Grand Ledge

Posted on 28. Sep, 2007 by in News


In the fall of 1999 I was in my 4th year at Michigan State University. It was the first year that I had a car at college and I was ready to put it to use. Four or five days a week I would make the 25 minute drive out of Lansing to the town of Grand Ledge. It was and is the only place to climb on rock in Lower Michigan. Grand Ledge is a 35 ft sandstone cliff with about 75 or so routes. The rock is too soft to take bolts or gear, so toproping is the ethic. I was very motivated to climb, and quickly worked my way through the grades there. I vividly remember sitting in my little green Geo Prizm unbelievably excited by the fact that I had just climbed a 5.10. “5.10” I thought, “the land of the elite”. By the spring I had climbed the hardest route there, Ragged Edge (5.12+). I remember asking another local if he thought Chris Sharma could do Ragged Edge. He said “He might even flash it” That seemed impossible as it had taken me several months of work and I thought I was going to break my fingers.

Local Dave Pachsen on a classic 5.9

The closest gym was an hour and a half away and for three years I was a fixture at “The Ledges”. Looking back its hard to believe that I spent so much time there, but it was all I had. Grand Ledge is a very small, beautiful little cliff. I would never recommend that anyone should go out of their way to climb there, but if you find yourself in mid-Michigan on a crisp fall day you might have some fun. The last day I climbed at Grand Ledge, before I moved to Colorado, I brought a camera with me. By that time, I had converted to a boulderer and had spent much of my time traversing the base of the cliff. We filmed some of the classics that day, and here they are, for your viewing pleasure, with a special appearance by Dave Ludders. Just so its clear, the last problem is only climbable in the dead of winter, when the moss I used for feet has frozen solid. w3rd.

In the spring of 2005, I went back there with Angela. In good form, she flashed Ragged Edge for it’s first female ascent.
Check out for more photos and a guide.

9 Responses to “Grand Ledge”

  1. christian

    28. Sep, 2007

    Stories like that one elevate this blog from a “I-tell-the-world-what-I-do” thing to something that is really fun to read and that you can relate to. I guess we all have our little cliff hidden somewhere and even if it`s nothing compared to what we have found now that we`re grown up and traveled, it still holds so many precious memories. Climb On!

  2. Aaron

    28. Sep, 2007

    Believe it or not, I was at GL the day Angela flashed Ragged Edge. I just untied when Michael noticed you guys. I was so pissed that some girl just flashed the climb I was working so hard on. Of course I latter realized how ripped Angela was and thought it was awesome to see it go down. About a week after that we made a trip out to Colorado and about a year later I moved here. I now live in the Fort and hope to keep bouldering and improving. It’s cool to here such a good climber talk about home.

  3. big poppa chosscrush

    28. Sep, 2007

    i agree w/ christian^^ i enjoyed this video much more than the king lines trailer x 10.

    roots shall always be a source of humility and pride, in just the right proportions.

  4. campusman

    28. Sep, 2007

    MAX SCENE ARETE!!! gl’s newest climb
    aaron u remember that arete 15 feet left of the trick! awesome movement, amazing rock!

  5. brian

    29. Sep, 2007

    I don’t think there were any V7’s in the king lines trailer so that probably explains that.

    It is really cool to see more about the small midwest areas though to go along with the more well known destinations. When we read about all the elite climbers climbing in the elite areas we tend to forget the small local areas that have a lot of character.

  6. Aaron

    29. Sep, 2007

    Oh I remember, Steve told me you sent. Thats Awesome! May be back in the spring for a bit. Rock on Michael!

  7. vitaly

    01. Oct, 2007

    haha, this thread is funny in a lot of subtle ways… 😛

  8. Porscha

    10. Oct, 2007

    Oh man – I remember the first time the MSU Outing Club took me to Grand Ledge. That was the day that I learned that climbing outside was awesome :)

  9. Amanda

    11. Oct, 2007

    Wow, that brought back some memories! Nice work on the video. Glad to see that The Suicide Machine made the cut!

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