Boulder is a small city of approximately 100,000, 40 minutes northwest of Denver, blessed with an amazing amount of rocks with decent variety of rock type for cragging minutes from downtown. Tucked at the base of the The Flatirons this picturesque community is convenient for climbers and has attracted more than its share of our vertically oriented community. Its youthful presence of students at the University of Colorado, CU attracts a better than average selection of restaurants and shops to satisfy your non-climbing needs.
For rock type, you can find granite, solid Fountain Formation sandstone, Dakota sandstone, quartzite, and even some gneiss or schist for your vertical adventures. A bit further afield you can find basalt, conglomerate, even limestone. For climbing styles, you can find routes from boulder problems to 700 foot vertical crags to 2300 foot slabbing adventures from highballs to bolted sport climbs to mind-challenging traditional lines. You can even climb in the rain. You can play on crowded rock or find nearly untraveled stone. You can even seek out occasional ice or mixed climbs. For seasons, you can find something to climb virtually any day of the year, depending upon your climbing style or tolerances to weather.
At one point in history, some might argue that the rocks around this town were a focal point for the advancement of American climbing. Still, these crags are rich with history. Today, with perhaps the exception of the high-end climber, nearly every climber can find something nearby to satisfy their climbing desires.
Areas nearby include:
Eldorado Canyon State Park As one of the world's finest and most famous climbing areas, Eldorado Canyon needs little introduction. It consists of steep, beautiful Fountain Formation sandstone walls of up to 700 feet high, in brilliant shades of gold and red. The rock quality is reminiscent of granite rather than the soft sandstone found throughout much of Utah and Arizona.
The Flatirons The Flatirons are synonymous with Boulder and the history of rock climbing in North America. It would be hard to find another location in the country where such an extensive variety, from scrambling to hard "Head Point" routes existing so close to a city.
Boulder Canyon Minutes from downtown Boulder, a wide variety of climbing types and beautiful scenery make Boulder Canyon a favorite for many locals to climb. The rock type is granite, smooth in places but for the most part highly textured. A side canyon, Dream Canyon, has gained populariy.
Flagstaff Mt A popular and well-known bouldering area. Follow Baseline Rd. W into the hills. Note, parking may cost if you don't have Boulder County plates.
There are many nearby areas to climb including: Mickey Mouse Wall, Eldorado Mt, Coal Creek Canyon. Further afield are areas to climb including crags surrounding Lyons, Golden, Denver, Castlewood Canyon SP, Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Cedar Park, Empire, Idaho Springs, and Georgetown. So much to climb, so much to enjoy. Maybe, that's why so many climbers live nearby.
Climbing gear: Neptune Mountaineering (Table Mesa Shopping Center). Oldest climbing shop in Boulder. Great selection of gear and a knowledgeable staff. Thursday night slide shows, often with world-famous climbers. Check out their climbing museum: photos and climbing memorabilia from all over the world, including Edmund Hillary's boots, and a photo of Gaston Rebuffat running it out with just a hemp rope tied around his waist!
Eats: Southern Sun (Table Mesa shopping center on Broadway just south of Table Mesa; next to Neptune Mountaineering). Best place in town for locally-brewed beer. Happy Hour from 4-6pm with $2 pints. Good burgers, burritos, wraps and daily specials. Favorite hangout for climbers after a day in Eldorado. Can get very busy and loud! Sister site to the Mountain Sun (Pearl St. between 15th & 16th). Mountain Sun and Southern Sun
Rio's (Walnut & 11th). Mexican food and margaritas; another favorite climber hangout.
After climbing in the Flatirons, try the Dark Horse. Not bad for brews and pub food and just a mile or two from Chautauqua E on Baseline. Pitchers are about $10 and less for happy hour, when appetizers are 1/2 price as well. Best buffalo wings in Boulder. A Big burger + basket of fries is $4 for Burger Madness every other night.
After climbing in Boulder Canyon, come down a few miles to Walnut Street and eat at the Walnut Street Brewery. The menu is more upscale ($9-15), the food great, and the beer just as good. Tuesday is Pint-Night- $4 for the first one, $2 for refills, and you keep the pint logo glass.
For the slightly-more-adventuresome palates, consider Ras Kasas - Ethiopian (~30th & Pearl), Tandoori Grill (near Neptune's), Mataam Fez - Moroccan (2226 Pearl St), Khow Tahi Cafe - Thai (1600 Broadway), Sushi Tora (2014 10th), Red Lion (38472 Boulder Canyon), Narayan's - Nepali (4800 Baseline), or Wahoo's Fish Taco (2790 Pearl).
Beer: Liquor Mart (Canyon & 15th): great selection of beer and wine. Often have good stuff (microbrews) on sale.
You can look at the NOAA website for some more info.
By Air - you can fly into Denver International Airport (DIA) which lies probably 1 1/4 hours time from Boulder. You can fly into Jefferson County Airport (private and small planes) which lies probably 15 minutes SE of Boulder.
By Car - this small community of climber-overrepresentation lies approximately 40 minutes NW of Denver on US 36. From the S, you can access it via CO Hwy 93 (aka Broadway in Boulder). From the E, you can access it off CO Hwy 119. From the N, you can access it via US 36. From the W, you can access it from CO Hwy 119 or use other possibly more circuitous routes.
The Vaporizer is a pretty new rock climb (I think the Fixed Hardware Review Committee approved it in 2005?) and is somewhat obscure, most likely because of its location, but it is excellent and should be on the list for any well-traveled Eldo climber.The route is sustained and very interesting... typical Eldo-bizarro-weird climbing, but a lot of fun and challenging with multiple 5.11 sections, and only a few 5.10 "rests" here and there.Begin by starting at the base of the Bulge Wall and climbing...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
Bouldering: Flagstaff on winter afternoons. Sport/Trad: Blob Rock until it closes (February 1). Sport: Sport Park (if the wind's not blowing), Coney Island, Bihedral, Riviera, Plotinus Wall (access is tricky). Trad: Eldo, West Ridge, and Rincon.
All are pretty sunny and either south- or west-facing. Enjoy!