Why Climbers “Cut Their Teeth” at Devil’s Lake

By: Anne Hughes – Devil’s Lake Guru

Happy Summer Solstice!  The long days of summer quickly become a climbers best friend and it’s when many of us midwesterners head to Devil’s Lake.  With 500-foot, pink and purple cliffs rising above a pristine spring fed lake, Devil’s Lake State Park is not only the center piece of the Wisconsin park system but it is also one of the premier rock climbing areas in the nation.  Mike Ferris, author of The Falcon Guide to Rock Climbing in Wisconsin and Minnesota, says: “Devil’s Lake is the best known climbing area in the midwest… there are over 1,700 recorded routes to choose from, access is easy and it’s close to Chicago — no wonder it’s popular.  The Lake has the highest concentration of hard routes in the Upper Midwest… The layout of the cliffs does permit easy socializing and there is certainly more of a climbing scene here than at any other area in this guide.

It is amazing and beautiful, but “The Lake” is also one of the best places to cut your teeth as a rock climber, or to hone your technique and/or your lead climbing skills.  Climbers have been visiting these stunning cliffs for fun and adventure for more than 80 years.  Famous climbers through the decades have put their technique to the test at The Lake, pushing the climbing envelope on this unique rock.  The redish-purple quartzite is very solid but doesn’t have much friction.  It has great cracks for leading and jamming, as well as climbing features on the faces which tend to be edges.  These characteristics cause Devil’s Lake climbers to refine their climbing technique more quickly than climbers whose back yard crags feature rock with a high friction factor.  All this combined makes it a perfect place for Chicks! rock climbing clinics.

Chicks! clinics are held at the famous East Bluff, where there are so many quality climbs, so close together.  At the end of a fun day pulling down hard, The Lake also offers one of the best post-climbing activities…a refreshing swim in the Lake! In addition, camping is made easy at this state park as restroom and shower facilities are provided, however, you don’t have to be an expert camper to join Chicks! clinic, we have loaner gear including Marmot tents!

Devil’s Lake is only an hour drive from the Madison Wisconsin airport and four hours from Chicago or Minneapolis.  What are you waiting for — Chicks clinics provide comprehensive quality instruction and personal inspiration.  Join Chicks! in Devil’s Lake!

Anne Hughes rockin' Devil's Lake, Wisconsin

Anne Hughes Rockin’ Devil’s Lake

Chicks Rock! Spring desert trip discounts!

We are offering a spring buddy deal through March for our desert clinics in Red Rocks and Indian Creek. Bring a friend and get a discount. Easy, right?

If you sign up for either Chicks Rock! at Red Rock or Indian Creek with a friend BEFORE March 31, you will each get $75 discounted from the cost of the clinic. Sign up online and we will refund this amount in the mail.

For individual enrollment: if you sign up for ether Chicks Rock! at Red Rock or Indian Creek before March 31,  you will get a $50 discount. Sign up online and we will refund this amount in the mail.

2013 Women’s Rock Climbing Clinics

Beginner to Advanced Climbers Welcome!
Spring Desert Trips
– Red Rock Canyon (Nevada) spring clinic: April 11-14 (3 days climbing) $930, optional multi-pitch April 15 (4 days climbing) $1,280
– Indian Creek May 1-4 (3 days climbing) $975, optional tower climb May 5 (4 days climbing) $1,350

Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin
– Women’s Intensive Clinic, July 26-29 (3 days climbing) full package: $975, daytime package: $795

Girly Gatherings
Sponsored by Sterling Rope
– The New River Gorge, West Virginia, Sept. 27-29 (2 days climbing) $375
– Keene Valley, Adirondacks New York, Oct. 4-7 (3 days climbing) $650

Fall Desert Trip
– Red Rock Canyon (Nevada) fall clinic Oct. 24-27 (3 days climbing) $930 with optional multi-pitch day Oct. 28 (4 days climbing) $1,280

Red Rock – revised!

While Red Rock has been an awesome Chicks Rock! clinic for the past four years, the camping scene was NOT. Since we started this clinic, we have been basing our Chicks HQ at the individual campground. This is pretty barren territory with no trees, no showers and a lot of WIND. A couple years ago 70 mph winds crushed the tents and bent the poles. This spring in Indian Creek I heard hilarious (yet not, since our Chicks’ sleep suffered) of a couple that well, couldn’t quite get enough of each other one night, and the next morning…and didn’t seem to realize that tent walls contain NO noise whatsoever!

A few of our Fall 2011 Chicks Rock! Red Rock ladies 🙂

Anyways, many of our Red Rock Chicks that have camped with us once, have since started to rent hotel rooms, which isn’t super cheap and leaves us feeling a bit spread out. Additionally, because of permit issues, at this clinic all our gals have always been responsible for all of their own meals as well.

Luckily we’ve got some smart Chicks! Girly Guide Dawn Glanc recently came up with the brilliant idea to rent a house for the Red Rock clinic so we could stay together and hire a cook that will get our gals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Having a base camp manager (the fabulous Julie Angle!) at Indian Creek was a great experience and it’s just more our style. So, new to Red Rock this fall (Oct. 18-21 with an optional multi-pitch day Oct. 22) you can sign up to join us at the Blue Diamond Ranch in the “Chicks Chalet!”

If you want in, you need to sign up BY SEPTEMBER 18TH and PLEASE NOTE, IT’S FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED on the limited space for sleeping.

Please note that this information is NOT on the registration form as an option, it is something we are offering as women sign up. To do this, you will have to send us a check and you are IN.

So, what is it going to cost?
Price for housing and food:
Housing = $35 a night x 5 nights = $175
Food -three meals per day = $45 x 4 days = $180
TOTAL = $355 You can’t beat this in town!

If you want to still camp at the individual campground, or rent a hotel room on your own you certainly can, we will coordinate for everyone to meet up in the morning and nothing about the climbing days will actually change. Here is a link to that information. We simply wanted to provide a better option sleeping and food option to our Chicks who can now experience the “full package” affair at Red Rock.

Check out all the Red Rock Chicks Rock! clinic details here. We also have two east coast clinics left on the calendar this year, which we are still accepting registrations for! First up is a Sept. 21-23 “Girly Gathering” at the New, followed by a three-day “Girly Gathering” Oct. 5-8 in the Keene Valley of the Adirondacks. We hope to see you on the rock!

Caring for that sleeping bag!

Considering I just posted about sleeping bags on the Chicks blog – specifically those made by our sponsors at Marmot – earlier this week, I thought this “how-to” video tutorial from Sierra Trading Post on caring for sleeping bags was pretty appropriate.

As I mentioned I’ve had my Marmot sleeping bag for more than 10 years and it has gotten mighty dirty and always recovers well from the type of laundering as described in this video. (I also use Nikwax as they mention here too). So, since my sleeping bag will be getting some good use in the Bugaboos in the next few weeks and as lots of my friends and fellow Chicks are out climbing around the world right now I wanted to share 🙂

Do you have any other tips for maintaining a sleeping bag?

Today only! Celebrate the purchase of the Hueco Rock Ranch with the AAC!

In celebration of the purchase of Hueco Rock Ranch, the American Alpine Club is hosting a one day membership drive today, July 26, where any new member that signs up, or current member that renews their membership, will get a free limited edition (available today only!) AAC Hueco Rock Ranch T-shirt! Please help spread the word and get online to sign-up or re-up! Here are all the details:

JOIN THE AAC in celebrating the Hueco Rock Ranch purchase—the latest in a flurry of big pushes that America’s climbing club is making to help us all get out and up.

TODAY, the American Alpine Club is launching an unprecedented all-hands-on-deck recruitment that is aimed at celebrating these big advances… and sharing them by signing up new climbers as AAC members EVERYWHERE. Become a member or renew your membership during our one-day Member Drive. You’ll get access to dozens of AAC benefits AND you’ll score the raddest, baddest Rock Ranch T-shirt this side of the Alamo. This limited-edition T-shirt can be had ONLY by joining or renewing today, July 26. Go here to renew: americanalpineclub.org/renew  or call (303) 384-0110. Don’t miss out on this chance to score a T-shirt AND support the organization that protects and supports us as climbers!!! 

These are the codes to enter for the size T-shirt you want when you re-new or sign up for your AAC membership HERE.

 726XS — extra small t-shirt
726S — small t-shirt
 726M — medium t-shirt
 726L — large t-shirt
 726XL— extra large t-shirt
 726XXL — XXL t-shirt


“THE HUECO ROCK RANCH, outside of El Paso, Texas! That’s what. Earlier this month, the American Alpine Club bought the Ranch on behalf of climbers everywhere. For more than a decade, the Ranch has been the international gathering place for visitors to America’s best bouldering area, Hueco Tanks.

We at the AAC are beyond psyched to play a role in the history of this center of camping and guiding by becoming the steward of this lodging landmark. Our on-site presence will provide a comfortable camping scene just outside the park gates, while strengthening the relationship with the State Park to create the best possible future for climbers and climbing at Hueco Tanks.

We’re also devoting more than $15,000 this year to renovate the Hueco Rock Ranch before opening for the 2012–2013 winter season. But we need your help TODAY!

It is AAC member dues that have made this purchase possible, and only support from more AAC members will continue to sustain this important gathering place. Please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Alpine Club to make the future for the Hueco Rock Ranch even more legendary.

The American Alpine Club has renewed its commitment to providing critical lodging at U.S. climbing destinations. The Club has run the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch for over 40 years, and in 2012 will open the Hueco Rock Ranch and a climbers’ campground in West Virginia’s New River Gorge.”

Off-width climber Pamela Pack to give slide show at CWP!

We are SO excited to announce that off-width climber Pamela Shanti Pack is going to give a slide show at our Jan. 18, 2013 Chicks with Picks auction & fundraiser!

Pamela is an unbelievably talented – and committed – off-width climber. Check out this feature Outside Television just put together of her. Impressive doesn’t even begin to describe it!

Pamela may even be joining us during the day in the ice park so stay tuned & start making plans to join us in our FOURTEENTH year of Chicks with Picks! (Yes, that’s the link to our 2013 clinic dates, check it out!) 🙂

Funny story: when I posted this blog I wrote Pamela’s name as Pamela Stack. Who’s got off widths on the brain?! Apologies to Pamela, but I think it’s a pretty cool nickname, like Pamela “Stack” Pack maybe 😉

Save Red Rock Canyon – vote “NO” to both waivers!

Red Rock is a place Chicks love! Photo by Dawn Glanc

As many of you know, Red Rock Canyon is a wonderful climbing mecca just outside of Las Vegas. This haven has been under the threat of development for a long time, and an important vote is coming up this Wednesday, Feb. 8 when seven county commissioners will decide the fate of the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Byway. So, we are re-posting a message from the SRR Coalition which you can see in full here.

Vote No to both waivers!
*waiver 1) would create construction traffic route on Red Rock Scenic Byway
*waiver 2) would remove requirement for prior BLM approval
*official county waiver requests at bottom of article.
Click here to have your vote sent to the commission chair and/or go to the county commission meeting at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 9:00 a.m.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the super successful Red Rock Rally!  The canyon received overwhelming support that day, both at LIFETIME Fitness and throughout the canyon as runners and riders rode for Red Rock on the scenic byway in question.  This Wednesday’s vote is what it’s all about.  You can go to the meeting at the county building or you can e-mail your vote (click below).  Attendance was high and supportive at both the rally and community input meeting in which Commission Chair, Susan Brager, committed to denying both waivers, but we still need a majority vote among commissioners, so you can come to the meeting on Wednesday or do the QUICK ONE CLICK method:
Click here to have your vote sent to the commission chair and/or Go to the county commission meeting at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 9:00 a.m.

More info:
On February 8, 2012, seven county commissioners will decide the fate of the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Byway. Will it become the next construction traffic highway for Southern Nevada?  Will the mess and debris of commercial construction trucks penetrate our sacred canyon, and clog it up with debris, noise, dust, and pollution?  *And for the second waiver, will commissioners grant this developer a special favor by helping him with his BLM processes to expedite the process and save him millions in land use fees and rents?

The good news is, several of the commissioners are against waiving these two protections for Red Rock.  Commissioner Brager created the conditions and stands behind them.  But the developer’s lawyers are still at it.  Rhodes’ lawyer Chris Kempfer agreed to these conditions at the last hearing so he could get the votes he wanted, and now he is asking Commissioners to waive them!  Commissioner Brager said she knows that these two conditions she added to protect Red Rock were fair.  She held a public comment meeting for everyone to voice their concerns.  Hundreds of concerned citizens attended that meeting and hundreds more came to the Rally to Save Red Rock.  Susan Brager said that although anyone is welcome to come to the county commission meeting, her position is firm, so not to worry.  They would rather not sit through another 6 hours of passionate testimony because they already know how everyone feels.  They’ll just try to keep the meeting short.  If you can’t make it to the meeting, Emails are another way to voice your opinion. We hope most of the Commissioners will stand up for Red Rock this time and vote no on both waivers.  To those commissioners, we say, thank you! and to the rest, we ask to, VOTE NO ON BOTH WAIVERS!

*Sample letter and official waiver request:
to: ccdista@ClarkCountyNV.gov

Dear Commissioner,

Red Rock Canyon was not made to accommodate construction traffic and the impacts of urban density development.  The legal land use is rural with no construction traffic access on the scenic byway. Please do not change this. Please VOTE NO ON BOTH WAIVERS:







MP-0313-11 (WC-0099-11) – GYPSUM RESOURCES, LLC:HOLDOVER WAIVER OF CONDITIONS of a Concept Plan requiring the following: 1) no access onto Highway 159; and 2) right-of-way approval from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for primary access is required prior to approval of Specific Plan in conjunction with a mixed use comprehensive planned community on approximately 2,016.0 acres in an R-U (Rural Open Land) Zone. Generally located on the north side of State Highway 159, approximately 1.5 miles west of the intersection of State Highway 160 (Blue Diamond Road) and State Highway 159 within Red Rock. SB/rk/ed (For possible action)

Help the Access Fund by rating grant proposals!

The Access Fund has just launched a new “Rate It” program to allow fellow Access Fund members to be a part of the process reviewing grants for projects that preserve or enhance climbing access and opportunities, and conserve the climbing environment throughout the United States.

The Access Fund collects these proposals twice a year, and then determines which projects it will support through funding. With the new “Rate It” program, you can now be part of the process and tell the organization which projects are important to you!

For the launch of the “Rate It” program, the Access Fund is having its members review the seven grant applications it received in the second round of 2011 funding.

The grants include proposals for access improvements, start-up costs, climber education, and restoration projects. Your comments and feedback will help the Access Fund make a decision on which projects it will support!

To be a part of the process go to www.accessfund.org/2011rateit to see a quick summary of the seven applications and rate them.

The deadline for rating the grant proposals is Aug. 24, so make sure you stop by and do so!

The Access Fund is also welcoming feedback on the “Rate It” program, which can be sent to info@accessfund.org.

This is a wonderful opportunity to voice your concern for the projects you feel are most urgent and important. So tell the Access Fund what you think!


Inspire others with your story!

ESPN recently launched a new website for women espnW.com. To celebrate the launch the editors are planning to publish a series of stories about inspiring women overcoming obstacles as they pursue their athletic dreams and passions.

An editor from espnW.com contacted us at Chicks to ask if we knew any women who fit this bill – and after hosting Chicks with Picks clinics for a dozen years, and in our third year of Chicks Rock! we can say without a doubt that YES we know a lot of women like this!!!

Here is specifically what Caroline Hwang, contributing editor requested: “The key is just that she needs to have an inspiring story–maybe she decided to take on the Rockies to get over a divorce or she woke up one day and realized she was about to turn 30 and wanted to start the new decade with a bang. Or it could be a group of best friends or a story about a mother and daughter.”

So – do you want to tell your story and inspire others?

If so, please send an e-mail to Caroline at espnW at chwang08[at]gmail.com

The website plans to feature these stories for the next year, so if you’re a bit nervous you can take some time to think. 🙂

At every Chicks Climbing clinic there are so many women with passionate stories of inspiration that motivate us to keep doing what we are doing here, and we’d love for some of you to share those with the rest of the world! Thank you for continuing to inspire us, and all the other alumnae!

Poster Plaster winners & a big thanks to all the Chicks Ambassadors!

One of our winning Chicks Ambassador posters, plastered by Margaret Gorman in the Brooklyn Boulders

Jill, our Head Office Chick, has been packing and shipping out Chicks Rock! summer 2011 posters for our several dozen new Chicks Ambassadors across the country for the past two months.

In that time, our wonderful volunteer ambassadors have plastered the posters in climbing gyms, coffee and gear shops across the states helping us get more exposure than ever before!

We want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who took part in the poster plaster to help us spread the word about our summer rock clinics.

As we detailed at the start of the poster plaster, three lucky winners will be rewarded for their efforts as Chicks Ambassadors with prizes from some of our sponsors. Among the giveaways are one Osprey Hornet 24 daypack, a pair of Julbo Guide Glasses, and a Princeton Tec Fuel headlamp!

AND, we are excited to announce that the winners of the Chicks Ambassador Poster Plaster giveaway (who were randomly drawn) are: Katie Levy in Pennsylvania, Margaret Gorman in New York, and Paula  Gillispie in Missouri!

Katie is the winner of the Osprey Hornet 24 daypack, Margaret the Julbo Guide Glasses, and Paula the Princeton Tec Fuel headlamp! We will be shipping out the prizes to the same address we sent the posters, so make sure to check the mail for your prizes!

Thank you again to everyone that helped get Chicks posters up in more than half the states! We’re psyched to know there are now Chicks Ambassador posters up in the following states:
– Arizona
– California
– Colorado
– Florida
– Georgia
– Indiana
– Kentucky
– Maryland
– Massachusetts
– Michigan
– Missouri
– Nebraska
– New Hampshire
– New Jersey
– New Mexico
– New York
– North Carolina
– North Dakota
– Ohio
– Oregon
– Pennsylvania
– South Dakota
– Tennessee
– Texas
– Washington
– Wyoming

And maybe more?! If you’ve seen a Chicks poster up in a state not listed, please leave us a comment so we can add to the list! 🙂