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BC's Wilderness Challenge (BWCAW)

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Lutsen 99'er 39er Course
The track for the Lutsen 99'er 39er Course. Near Grand Marais, Minnesota
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BC's Wilderness Challenge (BWCAW) Rock Climbing 

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Location: 48.14157, -90.92164 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Kris Gorny, Chris treggE, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bryan Knigge on Sep 18, 2011
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [2 people like this page.]
Shows an angle from the north and good view of the...

The only access to this wall is by canoe or kayak MORE INFO >>>


This cliff face is granite and mostly hard rock with a few soft spots (obvious). Being in the wilderness area of the Minnesota Boundary Waters it is completely secluded and as far as we could tell, has never really been climbed (a real shame since it offers so much diversity). Mostly TR, with a few lines offering Trad with somewhat limited pro (we will be trying more of this next year). Def bring cleaning tools, a lot of this was covered in crispy lichen and collected dirt in some of the buckets. Not much protection from the sun for most of the day, but usually a nice breeze. The north portion of this cliff offers some great solo free climbing opportunities with deep water below.

Getting There 

50 miles northwest out of Grand Marais, Minnesota off Gunflint Trail on Seagull Lake. When get out on the lake it is approximately 1 hour paddle from the landing, and is marked on the areas website as a scenic lookout site. It has a trail on the south side that is a short hike to the top of the cliff.

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 2.4 miles from here

4 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For BC's Wilderness Challenge (BWCAW)
Rock Climbing Photo: Last day climbing, first send for this route.

Your Lichen It 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  Minnesota : BC's Wilderness Challenge (...
This route starts out just right of the right-hand bottom trees and has a covering of crispy lichen (hence the name), so you need cleaning gear to make the most of this. Once you get above the trees a bit, the growth almost disappears. I love the route because its a nice steady challenge the whole way up and offers a few different options to send after the halfway point. You could make this a 5.10c if you want by simply choosing a slightly different line....[more]   Browse More Classics in Minnesota

Photos of BC's Wilderness Challenge (BWCAW) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A front look at the cliff face with established ro...
BETA PHOTO: A front look at the cliff face with established ro...

Comments on BC's Wilderness Challenge (BWCAW) Add Comment
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By Chris treggE
From: Madison, WI
Sep 21, 2011
Bryan said: "Def bring cleaning tools, a lot of this was covered in crispy lichen and collected dirt in some of the buckets."

That lichen takes more than 100 years to grow, and as a canoeing guide up there we would tell people not to fuck with it on the cliffs, since most of the folks headed to the boundary waters are not climbers and go to see pristine beauty.

How would you respond to that? "It's not illegal so we can do it if we want."?

Are you sure it's ok with the park? I really don't know. But it's something you might want to know. Most people who we would reprimand up there were carving their names in the lichen, so obviously climbing is not the same as that, but still would be nice to confirm before announcing to the mp world to start scrubbing.
By Kris Moulton
From: Bishop, CA
Mar 9, 2012
I agree with Chris. I did a senior research project a couple years ago about finding climbable cliffs in the BWCA with GIS. I have a half dozen or more verified climbable cliffs in the BWCA, but not sure if I want to go climb them. If I leave a permanent (this lifetime plus more) scar on the cliff from cleaning too much, could I live with that? It's not only about me, but will others have a lessened sense of pure wilderness in an area of land that holds America's highest regard as a pristine place, a wilderness area.
Its a fine line between cleaning enough to have a good climb and over-cleaning. I'm thinking that I will try to climb up there, but ONLY if it needs minimal cleaning and can be done without bolts. I commented on "Dream On" about you asking the rangers to bolt it.
Whatever you do, please don't degrade our fragile relationship with the rangers as it is.
By bwcasnap
From: Minneapolis, MN
Dec 24, 2013
Yes to Chris and Kris. While I understand the desire to put up new routes and FAs I respect the wilderness and fragility of the BWCA too much to start cleaning and chalking it up. The growing season is so short there that it would take decades to undo any damage done now. I've been going every year for 9 years and have stuck to fishing, swimming and general lake-life, even while looking at some cliffs and wondering...

If you climb here, please no chalk and no cleaning. Climb it dirty.
By PSheehan
May 29, 2014
I climbed there last weekend. My brother and I just climbed 2 routes each. No chalk/cleaning. It was fun but It's not a place to go for a climbing trip. Go for the beauty of the boundary waters and maybe do a day trip if you need to get your fix. There's not much for TR setups. I would suggest using boulders and not the trees by the cliff edge that grow directly on top of the granite. You can belay from the bottom if you set up by the boulders (see pic) but make sure you scan the route before you set up. There was a huge crows nest on the far left about 60' up on a ledge when we went. Once we saw it, we bailed so we wouldn't risk disrupting any nature/wildlife. The routes by the boulders are 5.7-5.9+.

If you happen to be planning a trip to the Seagull Lake area it's kinda fun but not really worth hauling in a rope and climbing gear. If you really want to climb, I would recommend leaving the climbing gear in the car for the BWCA trip and head out early enough to hit up Shovel Point or Palisade Head on your way out.
By Mark Huebsch
Jun 18, 2015
Can anyone provide any more details as to how to get there? Even a link to a map that has it on there would be extremely helpful. There doesn't seem to be any direction specified as to where to canoe or how far to canoe or anything. Thank you!!
By Matthew Ryan
From: Grand Marais
Apr 12, 2016
I have made many trips to this location, primarily to climb. This is the most trafficked climbing area in the BWCAW off of the Gunflint Trail. Many of the local camps run trips to this location so it may often be over run with pubescent energy. I have to say, not all of the camp counselors have been trained in proper etiquette and may leave ropes set up on all the popular climbs. I will encourage any visitors to take some time and check out the routes east of the main site. There is a lot of potential for new routes and some fun deep water solo routes. Please conduct yourself respectfully and have the lowest impact possible on this pristine wilderness.
Rock Climbing Photo: setting up TR anchor from the top access
setting up TR anchor from the top access

Rock Climbing Photo: slab to the left of the main crag.  we had to sett...
slab to the left of the main crag. we had to settle for this set-up because everything else we wanted to get on was taken. Therefore, I shall call it "sloppy seconds slab".

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