Rock Climbing & Instruction | Devils Lake State Park | Interstate Park | Taylors Falls, MN

(715) 226-0723



Midwest Mountain Guides is an Outdoor Adventure Company that specializes in Rock Climbing and Professional Instruction in Wisconsin & Minnesota. Allow our Climbing Guides and Instructors to help you live, learn, travel  and explore.

We are a family owned and operated Limited Liability Company existing under the laws of the State of Wisconsin and are fully certified and insured.

Though most of the courses we offer are in Devils Lake State Park located in Baraboo, Wisconsin, we also instruct courses in Tettegouche State Park, Silver Bay, Minnesota Taylor's Falls, MN  and Interstate State Park, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.

We focus on providing a fun, safe and personalized educational experience for all of our clients. What separates us from other guide/adventure companies is the owner; Al Wiberg is a Course Provider for the Professional Climbing Instructor Association (PCIA). This allows our company to stay at the forefront of safe climbing instruction and best practices in the climbing industry.


Thank you for considering Midwest Mountain Guides for your outdoor experience. We hope you will decide to become part of our outdoor adventure family.

Al Wiberg has been working in the field of Outdoor Education for the past 26 years and currently serves as the Assistant Director for the Campus Recreation Department at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. He received his master’s degree in Recreation Administration (with an emphasis in Adventure Education) from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. Al has a significant understanding and passion for educating students in the field of Adventure Education. Al is a Climbing Instructor and member of the Professional Climbing Instructor Association (PCIA) and the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). He is a current AMGA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor and PCIA Single Pitch Course and Indoor Course Provider/Trainer.  Furthermore, Al serves as the President of the Board of Directors and Curriculum committee for the Professional Climbing Instructors Association. He is also member of the Association of Outdoor Recreation Educators (AORE) and a CPR & First Aid Instructor for the American Red Cross. Al currently resides in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin with his wife Michele and two children (Ty and Abby).

Vicente Delgado earned his Single Pitch Climbing Instructor through the PCIA, and recently earned his Climbing Wall Instructor Provider certification. He is currently “Rock Climbing has opened my eyes into the world of outdoor recreation! I plan to continue my education after UWEC at a graduate school studying Recreation Management with the intent on pursuing a career in Outdoor Education.  His climbing experience has been developed all around the Midwest. He has frequented Devils Lake, Palisade Head, Shovel Point, Barn Bluff, Petenwell Bluff, and Interstate Park, but has also been on trips to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas, and Eldorado Canyon and Lumpy Ridge in Colorado.” Vicente appreciates the joy of instructing, as well as running, cooking, and backpacking in his free time. 

Anthony Ducosin holds a certification as a Single Pitch Climbing Instructor through the Professional Climbing Instructor Association (PCIA).  Anthony graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in Environmental Geography, and  has been hooked on climbing ever since his first outdoor climb, which happened to be on ice, in Sandstone, MN.  His rock and ice climbing endeavors have taken him from all the way down in Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Arkansas up to Nipigon, Ontario.  Some of his favorite local places to climb are Shovel Point, Palisade Head, Devil’s Lake, Necedah, Willow River, and Casket Quarry.  Anthony continues to grow as a climber and as a guide.  One of his passions is introducing new people of all ages and abilities to the “sport” of climbing who might not have thought they were capable of such an activity.

Jake Brunnquell started his climbing instruction as the Student Manager for the Environmental Adventure Center at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, and is currently the Outdoor Recreation Coordinator at University of Wisconsin - River Falls. He has guided numerous climbing trips to Devils Lake State Park in Baraboo WI, Barn Bluff in Red Wing MN, the North shore of MN, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas, Red Rocks Nevada and Eldorado Canyon in Colorado. While guiding these trips, he has gained valuable experiences as a guide and instructor and is currently certified by the American Mountain Guides Association and the Professional Climbing Instructor Association as a Single Pitch Climbing Instructor. He is also a Climbing Wall Instructor Provider for the PCIA. Jake is passionate about getting others into the outdoors and introducing them to the sport of rock climbing. When he isn't climbing or working, Jake enjoys exercising, playing the violin, and riding his motorcycle. Jake earned his Bachelor Degree in Human Performance from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Business Administration Program at University of Wisconsin - River Falls.

James Loveridge started ice climbing in the Lake Superior region in 1991. After sharpening skills in Munising MI, he began establishing new routes in MI, CO, UT, and the Canadian Rockies. Most recently, he has focused closer to home by developing routes in Casket Quarry (Quarry Park), Sandstone (Robinson Park) and Northern Ontario (T-Bay & Nipigon area). Having worked for various climbing brands over the years (including BD, Petzl, Five Ten & SCARPA) James is an unrepentant gear geek and will happily talk your ears off so beware... James has been active in MN climbing for the last 19 years and has been on the board of the MCA (serving as president for 7 years) and also helped develop and manage the Ice Farming infrastructure at the Sandstone Ice Park.  

Lucas Kramer is a very active member of the midwest climbing community. Passionate about instruction and learning, he is currently pursuing his Masters of Environmental Education at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). Currently, Lucas is a board member of the Minnesota Climbing Association and President of the Duluth Climbers Coalition. In 2010 he began working as the climbing coordinator for the Recreational Sports Outdoor Program at UMD. Since then he has become a provider for both the Climbing Wall Instructor course and the Single Pitch Climbing Instructor course through the Professional Climbing Instructors Association. Lucas has also passed both the Top Rope Site Manager (2002) and the Single Pitch Instructor (2014) courses through the American Mountain Guides Association.  A single pitch ice and trad climber first and foremost, Lucas also enjoys riding around Duluth on his cross and road bikes in all seasons as well as convincing others of the value of skiing the American Birkebeiner in the classic technique in spite of the extra kilometers.  Occasionally known to suddenly and unexpectedly break out in song with certain genres and generations of music while on road trips, Lucas is also full of many quality one-liners that he himself finds quite funny. Rounding Lucas out is his love of performing the trumpet with the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra a couple times a year. Lucas prides himself on being able to identify the learning style and needs of individuals on his trips and courses and then creating an individualized experience for each participant to create the best possible experience. 





Anchor Courses


Locations offered: Devils Lake State Park- Baraboo, Wisconsin; Interstate Park - St. Croix Falls, WI & MN; Tettegouche State Park Shovel Point, Sliver Bay, MN

Length of time: One-day class, 8-10hrs. (times may vary)

Dates: Contact us for scheduling your program

Number of students: A maximum of 5 students per class

Cost: $350 (1-2) participants, (3-5) participants $150 per/person.

Equipment: All equipment is provided. If you have your own gear, bring it to the class.

These courses are designed for the climber that wants to learn how to build anchors for his/her own recreational climbing experience. By completing this course, you are taking your first step toward independent climbing and will be gaining a great foundation for outdoor climbing. The instructor for these courses is the owner of Midwest Mountain Guides, and is a Course Provider for the Professional Climbing Instructor Association (PCIA). He will work with your individual learning styles to teach you how to utilize natural anchors (Level I) course and artificial protection (Level II) course. Personal safety and a hands-on approach to learning will be emphasized throughout this class.  You will receive a detailed course outline and instruction booklet as part of the two-day course.




Locations offered: Devils Lake State Park- Baraboo, Wisconsin; Interstate Park - St. Croix Falls, WI & MN; Tettegouche State Park - Shovel Point, Sliver Bay, MN

Length of time: 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Dates: Contact us for scheduling your program

All great journeys begin with a single step…in rock climbing it is just in the upward direction. This course serves as an introduction to climbing. You'll learn basic knots, equipment, belaying, safety, climbing movement, rope handling, as well as the class and grade system used to rate the difficulty of routes. All equipment: ropes, shoes, harness and helmet will be provided and climbing will be age/skill level appropriate. You will also get to experience a variety of routes in a top rope environment.. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the fun, smiles and “Christmas Card” moments!


Locations offered: Devils Lake State Park- Baraboo, Wisconsin; Interstate Park - St. Croix Falls, WI & MN; Tettegouche State Park - Shovel Point, Sliver Bay, MN

Length of time: 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Dates: Contact us for scheduling your program

So you have rock climbed before and want a little more challenge/adventure…this is the course for you. Designed to hone skills learned in Intro to Rock Climbing (or if you have been rock climbing before) and push your limits on more challenging routes. Getting to the next level is all about moving more effectively on the rock. In this one-day course your instructor will study your climbing style and pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses to teach you the skills you need to become a better climber. In addition to climbing, safe rappelling techniques will be introduced and practiced during the course. All equipment: ropes, shoes, harness and helmet will be provided and climbing will be age/skill level appropriate.


Locations offered: Robinson Park - Sandstone, MN, Casket Park -  Duluth, MN & Winona Ice Park - Winona, MN

Length of time: 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Dates: Contact us for scheduling your program

Looking for another winter activity to keep you active and continue your interest in climbing? Here's your chance! Put on the boots and strap on the crampons for an experience of a life-time! Boots, crampons, axes, harness and helmet will be provided and climbing will be age/skill level appropriate.

Guide fees are stated below unless otherwise indicated in the course description (6/7hr. Day)

One-on-One       $350 

Two Climbers    $400 

Three Climbers  $450 

Four Climbers   $500

Five Climbers    $550

Larger Group/Contact us for a price






Please understand that when you make a reservation our guides/instructors are committed for that date and time. We cannot refund your trip inside the cancellation window due to illness or injuries of yourself or members of your group, as we may have turned away other clients so we could run your trip.


The balance of the cost is due prior to the start of your course.  We prefer a check (made out to Midwest Mountain Guides) or cash. If bad checks are written, we will charge the maximum returned check fee allowed by law. 


Please be aware that rock climbing and associated activities are inherently dangerous and potentially deadly. Though efforts are made to insure the information presented within the web site is accurate, no guarantees are  implied or suggested. We recommend taking a course with one of our professional/certified instructors before attempting to rock climb or set up climbs on your own.


Midwest Mountain Guides, reserves the right to stop guided events at anytime if clients jeopardize the safety of themselves or others.  Under these conditions, refunds will not be given


We reserve the right to charge a minimum of a $100 deposit dependent upon the course you select. If cancellations occur with less than 3 days' notice, half the course cost or the deposit (whichever is greater) will be charged.  If you do not show up the day of the course, the entire course fee will be charged.  If Midwest Mountain Guides cancels a course, all deposits and payments will be refunded in full.  Midwest Mountain Guides will in no way be held responsible for cost or fees due to canceling or rescheduling travel arrangements including but not limited to travel and lodging.  Travel insurance is recommended.


In the event of poor weather we will try to reschedule.  If you cannot reschedule, your deposit will not be refunded.  If weather does not allow you to finish a course, we will try to reschedule the balance of the course at a later date. If this is not possible, and half your course is over, the day will be charged at the full rate. We do not issue refunds due to weather. It is up to the instructor/guide to decide when to cancel a course due to weather. Plan to be out in less than ideal climbing conditions by preparing and dressing for the weather.  Midwest Mountain Guides reserves the right to alter climbing plans and substitute climbing instruction which is course appropriate to best suit climbing ability, crowds and weather.


Let's make this simple, we are not going to take your names, address, phone number, e-mail address, etc... and sell them off or forward them out to third parties. Your personal information will only be used for our internal record keeping, website improvement and periodically sending you upcoming event information. If you want to be removed from our e-mail database, just let us know and we will take your name off.


So many climbs…so little time. At Devils Lake, there are over 1600 climbs so we have a lot of options. It really depends, on a weekend the West Bluff may be the best option (plus we have shade). On a weekday, maybe the East Bluff or South Shore. We always try to be respectful of the recreational climbers and not tie up “classic” routes all day especially on a weekend. If you have climbed with us before, we will generally choose a different area each day based on your abilities, desires, and the teaching objectives for the day.


We can’t speak for other guide companies, but all Midwest Mountain Guides, Instructors/guides are certified by either the Professional Climbing Instructors Association (PCIA), the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) or both. You will find links to both these organizations on the home page of our website.


A guide is someone who is personable, experienced, and takes pride in our profession. We are trained to teach people how to climb outdoors whether they are a beginner or experienced climber.  We take an inherently dangerous activity and effectively teach you how to mitigate the hazards.  You don’t have to wander around on your vacation trying to access climbing routes, we know where they are and can take you to them quickly and safely. We teach you the tools needed for a lifetime of adventure.



Of course it is…and it is nothing to be ashamed of.  In fact, it is a good thing because in some extreme sports, fear is what keeps us alive.  However, when we overcome those anxieties, it makes the experience that much more exciting and fulfilling. Having those anxieties also makes us more vigilant in our procedures.  Proper education and a technical understanding of the equipment helps control the anxiety. Going rock climbing with a professionally trained guide also aids in minimizing fears.


At Devil’s Lake State Park you are usually in for a “hearty” hike up the bluff. Most of the climbs are toward the top of the bluff so we have to hike up the trail (usually stone steps) to get to them. However, once we get to the top the view is magnificent and we get to have fun rock climbing.


This really depends on the child. We find that 9 years old is a good age to take your child climbing for a full day. In reality, children can go climbing much younger (4 years old), however, sometimes that means they climb a couple of times part way up and then want to do something else.  The parent may end up doing more babysitting than climbing. We have had families bring a Grandparent or relative along just to watch the children while the parents climbed. We ask that kids under 16 be with a parent or leader who is with the group.  Parents must be present to sign liability waivers for all minors prior to us setting out for a climbing course or have made prior arrangements to obtain and sign a form that arrives with the minor taking the course.


Most courses meet at 9 am each day and usually finish up on the rocks around 3 pm. Some of our technical courses will go longer. We will take a few minutes in the morning to outfit you with climbing equipment (shoes, harness and helmet) and then head right out to the climbing area.  We will try to work with you if starting at 9 am does not work, but otherwise please be on time so that we can start out on your exciting adventure.


If you feel your guide did a good job, it is certainly normal and greatly appreciated.  You tip your waiter or waitress when he/she brings you food, your climbing guide takes you on an experience of a lifetime.




Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your Midwest Mountain Guides instructor/guide who will brief you on the day's activities and answer any questions you may have regarding the trip.  He/she will also outfit you with the proper equipment for your trip (harnesses, helmets, climbing shoes etc...)  Please bring water, snacks and/or lunch, hats, sunscreen, chapstick, camera, and wear comfortable hiking clothing appropriate for the current weather (synthetic, quick-drying, lightweight material layers are a good idea.)  Wear comfortable shoes that have good support for hiking to the climbing location (running shoes/sneakers or lightweight hiking shoes are fine). Specialized rock climbing shoes are to be worn only when climbing.  You may want to bring your own day pack or Camelbak if you have one.

Most of the climbing routes (especially at Devil's Lake) require an invigorating hike to the top of the bluff so that is why we recommend wearing a light hiking boot or sturdy tennis shoe. When we get to the climbing area, your guide/instructor will begin setting up the climbs for you. He/she will take time to teach or review safety considerations and demonstrate proper technique. Then it's your turn! Get your cameras out and enjoy the day. Lunch is at a time of your choosing. When the day is done (normal rock climbing day is from 9 AM-3:00 PM), your guide/instructor will take down the ropes and the entire group will check the area for personal items or garbage so we Leave No Trace. We then hike back down to the parking lot for closure on the day.


  • Packable Lunch

  • Backpack

  • Water (2 liters is recommended for summer)

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, camera

  • Any personal medicines including allergy medications

  • Layers for the weather

  • Signed Waivers –attached in email

Additionally, all vehicles parked in State Parks must have a valid parking sticker.  Stickers are available at the Ranger Station or self pay station in the parking lots where we will meet.






Professional Climbing Instructor Association (PCIA)


PCIA courses focus on providing quality education and instruction for new and existing climbing instructors who teach basic skills and/or facilitate climbing experiences. Our instructional programs recognize the important differences and similarities that exist between climbing instruction that occurs on artificial structures, base managed, top managed and single pitch climbing sites. By providing a more consistent, standardized approach to entry level climbing instruction, the PCIA hopes to improve the safety and enjoyment of climbing for all participants.

Climbing Wall Instructor


The PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course provides instructors and potential instructors with an in depth, standardized understanding of the skills essential to teaching climbing in an indoor setting. It is the first step in a sequential approach to professional climbing instructor development. The course reinforces the importance of teaching technically accurate information and debunks many common climbing myths. The course emphasizes the presentation of sound fundamental skills to climbing gym participants, the formation of risk assessment and risk management skills and basic problem solving skills such as belay transitions and on-wall coaching and assistance techniques. Participants are assessed on both their core knowledge and their ability to effectively teach and coach related skills.

Course Length:

20 hrs. Over 2 ½ days
Certification Term:

3 year upon successful completion


Climbing Site Belayer

The PCIA Climbing Site Belayer Certification is a basic training class and evaluation created specifically for the needs of summer camps, gyms and outdoor education programs. The purpose of the course is to provide a nationally standardized curriculum of instruction for individuals who provide supervision and belaying of participants at climbing sites. It is designed to train staff in the key skills required to safely operate a climbing tower or to serve as a climbing site assistant under the direction of more experienced and trained staff who are able to provide anchoring, system set-up, facilitation and rescue as needed.

Course Length:

10 hrs. Over 1 ½ days
Certification Term:

1 year upon successful completion

Top Rope Climbing Instructor


The PCIA has created a focused course and optional certification exam that addresses both base managed and top managed climbing skills. The Top Rope Climbing Instructor course provides instructors and potential instructors with an in depth and standardized understanding of the skills essential to teaching climbing in an outdoor setting. Like other PCIA courses, the course reinforces the importance of teaching technically accurate information and debunks many common climbing myths.  Emphasis is put on refining core skills and improving the educational delivery of material. The forty hour (four day) course builds upon the existing skills of competent recreational climbers and takes an in depth look at: site selection, equipment, knot selection, anchor construction, rope systems, Leave No Trace practices, rescue and assistance skills as well as key instructional skills. Most importantly, the course stresses blending these skills together to form a seamless and efficient climbing experience for participants. Upon the successful completion of all course components participants are considered PCIA Assistant Instructors. Assistant Instructors may elect to take an optional certification exam to achieve the Top Rope Climbing Instructor™ Certification. The one-day examination stresses efficient site and gear utilization, client and instructor safety, site management and educational delivery. The exam may be taken any time after completing all course components. This course may be taken as a stand-alone course or coupled together with the two-day Single Pitch Instructor Module.

Course Length:

30 hrs. Over 3 days


10 hours
Certification Term:

3 year upon successful completion



June 2-5, 2021 (Taylors Falls, MN) / July 22-25, 2021 (Palisade & Shovel Point)

Course Fees:

$575 for the 4-day SPI Course 

$200 for the 1-day Assessment


Days will average 8-10 hours in length plus 2-3 hours of individual practice and study time in the evening. Please arrive rested and free of other responsibilities during the course. If you are traveling, it is best to plan to schedule departures on the day following the last day of the course.


Course Location:
Shovel Point/Palisade Head, Tettequche State Park, MN


Course Description: 
This Thirty hour (3 day) course builds upon the existing skills of competent recreational climbers taking an in depth look at site selection, equipment, knot selection, anchor construction, rope systems, Leave No Trace practices, rescue and assistance skills as well as key instructional skills. Most importantly the course stresses blending these skills together to form a more seamless and efficient climbing experience for participants. There are a number of climbing areas where managing climbs from the top is the best choice. A site over water is a great example as are locations where the approach leads to the top and the cliff sides are too difficult to easily hike down or are pristine and would suffer from impact. However, top managed sites have different risks and require different skills from base managed sites to effectively manage climbing groups. These include the use of on anchor belays by both instructors and students and presents the subtle but important differences in systems that make life easy on the top. The course also addresses rescue and assistance skills such as escaping on harness and on anchor belays and raising systems. The basics of mechanical advantage systems are taught and raises are practiced through assisted locking devices.

Exam & Single Pitch Module for Eligible Candidates:
The one-day examination stresses efficient site and gear utilization, client and instructor safety, site management and educational delivery. The exam may be taken any time after completing all course components. The SPCI module includes more detailed skills on top managed and single pitch leading related skills. The single pitch components require demonstration of comfortably lead climbing at a 5.6 standard on traditional routes. Also addressed are top transitions, client belaying and enhancing instructor safety.

YOU MAY BE EXPOSED TO SUBSTANTIAL PERSONAL RISK DURING THIS COURSE. You will be working close to cliff edges and on steep, exposed ledges. You may be asked to construct anchors and to rappel and belay from them without direct supervision from the instructor. This is not an introductory-level program. You cannot abdicate responsibility for yourself and must take full responsibility for your own security. If, in the instructor’s opinion, you do not display the skill and prudence necessary for the course, you may be asked to leave the course.

 Instructor Contact:
Al Wiberg (715) 226-0723 cell, Course Provider

SPI Course Pre-Requisites
Candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of the course.

  • Show an adequate experience level to the course provider illustrating that they are ready for the course. Examples include regular climbing for 2 – 3 years, a high intensity of climbing in the past few months, etc.

  • Be able to comfortably set-up base managed climbs, to belay, and to rappel without guidance and can demonstrate detailed familiarity with anchoring principles, natural anchors and artificial anchors (wedges, hexes, passive and active protection). These skills may be assessed at the start of the course.

  • Arrive with the personal equipment necessary for the course.

  • Be capable of comfortably climbing 5.8 terrain while on a top rope.

  • Lead climbing experience is highly recommended but not required.




The Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Program teaches climbing instructors to proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting. The SPI is the only internationally recognized single pitch climbing instructor certification program in the United States. It was developed to fit in the AMGA Rock program. Benefits:

  • It significantly improves the instructor’s skill sets and integrates into the next level of training, the AMGA Rock Instructor Course.

  • The program is for current, active rock climbers who have a real desire to teach rock climbing to novices in a single pitch setting.

  • The SPI Course is a 27-hour training course that normally runs as three consecutive nine-hour days or day classes with evening sessions.

  • The SPI Assessment is a minimum of 16 hours run over a two-day period.

  • Certification lasts for three years as long as the candidate keeps current AMGA Membership and First Aid Certification.

  • After three years current SPI’s can re-take the SPI Assessment to regain the SPI certification.

  • Taking any higher level AMGA Course also recertifies the SPI certification for another three years.

Course Fees:

$575.00 for the course and $375.00 for the assessment


Course Location:



Meet Your Instructor:


Ryan Hammes, Director of Outdoor Education at Colorado College, has been an active member of both the AORE and AMGA community since 2006.  He is a certified Rock Instructor, CWI Provider, and SPI Provider for the American Mountain Guides Association.  A Wisconsin native, Ryan received his Master’s of Science degree in Adventure Education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and has had the opportunity to teach academic courses, instruct for Colorado Outward Bound School, volunteer as a backcountry National Ski Patroller, teach wilderness medicine, publish a number of works related to rock climbing and adventure education, and volunteer as an EMT/Firefighter for Manitou Springs Fire Department running their high-angle rescue team.  His main passions revolve around climbing, backcountry skiing, bluegrass music, and fly-fishing.


AMGA Certified Rock Instructor
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program Provider
AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor Program Provider
AIARE Avalanche Level 1, 2
Wilderness EMT Certified



Please enter your contact information so we can start planning your next adventure. The great outdoors is our classroom and as a result, cell phone and data service may not be available. Please allow us 24 hours for us to get back you.
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