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South Platte

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Big Rock Candy Mountain 
Buffalo Creek 
Castle View Crags & Boulders 
Cathedral Spires Area 
Daniels Park 
Deckers 
Devil's Head 
Elevenmile Canyon 
Elevenmile Reservoir 
Goose Creek/Molly Gulch Campground 
Noddle Heads 
North Turkey Creek Crags 
Pine Area 
Rainbow Falls Bouldering (The Brushoffs) 
Rampart Range Road 
Saylor Park Boulders 
Sedalia Crack Bouldering 
Slacker Dome Area 
Staunton State Park 
Terryall State Park? Valley of Chickens? 
Tick Dome 
Turkey Rocks 
Turret, The 
West Creek 
Wigwam Creek/Lost Creek Wilderness 
Woodland Park Boulders (The Corridor) 
Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Sheep Creek Trail (FST 645)
Part of the Sheep Creek Loop, this section is all beautiful singletrack. Near Fairplay, Colorado
Sheep Creek Loop
A fun ride through some magnificent aspens. Near Fairplay, Colorado
Masontown Loop
A short, very technical, aspen-lined loop off of the Peaks Trail. Near Frisco, Colorado
Peaks Trail
A popular trail for good reasons. Rolling forested trail with diverse singletrack. Near Frisco, Colorado
Twelvemile Trail (FST 684)
Twelvemile Trail is a singletrack climb as part of the Sheep Creek Loop. Near Fairplay, Colorado
Dillon Dam Recreation Path
Scenic path with abounding views make for a good tourist ride. Near Frisco, Colorado
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

South Platte Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 39.4171, -105.469 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 559,613
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Monty, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: John McNamee on Feb 16, 2006
Forecast:
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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Classic South Platte Climbing - Big Rock Candy Mou...

Introduction 

The South Platte, a vast granite playground to the south and west of Denver, is known for it's incredible crack climbs, strung out slabs and towering summits. It encompasses the entire area between Conifer, and Sedalia, and just about everything south to the Elevenmile Canyon west of Colorado Springs.

To climb successfully in the South Platte it helps to be the adventurous type and like exploring. Many of them are well hidden until you stumble upon them! The rock quality can vary widely from bullet proof fine grained granite to very coarse friable rock which can feel like climbing on ball bearings at times.

Bring a well-rounded rack of cams, some routes eat up double or triples in some sizes, and don't forget to bring a few big pieces. Tape gloves are a good idea at a lot of these spots too, otherwise your hands will get trashed.

Some of the most popular areas with easy access and good quality rock can be found at:

Cathedral Spires Area
The Cathedral Spires group is a crack climbers paradise with also the "slab masters" crag, The Dome as well. Approaches are usually 45 minutes to an hour.

Devil's Head
Lots of three star routes, both trad and sport. Lots of recent development in the higher end grades. The rock is of exceptional quality.

Elevenmile Canyon
Elevenmile Canyon has some of the best moderate grade multi-pitch climbs around, as well as recent sport route development. A popular destination for a couple of days of camping and climbing. Elevenmile Canyon is subject to a per day entrance fee.

Pine Area
Home of the famous Sphinx Crack. Fortunately there is a heap of more moderate routes as well. Sphinix Rock and Squat Rock are currently closed.

Turkey Rocks
Got a trip to Yosemite coming up, then hit the cracks at Turkey rocks. Some of Colorado's best granite crack climbing.

West Creek
Includes Sheep's Nose and smaller crags.

Getting There 

Please refer to the individual areas for detailed information on how to get there. Always bring a good map when traveling in the Platte!

Resources 

The updated book "Climb" published by The Mountaineer's Books has one comprehensive chapter on the history of climbing in the south platte starting with Ellingworth's ascent of the Bishop in 1924 and covering historical first ascents of Sphinx Crack, The Prayer Book (Wunsch's) and Field of Dreams.

Recommended guidebooks:

South Platte, The Climbers Guide. (Peter Hubbel)
Comprehensive coverage of the South Platte.

South Platte Rock, (Ken Trout)
A selection of the best routes the South Platte has to offer.

Rock Climbing Colorado, (Stewart M. Green)
A state wide guide book that covers several of the more popular areas. A great book if you are visiting the state for a few weeks and want an overall reference.

Please see the Colorado book listings for further details.


Climbing Season



Weather station 1.4 miles from here

1,700 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',162],['3 Stars',595],['2 Stars',665],['1 Star',251],['Bomb',13]
['<=5.6',93],['5.7',112],['5.8',160],['5.9',246],['5.10',397],['5.11',266],['5.12',168],['5.13',23],['>=5.14',2],['',0],['<=V1',50],['V2-3',106],['V4-5',46],['V6-7',17],['V8-9',8],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',4],['>=V14',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in South Platte

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for South Platte:
The Staircase   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 2 pitches   Elevenmile Canyon : Arch Rock
Honky Jam Ass Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Perch
Classic Dihedral   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   Pine Area : Bucksnort Slab
Left Handed Jew   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Perch
Lost in Space   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches   West Creek : Sheep's Nose
Steppenwolf   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Perch
Gobbler's Grunt   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Rock
Center Route   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Cathedral Spires Area : Cynical Pinnacle
Straw Turkey   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Rock
Reef On It!   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
Quiver and Quill   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Tail
Drumstick Direct   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 2 pitches   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Tail
Vanishing Point   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Rock
The Opportunist   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
Whimsical Dreams   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Tail
Wunsch's Dihedral   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 4 pitches   Cathedral Spires Area : Cynical Pinnacle
Frances' Secret Handshake   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 2 pitches, 165'   Elk Creek Spires : Chimney Rock
Childhood's End   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R     Trad, Sport, 12 pitches, 1000'   Big Rock Candy Mountain
Starlight   5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch   Thunder Ridge : The Wasp Canyon
The Learning Curve   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Elk Creek Spires : Chimney Rock
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in South Platte

Featured Route For South Platte
Rock Climbing Photo: Take-a-Penny from the side

Take-a-Penny Traverse V6+ 7A  CO : South Platte : ... : Roadside Attractions
Start on the left side of the boulder matched on a rail. Traverse out the lip of the boulder on slopers until you are in the middle of the lip, then make an incredibly hard mantle on nothing but a heel and friction. Good luck!I am no judge of grade, but this was hard.I would park at the marked spots at the intersection and walk up the road, it would take about 3 min....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of South Platte Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Great apres climbing opportunities in the Platte.
Great apres climbing opportunities in the Platte.
Rock Climbing Photo: One of the many pleasures of the Platte.
One of the many pleasures of the Platte.
Rock Climbing Photo: Typical Platte.
Typical Platte.
Rock Climbing Photo: Platte legend Dave Bell actually on the Platte ben...
Platte legend Dave Bell actually on the Platte ben...
Rock Climbing Photo: Beautiful day in the South Platte to hang out and ...
Beautiful day in the South Platte to hang out and ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Just found this tonight.
Just found this tonight.
Rock Climbing Photo: Best granite in the Platte is on an unknown dome, ...
Best granite in the Platte is on an unknown dome, ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Found this rock between FS Road 550 and Asshole Ro...
BETA PHOTO: Found this rock between FS Road 550 and Asshole Ro...
Rock Climbing Photo: Buffalo Creek fire from Lake Wellington. Wild day ...
Buffalo Creek fire from Lake Wellington. Wild day ...
Rock Climbing Photo: New boulder problems in the South Platte. FA here ...
New boulder problems in the South Platte. FA here ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Andy Koken bouldering north of Sheep Nose.
Andy Koken bouldering north of Sheep Nose.
Rock Climbing Photo: Another new boulder problems in the South Platte. ...
Another new boulder problems in the South Platte. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: There's just a little bit of rock out there....
There's just a little bit of rock out there....
Rock Climbing Photo: SPlatte! Could it get an better?
SPlatte! Could it get an better?
Rock Climbing Photo: Lost Creekin' it....
Lost Creekin' it....
Rock Climbing Photo: Old campsite off the beaten path - I love stumblin...
Old campsite off the beaten path - I love stumblin...
Rock Climbing Photo: Taping up for Scorpio.
Taping up for Scorpio.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rope... $200 Rack... $500 Climbing excellent grani...
Rope... $200 Rack... $500 Climbing excellent grani...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is at Sheep's Nose. Just before Air Jordan Bo...
This is at Sheep's Nose. Just before Air Jordan Bo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Found this last night. All hail Dave.
Found this last night. All hail Dave.
Rock Climbing Photo: Charles in 1979 after a very scary 11+ traverse th...
Charles in 1979 after a very scary 11+ traverse th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Taj and Devil's Head from the top of Jackson C...
Taj and Devil's Head from the top of Jackson C...
Rock Climbing Photo: On Topaz in DH, one of the best 10s...so fun.
On Topaz in DH, one of the best 10s...so fun.
Rock Climbing Photo: Great food and beer at Zoka's in Pine. Menu change...
Great food and beer at Zoka's in Pine. Menu change...

Show All 39 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on South Platte Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 6, 2015
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
Aug 30, 2002
Here is link from the Forest Circus that gives some fire closure information:fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/news/pike_o... best I can extract from it is that the Pike National Forest is open for recreational uses except for the area indicated on the map, which seems to cover just about all of the climbing in the SPlatte. Some of the southernmost areas may still be open, but I'd have to do some checking to be sure of that.
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Oct 15, 2002
We did Bishop Jaeggers on the Dome a couple weeks back, and my partner lead. It was all there, but, you wouldnt want to fall off some of those spicier runouts! Topographical Oceans looks nice as well. The bolts are older, and far enough apart to be concerning.One interesting thing was that the rock seems bigger than it looks as it is less than vertical, and keeps going... Staying on your toes seemed to be the key!
By JD Mitch
Jul 29, 2003
The platte rocks are outstanding. Despite the hayman fire and the idiodic bolt wars. I have climbed there over ten years. I have read many of the comments as to the guide book, and I suggest that if you have a problem finding areas and lack the paitence to seek them out, I suggest you head up to Eldo or Clear creek canyon for roadside climbs. Enjoy your time in the platte. My opinion is you deffinately have to stop at the Bucksnort for brews and big talk afterwords.
By William McGehee
From: Choctaw, OK
May 11, 2004
I just got off the phone with a Ranger from the South Platte District. Looks like no camping in the "nice" places at S.P. Most established campgrounds are still closed, save a few such as the Lone Rock and Platte River campgrounds. They're open, but likely to be busy on the weekends. They're pretty far from the fun rocks anyway, so who needs them??? She encouraged dispersed camping, which means anywhere you want. No fire restrictions, but watch out for rains. They COULD bring about floods due to the lack of vegitation right now. Camp high... Also, since Cathedral is closed until the end of July, Turkey seems to be the most viable option for climbing. To get there at this time, park at the intersection of 360 and 68. DO NOT PARK in the subdivisions down the road. You'll get in trouble. The Ranger said to bring a mountain bike and ride the last mile and a half in with your gear. That's what most people do apparently. Hope this helps! Any more questions, you call them yourself at 303-275-5610.~Wm
By Anonymous Coward
Oct 19, 2004
There are a couple more guidebooks for this area besides the 'Climbing Colorado'. South Platte guide written by Peter Hubbel (chockstone press) Includes much more rocks and routes. But bewares of Peter's obvious drug habit during the writing of this book. My partner and I have found many flaws in the info of this book during our south platte travels. All in all it's the most comprehensive guide to this great area.

ps. Many restrictions due to fires have been lifted but be carefull of flash floods during the spring!
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 21, 2004
Dont be so presumptuous, coward, about the drug habit accusations. How about YOU try to put together a guide book of the entire South Platte, with no errors!? The splatte is still pretty wild, and sometimes tricky to get around. Good thing that there is plenty of beta on areas and climbs that Pete chose to leave out to keep bitchy climbers like yourself away.
By Mike b.
Oct 23, 2004
I was not registered at the time I left the previous comment about the south Platte guide book info. I apologize for the "drug habit" and I appreciate your view that some info should be omitted to keep "bitchy "climbers out of the Platte before it gets too populated. I feel the same way but, sometimes we have to ask ourselves which is better in a guide, wrong info or no info.There is no doubt in my mind that Peter has much more knowledge of the Platte and I don't dispute the fact that a guidebook is a huge undertaking and mistakes will be made. But when the maps to many climbs are blatantly wrong, it causes problems. There is also an older guidebook that Mr. Hubbel was also a part of that in a lot of cases has better info. The purpose of my message was to inform others of the existence of the guide and to warn them to be careful because there are flaws. With this said,just let me say that I would have never have been able to find some of the best rock I have ever pulled down on without this guide. Darren, lighten up man, it's just rock climbing! Sincerely, "The bitchy little coward" aka Mike b.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 19, 2005
Beware! The Colorado Rock Climbs guide book has a lot of bunk info about the South Platte area--very easy to get lost (while driving) in and around rampart road. Get the area specific guide book, or better yet, get a local with some knowledge. Also, there is a lot of crumbly/ loose rock in the area, so bring a helmet and some competence.
By dgreaser
Jul 25, 2005
South Platte Climber's Guide error - On page 190 of this guide, which shows an overview of the Jackson Creek area (North Rampart Range Road) Road 502 (Jackson Creek Road) is closed on the SOUTH side at the junction of Road 503. In other words, to get to climbs 10-19 (Jackson Creek Dome, etc) approach from the NORTH side, (possibly via Road 507) NOT THE SOUTH as suggested in the book. The gate on the north side is permanent, however it is a lot closer than hiking from the south. On the other hand, to get to Devil's Head, Taj Mahal, Flat Top Dome, etc. it is easiest to approach from the south. - Daryl
By Bob D
Feb 18, 2006
Seem strange that a area (11 Mile Canyon) that has the South Platte River running through it...is not in the South Platte area.
By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
Feb 18, 2006
Elevenmile is now part of the South Platte region on this site.
By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 18, 2006
Maybe add Elevenmile Reservoir to the South Platte too?
By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
Feb 18, 2006
Elevenmile Res. is now also part of the South Platte region.
By JK1
From: Lakewood, CO
Jul 25, 2008
I am looking for someone to climb with on July 29th and /or July 30th in the Elevenmile area. I am a safe climber that leads 5.9 bolted routes and dabbling in 5.7 trad. Will follow anything or at least try. I would love to do The Staircase as it has been a couple of years since I last did this route. I also am a knowledgable and safe belayer.
By Jason Haas
May 22, 2012
The new comprehensive, color guidebook to the South Platte (including Devil's Head) is available in all the local shops and online at Fixed Pin's website (free shipping). Happy climbing!
By Monomaniac
Administrator
From: Morrison, CO
May 22, 2012
The new guidebook is absolutely sick! Tons of inspiring photos and lots of new stuff I didn't know about; it's provided lots of great reading (even my wife, who never looks at guidebooks, has enjoyed leafing through it). An amazing effort by Jason & Co. It ships really fast too, I think I got mine the day after I ordered it. I'm sure if you order today you'll have yours in time for Memorial Day Weekend. With the recent lifting of much of the Cathedral Spires closure, the timing couldn't be better.

Can't wait for Volume 2!
By Thomas Mann
Apr 1, 2015
Looking for current conditions for Turkey Rocks. We plan to arrive mid-next week 4/8ish, and I'd love to hear about access problems if there are any. I've never climbed there this time of year, so I'm unclear on the rd conditions/gates etc.... TIA!
By Cody Cook
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 6, 2015
Thomas - I was there 2 weeks ago (as were lots of other climbers). It's perfect this time of year at Turkey. The drive in on FR360 can be done with a 2WD vehicle, but clearance is certainly preferred, as the road is somewhat gnarly in places. The drive is dry all the way to the parking lot behind Turkey Rocks. There are no gates to be concerned with. Camping is available in multiple sites along FR360 and the short road leading up to the parking lot behind the rocks. 2 weeks ago the hike up to the rocks was quite snowy (north-facing), and I was glad I wore boots for the approach, but with the recent temps, that may all be gone now. One you gain the saddle, the south-facing side (where most of the climbing is) is glorious. Such a great place. Enjoy!

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