“You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy of living your whole life on the ground.”
Like I promised, here’s a second post about climbing coming. This one I would like to direct to people from the “outside”, visiting Colorado, trying to find some state adventures or people who are maybe just moving in and want to check out that famous Colorado climbing.
Because cmon, it’s everywhere. Whoever you’ll ask- “Hey, what y’all doing in Colorado in the summer?” (yeah, I know, of course, no one will ask that, it’s a stupid question, but MAYBE). You’ll always hear the same answer.
Cause Colorado is about three things:
14ers, whitewater rafting and rock climbing
With a post about Colorado 14ers, I am still waiting until I climb my dream Colorado mountain, which is Capitol Peak. But you can expect that post soon 😉
So like the title says, in that post, I want to focus on some of the most famous climbing areas in Colorado, mostly with a maximum of 3 hours drive from Denver (because that’s where everybody flies to).
So! First of all- why Colorado is a climbing heaven for some climbing nerds?
The answer is pretty easy: all kinds of rocks, all kinds of difficulties, all kinds of climbing, and plenty of amazing, passionate people.
And why Denver?
Well, let’s be honest, you don’t come to Denver to see Downtown Denver, that’s not New York. You come to Denver to be conveniently located fo all the adventures. So being in Denver gives you chance to go climbing, whenever and for no matter how long you want- one day or whole weekend trip.
[I’ll start with an information that all the locations I’m writing about are ones I had chance to climb at or at least chance to visit, and have an experience I can write about; there is PLENTY of other places in Colorado to go climbing, that I don’t have a knowledge of or have only heard about]
- Clear Creek Canyon in Golden (20 min drive from Downtown Denver)
+Wide variety of rock, with very easy access and mostly sport climbing
-The biggest problem people talk about is a communication in the canyon, because of the river running right next to the climbing area
- North Table Mountain in Golden (20 min drive from Downtown Denver)
+Nice climbing, and also good area for hiking and mountain biking [so usually very crowded]
-Personally, my least favourite area, mostly because of the type of rock (basalt? according to Wikipedia) and the length of climbs [most of them is pretty short ~60ft]
- Lover’s Leap (30-40 min drive from Denver)
Couple easy (5.6-5.8) trad, multi-pitch routes, with a nice hike in. Perfect for the beginners, just starting trad climbing or doing multi-pitches; and also a loot of fun.
- Eldorado Canyon (Boulder, 1hr drive from Denver)
The pride, I’d say, the Pearl of Colorado- world famous climbing area with beautiful, red sandstone.
But not for beginners and probably not for all the faint-hearted, with its ~700ft walls, mostly trad and a little bit of crack climbing.
- South Platte (1 hr drive from Denver)
+Heaven for all slab and crack climbing enthusiasts! Also nice granite rock.
-Try to not get frustrated looking for routes and/or areas, some of them are pretty well hidden.
- Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs, 1,5 hr drive from Denver)
+Very little park, a famous tourist attraction- mostly because of it interesting rock formations, that also can be very memorable to climb on. Great for people who want to experience soft, dessert sandstone; or get used to climbing with an audience, because of hundreds of tourist visiting park every day
-You need a permit to climb in the park.
- Shelf Road (Canyon City, ~2,5h drive from Denver)
One of my favourite and I think our most popular destination. It’s south from Denver, where the weather is a little warmer, which makes Shelf Road perfect fall/spring climbing destination.
+Mostly sport climbing on a pretty funny limestone (my fingers always hurt so much after)
-Very crowded, it’s much better to camp around or leave very early in the morning to find some open spots. If you wanna camp, and going there late during the weekend don’t even hope for a site on the campground, but there’s a lot of dispersed camping around.
[For those of you who’ll decide to visit Canyon City, I highly recommend driving from Canyon City through Phantom Canyon, the old railway road, that ends in Cripple Creek, still active gold main.
Also, Canyon City is a city of prisons. There is a story saying that people got to choose, they can build or a prison or a campus, of course, they chose a prison, huh. But anyway, there’s a lot of them around the city and in downtown, there’s a museum located at the old prison (or in one of the buildings, don’t really remember)]