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best sport near denver
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By david Graham
Apr 13, 2014
stuff

My girlfriend and I are taking a road trip late may through Denver, up highway 25 into Denver then west on 70 out of Denver towards California. We mostly do sport, little Trad. So what's the best sport climbing areas near Denver? I'm sure this has been asked before.


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By Alvaro Arnal
Administrator
From Aspen, CO
Apr 13, 2014
Pup Tent OS

Rifle


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 13, 2014
Stabby

I've done it, but it's a loooong day trip.


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By david Graham
Apr 13, 2014
stuff

or if anyone has a favorite guidebook they think is most helpful that would be nice as well.


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By Skullybones
From Divide, CO
Apr 13, 2014

The latest edition of Rock Climbing Colorado would give you an excellent starting point. No first hand experience up there, so I can't give out any route advice.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 14, 2014
Stabby

Close to Denver:
.13A and up, Clear Creek Canyon
.12D to .10A Devils Head
.9+ and down, Clear Creek again.

Monastery, Shelf Road, St. Vrain Canyon, Thunder Ridge are within day trip range but too far away to call close to Denver.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Apr 14, 2014
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

Old and Busted wrote:
Monastery, Shelf Road, St. Vrain Canyon, Thunder Ridge are within day trip range but too far away to call close to Denver.

St Vrain better than Bocan?
Hmmm... yeah, I guess for a few particular routes there are some stand-outs, but on the average, that's more driving for not much more return. Bocan, on average, is just as good. Just stay away from the new short stuff and get after the longer classics. IE:
www.mountainproject.com/scripts/Search.php?searchType=routeF>>>


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By She's Such a B
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 14, 2014
Heel hook

Clear Creek Canyon has lots of variety for sport and is easy to get to from I 70.


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Apr 14, 2014

The primary issue with the OP's question is that he does not define "close" adequately. Nor does he define "sport climbing" (grade range matters). Is he looking for somewhere to get in a quick half-day of climbing while passing through? Or is he looking for somewhere to go for 3-5 days while in the area, and doesn't mind driving a few hours. We in the Front Range are spoiled by convenience of climbing, and have a pretty strict definition of "close"; people from elsewhere may not be bothered by a 2-hours drive. My recommendations, based on distance:

Genuinely "close" (< 1/2 hour) climbing for a half day or day trip: Clear Creek. Good for all grade ranges. Don't go to North Table; it sucks, and will be too hot.

Full day trips, or easy/nearby 2 day trip: Devil's Head (best for 5.10 to 5.12). Also consider Monestary, BoCan, etc. Flatirons sport climbing is also excellent, with small pockets of a few great routes, best at 5.12-5.13.

If you have a few days and are willing to drive 2-4 hours for nice climbing and camping: Rifle (best for 5.12 to 5.14) or Shelf (best for 5.9 to 5.12a). Shelf is getting a bit warm in late May, but there are many shady crags that will still be pleasant.


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By Steve Williams
From Denver, CO
Apr 14, 2014

Utah


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By david Graham
Apr 14, 2014
stuff

let me clarify, we're taking a climbing/hiking/tourist roadtrip from Dallas Tx to Mt. Whitney california. This is a loose definition of "close to denver" since we'll be traveling north on 25 into denver and west on 70 out of Denver. SO CLOSE PRETTY MUCH MEANS ANYWHERE IN THE SOUTH TO SOUTHWESTERN PORTION OF CO. simply, if you could only climb one sport destination in CO for a day, which one(s) would be your favorite?

we climb anything from 5.6 -5.12c sport and 5.4 to 5.10a trad (our trad rack is still pretty small so they have to be short routes like what we have in Texas).

the real question is what's your favorite crag(s) in Colorado? have fun with the question.


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By Eric Klammer
From Boulder, CO
Apr 14, 2014
Heading up the best pitches of the route. Perfect rock at a nice relaxed angle!

The Flatirons are pretty fun for both sport and trad! Being sandstone, the rock is usually quite featured and steep, a fun departure from the more slabby nature of BoCan.

A word of warning though, it will definitely be a bit more involved than many other places in terms of navigation and hiking. Depending on where you're headed, don't expect to "onsite" the approach.


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Apr 14, 2014

david Graham wrote:
This is a loose definition of "close to denver" since we'll be traveling north on 25 into denver and west on 70 out of Denver. SO CLOSE PRETTY MUCH MEANS ANYWHERE IN THE SOUTH TO SOUTHWESTERN PORTION OF CO. simply, if you could only climb one sport destination in CO for a day, which one(s) would be your favorite? we climb anything from 5.6 -5.12c sport


In that case, skip the stuff "close" to Denver, like Clear Creek. It is popular because it is convenient to the city, not because it is particularly amazing. If you just have a day, and will be driving up on 25 anyway, Shelf Road would be a great stop. Really scenic area, good camping, fun climbing. It is often considered a winter area, but you'll still find nice temperatures in May if you stick to the shade at crags like the Gem Wall.

Devil's Head (a bit further north toward Denver) is fun too, and would be along the way for you. Cooler as well, at higher elevation.

Or just skip Colorado and keep driving to Maple Canyon.


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By PRRose
From Boulder
Apr 14, 2014

Devil's Head (sport)
Upper Dream Canyon (sport)
Mary's Bust (sport)
Lumpy Ridge (trad)
Monitor Rock (sport)
Grotto Wall (trad and sport)
Rifle (sport)

First four are within two hours of Denver and are more or less on the way to California. All are short approaches except Devil's Head and Lumpy.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 15, 2014
Stabby

Tony B wrote:
St Vrain better than Bocan?

I typically exclude mentioning the bubble because I personally never spend any time there & therefore unqualified to comment on it.


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By Jim6565
Apr 15, 2014

No mention of Boulder Canyon yet? It's close to Boulder (5 to 25 min), cool in the summer, many hundreds of sport routes, good guide books, and good camping close by. Negatives are:

-that some areas get crowded ( arrive before 9),
-you may get wet crossing the stream.


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By david Graham
Apr 15, 2014
stuff

Thanks for all the help y'all! I have a pretty good idea of the noteworthy places now. I'm jealous Coloradans have so many places to choose from.


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By Ted Eliason
From Westminster, CO
Apr 15, 2014
Ice Fest 2014

david Graham wrote:
SO CLOSE PRETTY MUCH MEANS ANYWHERE IN THE SOUTH TO SOUTHWESTERN PORTION OF CO. simply, if you could only climb one sport destination in CO for a day, which one(s) would be your favorite?


Shelf Road. On the way to Denver. Hundreds of routes of all grades. Good camping. Not as good as Smith Rock, OR, Red River Gorge, KY or other epic sport destinations, but the most developed sport crag Colorado has to offer. If you climb really hard (I don't), Rifle off of I-70. Eldo is mostly a trad crag but there are a few stiff sport routes and Eldo is where you should go 'if you can only climb one destination for a day' and are willing to toss out the 'trad crag' bias.


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By doligo
Apr 15, 2014
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

david Graham wrote:
simply, if you could only climb one sport destination in CO for a day, which one(s) would be your favorite?


Rifle. Believe the hype!


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By PRRose
From Boulder
Apr 15, 2014

Jim6565 wrote:
No mention of Boulder Canyon yet? It's close to Boulder (5 to 25 min), cool in the summer, many hundreds of sport routes, good guide books, and good camping close by. Negatives are: -that some areas get crowded ( arrive before 9), -you may get wet crossing the stream.


Where's the good camping?


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 15, 2014
Stabby

PRRose wrote:
Where's the good camping?

Yeah, that puzzled me too. I think the James Peak area is the *closest* good camping


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By Jim6565
Apr 15, 2014

Okay, I knew someone would bring up the camping issue. Again "nearby" is a relative term. There is no camping in the canyon, Highway patrol chases everyone off a long time ago. But here is my list of "nearby".

- 7.2 mi N of Nederland on CO72, mile marker 40(about .25mi S of Gold Hill road),is a NFSR 328 that has established camping at the RUBY Gulch area. It is free and is part of the Four Mile Creek drainage. If you have a high clearance ride, you can camp down next to the stream. If not there are places closer to CO72.

- Gordon Gulch campground, I believe it is also free. Directions are: From Nederland, head north on Colorado Highway 72 for five miles and turn east onto NFSR 226 (this turnoff is 1/2 mile north of milepost 37). Numbered campsites are located along NFSR's 226, 314, 228 and 233 and their off-shoots.

-Kelly Dahl, not the best place as it is a $10/night place with about 40 spaces. Directions: Approximately four miles south of Nederland, Colorado, on Colorado Highway (CO) 119, watch for the entrance to Kelly Dahl Campground on the east side of the highway at mile-marker 22. (The entrance is approximately two miles north of Rollinsville on Colorado Highway 119.). Usually open in late May

- West Magnolia, better Known as a mountain biking area. It has established sites. Directions:From Nederland, head south on Colorado Highway 119 for 2.8 miles. Turn west onto County Road 132W. Limited parking is available just off of the highway, or continue one mile west and turn south through the second Forest Service gate to the main trailhead parking area. West Magnolia is a dispersed, multiple-use area. Twenty-two numbered, designated campsites are scattered along NFSR 355 and its offshoots within one mile of CR 132W. Camping is permitted in designated sites only.

These are all car camping areas. My favorite is Ruby Gulch


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Apr 15, 2014
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

if you are on 70 heading to california, stop at Rifle. It's only 20 minutes or so off of I-70 and has camping, and is pretty much a sport climber's wet dream.

Case closed.


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Apr 15, 2014

Jon Zucco wrote:
if you are on 70 heading to california, stop at Rifle. It's only 20 minutes or so off of I-70 and has camping, and is pretty much a sport climber's wet dream. Case closed.


This is true, but perhaps no quite "Case Closed". To the OP: If you haven't been to Rifle before, expect to find the climbing to be...challenging. It is a weird style that takes some getting used to. If you just show up for one day, you may not have fun...that does tend to happen there. Rifle is the best sport climbing in Colorado, but perhaps not the best place to go to just for just a day of fun 5.10/5.11 onsighting.


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Apr 15, 2014
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

good point. It also may still be a little chilly in late may.


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By PRRose
From Boulder
Apr 15, 2014

Jim6565 wrote:
Okay, I knew someone would bring up the camping issue. Again "nearby" is a relative term. There is no camping in the canyon, Highway patrol chases everyone off a long time ago.


Is camping at the Upper Dream parking lot legal? I've seen tents set up there.


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