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Fish Hatchery Wall S,TR 

Fish Hatchery Wall 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Sport, TR, 60'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: pending...
Page Views: 173
Submitted By: AndrewSBien on Apr 1, 2017

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Good lead.


Really nice line at an isolated crag. Sustained moderate moves all the way up. Some of the rock on either side of the obvious line is questionable, but straight up is the way to go. I call it good climbing, you can decide for yourself...

Bolted probably 5-10 years ago, possibly more. We heard word of the first ascentionist; details incoming..


Pulling into the Decorah Fish Hatchery parking lot -- just South of town off of Trout Run Rd -- offers a view of the wall perched on top of the bluff to the left. It's the furthest left face. You can head straight for it, crossing a little stream and cutting a few minutes, or you can cross the footbridge you'll find straight ahead as you pull in and follow the stream just on its right side. Both are quick and lead you to either hike it straight up the hillside scree or follow a faint trail to the left that curls around to the top of the wall. Any case --- this is a nice and easy approach.


6 or 7 good bolts to chains. Quick hike up to set a top rope.

Photos of Fish Hatchery Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Setting a top rope with a gorgeous view.
Setting a top rope with a gorgeous view.
Rock Climbing Photo: Leftmost.
BETA PHOTO: Leftmost.

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By Shane Steele
From: Grand Marais, MN
Apr 6, 2017

I know the guys who put this route up and remember hearing the story of how it came to be... It's actually called: "If you Don't Know, Don't Go" and it's named that is for good reason.

The exact year I don't recall (2010/2011?) but it was done while there was construction on Trout Hatchery Road because they were uncertain who owned the land and much less about if the landowners wanted their cliff to be climbed. I wouldn't say they were experienced bolters by any stretch of the imagination but they certainly had ambition to put up a fun route for themselves and their friends, which is how I've come to know the story. Timing it with the construction was strategic to mask the sound of the generator they dragged up the hill. If I remember correctly the bolts are overly long and purchased from Ace Hardware in town, so not necessarily climbing grade. These guys didn't plan on this becoming a popular crag, again I'll refer you to it's name.

Currently access to the crag belongs to the State of Iowa. You won't get shot by anyone for trespassing on private property, but I would check with the Hatchery before venturing out there or access could be shut down before it even gets granted. IF they approve of climbing I would then ask myself if I trust the bolts. If you can't tell whether these bolts are solid or whether they are ticking time bombs... If You Don't Know, Don't Go.

Oh, and calling this a 10a is a pretty big stretch. It's at most a 9, maybe an 8+ if that. At least it was a few years ago, maybe some holds have broken off...
By Dan Olsen
May 3, 2017

We climbed this many many many times back in the 80's. A buddy of mine attempted the lead, and took a 20 ft. whipper on a hex. Why bolt when you can go natural?

Probably THE route around Decorah, but lot's of others have been done. Lots.

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