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The Upper Peninsula Climbers’ Coalition (UPCC) is an Access Fund Affiliate (501c3) whose mission is to preserve and protect climbing areas throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One such climbing area is located in the small mining town of Palmer, affectionately known as Slug’s Bluff.

  The climbing area got its name after Leo ‘Slug’ Arbelius who owned this ten acre parcel with his wife Alice Arbelius. Leo and Alice raised their family in Palmer, operated the local grocery store, and used Slug’s Bluff to graze their cows.  

In the 1970s, climbers discovered this 80’ tall quartzite cliff, and the Arbelius Family graciously allowed others to utilize this parcel for recreational uses.  

Over the ensuing decades, the UPCC, in conjunction with NMU’s climbing club (South Superior Climbing Club), organized numerous cleanups of this property. This involved the removal of all sorts of items that had been dumped over the lookout, as well as removing graffiti and garbage from the top of the escarpment.  

In 2022, the UPCC approached the Arbelius Family to see if there was any interest in selling this undeveloped acreage. The UPCC had feared that the parcel would be sold, and that the new owner would not allow the public to access it. The Arbelius Family—in an act of unparalleled generosity—agreed to gift Slug’s Bluff to the UPCC. The UPCC, in return, has agreed to preserve this area for outdoor recreation and to erect a kiosk at the trailhead in dedication to the Arbelius Family.  

Through this acquisition, Slug’s Bluff is now the first climber-owned climbing area in Michigan.  

To register please visit: http://www.upperpeninsulaclimbing.com/slug-fest.html

On September 22-24th, the UPCC is organizing the Inaugural UPCC Slug Fest - Celebrating Michigan's Only Climber Owned Climbing Area! This will be a fun weekend of comradery, climbing, clinics and socials. Join fellow Midwest climbers for this incredible event! The First 40 people to register will receive the pictured UPCC Camping Mug and UPCC Slug Bluff Sticker.  Registration includes: Clinics, Shoe Demo, Yoga, Socials, Silent Auction and Camping.

Tentative Schedule


Slugg's Orientation & Social Climb 3pm-6pm
Official Registration, clinic sign up and Climbers Meet & Greet at the Cade


8:00am  Climbers Yoga
10:00am Clinics Start
Sport Route Cleaning Clinic
Intro to Sport Climbing Belaying Basics
Self Rescue
10:00am Shoe Demo Black Diamond, La Sportiva & Scarpa Demo
12 noon
Service Project- Slugs Garden
3:00pm Slacklining 
6:00pm Climbers Dinner and Party at the Cade
7:30pm Silent Auction


8:00am Climbers Yoga
10:00am Social Climb
10am Shoe Demo Black Diamond, La Sportiva & Scarpa Demo
10:00am Clinics Start
Rappelling Clinic
Intro to Traditional Climbing
12 noon Service Project Downed Tree clean up and glass collection
Climbing at Slugs Bluff
Climbing at Slugs Bluff