the lights that have since highlighted the formation. I think it was for the town's centennial celebration, but I'm not sure. It was close to 4th of July as well, so it may have been that. It was my first paid climbing gig: they wanted to head down for lunch and paid us to "hang out" and keep an eye on the equipment.
I climbed up an easy line and then TR'd a harder one (~5.7). The guys returned and we headed down to look for a place to camp. Found a little ice cream shack that made the best malted milkshakes we've ever had.
While we cont'd on our journey and had many amazing times out West, I still remember this tower and the little town below as equally enjoyable and amazing. Oct 27, 2014
I used to climb here 25 years ago. I put some of the bolts at the top for anchors. Before I climbed there there were some very old 1/4 inch bolts I heard the ROTC put in for directional anchors. There used to be an anchor spike in the top of the rock. Most of the rock is very poor quality but the corner had some short fun routes. We did put 3 routes on what we called the front face. They were very intense. We used to identify around 10 routes on the back corner. They were mostly variations of lines. The hardest lines were highball boulder problems. Oct 25, 2013
S. Stember
St. Paul, MN
S. Stember   St. Paul, MN
who has more information about this place? how many routes are there? Aug 24, 2012

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