We will be including as much first ascent information as I can find. If you have any new information for us to post please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org The following designations apply:
FA = First Ascent
FA-L = First Ascent on Lead
Boulder Problems (highball and shorty)
Start: along the ledge next to the entrance path. Usually dirty do to the lack of use. SEE BOULDERING guide for more information.
FA: Bill Putnum, 12/6/70
1) Three mules 5.7 (originally called 2 mules)
Start: a traverse beginning at the right hand edge of the ledge. located on the first wall you see when you take the path down the stairs. go left on the ledge system until the top can be obtained, or finish after traversing left to the corner. the name came from a painting that used to grace the wall. The painting was of 2 mules standing over some cactus, with the caption "where shall we meet again?".
FA: Jay Stewart, Spring 1969
FA -L: Bob Mitchell, 10/22/69
2) Finesse 5.10 +
you will require some to complete this climb! start: on the same ledge as three mules, just right of Roger mailer's contribution to the art of grand ledge. then straight up.
FA: Bill Putnum, Dec. 1969
3) Intergalactic Quaalude trip 5.10
how high can you get on this one man?? Start: 8 ft. left of three mules a high handhold will provide the direction. Mantel onto the ledge system and continue straight up (hard climb for shorter climbers)
4) Asinine behavior 5.9+
start: just left of intergalactic Quaalude trip. go up and right on the pretzel, staying right of the finish of three mules.
FA: Bill Putnum, Dec. 1971
5) The Pretzel 5.9
Start: at the concavity at the base of the wall, below the finish of three mules. more or less straight to the top - usually less.
6) Enigma 5.13b - NEW
Start: below the blunt arete under the concavity. power, slap and pull your way to the top using the carbonated rock and a few small features. Follow the arete all the way to the top. Once you are above the halfway mark, the route gets much much easier. The opening moves are great as a boulder problem.
FA: Kevin Cieskowski
First Boulder Ascent: Danny C.
"Enigma" The first ascent was by Kevin Cieskowski
(date unknown) he named it "Enigma" because it took so long to accomplish.
Jamie Emerson finally gave the difficult route a second ascent in 2000
(Un-knowing of Kevin's 1st). it has been completed as a boulder problem!
click for picture
7.) Heart and soul 5.9-
Start: just around the corner from "the pretzel and 3 mules", below a
large horizontal slash. Climb straight to the top. There is usually a
cheater block (log/rocks/RR ties)
for the start of the climb. Thanks to erosion - the start form the ground
is dam near impossible.
8.) Rage 5.10
Start: 8 feet left of heart and soul. Follow small holds up past the ledge
to the sop this short climb (usually dirty).
9.) Hand Job 5.9
Start: 3 feet right of 2 trees, 12 feet left of heart and soul. Climb
up to the ledge and hand traverse to finish on heart and soul.
10.) Stretch 5.8
Start: left of heart and soul is a crack marked out by 2 large trees.
Ascend the wall with out using the crack to the left, an appreciation
for the name soon follows.
FA: Bob Mitchell, fall 1969
FA-L: Bruce Bright, Nov. 1969
11.) TM (Transcendental Meditation, or Tough Mother) 5.10
Start: just left of the 2 trees. Climb straight up avoiding the crack
on the right. a series of hard moves leads to the crux.
12.) Rated "x" 5.11
Start: on the right side and below the mermaid, climb up to the mermaid
- move onto her, then finish straight to the top.
FA: Bruce Bright, Oct. 1971
13.) Wall Street 5.11
Start: just left and under the mermaid. Straight up and angle left on
14.) Under the Mermaid 5.8
Start: same as wall street, traverse right along parallel cracks to the
vertical crack system behind the 2 trees and follow the crack to the top.
the traverse is a fun finger strengthening boulder problem.
15.) Organ Grinder 5.9
Start: just right of the corner (Alice's corner). a short route up and
left avoiding the corner
16.) Alice’s Corner 5.5
this is a probably the shortest climb at grand ledge. start: in the corner,
follow to the top.
17.) Wood Pecker 5.8
Start: one foot left of Alice's corner. Climb straight up the face (avoiding
the corner). the hardest part of this route is figuring out which holds
are on route.
18.) Short 5.8
Start: 2 feet left of Alice's corner. Follow the shallow left facing corner
to the top.
19.) No Soap 5.10 -
Start: 3 feet left of Alice's corner. A straight climb to the top, avoiding
the holds on "short".
20.) Technical Difficulties 5.8
Start: just right of "the nose" on top of the rail road ties. go up and
left, staying just right of "the nose".
21.) The Nose 5.4
Start: middle of the wall there is a large left facing corner, just right
of the overhang. follow the left facing corner to the top, a very enjoyable
climb for beginners.
22.) Extension 5.6
Start: just left of "the nose". Straight up, and over the small overhang.
FA: Bruce Bright, 11/23/69
23.) Over-Extension 5.6
Start: same as "extension". Climb up and to the left to avoid the overhang
on its left side. Beyond the reach of most beginners, but offers a decent
climb for those willing to give it a go.
FA: Bruce Bright, 11/19/69
24.) CO-2 5.10
Start: the right hand edge of the large overhang. the crux is right off
the ground leading to easier climbing. Finish on over extension.
25.) Conscientious Objection (co-1)5.9
good grounds for deferring this one ! Start: left of the nose along the
edge of the large overhang, is an obvious block. Follow along the underside
corner of this edge.
26.) midgets delight
this is a boulder problem under the first large roof you will come to. start:
just around the corner from co-2, traverse left on diminishing holds ending
at the start of "blind faith".
27.) Blind Faith 5.11 +
Start: under the large roof (to the right of the spring) step onto the left
wall of the right facing corner. Starting on the detached block, work left
under the roof, and around to a hold not visible from the route (hence the
name) finish on "walk ion by"
28.) Slapstick Routine 5.10
Start: either do blind faith or use a cheater block to join blind faith
at the corner. climb around the corner and hand traverse right 6 feet,
then move on up.
29.) Victim of Circumstance 5.10
Start: same as "Slapstick Routine", hand traverse out the roof edge to
a small protruding ledge and continue up to top. This was formerly an
aid route called "modus vivendi"
30.) Walk on By 5.9 +(with starter block - with
out the aid of a block its a 5.11)
Start: just left of the spring, below a pocketed carbonate rock. Struggle
the opening onto the carbonate rock, move right to the hand crack and
continue to the top. There is usually a starter block around this area
(Rail Road ties, large block, or stump).
the spring issuing from a fissure in the rock
offers welcome relief, the water was tested for purity in 1987, and has
continually provided safe water, but drink at your own risk ! If nothing
else it will keep you drink of choice cool.
31.) Keep on Truckin 5.9
Start: same as "walk on by". Climbing left to the parallel cracks, and
to the top.
32.) One Story Town 5.10+
Start: same as "walk on by". Move left of "Keep on Truckin" as soon as
possible and climb the thin face up.
33.) Pigeon Shit
a nice route despite its connotation. Start: atop the small ledge 10 feet
left of the spring. Traverse right to the small zig-zag crack and climb
it. Pigeon Shit direct starts at the base of the crack and is rated 5.11
34.) Precious Little 5.11
Start: just left of "Pigeon Shit" climb the thin face between pigeon shit
and Ludwig's dude
35.) Eliminate 5.10+
Start: the left end of the small ledge at an alcove, below 2 cracks. climb
to the shallow ledge 15 feet up using only the right hand crack and 2
holds on the right.
36.) ludwig's dude
Start: same as "eliminate". Ascending the cracks and the wall directly
above. watch for the flesh eating hold about halfway up!
37) Resistance 5.13c - NEW
Start: just left of "Ludwig's Dude" on 2 shallow finger pockets. move
up and right to another shallow pocket then pop right all the way to the
obvious horizontal slash. From here move left again on a thin side pull
to small pockets. struggle up to the large mailbox sized hold at the ledge,
then finish on the overhanging pocketed face.
FA: Jamie Emerson, 2000
"Resistance" is another NEW Grand Ledge route.
A very sustained pocket and balance route, limited foot holds and small
hand holds make this route a challenge for everyone. Again many strong
locals have been working on it for a year, and it has only one ascent...still
waiting for a second!
38.) Blue Suede Shoes 5.10
Start: atop the large pedestal in the corner, where there is a big "e"
carved in the rock. up and right to a small ledge, hand traverse along
the ledge about 6 feet , then continue up.
39.) Big e 5.9
a Grand Ledge classic, this was the first 5.9 put up at the ledges. Start:
same as "Blue Suede Shoes" climbing to the small ledge, then following
the cracks past the alcove to the top.
40.) Digititis 5.11
Start: same as "big e" this route follows the small pointed hold straight
to the top.
41.) Kinesis 5.11
Start: same as "Big e" ascend directly to the top with out using the wall
on the left.
42.) Beginners Climb 5.5
Start: atop of the same large pedestal as "big e" climbing the corner
crack and the face to the left to the top. This is a great climb for newbies.
the mass of boulders (boulder pile) behind
you fell in the 1920's during a spring thaw. this is a reminder of the
questionable nature of the cliffs. a few strenuous boulder problems exist
here, and the boulders offer a nice warm up stretch and practice area,
not to mention the main bleachers for spectators.
43.) Schism 5.6
Start: 3-4 feet left of "beginners climb". Ascend the hand crack and wall
above. a nice crack practice route.
44.) Despondency 5.10
Start: on the lower left end of the pedestal, on a small ledge. move up
onto the face, past a long horizontal ledge and up to the top. Despondency
direct is 5.11+ and starts on the ground and joins "Despondencey at the
45.) Inappropriate behavior 5.12
Start: 3 feet left of Despondency on the right side of the arete just
left of a horizontal pocket. Climb up and left to the arete and follow
46.) Desperado 5.11+
Start: around the corner from "inappropriate behavior" below a 10 foot
high overhang. Climb up the corner to the overhang, pull the overhang
and climb up the face staying left of the corner.
47.) Astral projection 5.11
start: 2 feet left of the outside corner is a shallow inside corner facing
left. Climb the inside corner and the face above, avoiding the holds on
rocket man. if you do use holds from " rocket man the route has been deemed
" Ass Hole Projection"
48.) rocket man 5.10
Start: left of desperado is a large open book (10 feet up). Start just
to the right of this, climb up the open book and the crack and face on
the right to the large ledge.
49.) Steppin Out 5.12
Start: same as rocket man. Climb the beginning moves of rocket man until
you are in the open book. Then move onto the left face an on upwards.
50.) Ragged Edge 5.13
Start: same as "rocket man". Instead of up into the open book, move out
along the edge of the overhang on the left. Continue up the arete to the
top. This is the hardest climb at grand ledge. the rating is between 12d
51.) Blowout 5.11+
Start: 8 feet left of "rocket man" just left of an outside corner. Climb
up to the large ledge, traverse right almost to ragged edge, and then
52.) Cowabunga 5.11-
Start: same as "Blowout climb to the large ledge, then continue straight
to the top.
53.) Another Mother 5.10+
Start: 5 feet left of Cowabunga, right of a small ledge (5 feet up). Climb
up and right to the large ledge staying right of the loose flake. The
climb ends here.
54.) Intimidator 5.11
Start: do "Another Mother" then at the loose flake. Then pull the roof,finish
straight up or angel over to finish on Doug’s roof. This route grew
out of a boulder problem.
55.) Low Rider 5.11 (b.p)
start: same as "Intimidator". Traverse right on the thin finger holds,
finishing on the opening holds for "Cowabunga"
56.) Doug’s roof
Start: 10 feet left of "Cowabunga" at a shallow open book. Climb up the
open book to the large ledge, pull the roof using the flakes. Finishes
on the face directly above (hint – GO FAST!).
57.) Deviant 5.10+
Start: same as "Doug’s roof". Following the small flakes on the
left of the roof, out top the roof. Finish on the face above, staying
left of Doug’s roof.
58.) Hypokinesia 5.9+
Start: same as "Doug’s roof". Move left at the large ledge to the
base of a chimney. Climb up and right to finish with Doug’s roof.
59.) Jay’s Overhang 5.9-
Start: "Hypokinesia", but follow the chimney to the top.
60.) Second Thoughts 5.9-
Start: same as "Doug’s roof". Traverse left at the ledge out to
the nose and mantel the nose.
61.) Up Yours 5.11
Start: same as "second thoughts" , but traverse left underneath the ledge
then mantel the nose. Up Yours direct is 5.11 + and starts under the ledge
below the one finger pocket on the traverse.
62.) Ballerina 5.11
Start: 12 feet left of Doug’s roof, below an open book (6 feet up).
Begin at the base of the overhang, pull into the open book, and climb
it to the ledge. The rock above the ledge is poor and fragile, and leaves
much to be desired. Climber / Belayer beware of loose rock. If you jump
to the open book opening the route is only a 5.10.
63.) Le Pile 5.11+
Start: same as "ballerina" instead of right to the notch. Move left on
good holds, then around the corner and straight to the top of the ledge.
64.) MLF (My Little Flakes) 5.7
Start: same as "potato chips" move 6 feet or so to the right, before the
first horizontal. to a large hand pocket. Follow the wall directly up
on increasingly small flakes (the top is fragile so be careful). Direct
start to this route is difficult. Begins 6 feet or so right of "potato
chips" with a few under clings, and up the carbonated rock (rated 5.10+
65.) Potato chips 5.7
Start: 12 feet left of "ballerina", below a n obvious vertical crack (12
feet up). Either start directly below and to the right a little (look
for the small dark block to the right - used for a foot placement the
opening move. or start from the ledge to the left and traverse to the
crack. once you reach the vertical crack climb it to the top. a perennial
favorite, probably the most climbed route at grand ledge.
during the resort era on grand ledge, a concession
stand for passengers of the paddle wheel steam boats was located on the
river bank, below "potato chips" here cigars, lemonade, soft drinks, ice
cream, and box lunches could be purchased.
66.) Contrived 5.9
the name of this climb is perfect. on your attempt to do it. start: atop
the pedestal's right edge. Climb the face 2 feet left of "potato chips",
avoiding any holds on "Brachiator".
67.) Brachiator 5.9
Start: start: to the right of the pedestal follow the vertical crack up
to thee hairline crack and follow it to the top
68.) on last time 5.9
one of my favorite routes - it's powerful at first then technical. Start:
to the right of the pedestal follow the vertical crack up to the left.
using an underling in a small roof (alcove's right end). move past the
small blank face and up to the top.
69.) mossy gully 5.6
Start: atop the pedestal in the corner. straight up the corner using the
crack and both faces. the groves in the rock above are from improper anchor
set ups. just a reminder of how soft the rock is at Grand Ledge.
70.) black buttress
another of my favorites. This route is small and technical right in the
middle, leading to easier climbing above. Start: at the base of the pedestal's
left side. Climb up the face avoiding both the outside edge and
the corner. There are two different lines up the face. a nice finger tweeker.
71.) Impasse 5.7
Start: to the left of "black buttress" wall is an arete. Climb the arete
to the top.
the next few routes are all on the "easy lay
wall" a slab wall. it includes the entire wall between "ultimate bushwhack
and ending at " mental blocks" with the exception of "mental blocks" anything
on this wall is a 5.5
72.) Ultimate Bushwhack 5.5
Start: 10 feet left of "impasse". Climb the small overhang and around
it on the left. move right then continue up. If you climb up with out
going around the overhangs it is a 5.6
73.) Material Implications 5.5
Start: either on ultimate bushwhack or root route. Climb the wall and
finish in a small alcove between the two routes.
74.) Root Route 5.5
Start: the middle of this wall is a shallow left facing corner (6- 8 feet
up). Climb up it an wander your way up the face. To the small overhang,
climb up and over the overhang, ending on top of a small ledge. Here you
will see the almighty root, which this route was named. It is enticing
but the root is off limits when climbing. The rule is if you use the root
- and it's pretty noticeable when you do - you buy the beer!.
75.) Mental Blocks 5.8
Start: between root route and building blocks. Climb straight to the top
avoiding the left corner. (Building Blocks).
76.) Building Blocks 5.9
Start: 10 feet left of root route, below an open book (10 feet up) with
an obvious orange face. Climb up into the book and follow the corner and
right slab up to the overhanging blocks above. Pull through the blocks
to the anchors. Hint: there are a few hidden holds in the blocks that
make all the difference.
77.) Century Club 5.10+
Start: same as "building blocks". Climb the first 8 feet of building blocks,
then move onto the orange face and up to roof. Exit either left or right
of the nose and up.
78.) peek-a-boo 5.9
Start: same as "building blocks". After the first 8 feet traverse left
around the corner (arete), then climb up to the roof and follow the crack
to the top.
79.) Terrarium 5.9
Start: just left of the old mine, under a small ledge (7 feet up). Climb
up to the ledge hand traverse to the right about 5 feet (past the corner)
then go straight up.
80.) Fat Chance 5.9
start: just left of the old mine, under a small ledge (7 feet up). Climb
up to the ledge traverse right under the bulge and up it's right side.
81.) Slim Chance 5.9
Start: just left of the old mine, under a small ledge (7 feet up). Climb
up to the ledge and slightly right to the small inside left facing corner.
Climb this to it's top, and move through the notch in the overhang.
82.) Let Me Go Wild 5.12
Start: 6 feet left of Slim Chance just left of a small ledge. Climb up
to the huge roof staying to the right of the bolts. Power the roof and
struggle to the top. The bolts are from an old practice aid route very
- very old, they are just decoration!!! now.
83.) Out of Control 5.11
Start: just left of the huge roof is a small overhang (10 feet up). Begin
at the right edge of this and follow it straight through the 2 overhangs
to the top.
84.) Karen’s Super Direct 5.11
Start: just left of "out of control" below the extreme right of Karen’s
overhang. Climb the initial small overhang and thin face above.
85.) Karen’s Direct 5.9
Start: on the large block nest to the trail, below the center of the overhang
is a small ledge (7 feet up) climb straight up to the overhang, then make
your way up the slab to the small roof at the top.
86.) Karen’s Overhang 5.8
Start: below the left edge of the overhang. Just left of the viewing platform
(above). This is Karen’s overhang. Angle traverse up and right to
the center of the small overhang. Traverse right more and mantle the ledge.
Be aware that this is a sketch belay - the climber isn't actually on until
about 12 feet off the deck.
87.) Disintegration 5.8 +
start: same as Karen’s overhang. go straight up and over the bulge.
Finish at the alcove. Beware of the loose rock to the left.
88.) Delusions 5.7
start: same as Karen’s overhang. Angle up and right for 10 feet,
then back to the left to finish on "disintegration".
89.) Almost Worthwhile 5.9
Start: the corner just right of poison ivy jam. Climb the overhanging
face right of the corner. Avoid the left face of the corner.
90.) Poison Ivy Jam 5.6
Start: about 20 feet left of Karen’s overhang. The obvious fist
sized crack splitting the left face of the corner. Climb the crack to
the ledge at the top of the crack. a fun but short experience for beginners.
91.) Myaglia 5.11
a condition resulting from this climb, if not precluding it. Start: to
the left of poison ivy jam. Climb the thin eliminate face between the
crack and the corner on the left.
92.) The Trick 5.11
...is to get off the ground on this one! Start: around the corner (arete)
from poison ivy jam. Climb the overhanging face. the corner is only on
at the beginning of the climb. The rest of the route avoids the corner
the next few routes are in an area which doesn't
see much action. Mainly because the wall is short and fairly difficult.
There are a few climbs here which will give even the best climbers a challenge.
This area is good for bouldering and the occasional try on "Reflections",
a route which does not have a verified second accent. consistency.
93.) Stretch Marks 5.11
Start: 6 feet left of the corner, on thin holds leading past the backwards
"p' (or a "9" depending on how you look at it) which is carve d into the
e rock. Mantel the ledge for the finish.
to the left of stretch marks a very weathered
advertisement for "Fred T. Gill: Millenary and Dry Goods" can sometimes
barely be seen.
94.) Reflections 5.12
Start: same as stretch marks. Climbing up and left after the opening moves
of stretch marks.
95.) Born Again Virgin 5.8
Start: 12 feet left of the trick at the right most base of a pedestal.
Angle up and to the ledge, and move into the alcove.
96.) Cling On 5.10
Start: on the wall left of an outside corner, marked by a diagonal prominence.
Follow the diagonal line up and right.
97.) The romp 5.6
Start: 16 feet left of cling on is a large oak tree at the top of the
cliff, with a rather distinctly shaped trunk. The route goes up directly
underneath this tree.
98. The Ledges Traverse
the longest established climb in Michigan (!). It has sections of continuously
easy and hard climbing. this is a must (for the insane). Start: at either
end of the ledges head towards the other end...good luck! the biggest
obstacle may be the freakish "roped / harnessed climbers". weave your
way through the masses if you dare.