From indoor walls to outdoor rock faces, Duluth has climbing opportunities for beginner and experienced climbers alike. In the winter, ice walls are also climbable with the proper equipment and guidance. Climbing in Duluth is a year round venture that is very physically demanding.
If you’re afraid of heights, consider bouldering as an option. Bouldering is a style of rock climbing focussing on horizontal movements rather than vertical climbs. Depending on the route and setting, bouldering can be just as difficult as traditional climbing and equally rewarding.
Climbing Difficulty Scale:
5.12-5.13 Very Difficult
Urban Climbing in Duluth
Local climbers Laura Peterson and Josh Weise put together a phenomenal guide to climbing Duluth’s crags. It’s called Duluth’s Urban Cragger and outlines a number of local rock faces to climb in Duluth including:
- Lisa’s Slabs
- The Shit Hole
- The Apartments
- 1st Street Boulder
- Whoopee Wall
- Himalayan Soup Kitchen
- Point of Rocks
Locations are primarily located around 1st Street and Piedmont Avenue and are easy to access and free to climb. The climbing guide linked above outlines routes and delves into the ethics of climbing in the city. Definitely check it out!
Indoor Climbing Walls
University of Minnesota Duluth Climbing Wall
- Location: 10 University Drive Duluth, MN. Located in the Sports and Recreation Building.
- North Shore Wall: The North Shore Wall has a prominent place in the Sports and Health Center and extends through two stories into a skylight. Features include top rope climbing, lead-climbing routes, simulated ice climbing, dry tooling routes, realistic hand cracks and flake systems, a rappel ledge and a great bouldering area.
Inland Wall: The Inland Wall, adjacent to the ice rink/tennis courts has realistic features including cracks, flakes and ledges. It also has a large and fun Bouldering Cave.
- Hours: (Hours are from January 24 – May 6)
- Monday-Thursday 4-8 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday 3-5:45 p.m.
- Session pass: $3 UMD Students/ $10 Others
- 5-punch pass: $10 UMD Students/ $30 Others
- Semester pass: $10 UMD Students/ $30 Others
- Year pass: $50 UMD Students/ $150 Others
- Contact: (218) 726-7128
- Location: 1810 Catlin Avenue Superior, WI. Located in the Marcovich Wellness Center.
- Features: Our Climbing Wall is a 28-foot tall, state-of-the-art structure designed to challenge first-timers or seasoned veterans. We change our routes every semester to maintain a high level of fun and challenge. No experience, equipment, or a belayer is necessary. Our climbing wall staff will outfit you with all the necessary gear, instruction and encouragement you need.
- Contact: (715) 395-4605 or (715) 395-4647
- Location: 329 Lake Avenue South Duluth, MN. Located in the Canal Park.
- Features: The 14,000 square feet of climbing surface make it one of the best-rounded facilities in the Midwest. Climbers can test their skills on walls up to 42 feet high on three different types of Nicros climbing walls, including A.R.T.WallTM, cracks mimicking those along the coast, and a “hand-carved” cliff with a lighthouse. Scattered throughout the facility are 30 top ropes, lead climbing, 12 Auto Belays, and a large bouldering cave. A complete pro shop for gear helps keep things affordable and convenient. All of these features are designed to help new climbers find their footing, families to enjoy a rainy or snowy afternoon while visiting, and veteran climbers to improve their strength, balance, endurance, and coordination without having to go far from home.
- Monday to Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Sunday 11a.m.-6 p.m.
- Daily pass: $10
- Punch card: 10 visit punch card $65
- One month membership: $35
- Three month membership: $90
- Student three month membership: $75
- Six month membership: $160
- Family three month membership: $175
- Family six month membership: $300
- Individual yearly membership: $279
- Family yearly membership: $279 first adult, $199 second adult, $59 children under 18.
- Unlimited family yearly membership: $499
- Membership purchase benefits: Unlimited climbing at 3 premier climbing facilities 361 days a year (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the 4th of July), skip the line at the front counter and have faster entry to the gym with membership card, 15% off ALL gear purchases, additional 5% discount on all monthly gear sales (excludes closeout items), two half-price guest passes per year, special member price on all indoor and outdoor lessons, special member price on all climbing clinics, special member price on all day camp sessions and climbing team seasons, special member price on all Vertical Endeavors Guided Adventures (VEGA), trips and lessons.
- Contact: (218) 279-9980
*The following information is gathered from RockClimbing.com.
Carlton Peak (near Tofte, MN)
- About: Carlton Peak is part of the Temperance River State Park. It is about 900 feet above the lake, making it the highest point on the North Shore. Before climbing, you must obtain a free climbing permit from the ranger station at the main park entrance. There are 27 climbs at Carlton Peak ranging from about 60 to 80′ in height.
- Location: Take Hwy 61 north east from Duluth to Tofte. Turn north on Cook County Road 2 (the Sawbill Trail). About 2.5 miles from Hwy 61 find the Britton Peak parking lot (look for signs). Do not park along Co. Rd. 2; use the parking lot. From the parking lot, take the Superior Hiking Trail south, across the road and following boardwalk trails gaining 300 verticle feet to Carlton Peak. This hike will take approximately 30 minutes. Continue along the base, passing the “summit trail” until you reach the first climb (#27) and eventually leaving the Superior Hiking Trail, crossing the gravel at the base to the left end of the climbs (#1). Routes are numbered #1 – #27; you will encounter them starting with #27 and continuing to #1
Ely’s Peak (Near Spirit Mountain in Duluth)
- About: Elys Peak is owned by the City Of Duluth and is part of the North Shore NO Chalk Zone. There are 18 routes that are mostly short but offer great views of the St. Louis River valley. Ely’s Peak is a popular climbing destination in Duluth and is about a 10 to 15 minute hike from the parking lot.
- Directions: Take I35 north from the Cities toward Duluth or south from Duluth to Midway Road. Take Midway Road south and merge with Becks Road (Co.Rd.13) after about a half mile. Continue south for about 2 miles and take a left on 123rd St. and park in the obvious parking lot. From the parking lot the rocks are evident. Go right on the bike trail for about 150 feet and take the wide trail on the left (not the one thru the fence). Cross a field and the railroad tracks, then up the hill to the old railroad bed. You should see the old railroad tunnel on your right. Across the railroad bed are 3 trails. The left-most one will lead to the Northwestern Bluff. The middle trail (20 feet right of the left-m
Palisade Head (Near Silver bay)
- About: Palisade Head is part of the Tettegouche State Park. A free permit is required and available at the ranger station at the main park enterance. Weather at Palisade is highly variable. Be prepared for chilly or cold weather, even in late July. The possibility of becoming stranded at the base of Palisade Head should be taken into consideration. A fixed rope in the boulder cave at the south edge of the Amphitheater or on the Southern Escape Gully can help protect against this. Also be cautious of loose rock throughout the area and tourists. The parking lot at the top of the cliff will see just as many sight-seers and hikers as it does climbers. Most non-climbers will not be aware that it could be dangerous for you if they kick/trip on your anchor at the top of the cliff.
- Directions: Take Hyw. 61 north from Duluth to Silver Bay. Continue on Hyw. 61 approximately 3 miles past Silver Bay to the “Palisade Head ->” sign (just past and down the hill from the Palisade Baptist Church) and take a right into a small parking lot. Go through the gate and follow the steep narrow windey road to the parking lot at the top of the cliff. Beware of other vehicles on the way DOWN the hill; it will not be easy to pass
Shovel Point (Near Silver Bay)
- About: Shovel Point is park of the Tettegouche State Park. Along with Palisade Head, Tettegouche offers some of the best rock climbing up the shore. There are 25 routes at Shovel Point. It’s within the No Chalk Zone and usually attracts many tourists. There are 25 climbs at Shovel Points, some of the easier routes are usually taken by guided groups so plan for that.
- Directions: Take Hwy. 61 north from Duluth, through Two Harbors to the stop light in Silver Bay. Continue about 4.5 miles past the light to the rest area at the entrance to Tettegouche State Park. The best parking spot is the far south-west area of the lot. Hike toward the lake and catch the “well signed” path to Shovel Point. Come to and climb a set of stairs to the observation platform which serves as the starting area for locating the Western routes.
Silver Cliff (Near Two Harbors)
- Silver Cliff is just North of Two Harbors on HWY 61. It climbs to about 755 feet and is about 100 feet from Lake Superior. It’s easy to access and the view is great. Good for beginner and expert climbers.