Category Archives: Devil’s Lake


Log Entry 4 – Devil’s Lake

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Since we tackled some of the East Ramparts yesterday, today we go for the West. Our goal was Cleopatra’s Needle. On the way there, we climbed a variation of King’s Throne. With that down, I set up a rappel anchor to get down to Cleo. It was a good chance to practice a ghost rap.

Anchors Going Off King's Throne

Anchors Going Off King’s Throne

Like the Leaning Tower we did yesterday, I had to trad climb up the lone spire. I ended up taking the worst route possible up the needle. I after each gear placement, I had to go left to get to the next one. So I wound up doing a spiral around the tower. This caused ridiculous rope drag and made the last mantel to the top incredible difficult. So very much worth it though.


There were others that wanted to climb the Cleo’s Needle, since my rope was already on it, we switched with them and used their rope already set up on Queen’s Throne. If you ever go to Devil’s Lake, climb Queen’s Throne. It is a blast. Probably my favorite route yet.

Queen's Throne

Queen’s Throne

After a late lunch and a quick rest, we headed back to the East Ramparts to go for Brinton’s Crack: probably Devil’s Lake most famous climb and ultra-classic. I took a slightly different route (traversed a little earlier), and made it to the top. Nathan followed, but wanted to try Brinton’s Direct, a harder route at 5.9+. After an incredible ascent, Nathan said, “That was crazy. Don’t let me do something that stupid again.” Lesson learned: Doing stupid stuff can make awesome stuff happen. (Just make sure you are safely stupid.)



Log Entry 3 – Devil’s Lake

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If I had to describe Devil’s Lake in one word, it would be “hard”. A 5.6 feels like a 5.8+, the rock is slick, and you need to hike up and down steep stairs through the talus to access the climbs. If I had to describe Devil’s Lake in two words, it would be “beautifully hard”. The Red Quartzite contrasts with the green lichen growing everywhere, it is a joy to place protection in the rock hard as steel, hiking through the talus brings you to incredible view points, and the difficult grades bring humility and a focus on not worrying about the grades; just enjoy the experience.


I was going to have two climbing partners, but Anthony had his car break down. So it was just Nathan and me. I woke up in the morning to rain, but thankfully I was dry in my hammock. Once the weather cleared up a bit, Nathan and I took a little hike to try to find which rocks were the least wet. Red Quartzite is slippery enough in even dry conditions. I was very surprised at how dry the rock was despite the rain. We talked to a few other climbers and picked out where we wanted to climb, and then decided to take a look at Devil’s Door while we were so close.


After lunch and packing up our gear, we headed to Pedestal Buttress. We figured that a 5.8 would be a good start and Birch Tree Crack was a highly suggested route. And this is where we learned about the steep grading in Devil’s Lake. I have never crack climbed before, and this was like getting thrown into the deep end. After getting stuck at the crux (or at least as far as I could go), I went over to a series of fun little edges. Face climbing is definitely more of my thing.


Next we headed over to Leaning Tower. Though I am not sure I would describe it as a “tower”. Since it is free standing, we couldn’t top rope it until we had gotten to the top. So I practiced my trad on an easy face. The pro almost jumped into the rock. Devil’s Lake is a great place to learn trad. At the top, I set up a top rope and we did a somewhat technical feeling climb through a bit of overhang. Slopers, slick rock, water and moss, not to mention the overhang made this an interesting challenge. It took me a couple tries, but I am very glad to have surmounted it.


Log Entry 1 – Devils Lake

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First day out. Of course, no first day would be complete without a nice storm. After 7 hours of driving (hello Chicago, hope I don’t drive through you again), I had to make a decision. Set up camp in the rain, or sit in my car for even longer and hope the rain clears up. Not much of a decision; I was getting out of that car.


And of course the rain stopped as soon as I was done setting up camp. Should I have waited? Nope. Taking calculated risks is kinda the definition of an adventure. If I wanted to avoid getting wet, I should have stayed home. I no longer needed my rain coat, but I wore it anyways. That was the fastest way of getting it dry.


After a nice supper of chicken, broccoli, and crisps, it was time for some music. I miss the piano, cello, and guitar, but there is no room for them in the car. The mandolin gets some overdue attention. After playing a bit, I noticed I had gained a small audience.


heh, get it? “Small” audience?


After reading a little, my climbing partner arrives. But Nathan deserves his own entry.