Necedah Petenwell Rock, Wisconsin (WI)


Necedah Petenwell Rock, Wisconsin
United States
43° 58' 15.96" N, 89° 59' 49.56" W

The name "Necedah" comes from the Ho Chunk peoples who inhabited the area before the arrival of European settlers and means "Land of the Yellow Waters", a reference to the Yellow River. Necedah, Wisconsin is situated at the base of a high cliff on the Yellow River, a few miles from its mouth, and is opposite the famous Petenwell Rock. Petenwell Rock is a highly acclaimed climbing location in Wisconsin with beautiful sandstone cliffs and boulders that ripple across the hillsides of this little logging town.

Climbing Routes

30 Degree Wall- V0-V3

  • Jug Haul- V0 Sit start and create a more difficult problem. Obvious holds draw in experts and beginners alike. Lardass Traverse- V3 The sharp V with smooth holds proves to be a nice little brain teaser.

Quarry Wall/Hell Wall- 5.12b This superior masterpiece of colorful sandstone stands erect as though it is still rising out of the plains.

  • Blindsided- 5.12b Nice big moves lead to a sneaky anchor. (Sport)
  • Blind Luck- 5.12a Moving out under the roof leads to an exciting crux with the option for a 4th bolt. (Sport)
  • Dick and Jeanie- 5.11c Thin cracks that look like they’ve been painted on the rock will lead you up the steep wall on this great climb. (Sport)
  • Glass Balls- 5.9 This slab lies just above the wall and has only been conquered a time or two. (Traditional)
  • The Green Lantern- 5.11 Consistent climbing leaves the option for mixed climbing. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Heck’s Arete- 5.6 A simplistic arête climb. (Traditional)
  • John’s Dihedral- 5.9 This route has a magnificent top out. (Traditional)
  • Kevin’s Dihedral- 5.7 Nice laybacks and chunky moves make for a great climb for beginning leaders. (Traditional)
  • Mercy Fuck- 5.10a A slabby terrain with good edges leads to a great roof. (Sport)
  • One Hit Wonder- 5.11a Nice anchors help on this challenging climb. (Sport)
  • Self Mutilation- 5.11d Up Up and around the big overhang and climbing the corner will make the route even more difficult. How much can you take? (Sport)
  • Spider Chimney- 5.9 Off width skills will get you through this climb. (Traditional)

Y-Crack- 5.10-5.13a This is the big wall on the south end with the two towers nearby and is known as the “crown jewel” of Necedah. The wall is completely sheer and overhangs at about 20 degrees. This sandstone diamond offers most of the best climbing in Wisconsin.

  • A Dish To Pass- 5.12b Thought to be quite a contrived route, this climb requires long moves. (Sport)
  • Old and In The Way- 5.10c Sustained and pumpy, this route is very strenuous and requires a lot of endurance. (Traditional)
  • Rebel Yell- 5.12a This classic route has a very bold lead with some good moves. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Straight, No Chaser- 5.11c This one is a nice pumpy, spicy route with a lot of trickery. (Traditional)
  • Tower Route- 5.10a A very challenging start then leads in to easier climbing with lots of opportunity for variation. (Sport)
  • Blinded By Lust- 5.11 Noted as a “Squeeze Job” this route has recently been cleaned and is waiting for anyone who is tempted enough to try it out. (Sport)
  • Whiskey A Go Go- 5.13a Fifty feet of climbing, no breaks, hard sandstone, crazy moves. This routed is appreciated by every climber who attempts to send it. (Sport)
  • Dakota Farms Cheese- 5.11a Difficult moves lead to a more difficult arête. (Sport)
  • Death of a Salesman- 5.12b Thin seams lead to a run out. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Eagle Rare- 5.4 An easy climb with amazing views. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Early Times- 5.11 Hard moves and nice jugs lead to a great mantle finish. (Sport)
  • Green Zipper- 5.11 Stay right to ease this route up a bit. (Traditional)
  • Little Rebel Crack/Ezra Brooks- 5.8 Small roof leads to a great face climb with a spectacular view. (Traditional)
  • Ten High- 5.10 Strenuous moves lead to a nice ledge with big moves. (Traditional)
  • Whiskey Chimney/Pigeon Crack- 5.8 A fun chimney with good holds. (Traditional)

Above Anthrax- 5.4-5.12a The north end of the bluffs, at the top of the ridge.

  • Climb with a View- 5.8 This thin crack system is great for learning. (Traditional)
  • Late Night Chalk Show- 5.13c A specific and powerful crux will challenge your muscles and dig into your mind. If you make it, there is a view that will make it all worthwhile. (Sport)
  • Ponyboy- 5.12a A dirty climb that will take your breath away. Literally. (Sport)
  • Pretty Piece of Flesh- 5.11c Impressive rock quality and fun moves will make this steep route an excellent climb. (Sport)
  • Riverboat Gambler- 5.10b Keep right until you reach the solid jugs. (Sport)
  • Solo Crack- 5.4 A great warm up. (Traditional)
  • Who is Bernd Arnold?- 5.8 This short route has fun moves and an exhilarating upper half. (Sport)

Air Spire- 5.6-5.10c The next big tower to the north of Y-Crack Wall. There is one other smaller tower in between this one and Y-Crack Wall.

  • Aimless Foreshadowing- 5.10c Big jugs and large ledges are easier to traverse if you move fast. (Traditional)
  • Chucklehead Crack/Spike’s Crack- 5.8 A great chimney leads to the top with some nice ledges, if you can get past the difficult start. (Traditional)
  • Phallus in Wonderland- 5.6 Take the chimney all the way to the top. (Traditional)
  • Return of the Chuckleheads- 5.9 This crack angles a lot towards the end and has another tricky start. (Traditional)
  • The Line Over Lucy- 5.8 A thin crack with a nice platform and big holds. (Traditional)

Anthrax Wall- 5.7-5.12c This group of routes is very close to the highway and is not very aesthetic but it also has a lot of great climbs.

The Brig- 5.10a-5.11b This area is a great place for shady climbing.

  • Step By Step- 5.10a Big moves and great holds make this a must see climb. (Sport)
  • Schlickery When Wet- 5.10a Thin moves and nice jugs make this a fun route. (Sport)
  • Middle Brig- 5.11a A great warm up eleven. (Traditional)
  • A Slippery Slope- 5.10a These holds will test your strength on the huge arête. (Sport)

Coyote Tower- 5.6-5.11a

  • Foreplay- 5.6 This is a nice one bolted face climb. (Sport)
  • Hydroponics- 5.8 Start at the base and climb the obvious crack to the tower. (Traditional)
  • Viagra- 5.11a An overhung tower, many variations of this climb exist. (Traditional)

Fire Spire- 5.8-5.10

  • Fire In The Sky- 5.10 The steep crack leads you up a long with a hollow top. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Two Pine Pinnacle- 5.10 Up the corner is the easy version, a direct start will challenge you more. (Traditional)
  • The Window- 5.8 There is actually a window midway up. What do you see? (Traditional)

Mr. Canoehead/303 Spire- 5.6-5.7

  • Mr. Canoehead- 5.7 The harder version of the two routes here. (Traditional)
  • Mrs. Canoehead- 5.6 The easier of the two routes. (Traditional)

Camping and Lodging
Buckhorn State Park is about 8 miles from Petenwell Rock. This park has a three-site outdoor group camp; 46 cart-in campsites, one of which is accessible for people with disabilities; 68 drive-in sites; and an accessible cabin. Highly rated for its scenic views and beaches.

Buckhorn State Park
W8450 Buckhorn Park Ave.
Necedah WI 54646-7338
Phone: 608-565-2789

From Necedah, go about 8 miles East on Highway 21 to Wisconsin River. Just past Woodbine Inn, turn right before Wisconsin River and follow a short distance to south end of crag.

Latitude: 43.9711
Longitude: -89.9971


I am 36 years old and I have been climbing this rock since I was 10. The rock is and will always be my playground. So much has changed over the years.. I remember when there was no graffiti or trash everywhere. Sometimes I would visit the rock two times a day just to pick up trash. I will always love this place. I am sure a lot do not know this except for some locals, but Gorilla point is something probably missed by many. When your on the trail walking in and you have to walk up the hill a bit on the left, you will come to a fire pit built 20 years ago, some friends and I built the original. If you look at the rock you will see the rock face, that's gorilla point. Reason being is that when the sun is starting to set it creates a shadow of a face what looks like a gorilla. The rock has quite a bit of history to it and is a great place to clear your mind. Let's respect the beauty it has to offer and cleanup what ever you can please. Even if it's just a soda can or a water bottle, it all makes a difference.

Thanks for the commentary and I agree with you all the way. Please practice "Leave No Trace" and not only preserve these wonderful places for others but also not to threaten access rights.