Purple Quartzite, Why Purple?

Why is Purple Quartzite, Purple? Have you heard of the one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater? Well, then keep reading. Just kidding, that has nothing to do with this.

In the last post, we looked at how Quartzite is formed, the type of rock, and other rock you can see at Devil’s Lake.   If you missed that, see here. What we didn’t answer is the question “Why is it purple?”

Let’s take a quick step backwards—Purple Quartzite is VERY unique.  Almost all Quartzite is white or gray.  What is crazy, is that often Purple Quartzite is referred to as Baraboo Quartzite because Baraboo, Wisconsin and Devil’s Lake State Park in particular, has the largest display of the rock in the purple color in the world.

So now to answer the question we started with… “Why is Purple Quartzite, Purple?”

IMG_6325The color of the rock at Devil’s Lake State Park is due to iron being present when it was formed.  Likely there were other specimens in addition to the iron (which would likely make a more reddish color) that were present that helped make the deep purple colors that can be found.  This could have been the flora and fauna that existed in the location at the time (a loooooooooooooooong time ago).

Something else that is interesting to note is that the Iron and other “things” that helped make the purple color, had to have been specific to the Baraboo area.  History and the geography tell us this because the bluffs you see at “The Lake” were at one time part of a larger mountain range that reached up to the Wausau area (and probably taller than the Rockies!).  The Quartzite that you find in that area, however, is grey in color (due to the lack of that same iron content).

Baraboo HillsSo imagine Wisconsin with a massive mountain range, really really tall and really really big extending almost the entire state on a diagonal.  Yep, that is likely what it used to look like here.  Thanks a lot glaciers for stealing our mountains and leaving us with hills ; ). (Note: truly magnificent, hills).



Why is Purple Quartzite, Purple?

Purple Quartzite of Devil’s Lake State Park

Purple Quartzite of Devil’s Lake State Park

Taking on "False Perspective" a tough one at Devil's Lake

Taking on “False Perspective” a tough one at Devil’s Lake

Also referred to as Baraboo Quartzite

When heading to a climbing location, we typically stop to take in a view or two. A common question we hear is “what type of rock is this?”  Typically, between the huffs and puffs of carrying a 40 pound bag up a steep stair master (don’t worry, your guide will do that), we give a brief but compelling tail of the rock.  Since there aren’t a lot of huffs, puffs, or grunts going on while sitting here at the computer, it gives us a moment to dig a little deeper. The rock, Purple Quartzite of Devil’s Lake State Park is pretty unique.

The metamorphic rock, has been rumored to only be found in three places in the world with Devil’s Lake being the most climbable.  Metamorphic rock means that it was altered from another type of rock by extreme conditions (heat, pressure, superman, etc) to become what we see currently.

Sometimes mistaken for red or pink, it is indeed, Purple.  Purple QuartziteOther colors found in the park can range from white to green.  Green is typically the lichen that forms on the rock.  There are several areas in the park that also are tan and more textured.  This is actually Sandstone.  So back to that metamorphic business… Quartzite was actually Sandstone at one point.  A long, long, long, lonnnnnnnnnnng time ago, the earth went through a lot of changes.  There was a whole lot of pressure and a whole lot of heat and a whole lot of time.  What came out of the oven was Quartzite.  There was likely more sandstone in the park at that tQuartzite with Sandstoneime, however much (or all) of it was underwater.  Sandstone is very soft compared to quartzite.  So the water washed away much of the sandstone but left the quartzite.

Next time you head to the park, try to find the patches or full climbing areas that are sandstone.  They differ greatly in texture, look, feel, and climbing from the Quartzite we all know and love.

4 Steps to Safe Rappelling

noun. 1. (in mountaineering) the act or method of moving down a steep incline or past an overhang by means of a double rope secured above and placed around the body, usually under the left thigh and over the right shoulder, and paid out gradually in the descent. verb (used without object), rappelled,rappellingRappel | Define Rappel at Dictionary.comSafe Rappelling

4 Steps to Safe Rappelling

Practicing safe rappelling is important! Rappelling is one of the most dangerous aspects of rock climbing and easily remedied by using proper technique.

Once you have your rope anchored into the top of a climb or cliff with a strong multi point anchor you can begin to set up a protected rappel. Depending on the whether you are rappelling off a single length or double length rope, make sure that the end of the rope(s) is on solid ground. If not, a stopper knot can be tied at the end of the rope(s). It never hurts to do this since there have been a number of deaths associated by rappelling off the end of the rope  

Step One: Thread your friction device through the rope(s) and attach to your belay loop on your harness with a locking carabiner. For easier access you can extend the belay by attaching a cow’s tail. Click here for directions The Mountaineers’ Extended Rappel Belay.

prusik for rappel back upStep Two: Attach a back-up prusik on the ropes below your friction device. You’ll need a sling tied from 5mm- 7mm cord either sewn by the manufacturer or tied with double fisherman’s knot.  See how to tie a prusik on NetKnots.com. The prusik is attached to your leg loop on the same side as your brake hand with a carabiner.

Step Three: Double Check harness, all lockers, anchor system, and rappel device one last time.  Then
lower yourself to a good rappel position. 

Note: You can attach a second prusik on your belay loop with a locking carabiner above the anchor to get in position and release it once you are in the rappel position.

IMG_0617Step Four: Rappel On! Your brake hand moves the back-up prusik as you move down the length of the rope.



Feel Free to contact Apex with any questions info@apexadventurealliance.com

Adventure Rock Opening in June

20160525_104409 (1)You’ve probably heard by now that Adventure Rock is opening their second climbing gym in the heart of Milwaukee. We’ve got some insider details about the long-awaited space.

Measuring in at 43 feet at its tallest the space features ample climbing with uniquely featured walls that are a work of
art. The all-inclusive pro-shop offers everything down to a micro-nut. They will have a workout area for off-the-wall training and also a separate party space for birthdays and special events. Of course, they have all of the upgraded amenities such as large locker rooms and showers. Best of all, the space is amazingly bright, well thought out, and of course, has that friendly AdRock feel.  Craig Burzynski, General Manager states “150 routes, 210 boulder problems, 4 cracks, and 1 really good time!”IMG_0458

Adventure Rock JuneJoin them in celebrating and get excited. Here are some of the features and events surrounding the opening.IMG_0459
June 13-17 Soft Opening for Members Only
June 18th Grand Opening for All

Win awesome prizes (like the gift certificates we are giving away for outdoor climbing) and have some fun.

They are currently offering a pre-opening membership sale. They have all of the details here.  Also a perk is that their membership will work at both locations for no additional charge.

Adventure Rock always does a spectacular job in everything indoor climbing related and the new gym is nothing different.


Adventure Rock June

Adventure Rock Bouldering Wall

Adventure Rock, Opening June 2016!

5 Climbing Specific Exercises to Improve your Climbing Strength

Keith Kubiesa, Apex Guide and Personal Trainer of Coachkubi.com helps climbers of all levels work through their weaknesses to become better climbers. Keith has provided Apex clients with 5 Climbing Specific Exercises to Improve your Climbing Strength.

1) Suspension Training

Climbing is very core intensive and requires a lot of Body Tension. Instead of doing sit ups to train your core, focus on stabilizing your body by using TRX bands or rings. Some of my favorite movements are knees to elbows on rings and body saws on TRX straps. They key to these movements is to minimize momentum by using your core to stay tight, body tension at work.

2) Shoulder Mobilizer & Stabilizes

Shoulder injuries are prevalent in climbing and we tend to neglect our shoulders when training for climbing.  This leads to larger surrounding muscles upping the chances to get injured because of a lack of mobility.  Focusing on movements that require a large range of motion in the shoulder socket (internal and external rotation) will help reduce injury and strengthen. My two favorites are 30 seconds of push pressing and 30 seconds of holding light weights above my head (very light weights help focus on keeping keeping my arms locked and hands behind my head when performing the hold) and Y, T, W on TRX straps (10-15 reps each). The key here is not to get huge strong shoulders but to protect and prevent injury.

3) Planks

This one is a combo of the first two points and includes both their benefits. Many variations here; side, rings, lifting one limb, feet in TRX, etc. get creative. The only stipulation is to keep your shoulders directly above your hands and your entire spine in a straight line.

4) Technique on the Wall

Every time you are at the climbing gym should not be a time to "perform" (by that I mean your focus should not be to finish problems). Spend a good amount of your time in the gym climbing a high volume/low intensity of easy stuff in which you can climb perfectly and with ease. Really focus on your technique and efficiency of movement.

5) High Intensity Circuits

Do something that will get your heart rate extremely elevated in a short period of time, then get on the wall and try to climb relaxed and with your same perfect technique you have been working on at the gym. If you don't have access to a climbing gym to do this same thing but instead of climbing do a isometric hold while trying to relax and bring down your heart rate. This form of high intensity training with active rest/recovery thrown in there will get you the most bang for your buck in terms of gains and time management. High intensity, low volume.  As an example, perform 10 burpees and immediately climb a route.