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Charon's Gardens

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Charon's Gardens 


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Administrator: Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: J C Wilks on May 8, 2009
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  • This area is designated as Charon's Gardens Wilderness Area MORE INFO >>>
  • Access is always an issue here. MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    The topography of Charon's Gardens can be a complex maze with small outcrops which can obscure features that are relatively near. There are good to fair trails leading to the major destinations. These areas include Tiny Bubbles, Pear & Apple, Treasure Cove, Elk Slabs and Crab Eyes, but even then, once you are close there can be a bit of route finding to get to the base of the actual climbs.

    There are several areas with no maintained trail leading to them. Pick up a USGS map, a condensed version of the Refuge from the Visitor Center or print out a satellite image to aid you in finding these places on and around Mt. Lincoln, West Horizon Pass, Sunset Peak/Big Whiskey and other more obscure crags. The advantage of these areas is that you will avoid the crowds at the Narrows and Mt Scott.

    The original 1980 book by Duane Raleigh and Bill Thomas 'Southern Exposure - A Climber's Guide to Oklahoma' simply states: "CHARON'S GARDENS - To the west of Elk Mt. is a rugged wilderness area known as Charons Gardens. Throughout this area there are many excellent one pitch and shorter crack climbs. These can be difficult to locate and no listing of the specific routes will be given.

    Climbing is year 'round but you will want to avoid the roasting south facing cliffs in summer and the shady north facing cliffs in winter. Encounters with wildlife can be sudden. Watch out especially for rattle snakes, elk and rogue bison bulls.

    There is a designated camping section within Charon's Gardens. You must backpack in a couple of miles and the camping is primitive. Check at the Visitor Center for permits.


    Getting There 

    Residing on the far southwestern end of the Refuge, there are two main parking lots for this large area and a few pull-outs in between. Drive west on 49 to the north, Sunset Pool Parking which provides access to most of the major climbing areas. Off of the Indiahoma Rd is the south parking lot at Treasure Lake. This is the best point to start in to areas such as Panther Canyon, West Horizon Pass and Mt Lincoln. It's also a good way in to Elk Slabs. This lot has had high incidences of break-ins from time to time so keep your valuables with you or hidden if you must leave them in the vehicle.


    163 Total Routes


    ['4 Stars',23],['3 Stars',55],['2 Stars',38],['1 Star',16],['Bomb',0]
    ['<=5.6',16],['5.7',7],['5.8',11],['5.9',26],['5.10',25],['5.11',14],['5.12',8],['5.13',3],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',1],['V2-3',19],['V4-5',11],['V6-7',11],['V8-9',5],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',1],['>=V14',0]

    The Classics

    Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Charon's Gardens:
    Arete Like Foley   V1 5     Boulder   Wapiti Bouldering
    Disco Dance   V1 5     Boulder   Wapiti Bouldering
    One Hit Wonder   V2 5+     Boulder   Wapiti Bouldering
    The Oklahoma Panhandler   V6 7A     Boulder, 1718'   Crab Eyes : Crab Eyes Bouldering
    Great Expectations   5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch   Elk Slabs
    The (Other) Dihedral   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch   Elk Slabs
    Water Streak   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b X     Trad, 2 pitches, 120'   Elk Slabs
    Little Sherman Creature Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Echo Dome
    Worm Hole   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Echo Dome
    For A Rocker   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch   Lost Dome
    Ladybugs and Gentlemen   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport   Echo Dome
    Frosted Flakes   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 70'   Echo Dome
    Come and Get Your Love   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Lost Dome
    Crack a Lo Lo   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Lost Dome
    Power Series   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   Crab Eyes : East Face
    Slime of the Century   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   Lost Dome
    Ra   5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   Crab Eyes : East Face
    Lost My Religion   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch   Lost Dome
    Rap Bolters from Hell   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Lost Dome
    Tied to the Whipping Post   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Lost Dome
    Browse More Classics in Charon's Gardens

    Featured Route For Charon's Gardens
    route photo

    Serpentine 5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a  OK : Wichita Wildlife Refuge : ... : Hidden Wall
    Follows the obvious (and very difficult looking) dihedral. Climb through a series of ledges that can be protected with cams to the first bolt. Some hard stemming will through a pin and another bolt. There are gear placements that will help get you through the roof and to the last bolt. Hard and very fun if you like smeary dihedrals...[more]   Browse More Classics in OK

    Photos of Charon's Gardens Slideshow Add Photo
    Charon's Gardens! Taken from Elk slabs on a beautiful January day. WWR, OK.
    Charon's Gardens! Taken from Elk slabs on a beauti...
    So much rock in CG that at first it's hard to figure out where you're supposed to be going. Take the time to walk many of the trails! Great place to be lost for the day!
    So much rock in CG that at first it's hard to figu...
    Jimmy Ray Forester climibng on Rap Bolters from Hell on Lost Dome. <br /> <br />Photo: Ryan Ray
    Jimmy Ray Forester climibng on Rap Bolters from He...
    Charons Garden Wilderness Area Sunset. <br /> <br />Photo: Ryan Ray
    Charons Garden Wilderness Area Sunset.

    Photo: Rya...
    Golden hour in the Gardens. Beautiful area. WWR, OK.
    Golden hour in the Gardens. Beautiful area. WWR, O...
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