BETA PHOTO: Deer Creek Crag seen from the road: Horseshoes and...
This is a burly little roadside crag just up from Deer Creek Canyon (Jeffco Open Space, sw of Denver). There are three sets of chain anchors allowing you to toprope all climbs and variations, but the far right climb is bolted as well, and other climbs could be lead traditionally. Rock quality is sketchy in places, however, especially on the left side. The walk up to the anchors is to the left. The crag is 35/40 feet tall at the most. The rock is gneiss, I think, not unlike what you'll find in Clear Creek.
The climbing is rigorous and challenging--11s and 12s. There's some bouldering to be had as well. This is basically a local after-work crag, not necessarily worth the drive if you're closer to Clear Creek or Boulder, but certainly fun if you're in the area or want to sample something new.
All three main climbs are good and worth a go, and there is definitely room for improvised variations.
From west Denver: Take C-470 south past the Morrison and 285 exits to the Ken Caryl exit. Take a right at the light and drive through the hogback (you'll see signs for Ken Caryl Valley). Stay left through the next light (the road is now called South Valley Rd.) and head through the third light as well. Drive on till you come to a T (there are some nice sandstone formations on your left, but climbing is off-limits), take a left here, then a right at the second T. You're now on the Deer Creek Canyon road heading into the mountains.
or, from Highlands Ranch and places to the south: Take C-470 west/north to the Wadsworth exit. Turn left/south as if going to Chatfield Reservoir, then first right after going under C-40. This road becomes Deer Creek Canyon Rd: take three miles west...
Once on Deer Creek Canyon Rd., pass the brown signs for Deer Creek Canyon (the open space park); stay on the main (windy) road for another two miles. The overhanging crag is right there on the road side on your right with a pullout in front of it. If you get to a strange little place called Phillipsburg you've just passed it.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Deer Creek Crag:
Completes the right side of the W. Not sure how to actually rate this thing because it is so short. 4 bolts - 2 bolts of 5.12 to 2 bolts of V10. So what ever that equals. Get ready to get your campus finger lock on!!!!...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
There is some colorful but little known history in Deer Creek Canyon. Alfred Packer spent his final years mining and ranching in the area.
Please be mindful of the 100-year old petroglyphs on the bottom right side of the crag. This place is known as Camp Rock in historical records and was a popular resting place for travelers on the Deer Creek wagon road.
On a completely different note, an ice climb or two occasionally form downstream of Phillipsburg. I've never caught them in shape but my Dad got in a couple good days around 1980.
I have bolted a open project on the right side of the wall, it climbs diagonally to the left trending toward the exsisting 12. The route is actually pretty sweet and very, very, very hard. When I bolted it, I was thinking easy 5.13, but I'm thinking now after doing the moves that it's much harder maybe 14a?
As a side note, I spoke with some local home owners and they don't have a problem with us climbing there, just be cool, clean up after yourself and keep it low key. Also, someone stole my draws of the warm up so..... Don't leave your draws on any climbs here. I guess it was a dumb move in the first place to leave my draws there.
A fun little wall next to the road. I was surprised and pleased with the difficulty and quality of the few lines that have been established here. This is a place that will find winter attention form me this year. Actually very quite for being so close to the road!!!! Great place to get a quick dose of stout climbing.
If everyone agrees, I think the fixed draws on a wall so close to the road is an eye sore and brings unleaded attention to the wall. If anyone goes to climb here, please bring down any fixed draws. I appreciate the idea and normally love having fixed gear for convenience; however, in this case it feels a little lazy due to the size of the wall.
By Allen Hill From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine Jun 20, 2010
I drove down the canyon tonight and am in total agreement. They are a total eyesore and could cause issues. Pull them off.
A little history. We used the little cliff to practice steep aid climbing. Thus the quarter inch bolts that use to grace the cliff a little more than half way up... just high enough to avoid the coffin zone.
I think it's cool that it's a little sport crag now, but get rid of the slings in your own interest.
Hey, guys and gals. Just made it out here for a quicky. The property owner (driveway just west of the crag) stopped by and told us it was his land and didn't want us there. He wasn't exactly very happy to see us. We were very cordial, cleaned up, and got out.