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Swanson Arete

A Colorado Beginner's Classic Climb

Swanson Arete is one of the finest routes to grace the walls of Eldorado Canyon State Park and one of the best moderate climbing routes in the Denver area. First climbed by Stan Shepard in the early 1960's, this route was later named in memory of local Boulder climber Jon Swanson, who passed away in the Selkirk Mountains of Canada. This airy and dramatic route features incredible positions high above the canyon floor and some of the best beginner multipitch terrain on the Front Range.

Technically speaking, Swanson Arete is a linkup of two different routes. It begins from the Red Ledge, halfway up the towering Redgarden Formation and climbs to the top of Lumpe Tower. The traditional approach to access the route is the West Chimney, although many other climbing routes end up on Red Ledge. From the parking area, a 30 minute hike along the river and up steep steps and metal ladders puts you at the base.

Have questions about this route? Contact Us or let us know if you've got another climbing objective in mind in Eldorado Canyon.



Swanson Arete is the Eldorado Canyon beginners classic, however, climbers of all abilities enjoy this route! Five to six wandering pitches up Redgarden Wall put you on an incredible summit with views of Denver, Boulder, and the mountains. With many different variations of climbing, you're bound to never climb this route the same way twice.

After topping out Lumpe Tower, a short hike down the backside of Redgarden Wall leads to three rappels back to the ground.

More information:

  • Recommended experience level: beginner to advanced

  • This is a semi-strenuous climb

  • 6 pitches, 5.6

  • Priced as a Full Day


  • A very cool summit climb!

  • An awesome way to see Eldorado Canyon State Park

  • Varied and unique climbing ranging from chimney/crack to exposed face climbing

  • A great warm-up hike up the west side of Redgarden Wall

  • A good introduction to rock climbing in Eldorado Canyon

Price Includes

  • A professionally trained and/or certified AMGA guide

  • All necessary climbing equipment including harnesses, helmets, climbing shoes, belay devices, ropes, and protection

  • Professional guiding and instruction throughout the entire day

Price Excludes

  • Transportation. You will be responsible for your own transportation to and from a designated meeting area

  • Gratuity

  • Personal items such as food, clothing, backpack, etc.

  • Entrance fees and parking fees (where necessary)

Climbing Swanson Arete in Eldorado Canyon


1 Person = $415*

2 People = $300*

3 People = $275*

4+ People = Please call for large group rates

*Price is per person

  • Up to 8 hours in length

  • Custom tailored guided climbing and instruction

  • Perfect for: multi-pitch climbing or large groups looking to maximize their time climbing

  • Necessary for areas with long approaches

  • Typical start time is 8am

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"I went rock climbing for the very first time and 20 feet up decided I'd made the wrong decision but Ben got me up that mountain and now I can't wait to go again! I love that everything is provided and all I had to bring was the willingness to have fun and try something new."

Kym B.

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