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Necedah (Petenwell Bluff)

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Necedah (Petenwell Bluff) Rock Climbing 


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Location: 44.04543, -90.02008 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Doug Hemken, James Schroeder, Chris treggE, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Jay Knower on Oct 26, 2004  with updates from Matt M
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Necedah, WI. Fire Spire. Henning Boldt on Fire in ...

Description 

Perhaps the best sport climbing area in Wisconsin now that Gibraltar is closed, Necedah has been drawing Wisconsin's finest for decades. Comprised of solid, colorful sandstone, these walls offer interesting climbing on clean, steep rock. Upon arriving at the cliff, THE wall invariably grabs the climber's attention. Fifty feet tall and steadily overhanging, this wall holds some of the best climbing in the Midwest.

Y-Crack (also called Wide Crack) splits the wall, with technical and pumpy jamming on its left variation (5.10d/11a) and technical crimping with thin gear on its right (5.11c). Many difficult sport climbs broach the wall's flanks and feature technical climbing with no rests. Wisconsin's premier sport route, "Whiskey a Go Go" (5.13a) can be found here.

Spires are situated around the wall like moons around a planet, and a mega classic 5.9/10a climbs up the center of the largest spire. On a clear day Roch a Cri, Wisconsin's largest cliff (now closed), can be spotted from the top of the spire. Further down Necedah's backbone of rock, the adventurous climber can find many exciting trad routes and some hidden sport gems.

If you visit Necedah, please keep a low profile. Climbers have been here for many years and Necedah has remained a peaceful place to escape the Devil's Lake throngs. PLEASE KEEP IT THAT WAY.

Dont even THINK about camping there; we don't need to get this place closed.

Getting There 

From the town of Necedah, drive east about three miles on Highway 21. You will see the sandstone towers right in front of you. Take a right onto the road that parallels the cliff (19th street) and park in a pull-out on your left a half mile down. A short hike through the woods straight back and then uphill to the left will take you to Y-Crack, the southern most formation.

Parking is at coordinates: 44.042510, -90.020508

Climbing Season



Weather station 3.2 miles from here

80 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',29],['2 Stars',35],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',2]
['<=5.6',13],['5.7',4],['5.8',13],['5.9',9],['5.10',13],['5.11',16],['5.12',6],['5.13',2],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',2],['V2-3',1],['V4-5',1],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Necedah (Petenwell Bluff)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Necedah (Petenwell Bluff):
Phallus in Wonderland   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 100'   Air Spire
Air   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 95'   Air Spire
Mr Canoehead   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 45'   303 Spire (aka Canoehead Sp...
Whiskey Chimney (aka Pigeon Crack)   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Y-Crack Wall
Little Rebel Crack AKA Ezra Brooks   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Y-Crack Wall
Glass Balls   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Hell Wall (aka Quarry Wall)
Chucklehead Crack (aka Spike's Crack)   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 100'   Air Spire
Hydroponics   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Coyote Tower
Aswan Dam Crack   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   River side of Main Massif o...
Fire in the Sky   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Fire Spire
Tower Route   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Y-Crack Wall
Mercy F**k   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Hell Wall (aka Quarry Wall)
Riverboat Gambler   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Above Anthrax
Y-Crack (aka Old and in the Way)   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Y-Crack Wall
Dakota Farms Cheese   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Y-Crack Wall
Early Times   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Y-Crack Wall
Straight No Chaser   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Y-Crack Wall
Dick and Jeanie   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Hell Wall (aka Quarry Wall)
Self Mutilation   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Hell Wall (aka Quarry Wall)
Whiskey a Go-Go   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Y-Crack Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Necedah (Petenwell Bluff)

Featured Route For Necedah (Petenwell Bluff)
Rock Climbing Photo: Goes up the slab on the left then a little right o...

Riverboat Gambler 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b  Wisconsin : Necedah (Petenwell Bluff) : Above Anthrax
Slab to a cool roof pull.Currently a few bolts lead to the corner under the roof. There is no bolt in the roof itself making this a very dangerous lead in which if you fall you will come rocketing down onto the slab. In addition the left side of the roof to which the bolts lead to is very rotten and I'm sure parts will break if reefed on.I TR'd the route but busted slightly right (See pics) before the last slab bolt and pulled on good fairly solid jugs over....[more]   Browse More Classics in Wisconsin

Photos of Necedah (Petenwell Bluff) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Dave Groth  Rebel Yell
Dave Groth Rebel Yell
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Cody Brundidge atop Petenwell Bluffs
Cody Brundidge atop Petenwell Bluffs
Rock Climbing Photo: Liz traversing the top of Air Spire
Liz traversing the top of Air Spire
Rock Climbing Photo: Necedah!!
Necedah!!
Rock Climbing Photo: Justin and Sarah celebrate on the summit.
Justin and Sarah celebrate on the summit.
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo for Air and Fire Spires
BETA PHOTO: Topo for Air and Fire Spires
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo for 303 Tower
BETA PHOTO: Topo for 303 Tower
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo for Y-Crack Wall
BETA PHOTO: Topo for Y-Crack Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Hell Wall and Brig
BETA PHOTO: Hell Wall and Brig
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo for Coyote Tower
BETA PHOTO: Topo for Coyote Tower
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking over the river...
Looking over the river...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rock art(?) on Coyote Tower.  At least it fits the...
Rock art(?) on Coyote Tower. At least it fits the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jay, hiking around Necedah, 2004-ish.
Jay, hiking around Necedah, 2004-ish.
Rock Climbing Photo: Jay on top at Necedah, 2004-ish.
Jay on top at Necedah, 2004-ish.
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo of Necedah taken with iphone.
Photo of Necedah taken with iphone.
Rock Climbing Photo: View taken looking south on Halloween of 2003.
View taken looking south on Halloween of 2003.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bouldering potential between The Brig and Anthrax ...
BETA PHOTO: Bouldering potential between The Brig and Anthrax ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pullout on 19th.  Pretty small, easy to miss if it...
BETA PHOTO: Pullout on 19th. Pretty small, easy to miss if it...
Rock Climbing Photo: I've never done these routes, but topo drawn by Ch...
BETA PHOTO: I've never done these routes, but topo drawn by Ch...

Comments on Necedah (Petenwell Bluff) Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 27, 2017
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
Mar 31, 2005
this is a great crag for those who have done most dl climbs or not.there is a great dining /drinking facility at the base(is it still open?)an important feature.the rock is generally goodand has more friction than dl(anything has more friction than dl except maybe polished limestone in blighty (u.k.) the gear is okay especially since they added bolts to alot of the trad climbs we did years ago.Old AND IN THE WAY 5.10d aka y-crack is not to be missed as it offers some kick ass crack climbing.STRAIGHT NO CHASER,WHISKEY A-GO-GO will also kick ass of a different sort. to the right of y-crak wall is a small tower with a steep wall which we did on trad gear(5.10+?),this tower has some other easier climbs as well.on the opposite end the last tower to the north had a left? curving crack,short but hard,cant remember what we named it.there seemed to be some short hard thin cracks to the left of y-crack wall as well.all in all necedah is a quiet place to pull down please help keep it that way.peace and fuk-nes.
By Peter Dodge
From: Duluth, MN
Mar 20, 2007
I really like climbing at Necedah, but I always get a little lost. I was wondering if anyone could make a little map of the bluff showing where the different areas are.
By Jonathan Williams
From: Minneapolis
Nov 16, 2008
I was there two weeks ago and packed out 4 large trash bags worth of garbage. There are a lot of user groups here, and a lot of them leave empty cans, bottles, candy wrappers etc. Please help out and pick up any garbage next time you're here. Thanks.

Jonathan
By Tradiban
Jun 11, 2010
I have received a copy of the Ryan Hansen guide book for Necedah and I am attempting to reconcile all of the information within that book with the info on MP.

Some climbs are known as different names and I've noted that under comments and I have also added climbs with the limited info available. If you know details please chime in!
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
Jun 25, 2010
nick,thanks for adding/updating the info for this great wisco area.
some of the stuff we did back in the early 80,s is probably called something else now.but oh well.
Mr Canoehead was done by Jack Klein and myself circa 1981
thanks agin and pull dwn cut loose and throw up
steve s
By ZoeyG
From: Brattleboro, VT
May 27, 2013
There are some bouldering opportunities in the area. Might not be enough to fill in a full day, but will add to the fun having a pad and being creative with the rock.
By Laura Adrian
From: Saint Paul, MN
Aug 26, 2013
Are any of the climbing areas at Necedah in the shade?
By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Aug 27, 2013
In general the climbs are on the east or west side. So, start on the west side then after midday, move to the east side.
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
Nov 30, 2015
Does anyone have a copy of Ryan Hansen,s guide book to Necedah they could copy and send me? I would love to check it out for historical purposes and compare with my times there in the early eighties. Thanks.
On a side note we use to call it the Country Club Crags due to the Restaurant and bar across the street from the cliffs. Many a margarita was consumed there after a day of climbing and a swim in the river. The area always seemed pretty relaxed during our time. Peace and you know what. Steve S.
By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Dec 1, 2015
Steve check your email.
By madisonchoss
Dec 1, 2015
Thanks for adding a bunch of info, Steve. Always like the stories.
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
Dec 2, 2015
Chris tregg, thanks for the info. Still gotta down load the guide.
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
Dec 2, 2015
Madisonchoss, your welcome. I like to try and keep the history accurate and provide some stories to go with some of the routes. The history and the stories can make a route come alive. Almost every first lead has some kinda story. Peace NOW PUKE
By Jacob Krenn
From: La Valle, WI
Oct 6, 2016
First time to Necedah today, and I thouroughly enjoyed it! The views and exposure can't be beat for single pitch climbing in the Midwest! My partner was unable to clean my purple 0.5 Camalot on Little Rebel Crack (great route Steve!), as it seems to have walked itself into an overcammed position. It's just above the overhang, and fair game for whoever can free it. I'll be out of town for a couple weeks, and won't have the chance to go back anytime soon, so go grab yourself some booty!
By eRock Krantz
From: MN
Oct 15, 2016
Thanks for the help last weekend. My girlfriend was injured (previous knee injury that just decided to pop while on a route) last weekend and I had to carry her out. Big thanks to the nice woman who helped carry out our gear and to all the people who offered to help and showed concern. There was 5-6 of you and that's the kind of attitude we all need out there. Thanks again.
By jon jugenheimer
Administrator
From: Madison
Mar 5, 2017
Petenwell Rock
From the Juneau County attractions Page, a bit of history for us.
The largest scenic rock formation in northern Juneau County, Petenwell Rock is named for a star-crossed lover, who legend has it, leaped to his death from this spot with the local Indian Chief's daughter, Clinging Vine. It is said that the Indian gods returned Clinging Vine to the rock where she stands today, faithful to the memory of her lover, Peter Wells, surrounded by magnificent bald eagles that nest and soar over their special place. The eagles are particularly evident here in winter when they fish the bountiful open water below the dam.
By Alex Frierson
Apr 26, 2017
Hey yall! I was wondering if anyone has any beta on top roping. Are there any easy places to scramble up and place a top rope? Cheers!
By Paul Campbell
From: Waukesha, WI
Apr 27, 2017
Alex it is possible to top-rope sections of the crag. The main wall that contains Y-Crack and quite a few other routes has a (slightly sketchy) 4th class access route to the top. However, the majority of the crag is free standing towers and fins of rock that you will not be able to top-rope.

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