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Double Clutch (AKA Chickens Don't Fly) T 
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V8 T,TR 

Michael's Project 

YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: 1st TR: Michael Fain late 1950's
Page Views: 3,115
Submitted By: James Schroeder on Jan 1, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (80)
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BETA PHOTO: First eighteen feet of Michael's Project


Michael’'s Project is a stunning line that lies just around the point of Many Pines Buttress from its slightly more classic neighbor Peter's Project. Michael'’s, like Peter'’s, has a low crux that leads to easier, aesthetic climbing above. Unlike Peter'’s, a route that is adored by all, Michael'’s inspires strong opinions in both directions. Simply put, climbers either love Michael'’s or they hate it.

From the base, Michael'’s appears to be an appealing, straightforward crack system, that forms the line of weakness up an impressive wall. But then, from the base, it is easy to look past the start. Reviewing the comments below (or even the entire forum, Michael's Project: Timeless classic or horrific sandbag?, on the subject) will give the aspirant climber quite an education in the variety of opinions surrounding the quality of climbing to be found at the beginning of Michael'’s.Almost everyone who has climbed Michael’'s, will agree that the start is awkward, wide, polished and often slimy. The disagreement about Michael'’s concerns whether the climbing beyond the start properly compensates the climber for what he or she endured to get there.

Having groveled (and there really is no other word for it, except maybe “thrutched”) up the difficult, off-width, inside-corner start, the climber can reach back-and-to-the-right, to latch a jug just around the corner on the face left of Callipigeanous Crack (continuing straight up the inside corner would place the climber on Kamikaze - a dubious proposition indeed). After establishing on the right-hand face, the climber is richly rewarded with the route he or she had expected in the beginning. Good holds on the face lead the climber up to where it is possible (and indeed, desirable) to head back into the corner and continue to the top on solid jams. The route finishes in a narrow hanging gully.

In the end, an ascent of Michael’'s Project (especially on the sharp end) is a rite of passage for all DL climbers. So, grab a rope, a rack, a willing partner and get out there to experience Michael'’s for yourself. Only then can you add your voice to the cacophony of firmly-held opinions. Love it or hate it, you’ll never forget it.


C4's #.5-#4 and a set of nuts

Photos of Michael's Project Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: C. Treiber on Michael's Proj. 2005
C. Treiber on Michael's Proj. 2005
Rock Climbing Photo: photographer joey
photographer joey
Rock Climbing Photo: fun climb
fun climb
Rock Climbing Photo: Photographer Joey Mercurio
Photographer Joey Mercurio

Comments on Michael's Project Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 27, 2017
By Kevin Fons
May 5, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This has to be the worst 5.7 at the Lake. Awkward, just plain horrible. Go ahead try it, you'll see.
By Anonymous Coward
May 8, 2004

I climbed Michaels once and vowed never to do it again.
By Maikey Lopera
From: Eugene, OR
Aug 3, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This is an excellent climbing despite the priors comments. The start is somewhat strange because of the transition from the inside corner to the right. After this the climb is nice crack climbing with bomber pro (pro is bomber from the beginning). To protect the transition from the crack to the right use a medium size stoppers (BD # 6-7). Once on the right use cams, nut and hexes up to 2". Hexes (BD # 4-10) and big size nuts (BD # 10-13) are better choice than cams if you are comfortable leading with them.
By sync
Oct 11, 2004

I agree with those who said it was a less than stellar route. I see no reason to do this one again with so many other quality 5.7s at the Lake.
By Burt Lindquist
From: Madison, WI
Oct 12, 2004
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Micheal's is a hard 5.7. Perhaps easy 5.8. The move where you make the transition is the crux but has good pro. Weird reach over the right shoulder type of thing and then when you get the huge ledge thing with the hands a twist of the body follows and then a hefty hoist up for the grade cause the feet have to follow and the footholds just ain't around to make it at all easily easy. I think it is a good route for Devil's Lake. Good pro all the way and steep but with a multitude of rests. If you really want a fun protectable time but at a notch or two harder stay just in the corner and finger lock the strange sized flaring crack past the transition move that it is the normal route. Forget the name of it but it is a strange and challenging climb. Don't deny yourself a true DL experience and try it.
By Rob Riggleman
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jun 2, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I also hated this route...
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 2, 2005

Lovely climb after rain or on a hot, sweaty August afternoon. That's what makes you hate this climb and never want to come back. That slimy wet awkward crack at the start. Never again.
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Nov 30, 2006

I led this route 4-5 years ago, and said to myself, "Never again." much like many of the people commenting earlier. However, I returned to it this fall and found it to be exceptional and well protected. Pulling out onto the corner makes one feel like a hero. The start is awkward and insecure, but once you commit to it the route improves significantly.
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Dec 3, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

A terrible route. Do not be fooled by its nice appearance. You will struggle on this climb, and you too will vow to never, never do this route again.
By Jesse Bond
Dec 4, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I too vowed never to even so much as look in the general direction of Michael's after an initial flail fest on it some time ago. But we dropped a rope on Callipigeanous Direct a couple of weeks ago...I dunno, some might use the word beckoning here.

As I lowered, the vortex that is Michael's project (coupled with a slightly bad choice of anchor positioning) sucked me right into it and I had a look on the way down. "Seems like fun." So I went back on my word to never ever touch it again and gave it a run on TR.

While fighting through the first section using such advanced DL techniques as "head jams," "shoulder scumming," "neck bars," and my personal favorite "the desparate toe smear," I began to swear off the route again. Especially when I realized that for all my grunting I was only 6 feet up. But I kept at it and eventually, I reached way out and latched onto that face jug. Then it was just stupid fun to the top.

In the sense that the first 15 feet or so is a trial by fire and the remaining length of the route is pleasant, this seems to me a lot like a clean cut version of Bucket Brigade (more direct line, no guano).

You get an intro section to warm you up to the wonders one of my favorite types of DL climbing--greasy, polished, flared cracks in a horribly akward inside corner. Then you get to enjoy a nice combination of big face holds and solid hand cracks. You can even squeeze chimney it up top if you like that sort of thing. Come on! This thing is classic!

Thusly and hereby, I nominate Michael's project as the perfect climb for anyone's special "first time at Devil's Lake." I know of none other that offers so much to the climber and asks only for their dignity, some primal climbing, and an obligatory muscle spasm in return.

I'm not saying you should climb it repeatedly yourself. But you should definitely suggest it to your friends as a "good starter."
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Dec 4, 2006

I wholeheartedly agree with you on this one Jesse. An uber-classic "first" route at the lake. Something to the effect of, "I know this super-classic 5.7 just around the corner, and you just have to lead it!"

This is a great route for such purposes...
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Dec 4, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I can't believe you guys. You would actually recommend that piece of garbage? These new climbers you speak of may never come back to the Lake.

If you really want to "introduce" new climbers to the Lake, then why don't you tell them to go straight up Kamikazee? Or would that be too mean even for the likes of you?
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Dec 4, 2006

I posted a Michael's Project thread under the forums for further discussion.
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Dec 6, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I wish I could give Michael's two bombs.
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Dec 6, 2006

Like I said Jay - Michael's is not a bomb, it is the bomb!!!!
By Doug Hemken
From: Madison, WI
Oct 6, 2008

I love this route! It's one of the ten best 5.7 leads at the Lake!

There are more bomber places for gear than you could possibly use, and your reward for climbing with confidence and keeping your face out of the crack is that the crux (the first 15-18 feet) isn't awkward. On the other hand, if you don't lean back, or you try to get in a lot of gear low ....
By Paul Dieterle
From: Pasadena, CA
Aug 28, 2009

There are some easy/moderate routes I'd never get bored of (Peter's Proj, Orgasm, Curving Crack, Double Overhang, etc.). This is most certainly NOT on that list. I didn't have any problem bouldering the bottom 10 feet of it, it's just that the movement is so...extraterrestrial. I tend to agree more with Jay (2 bombs) than with the "4 star, ultra classic, first route" crowd. Time is better spent on Orgasm, Foreplay, Peter's, etc.

Simply put, I probed it once, and it was 2 times to many.
By Ryan Strong
From: Golden, CO
Jun 19, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Led this on saturday, tweeked out a little at the crux, hung once and then sent it. The reach back crux move is awkward and rather dumb. After you get through the initial nonsense it actually turns out to be a rather good lead at the lake. You follow perfect hand crack systems to the top , and have a good ledge for a belay. This climb deserves more than a bomb!
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Jun 19, 2011
rating: 5.14- 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a

I would rather have giardia than climb this route. Nuf said.
By Aawait
Jul 28, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

The first portion of this route before you reach the jug can be somewhat awkward,[Beta alert] but there's a pretty good side-pull on the inside left of the crack a little ways up, this makes reaching around the corner to the jug a breeze. I enjoyed this route and the gear was excellent.
By skinny56
Oct 30, 2012

I have climbed it 5 times and it has drawn blood 3 times.
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Apr 23, 2014
rating: 5.14- 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a

This is the best route at the Lake.
By Eric Embree
From: Wheaton, Illinois
May 7, 2014

I thought this climb was great, however I think it's more like 5.8. If this is 5.7 than Peter's Project is more like 5.6!
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
May 8, 2014


Michael's with perfect beta is no harder than Peter's with perfect beta (in fact it might even be easier). However, Michael's with imperfect beta, well, let's just say it isn't that much fun and feels like a grovel. Go back to it a few more times and when you have it dialed it will feel easier than Peter's.
By CCas
From: Chicago, IL
Jul 6, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Certainly not my favorite climb at the Lake for the grade that is for sure. Awkward choppy movement. Wouldn't recommend...
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Aug 1, 2015
rating: 5.14- 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a

This is a good Dawn Wall trainer.
By Jan van den Handel II
May 27, 2017

The three attempts it took me to get past the first eighteen feet made me question my choice of this being one of my top rope solo routes for the day. There will be another attempt to send it in one go and a video made of it so I can watch myself do what ever I need to to get it done. Should be a good laugh.

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