Published: August 12th 2010October 18th 2009
Ok so I know Devils Lake State Park in Wisconsin isn't all that exotic or exciting, but this is the first time we are climbing outdoors so I am excited! Because winters in Chicago suck so much, we searched high and low for some indoor entertainment. What we found was an indoor climbing gym in a suburb about 30 miles west called Vertical Endeavors[/http://www.verticalendeavors.com/]. We had a blast climbing and we ended up getting memberships. However, with summer and scuba diving, we soon forgot about climbing (especially climbing indoors). However, I was determined to climb outdoors at least once before winter reared its ugly head and we once again became banashed to the indoors.
I picked Nick up from work and we headed to Station 3 so we could meet up with Colin and his fiancee Liz. We then headed towards Devil's Lake. Please take note, DO NOT follow the GPS directions from Chicago to Devil's Lake. We did (Colin and Liz did not) and the GPS took us on this long backroads detour that included taking a ferry across Lake Wisconsin.
We eventually made it to the park. We made the hike up the bluff where I realized how horribly out of shape I am.
Nick and Colin (Colin especially) have rope training and experience from their careers as firefighters. Liz and I are just nurses/nurses-to-be so we sat there and looked pretty while they set up the anchor. Actually we did help a little by getting them things and holding things, but for the most part we sat there and looked pretty.
It was pretty crowded when we arrived, so we didn't have much of a choice over sites. We set up at Escalation, a nice fluffy 5.6. We spent the morning there taking turns climbing, belaying, and photographing.
That afternoon we decided to move to a new spot. False Alarm Jam, another 5.6, looked like a good spot. We had to climb up from Escalation and set up anchor, then we belayed down to the bottom. This climb was higher and more exposed than Escalation, and I realized I did not like this. Just like I was a little bit afraid of the height climbing indoors at VE and eventually got over it, so too do I think that with exposure and desensitization I will get over this fear of heights. It just means we need to climb more!
While we were setting the anchor there was an unknown animal (which I was promised was not a snake) that made a horrible hissing noise because we were too close to his home. I did not like it. I also spotted a mole-rat (which my mother claims is called a shrew) that no one else seemed to see. Apparently this mole-rat a.k.a shrew can take down a deer by biting its neck. It was dangerous, but no one believed me. I also saw a very large, very snarly centipede. I did not like him either and thought about ending his life that day, but in the end I did not.
After a long tiring day we packed up our gear and made it to the bottom of the bluffs just as it became dark. We enjoyed a beer in the parking lot and headed back home, this time the correct way.