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Routes in Brinton's Buttress

Berkeley T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Brinton's Corner T,TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Brinton's Crack T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Brinton's Direct T,TR 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Cheap Thrills T,TR 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b R
Chiaroscuro TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Chiaroscuro Direct (aka The H) TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Chicago T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Evanston Township T,TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Evanston Township Direct T,TR 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Golf Road TR 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Puff N' Grunt Chimney T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Rococo Variations T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Rubberman TR 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Sheep Thrills T,TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
South Side T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
Stool Pigeon T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R
Type: Trad, 80 ft
FA: FL: Bob Brinton, 1942
Page Views: 19,922 total, 103/month
Shared By: Jay Knower on Dec 31, 2001 with updates
Admins: Burt Lindquist, Doug Hemken, James Schroeder, Chris treggE

You & This Route


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Description

Brinton's is perhaps the most classic among the many classic moderates at Devil's Lake. The elegance of the line, the interesting moves, and the exposure are unmatched.

Follow the main weakness on the left edge of the buttress. This will take you to a cramped alcove. From here, traverse to the right across good footholds, but miserable hand holds. Many consider this the crux. Protection for the traverse is "adequate."

After the traverse, climb straight up a short jam crack (crux #2) to a blocky, airy finish.

Protection

Brinton's is a popular lead because the pro is pretty good. Bring nuts and cams, heavy on the 1-2 inch sizes.

Photos

Tim H  
The wasps' nest is still up there.. Aug 17, 2017
Jacob Krenn
La Valle, WI
 
Jacob Krenn   La Valle, WI
 
Led this absolute classic this evening, after having followed it once before. Was able to place two solid pieces w/slings in the alcove before the traverse, and it gave me the security needed to make the step across. From there, it's totally classic moderate crack climbing at its finest (imho) ! Plenty of good gear to be found. I agree with others comments regarding the wasp's nest, and I stirred them up a bit, but was able to place a #3 and then traverse left to finish the climb left of the main crack, thus avoiding the bulk of the wasp's. Overall, this is a totally classic climb, highly recommended! Sep 1, 2016
Ted Pinson
Chicago, IL
 
Ted Pinson   Chicago, IL
 
Finally got around to growing a pair and leading this thing...and I chose to do it on a hot and muggy summer morning. Still an amazing climb, but much headier; the bomber hand jam towards the top became a slick, insecure jam that honestly made the upper section feel like the crux rather than the traverse, although that's always pretty thrilling. Also stirred up a hornet's nest in the upper section and had to climb through it while being stung repeatedly, which made for a pretty epic lead. Aug 18, 2016
Alex Zucca
University Heights
 
Alex Zucca   University Heights
 
Hand-jamming felt insecure to me, so I stood up and pulled an under cling wide out left to get through this section. Apr 7, 2016
CharlesErickson
Evergreen, CO
  5.6
CharlesErickson   Evergreen, CO
  5.6
A must do for anyone visiting the lake.

An excellent first lead for a climber that chooses to do it the old fashioned way!

Bring along the gonads a nice rack and if you have it a few BD number twos, threes, and perhaps one four

A definite classic with great exposure Aug 10, 2011
Adam.IA.climber
Cedar Rapis
 
Adam.IA.climber   Cedar Rapis
 
Great exposure and great views from the top!! Going to be a frequently visited climb from this guy! Jul 23, 2011
Sam Malamis
  5.6
Sam Malamis  
  5.6
Such a fun climb! Enjoyabe from start to finish. Anyone else notice a #3 C4 stuck in the crack about 15ft from the top? I couldn't get it out. Jul 14, 2011
Ben Sherwin
  5.7
Ben Sherwin  
  5.7
Loved loved loved this climb. On TR, naturally, the traverse was not so bad. The crux was the two required hand-jams one after the other right above that. Smooth climb, diverse climb, all-around nice climbing. Jun 6, 2011
Airy crux traverse is a creeper, bring lots of yellow #2s, a doss #3 and long runner in the alclove before the traverse makes the traverse less thrilling. Avoid the v slot below the top and other rope drag spots...if I were to do this again I would traverse back left at the top, or go strait up after the alclove. Stiff 5.6 with a platter of technical moves. Sep 7, 2010
Ryan Strong
Golden, CO
  5.6
Ryan Strong   Golden, CO
  5.6
good lead , well protected, great exposure (for the lake) ...onsight lead climbing at the lake is no joke...5.6 may or may not be stiffer at the lake but the routes arent always so straightforward and cruxes tend to sneak up on you... Sep 1, 2010
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
  5.6
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
  5.6
Marty, I think that the fact that it can be TR'ed is implied because it's at Devil's Lake. Nov 19, 2009
Someone (mod?) should change the type to include TR. Nov 18, 2009
John W. Knoernschild
Wisconsin
 
John W. Knoernschild   Wisconsin
 
What an amazing 5.6

Has to be one of the best 5.6 leads in the park. Feb 2, 2009
I'd like to meet the knob who has it in their basement as a trophey on the wall. There have also been several pins that have been pulled from various climbs in the past 5 years. It can be a real pain in the butt when you are leading and a pin you ave used for years is ripped off and not replaced.
there is really no need for the one on top of Brinton's but it was part of the history of the area ... May 3, 2008
mattso  
I remember that old peice of rebar. I remember being upset that it got yanked out because I always used that as part of my anchor. It got pulled pre 2003. Thats all the more detail I can give. Apr 30, 2008
James Schroeder
Sauk County, WI
  5.6
James Schroeder   Sauk County, WI  
  5.6
I know of the one on top of Leaning Tower, and I have vague recollections of the one above Brinton's now that I think about it, but I'm pretty sure it's been gone for quite a while, as I've been spending a lot of time in that area the last few years and I can remember the one on Leaning Tower (which I haven't been on top of in probably 6 or 7 years) better than the one on Brinton's... Apr 30, 2008
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
  5.6
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
  5.6
I remember that ring pin. Wasn't it basically a piece of rebar that was pounded into the crack?

I think it disappeared a couple of years ago. Apr 30, 2008
About 4-5 feet back from the edge, in a large crack slightly bent over. It was identical to the huge ring pin on top of the Leaning tower. Apr 29, 2008
James Schroeder
Sauk County, WI
  5.6
James Schroeder   Sauk County, WI  
  5.6
Kevin,

Could you please describe where it was? I've never seen it there that I can remember (I think my first go on Brinton's was 1999ish). Was it out in the open by the cliff edge or back away from it? Apr 29, 2008
Nope, I've been climbing there since 1980 and it was there a couple years ago, possibly even last year. Apr 28, 2008
James Schroeder
Sauk County, WI
  5.6
James Schroeder   Sauk County, WI  
  5.6
Pretty sure it's been gone for at least a decade... Apr 28, 2008
So who / why / when was the huge old ring pin a the top of the climb pulled? It's been there since probably the 60's? I can;t understand why it would have been removed or even how it was removed. Anyone know what the deal is? Apr 27, 2008
This was my first lead. I did it in 1976 when I was 17 years old. Learning to set up TR anchors taught me how to place hexes and stoppers. Still at it in 2008 minus the hexes. Apr 4, 2008
Sunny-D
SLC, Utah
Sunny-D   SLC, Utah
I spent a year climbing at Devil's Lake and loved the climbing--one of the few reprieves in a flat land for a mountain lover from the West. I think the grades are about the same as elsewhere Just different types of rock with different skill sets. It will be fun someday to go back and climb there again. Nov 1, 2007
Peter Arndt
  5.6
Peter Arndt  
  5.6
I would respectfully submit that anyone that would not rate "Brinton's" a CLASSIC has no perspective on Devils Lake climbing history. Heck, 1st climbed in 1941 (according to Swartling's guide). The legendary Fritz (freakin) Wiesner had to back off the thing before Bob Brinton had the "nads" to go for it.

If you want history, exposure, height, and tricky yet doable moves Brinton's has it all.

I would also agree that Brinton's 5.6 rating in some other areas around the country might be in 5.8 land.

I would go so far to argue that Brinton's is THE CLASSIC among Classics of Devils Lake. Aug 10, 2007
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
  5.6
Doug Hemken   Madison, WI  
  5.6
Can be led at a "G" level on just hexes, retro '70s style! Oct 17, 2006
Colin Erskine
Madison, WI
  5.6
Colin Erskine   Madison, WI
  5.6
I did Brinton's Crack as my 2nd climb on 9.17.2005 up at the lake, and it was just a smooth great climb besides all the bees that were around that day on the face b/c i guess it was their day to mate. Anyway i would suggest to try this as a warm up or for a beginner climber it was great. Sep 19, 2005
warthog
5.6
warthog  
5.6
I had just gotten anew set of koflachs and needed to scuff them up a bit. I met some friends and while andy and joe were leading something between brinton's and boy scout, andrea and I did brinton's. I came over the top and this guy belaying on berkley just about jumped out of his skin. "I didn't think anybody lead around here," he said in a southern hemisphere accent. "Ozzie or kiwi?" "Kiwi."andrea comes up bare foot and the guy drops his jaw. About this time andy pops up on the hard side. the guy looked at andy and says "I gotta see what You're wearing on your feet. He's wearing mountain boots and she's barefoot. you Yanks are all nuts." We all made some good friends that day. Climb for fun and leave competition for those who keep score. Feb 5, 2005
Don LaBelle
  5.7+
Don LaBelle  
  5.7+
good route for a beginner. Jan 31, 2005
Tom Anderson-Brown
Madison, WI
Tom Anderson-Brown   Madison, WI
I love the photo of the reception at the Hilton. That's great! Jul 13, 2003
Led out Brinton's Crack Saturday morning bright and early at about 7:45 and I don't know if it was my early morning mental state or what, but, the delicate traverse in the middle of this route really got my attention. Super fun! If your new to the lake beware what you start up! All the climbs are sandbagged. May 27, 2003
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
  5.6
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
  5.6
Dave--thanks for the comparison. It was very accurate and well informed, in my opinion. I just returned to the Lake after climbing out west, and I agree that the ratings are stiff. I also agree wholeheartedly that the Lake (though short) offers some of the best and most challening cragging in the United States. What the climbs lack in stature, they make up for in lack of friction. Their technical nature (I watched a climber on Rubber Man execute ten moves to gain about five feet of height)makes DL routes difficult to onsight. Brinton's Crack, when wired, is probably comparable to a hard 5.6 in Yosemite. When climbed as an onsight, Brintons can definately feel a few numbers harder. If you botch the hand jam move above Hilton Ledge, you could easily find yourself doing some 5.9 laybacking. And, here at DL, you can't smear to save your ass. No matter where I travel to climb, I always enjoy coming back to the Lake to test my mettle on these challening routes. We trully have a climbing gem here in Wisconsin. Oct 21, 2002
Still an interesting thread! I finaly got to go back and climb at "The Lake" after a 30 yr. absence due my move to CO. I was back in Aug. on a perfect chilly day and went to visit a lot of my old favorites. (The one thing that shocked me was that it was more crowded on Weds. than I ever remember a weekend back in '72-'73! )The ratings at "The Lake" are STOUT !! I'm still climbing 5.11-12 sport routes and trad to 5.10 and going back to repeat a lot of routes I did as a High School kid was shocking to say the least. Birch Tree Wall (I guess they call this The Stretcher now) in my local CO/WY climbs would go 10d/11a. Birchtree Crack 9-, D'arcy's Wall 9 etc.. I had been gearing myself up to see "How Small" everything looked; and yeah, these cliffs look like Duncan's Ridge or Table Mtn. (local top rope/ short sport route areas.) But the ratings are REALLY STIFF!!! Don't slight yourself if this is your training ground. You'll rule when you go to anywhere else!! Got to Love the "Lake" ! Oct 18, 2002
Terry Kieck  
 
Maybe I should restate it as red-point rating not an onsite rating. Yes in the YDS rotes are supposed to be graded on the hardest move and I believe they are at the lake. My point was that the concensus on a rating of a particular route at the lake was gained after the route was done several times by an individual and several other poeple and not after their first ascents of a route. I hope that clarifies my earlier statement.

Also the YDS is not always based on the hardest moves. There are sport routes atthe RED that have no moves harder than 5.10 but because of their length and steepness are 5.12. Sep 30, 2002
I find Terry's comment regarding DL ratings being top rate ratings as a little strange. The YDS rating system is suppossed to represent the hardest (crux) move on the route from a technical perspective. Thus, a route with one 5.6 moves and the rest 5.4 is a 5.6. Furthermore, and more to the point, the ratings aren't intended to reflect the level of commitment, etc. In my mind, 5.6 is 5.6 whether you are TR, leading or seconding. That said, if 5.6 is ceiling on top-roper, you probably don't want to be leading 5.6, at least trad 5.6. Sep 27, 2002
Interesting thread running here. I learned to climb at "The Lake" starting in '69 and while the majority of my ascents were TR , I did lead a far amount of climbs. IMO the ratings at "The Lake" are what I grew up with and for me are still my standard for comparisons. I would say Eldorado Canyon is very comparable while "The Valley" classics always seemed soft to me. Go figure ; I thought we were "supposed" to be following Yosemite standards. The harder grades are another story but I think you've fixed that by now. I always LOVED Flatus (TR'd in 72) but thought it was a bit hard for a "F10B"; but I can make the same statements about a lot of the harder climbs I did here in CO after moving here in '73 ( "I was climbing an 11 and didn't even know it; good thing or I'd never even gotten on it back then"). I still don't have a total handle on the "Sport Route" grading. It seems to vary to a much greater degree between even local areas, depending on limestone or granite and what you're used to. Jul 31, 2002
Terry Kieck  
 
I was just having a ratings discusion yesterday at the lake. It is my belief that the ratings at the lake are top rope ratings. Meaning, once you have the route wired how hard is it - not on-sight lead ratings that you find throughout the country. Since DL is where I do the majority of my climbing those ratings will always be my baseline for comparison. Its nice to know that if you can climb "insert rating here" you can climb that rating anywhere. Jul 19, 2002
I agree with Jay. I always use Devil's Lake as a guideline elsewhere. If it is a 5.6 on granite, it will typically be a cake walk. Typically.

Jul 18, 2002
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
  5.6
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
  5.6
Compare the Lake climb Roger's Roof (given 5.8) to Hobbitt Roof (given 5.10b) in Joshua Tree. The climbs are almost identical--the same moves, the same gear, though Hobbitt does have better friction---yet Hobbitt is rated much harder.

Those of us who have climbed at the Lake a bit (and throughout the continent) accept Devil's Lake ratings to be accurate and the rest of the world's ratings to be soft. That's just the way it is...Brintons is, and always will be, 5.6. Either accept it or move to Minnesota. Jul 18, 2002
I've climbed all over the country. A Devil's Lake anything is way, way, way underrated. A Devil's Lake 5.6 is easily a 5.8 on granite.

Jul 18, 2002
Tom Anderson-Brown
Madison, WI
Tom Anderson-Brown   Madison, WI
Devil's Lake 5.6 = Joshua Tree 5.8 (IMHO) Jul 17, 2002
Anonymous  
 
whoops. made a mistake. it's not a "funky off-width thing". it's really just a slick and rather large hand-jam. sweat caused me to ooze out of it... and i fell... again... on a devil's lake 5.6. Jul 17, 2002
Tom Anderson-Brown
Madison, WI
Tom Anderson-Brown   Madison, WI
I once heard that the Chicago Mountaineering Club (lead by Paul Stettner?) used to take members to this climb prior to making the trip to Devil's Tower. To be approved for the trip to the Tower, members had to first competently climb this route. Anybody heard this before? May 15, 2002
CLASSIC- ULTRA CLASSIC! This is the one "must do" that anyone visiting Devils Lake of any skill level has to get on. This was the second climb I ever did back in '70 and though I live (and still climb- see climbingboulder.com) in Colorado; Devil's Lake and this climb in particular still have a fond spot in my memories. I seem to remember the traverse as being the crux. May 4, 2002
Anonymous  
 
My first ever lead. I've climbed this route uncountable times, including once by a full moon. What a classic. Mark M. Apr 24, 2002
Anonymous  
 
ultra-classic? yep. without a doubt.

The climb follows an obvious crack up to a point where you... obviously (I guess) need to traverse to the right to gain another crack _system_ to the top. going directly up is a 5.9? variation. After you get to this other crack, you have a bomber #5 stopper placement which protects your potential pendulum, and the potential crux. IMHO the crux is that first couple feet after the traverse which is this weird off-width thing with lousy feet below you. Typical devils lake ice skating edges. Apr 19, 2002