Slippery When Wet: My First Fall Trips to Sawmill Creek Dome

Adam Wold on "Sticky Icky", Sawmill Creek Dome, MN
Adam Wold on “Sticky Icky”, Sawmill Creek Dome, MN (All rights reserved)


A couple weekends ago, route setter extraordinaire, Nick and I drove up to the North Shore of Lake Superior to pull down on the Anorthosite crags of Sawmill Creek Dome.  The night before Sawmill Creek Dome saw some showers, however, the forecast for the afternoon and next day offered dry conditions and temps in the high fifties, so hope was still alive.

We arrived at the Superior Hiking Trail parking lot before noon and strapped our pads together to make the hike up.  Once we made it to the boulders we spent some time warming up on the Lushes Lip Traverse and the stand starts to Lukewarm Persistence and Jaws.  We then proceeded to my project “Sticky Icky”, a crimpy V6/7 that climbs up a steep arete, into a “classic” top out.  Unfortunately for me, this day the top out was soaked.

I decided to practice the bottom moves and was able to make it past the cramp inducing heel-hook, used while bumping through the crux crimps, upward to the lip.  This left me with just the top out to solve, but after several tries, using a few different possibilities, I was still unsure of the solution.

The next day we came back to the problem, but at this point my fingers were too raw to do the bottom, and the top still eluded me and I left Sawmill without the send.

Fast forward one week, my buddy Bryan and I made our way to Sawmill for the day.  With even cooler temps than the weekend before and no rain in the forecast, the day was primed for sending. When I made my way over to “Stick Icky” I was surprised to see it cleaned and well chalked, and what was a moss stuffed crack the week before was now a clear pathway to the top of the boulder.

I first started from the lip, to make sure I could figure out the top out and with the new holds visible it went very quickly.  So I decided to go for the send.  It may have been the few degrees in temperature drop, or the good vibes from having easily done the top out that was so confusing just a week before, but sticking to the crux crimps felt easier than ever and I was able to make it to the top of the boulder on my second go!  I was really happy to get this send and am psyched to get back to Sawmill.  Woodpecker is next!