"Lake Effect" a Must-Read for Aspiring Devils Lake Climbers


If you're into getting into climbing at Devil's Lake, I don't think there is a better introduction/overview/homage to Devils Lake climbing than Jay Knower's essay, "Lake Effect," published in Climbing magazine a couple years back. Nicely illustrated by Andrew Burr (worth checking out in his own right), the article is mainly written for capable leaders (or aspiring ones), but even beginners and dedicated top-ropers can glean a strong sense of the character and history of seldom-touted Devils Lake from Knower's well-written and researched article.

Describing not only classic routes, but the character of the rock, the climbing style, and the Devil Lake climbing community, the Baraboo-native author accurately identifies the Lake as more than a blip on the landscape of the national climbing map, but a unique and hallowed stomping ground for generations of climbers. Knower admits Lake climbs tend to be short, but instead of dwelling on that point and dismissing the area (as many Western climbers do), he moves on to emphasize the sense of exposure and scenic beauty the bluff routes have, and the challenging rock quality only an experienced quartzite climber can describe. If you're thinking about visiting the Lake, or have a trip already planned, be sure to sit down with Lake Effect beforehand and whet your whistle for the treat you're in for... I wish I could make it assigned reading for all our clients!

2016 Update: Jay Knower will be publishing a new climbing guidebook for Devil's Lake this September. Seems like the right guy for this long-awaited project.