This week marks three months since I moved to Nelson’s Resort to tend bar and begin developing M&M Hill in earnest. It felt appropriate that I spent September 15 as I spent my first day here, developing a new route and then heading off to work.
So, what is M&M Hill?
M&M Hill is the newest crag in Minnesota. It is located in the township of Crane Lake on Nelson Road just 2.5 miles south of Nelson’s Resort, where I have resided since June 15. It is a granite cliff located in Kabetogama State Forest and is only a 4.5 hour drive from the Twin Cities (2+ from Duluth). Currently, there are 30+ routes at the Hill measuring 30-65’ tall and ranging from 5.7 to 5.12-. While primarily sport routes, the Hill also has a handful of trad routes with bolted anchors to lower from. It also has potential for some highball boulders in areas where the crag slopes down to ~20’ heights.
My experience at M&M Hill began as a Memorial Day weekend getaway and turned into something entirely different. In August, I had an event here that drew about 25 climbers from the Twin Cities. People camped on offshoots of Nelson Road, climbed at the Hill, ate and drank at Nelson’s Resort, swam in Crane Lake, and generally proved that this area is a future destination spot for climbers everywhere.
The Crane Lake area has an abundance of rock climbing to offer. Most of it is untouched and better accessible by boat. M&M Hill has very easy access and is entirely inland. From parking to climbing is a quarter of a mile of easy approach. And, between May and September, there is a bar, restaurant, and beach less than three miles north on the very same road you are climbing.
For the more adventurous, I have been providing boat rides to some of the other areas I am discovering. These include Government Bay, Northwest Bay, the Vermillion Gorge, and Serenity Wall. There are even more areas that I have only wandered through that are still ripe for discovery. The Crane Lake area has so much potential, I can imagine spending years and years up here exploring and discovering and developing.
I’d like to offer a hearty THANK YOU to everyone who has supported this journey. Whether financially through my Go Fund Me campaign back in June, by bringing me supplies when you’ve come through Crane Lake, with good words and cheer as the emotions of leaving my normal world behind for a bit overwhelmed me, and by simply coming up to climb, share a belay, and have a few laughs. I thank you.
M&M Hill is open and ready for use. The temps are nearing perfect. The bugs have mostly retreated. The forest is starting its slow firework show as fall rapidly approaches.
There are camping options near the resort and the Hill. Message me, firstname.lastname@example.org, for details or with questions. Come north, friends, and climb on.