Tired of the cold? Can't feel your fingers? Summer is rapidly approaching and it's time to dust off the climbing shoes and chalkbag and round up a good partner. I know you've been chomping at the bit to get back outside after a rough year and climb warm sunny rock, so here is a list of the top 10 climbing trips near Denver you have to check out.
Here are the top 10 Denver Climbing Trips:
1) Clear Creek Canyon Cragging
Located just a few minutes west of Denver, this awesome rock climbing spot is a great destination or after work getaway. 13 miles of sport climbing with short hikes make it really easy to climb a number of different routes and still make it back to Denver for the nightlife. A few of my favorite crags in Clear Creek Canyon are:
-The Little Eiger (lots of moderate routes between 5.9 and 5.11)
-The Mission Wall (some of the best multipitch climbing in Clear Creek Canyon)
-Wall of the 90's (home to a few of the canyon test pieces such as Reefer Madness and 10-Digit Dialing)
-East Colfax (stacked with 5.10 and under routes with great routes for kids or beginners)
2) Rewritten - Eldorado Canyon State Park
A fantastic moderate multipitch trad route! Eldorado Canyon State Park is less than 45 minutes from Denver and is the local climbing mecca with thousands of different routes of all different grades. Rewritten ascends Redgarden Wall in 6 pitches of stellar 5.7 climbing. An optional start on the Great Zot bumps the difficulty to 5.8. Don't miss the arete on pitch 5 with mega exposure!
3) Climb a Flatiron
Absolutely classic climbing! The First, Second, and Third Flatirons dominate the skyline over Boulder. A trip up the Flatirons normally entails a 30 minute hike to the base and anywhere from 6 to 10 pitches of roped climbing. The Third Flatiron does close seasonally (February 1st to July 31st) for raptor nesting. If I had to choose a favorite climb off this list, it would definitely be the Direct Route (5.6) up the First Flatiron! I have climbed it well over 200 times and it never gets old.
4) Playin' Hooky
The uber-classic, multipitch sport route in Clear Creek Canyon. For the most enjoyable experience, and to skip the weird and awkward normal first pitch, check out Black Gold to Playin' Hooky instead. This is hands down the best linkup on the Creekside Wall and a great way to play hooky from work in Downtown Denver.
5) Introduction to Rock Climbing
An introduction to climbing course is a great way to meet other climbers, learn the ropes, and just have an enjoyable day out in the mountains. Topics taught should include knots, belaying, rock climbing movement and resources as you progress as a climber.
6) The Yellow Spur
Arguably the most famous route in all of Eldorado Canyon State Park and most definitely lives up to the hype. Six pitches of crack climbing, jug hauling, and technical moves requiring precision balance lead to the famous exposed knife edge in the sky. Awesome exposure and rad climbing! This is a must climb route if you are in the Denver area.
7) Longs Peak Hiking Trip
While not necessarily a rock climbing objective, hiking Longs Peak is sure fun and a great rest day for your fingers! Lots of exposed scrambling, high altitude, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains make for a special experience. Don't underestimate this mountain though...almost 5,000 feet of elevation gain and 16+ miles of hiking up the standard Keyhole Route make for a long day and unforgettable accomplishment. Make sure you get an early start to avoid afternoon storms and to get a coveted parking spot.
8) Climb the Maiden
Without doubt, this formation is one of the wildest pieces of rock close to Denver! Climbing here will test your route finding and mental fortitude as the exposure is immense, both while climbing and rappelling. The North Face (5.6), East Ridge (5.10c), and West Overhang (5.11b/c) are all phenomenal and make a great day trip.
9) Learn to Lead Climbing Course
Have you been top roping in the gym a bunch this winter? Are you ready to expand your climbing and start leading? A course with a professional is a great way to learn best practices, receive honest feedback, and have lots of time in the drivers seat. A good learn to lead class will teach skills such as lead belaying, bolted anchor construction, how to clean an anchor, how to clip quickdraws, and how to bail along with many other topics. With many climbing locations so close to Denver, it's astonishingly easy to make it a day trip, or heck, a weekend adventure!
10) The Petit Grepon
One of the 50 Classic Routes of North America, this is one of the most highly sought after summits in all of Colorado. It's quite the experience to take in Rocky Mountain National Park from a perch no bigger than a few feet wide! A beautiful approach, great climbing up flakes and cracks, and awesome views of Sky Pond make this an objective to climb every year. The Petit can be quite busy so it is always a good idea to have a backup route in mind. Other great routes in the area include the Northeast Ridge of Sharkstooth (5.6) and the Southwest Corner of the Saber (5.10b).
With a lifetime of great rock climbing so close to Denver, it's tough to decide where to spend a day or a vacation. I guess this is what makes Denver so special! It's easy to take a trip here every year or venture out as a weekend warrior.
Not sure where to begin on your climbing trip? Whether you're local or just visiting, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (720) 598-2864 for route beta or to experience one of these stellar trips with us! We guide all of the above routes, teach classes, and offer many other trips to locations such as Moab. Check our Website out for even more inspiration as you plan your Denver Climbing Trip!
Hope to see you out on the rocks!
Ben Coryell - Owner and AMGA Certified Rock Guide
Golden Mountain Guides