Wyalusing State Park, WI Ice Climbing
Nestled in the far south-west corner of Wisconsin, Wyalusing State Park ice climbing is a hidden gem for climbers coming from Madison, Chicago, or the Twin-Cities. Ice climbing is split up between the park proper, and the nearby property known as The Quarry. The park star climbs, “Main Flow” and “Quarry Monster” challenge even seasoned climbers with WI4 grade purely-vertical ice climbs, while the gullies and ravines of the park offer up less frequented and sometimes undocumented ice routes for beginners or new ice leaders! One could not get to all of the climbs in one day.
Wyalusing State Park Ice Climbs
Mississippi Ridge South
This area is also often referred to as the climbs “by the railroad tracks” and follow the ridgeline in the southwest corner of the park. Park along the road so as not to block traffic in either direction, or park in the private lot across the street for Quarry Monster. Stay off of the railroad proper and out of the allotted railroad easement, respect the train and give it it’s space! The first climb upon following the tracks is a seep that forms in some years and doesn’t, with no official name. Pass this and go straight for the Main Flow, it is the tallest climb in this area, often forming as pure vertical WI-4. Scramble up (carefully) from one of the less steeper ridgelines no more than 100 ft left or right or bring a competent leader to set the climb!
There are lots of ravines and gullies that come off the top of the bluffs towards Highway X which passes through the park. The stretch west of the park entrance proper towards the southwest end of the park has ice features that form as simple cascading WI-2 and 3 as well as a few freestanding pillars. Be aware that the south side of Highway X is technically private property and you may need the owner’s permission to climb there.
Arguably the crown gem of the ice climbing available here: the quarry area boasts some of the fatter, taller, and ice climbs that stay frozen longer than the rest of the park. This area is on private property and not part of the park proper, but the owner is generally open to climbers visiting as long as they let him know. Remember you are a guest, respect the tenants who live in the trailers there and their personal space, and send Todd a thank you!:
Sandcastle Cave ice is located in the park proper along the Sandcastle Cave trail and features some milder climbs worthwhile to the beginner, new leader or those looking to add to their tick-list. Be respectful to park visitors and don’t use your crampons on any stairways if present.
If you are not an experienced climber, consider hiring a guide service or finding an experienced mentor to evaluate your safety. Climbing is dangerous with no room for error and cannot be learned simply by reading online and watching video tutorials. Learning the ropes with an experienced climber allows for a second look at your safety systems and is paramount to a safe climbing experience