In late September of 1984, I was invited to climb at Devil's Lake Wisconsin by members of the Eden Park Climbing Association.
They were wont to visit areas within several hundred miles of Cincinnati once or twice a year and since I had been practicing at the Eden Park reservoir wall, it was suggested that I come along on this weekend getaway despite the looming prospect of school. Rationalization was no problem, so I quickly packed my things and drove to JTM Meats headquarters. It never crossed my mind to wonder where one could climb in Wisconsin-as they say faith is the belief in things unseen.
The evening sky ws clear and warm as I pulled into the JTM parking lot. The JTM chef had been hard at work for us. I was confronted by the 20-minute test. The most daunting aspect of this trip was to comsume the thickest steak that I had ever seen in-20 minutes. I could barely walk to our vehicle. Joe our driver and trip coordinator ushered us into the back of the gigantic camper type pickup truck. He had equipped it with foam cushions from couches and in these comfortable surroundings I was ready to snooze.
As we sped northward on I-74 toward Indianapolis and Chicago, I was alarmed at the speed with which the northbound traffic was receeding from us as we looked through the back window of the camper. It seemed as though the cars going in our direction were receeding as quickly as telephone poles might advance toward me as I drove 40 miles per hour.
Our driver's comments assured me that I was not dreaming about our speed in the left lane. He told us that we were well protected by the latest passport fuzz busters,but cautioned us that one of us in the back would have to be alert to the rear view at all times in case the traffic police advanced from behind without radar. In such a case, pacing by the traffic police would have slowed us considerably.
We got to Chicago quickly and drove to a Holiday Inn spending 5 hours in their parking lot. In the morning, we drove out of Illinois into Wisconsin and Devil's Lake. The rock was quite slick and redish and looked suitable for the facing of a bank or the lower floors of a skyscraper. I climbed with Don and Matt quite a bit. We did Guillotine 5.7and D'Arcy's wall 5.8. We later read that Ray D'Arcy was fascinated by this wall after leaving Cathedral Ledge. D'Arcy is best remembered for John Turner's attempt to find one of his routes. In this attempt, Turner found Thin Air one of the most popular lines at Cathedral.
In the evening we continued with Chicago 5.8 and Mouse's Misery 5.10a( it was 5.9 then, I think). The evening was peaceful in this beautiful setting by the lake with the crags above. It was warm for late September, so I swam some in the lake. The following morning we climbed quite a bit on Brittons Crack(5.6) and then headed home.