As a Midwestern kid who loved the mountains and all activities therein, especially rock climbing, I had wanted to climb at Devil’s Lake, WI for as long as I can remember. Molly and I previously made the drive north in the winter for a snowy scramble, but some technical rock climbing in warmer weather was still on my radar. The only problem was, we were gym climbers, and had very limited experience setting protection and belays outdoors. Luckily, my cousin Kristyn and her husband Josh were moving back to the Midwest after working at Cornell University, where Josh was the climbing coordinator.
After a few months trying to get something scheduled, we finally booked November 2-3 and prayed for nice weather. Unfortunately, Molly had broken her foot wakeboarding in August and had just gotten out of her walking boot. The doctor advised her that cramming her feet into tiny climbing shoes and perching at awkward angles on ledges and in cracks was not a good idea, so she was going to have to sit out and enjoy the fall colors.
We all arrived at the park Saturday morning and set up camp at the Devil’s Lake State Park campground. The campground was disappointing to say the least. There were very few mature trees and the campsites were extremely close together, offering no sense of privacy or remoteness. Whatever, we were there to climb, so we geared up and headed out. The rest of the park was in full fall splendor and the weather cooperated for the most part.
Day two was a bit chilly, but clear, and we enjoyed a beautiful day of climbing on the other side of the lake.
It was a great weekend and Molly and I both really enjoyed getting to spend some quality outdoors time with our newly-Midwestern extended family. Josh was an amazing teacher, and I learned a vast amount in a short time. We are hoping to repeat the trip sometime in 2014, but will probably stay somewhere other than in the park.