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Rock Climbing in the Boundary Waters  


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BWCA Weather for Ely, Grand Marais, and the Gunflint Trail


View from atop a Boundary Waters bluff.  Photo by Erik W. L. Anderson (32936 bytes)The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, carved long ago by glaciers, is filled with beautiful basalt and anthracite bluffs and vistas surrounding pristine lakes.  


Safety first!  Keep in mind that the Boundary Waters is a true wilderness experience.  You will be far from any roads, far from any telephone, and far from any hospital. Cell phones do not work in most of the BWCA.  The Forest Service does not automatically initiate searches if a party does not exit as planned.  Risky behavior can and has caused deaths in the BWCA.

With that said, it is not recommended to climb in the BWCA.  It is not banned, however.  If you choose to rock climb in the BWCA, please use caution and plan ahead.  

  • Let people know where you are going and what your itinerary is. 
  • Bring a first aid kit and be knowledgeable in first aid.
  • Consider renting a satellite telephone (available from Buck's Radio Shack in Grand Marais).
  • Do not climb alone.  Do climb with other experienced climbers.
  • Beware of loose rock and poorly rooted vegetation.
  • Do not climb without previous experience.
  • Do not climb in wet conditions.

"Leave No Trace" ethics apply to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  Motorized drills and fixed bolts are not allowed.  We ask that you consider the BWCA a bolt and chalk-free zone.

Outside of the BWCA, Minnesota's State Parks allow rock climbing by permit only.  Permits are free and are available from the park office.  Probably the most popular climbing area in northeastern Minnesota is Tettegouche State Park, which includes Palisade Head and Shovel Point.  Another popular spot is Temperance River State Park/Carlton Peak.


Rock Climbing Links

Section 13 - Finland Bass Lake - Ely
Mystical Mountain - Finland Minnesota Rock Climbing
Sawmill Creek Dome - Finland Climbing Central


Gunflint Lodge - on the border of the BWCA


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