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

Top 5 Natural Attractions at Devil’s Lake

There are many amazing sites to see at Devil’s Lake.  Lynn and I have done extensive exploring and for the past five seasons, I have very much enjoyed much of “The Lake.” Here is my top 5 list of my favorite natural attractions at Devil’s Lake State Park.

5. A fish out of water.

Grab your license (for purchase at most gas stations in Wisconsin), a tackle box, and your pole.  Fishing is a great relaxing way to enjoy the lake.  If you are lucky, you will land a big one and have a nice catch for dinner.

path4. The south beach on a week day.

Stop at the lake for less crowds and a beautiful serene beach on a week day.  Evenings are also prime time to enjoy the quietness the lake has to offer.  Of course, any time is the right time to swim, so jump in and splash around. Note that this activity is especially awesome after a day of climbing during the Summer!

3. Balanced Rock Trail meets East Bluff Trail.

Take the Balanced Rock Trail up the bluffs.  Check out Balanced Rock on your way up, a naturally occurring rock formation.  Keep hiking until you reach Devil’s Doorway, also a natural rock formation.  Both have great views and are iconic to Devil’s Lake.

2. A 360 degree view from the middle of the lake.

Take to a boat or raft to gain access to the middle of Devil’s Lake.  This spot will not disappoint one bit.  You can get a more full view of the extravagance of Devil’s Lake State Park.  Can you name the different climbing areas?

1. The view from the top!  View From the Top

Of course, this list can’t be complete without noting that when you reach the top of a climb, there are wonderful, unique views.  No matter where you climb at Devil’s Lake, when you reach the top, look behind you.  Don’t miss seeing Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River from the CCC and Baraboo from the middle of the West Bluff.

Enjoy all these wonders of nature close to home.  And you thought you needed to head westward… let me prove you wrong : )

– Jill

Eek! Devil’s Lake Climbing Surprises!

Eek! Yikes! Interesting Finds Climbing

and Bouldering at Devil’s Lake.

One of the best things about hanging out at Devil’s Lake State Park is the interesting array of insects, frogs, toads, and snakes we come across while guiding. Not only are these “finds” on the trails, but often on the actual climbs themselves! Climbers can be walking to their destination or reach up for that bomber hold, only to be surprised by any number of things including timber rattlers, toads, and spiders.

Not to worry, these encounters are rare and mostly harmless!

The following is a list of the few my favorite things found while guiding:

  • Timber Rattler – See where we have found these at the lake.  Last year we had several sightings along the hiking trails to climbing locations!  With their loud rattler, though shy (thanks goodness!), you’ll hear them.
  • Frogs and Toads – The perimeter of the lake, the nearing ponds, and sometimes, in the cracks of climbs!
  • Walking Stick – Check the trees around the park.  Keep your eyes peeled, they can be tricky to spot since they look, well, like a stick.
  • Millipedes and Centipedes – These guys are all over Devil’s Lake State Park! Freaky at first, but not harmful. If seen on the trails, their favorite past-time is being saved and not stepped on.
  • wolf spiderWolf Spider – We see these guys on the side of the rocks.  Not often, luckily. They never fail to be a freaky sighting.

The Nature Center, located off the Devil’s Lake’s North Entrance offers a wealth of information and examples of wildlife at the lake, as well as a history of the lake and area. It’s well worth a visit. For information about hours visit their website.

Come out climb with us and let’s see what we can find!

Legend and Folklore of the Devil’s Lake Monster

"Plesiosaurus 3DB" by Creator:Dmitry Bogdanov - dmitrchel@mail.ru. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plesiosaurus_3DB.jpg#/media/File:Plesiosaurus_3DB.jpg

“Plesiosaurus 3DB” by Dmitry Bogdanov – dmitrchel@mail.ru. Link

Once our clients are geared up for rock climbing, we hike to the crag. To pass the time, we share a bit about the history of the lake, rock, and answer questions.  A popular question is:  Why is it named Devil’s Lake?

The answer comes in many forms including the Legend and Folklore of the Devil’s Lake Monster passed down for years. The Nakota Sioux and Ho-Chunk tribes used Devil’s Lake and Devil’s Lake State Park area, as a gathering place for centuries. The Ho-Chunk named the lake Day-wa-kun-chunk (or “Sacred Lake”) and the Nakota called it Minne-wau-ken (”Bad Spirit” or “Mystery Lake”).

How did it come to have such a reputation?

Years ago, there were reports of octopus-like sea creatures in the lake and Hairy Hominids (Big Foot) on land.  My personal favorite story comes from the Nakota Sioux:

They claim that an expedition of young warriors and their leader were canoeing late at night.  The lake was blackened and the full moon reflected off the water. An octopus-like creature with tentacles ripped through the water and tipped over the canoes.  As the warriors screamed, others witnessed this horrible scene on the shore.  All were lost.

The Nakota also report seeing a huge, fish like creature.  The tribe described the large creature as having a long neck, small head and wide body.

To pay tribute to the creature, the Nakota held a festival every year. The tradition carries through to this day.  Animals are no longer sacrificed (as they once were) – instead, it’s more of a picnic and celebration.

It’s very possible that this creature existed, say researchers.  The Nakota description resembles the fresh water plesiosaur that found its way into the lake after the last Ice Age. Whatever the Devil’s Lake Monster is, or was, there haven’t been any confirmed sightings of the creature for some time!

If you would like to read more, here are some interesting reads and our references!







After Climbing Eats and Drinks

Being veteran visitors and users of Devil’s Lake State Park for the last 16 years, it is easy to pick out some of our favorite things around the town of Baraboo for after climbing eats and drinks.  Don’t miss these fantastic eating and drinking establishments to fully enjoy everything the park and Baraboo has to offer. This week’s favorites featured by Apex Adventure Alliance are area restaurants for après (after)-climbing eats and drinks.

After Climbing EatsThe Barn – Check out this establishment for a fabulous patio and great, unique food.  Did we mention that they have a HUGE list of beers to choose from? It is very close to the park, just outside the north entrance, as you drive toward Baraboo.  Family-friendly.  Our favorite dish: Mediterranean Plate.

The Little Village Café – Head into the town of Baraboo for this cute little joint.  Hearty food with excellent flavor.  Don’t forget to save room for their homemade desserts.  If you like wine, this is the spot for you. Our favorite dish: Pasta with veggies and sun-dried tomatoes (with Tuna).

Mama Mia’s- Looking for a pizza?  Get all of your favorite toppings on an excellent crust with Mama Mia’s New York style pizza.  Enjoy them at the beach for a quieter dinner (sans crowds) on the north or south side of the beach.  They also offer sandwiches and pastas.  Our favorite dish: Pesto Pizza.

Finally, we always recommend a good old after climbing cook out.  Enjoy the sunset with a dip in the lake, some brats, and a few beers.  Nothing says Wisconsin climbing like beer and brats as an after climbing tradition.