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.

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. 

Purchase The Gift of Adventure

Looking for something unique this holiday season to give is a gift?Happy Holidays

Apex offers the gift of adventure through gift certificates.  Climbers can choose their own adventure during a time that pleases them.

Share an Adventure with us this holiday season by calling 608-434-3360.

Happy Holidays from Lynn and Jill and the rest of the Apex Crew!


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!