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Where will we climb?
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.
Are you certified to take people rock climbing?
I can’t speak for other guide companies, but all Midwest Mountain Guides, Instructors/guides are certified by the Professional Climbing Instructors Association (PCIA). You will find links to both these organizations on the home page of our website.
Why should I climb with a guide?
A guide is someone who is personable, experienced, and takes pride our profession. We are trained to teach people how to climb outdoors whether you 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.
Is it normal to be scared or afraid of heights?
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 all 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.
How far will we have to hike?
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.
How young can children be to go 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.
What time do courses begin each day?
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 on the morning to outfit you with rock equipment (rock 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.
Should I tip my guide?
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.