Description

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 28 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 parking area with signs for" Sugarloaf Trailhead parking". The trailhead is behind edina reality. Please do not park in the Treasure Under Sugarloaf parking lot or Edina Reality's lot. All parking is on the side of the road.

33 Total Climbs

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Location: Winona, Sugar Loaf Change
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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.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 5
Ramp Route
Sport
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 13
Franklin's Tower
Sport
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 3
Six Pack
Sport
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 3
Green Room
Sport
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 5
The Exterminator
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 5
The Saga
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 4
Air Pig
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 3
Franklin's Direct
Sport
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 3
Matador
Sport
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
 5
West Face Overhang
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 7
The Sherriff
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 7
Running Scared
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 4
Lonely Arete
Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
 6
Rope Thief
Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 4
Winona Alpine Club
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Ramp Route
 5
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Sport
Franklin's Tower
 13
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Six Pack
 3
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Green Room
 3
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
The Exterminator
 5
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
The Saga
 5
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Air Pig
 4
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Franklin's Direct
 3
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Matador
 3
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
West Face Overhang
 5
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Sport
The Sherriff
 7
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Running Scared
 7
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Lonely Arete
 4
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Rope Thief
 6
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13 Sport
Winona Alpine Club
 4
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
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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
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
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
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
EB
Winona
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
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
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
EB
Winona
EB   Winona
Route count up to 20 lead routes as of 8/17 Aug 15, 2017
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
EB   Winona
25 bolted routes now. May 8, 2018
Randy Von Zee
Darien, IL
Randy Von Zee   Darien, IL
Keystone Light is the best way to the top. Jul 19, 2018
Patty Kanten
Minneapolis, MN
Patty Kanten   Minneapolis, MN
Is there any routes to the top that can be done without ropes? Sep 9, 2018
EB
Winona
EB   Winona
The city of Winona is currently working on an ordinance prohibiting unroped climbing at the Sugarloaf. They posted signs along the base of the crag stating no unroped climbing, but vandals ripped them down. Last I heard they are going to bolt signage. There is an access route to the top that is about 5.0 that will be bolted in the next few weeks to aid rescue workers access the top easily in case of a emergency. Sep 11, 2018