Wisconsin’s Devil’s Lake State Park is, hands down, the Midwest’s premier rock-climbing area. With its many, many routes in the more moderate grades, and the wide range of techniques required to ascend them, it has even been called the best place in the country to learn to climb. Located just northwest of Madison, it is the closest major crag for countless Midwest climbers, from Chicago to Des Moines, Milwaukee to the Twin Cities. The Lake also features great hiking, swimming, and camping.
The unique quartzite rock is a wonder of nature, notable for its vibrant purple color and made-to-climb texture. From ladder-like beginner’s romps, to strenuous crack leads, to desperate glassy faces, you’ll find something perfect to suit every mood. There are no bolts at Devil’s Lake, and though the bullet-hard stone offers many fine lead climbs, toproping is widely practiced, leading to a fun, community atmosphere where climbers can test themselves to the limit with minimal risk and maximum focus on precision movement. Check out this website by the local guide service for tips on setting up toprope anchors at Devil’s Lake. Mastery of small holds is a hallmark of Lake-trained rock climbers who venture out to other areas of the country. Your training will serve you well! In addition to describing almost 900 climbs at all the cliffs of Devil’s Lake State Park, this book also devotes over 20 pages on two nearby areas, Necedah and Hillbilly Hollow, which feature a different kind of rock, and even a little bolted sport climbing and a smattering of the best bouldering.
- Almost 1000 rock climbs
- the 40 best boulder problems
- Area maps and schematics
- Geology, flora, and fauna
- Detailed climbing history
- Guide to park rules, camping options, and local amenities
- Colorful essays by John Gill, Leo Hermacinski, Steve Sangdahl, Nick Rhoads, and others
- Dozens of inspring action photos
Areas included in Devil’s Lake
- East Bluff
- West Bluff
- Sandstone Bluff
- Hillbilly Hollow
About the Author
Jay Knower, 38, grew up in Baraboo, WI, with Devil’s Lake in his backyard, and began climbing there as a teenager in 1993. This introduction to rock climbing did the trick, and he has gone on to visit crags all over the world, climbing up to 5.13a trad and 5.14a sport and establishing many new routes.
Jay met his wife Kayte in Yosemite’s Camp 4, and the couple moved to New Hampshire together in 2003 and have lived there ever since — though Jay makes it a point to get back to Devil’s Lake at least once a year to visit family and test himself on his beloved home quartzite.
Jay holds a B.A. in English and an M.Ed. in English Education, and has worked in education his entire adult life. His writing has appeared in Climbing Magazine, The Canadian Alpine Journal, and The New Hampshire Journal of Education. A lifelong runner, Jay has completed two marathons, and every year he threatens to run another one (but doesn’t). He currently lives in Campton, New Hampshire, with Kayte, their daughter June, and Topher the Mountain Poodle.
- Devil’s Lake: A Climbing Guide
- 2016 Wolverine Publishing
- by Jay Knower
- 308 full-color pages