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Dolores Canyon

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
A Walking Enigma  T 
Air Time S 
Arm and Hammer  S 
Bat Master  S 
Bearded Lunch Lady T 
Caroline's Crack T 
Caroline's Offwidth T 
Cinco de Mayo en Domingo T 
Crescent Crack  T 
Dazed and Confused  T 
Deliverance  T 
Duncan's Delight T 
Ear, The T 
Easy-Wider T 
Groove Tube, The T 
High Time T 
Jive Turkey T 
Joint Effort T 
Lunch Box Special  T 
Make John Do It T 
McComb Crack T 
Menstruation Station T 
Pump House Crack 
Pump House Direct  T 
Rattlesnake Crack T 
Redemption Arete T 
Rizla's Crack T 
Rope Master's Crack T 
Seemter, The T 
Spooky Tooth  T 
Sunday Stroll T 
Superette  T 
Swim Simulator  T 
Texas Corner T 
Unknown T 
Unknown Crack aka People are Watching T 
Whiskey River T 
Wind Tower, The T 
Unsorted Routes:
Rest Day:
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From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Dolores Canyon Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 37.8406, -108.807 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 13,348
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Monty, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bill Duncan on Dec 12, 2006
Forecast:
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]

Description 

Dolores Canyon is a very nice, accessible canyon on BLM land that has camping, a river (sometimes), and quality Wingate sandstone rock. The climbs are 1-2 pitches in length, and the approaches are mostly short. The climbs face east or northeast, so this can be a bit chilly in the winter. This area offers seclusion in a wilderness setting.

Getting There 

Just south of Dove Creek on US Highway 666, there is a turn by the airport. There is a BLM sign that says "Dolores Canyon overlook." Turn down this road and take your first left by the airport, do not go to the overlook (unless you want to see the view). There may be signs to Mountain Sheep Point or the pumping station. Follow this road down into Big Canyon and the boat ramp at the pumphouse. Continue past the boat ramp to where the cliffs come closer to the road and the rock quality improves dramatically. There are several obvious buttresses, and some of them have routes on them. There are still opportunities for FAs here, too. The local ethic here is traditional (ground up). There is one particularly good buttress, just to the right of a drainage system, called Beehive Buttress.

Per ian altman: just as you enter the township of Dove Creek on US Highway 491, look for a large brown BLM sign stating “Dolores River Canyon Access”. The sign is on the south side of the highway, and the road you want is directly across the highway from it on the north side of the highway. After turning onto this road, follow it for a series of marked turns that state: “Dolores River Access” until you drop into the main canyon.

The series of turns after you leave the highway are: 1. left, 2. right. 3.left and 4. left. After taking the last left turn, the road begins to descend towards the Dolores River by descending a side canyon called “Secret Canyon”. Once you reach the bottom of this descent and you first see the river, take a left and follow this road for another mile before you reach the first chunk of climbs. There is a well maintained campground about 5 miles from HWY 491 known as the “Box Elder” campground. There are some shorter climbs near this campground, but the bulk of the climbs are a mile or so farther in an area known as “The Pump House”. The Pump House access trail is marked by a cairn and is located at the far end of the buttress. This access trail will put you right at the base of the Retro Groove Wall. There are a multitude of other crags along this road, and looking for anchors is your best way to find them.

Topos 

Topos from Ian Altman:

Rock Climbing Photo: DOLO topos.
DOLO topos.


Rock Climbing Photo: DOLO topos - Pump House Crag, close up on Red Rock...
DOLO topos - Pump House Crag, close up on Red Rock Simulator Wall. "Bee Hive Buttress" and the obvious arch/cave are just to the looker's right.


Rock Climbing Photo: Dolo topos.
Dolo topos.


Rock Climbing Photo: DOLO topos - Ten Mile Crag - 10 miles from Dove Cr...
DOLO topos - Ten Mile Crag - 10 miles from Dove Creek, CO.


Rock Climbing Photo: DOLO topos - The Wind Tower - FA I. Altman, K. All...
DOLO topos - The Wind Tower - FA I. Altman, K. Allinger, & J. Kelly, 1995. FFA - I. Altman, J. Hooten, 2001.

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 12.1 miles from here

38 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',12],['2 Stars',15],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',3],['5.8',2],['5.9',5],['5.10',18],['5.11',10],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Dolores Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Dolores Canyon:
Redemption Arete   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 85'   
Caroline's Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
Air Time   5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Rope Master's Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
High Time   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   
Arm and Hammer    5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 140'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Dolores Canyon

Featured Route For Dolores Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo:  Renee Nall climbs through the beginning face move...

Superette 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c  CO : Dolores Canyon
This awesome pitch follows the obvious hanging crack system, located 20' climbers' left of Lunch Box Special. Begin with a short face section (25'), and use an incipient crack (1"-3" gear) and single bolt for protection (5.10+). Gain small ledge below LBS crack, and climb this crack through small, left-facing roof/corner for 25' (5.10-). Traverse left at the second protection bolt and enter the Superette crack (5.10-). Follow this radness for 60', and look for locker fi...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Dolores Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Charlie Fowler on "Charlie's Angel" ...
Charlie Fowler on "Charlie's Angel" ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Dolores River Canyon - Pump House Crag, awesome fi...
Dolores River Canyon - Pump House Crag, awesome fi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Wind Tower, 5.11***  200 feet.
Wind Tower, 5.11*** 200 feet.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown route.
Unknown route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Wind Tower - bolt and gear protected stem box (5.1...
Wind Tower - bolt and gear protected stem box (5.1...
Rock Climbing Photo: Retro Groove Wall hosting - Superette, Lunch Box S...
Retro Groove Wall hosting - Superette, Lunch Box S...
Rock Climbing Photo: Lee Unsoeld climbs the Honeycomb, 5.9*.
Lee Unsoeld climbs the Honeycomb, 5.9*.
Rock Climbing Photo: Alexis Lang floats her way into Rizla's Crack -5.1...
Alexis Lang floats her way into Rizla's Crack -5.1...
Rock Climbing Photo: 5.10 crack at 4.2 mile Crag.
5.10 crack at 4.2 mile Crag.
Rock Climbing Photo: Retro Groove Wall.
BETA PHOTO: Retro Groove Wall.
Rock Climbing Photo: 4.2 mile Crag.
4.2 mile Crag.
Rock Climbing Photo: Crossing the river to climb.
Crossing the river to climb.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dolores Canyon.
Dolores Canyon.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown corner.
Unknown corner.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dolores Canyon map.
BETA PHOTO: Dolores Canyon map.
Rock Climbing Photo: Besides no people, good camping, and a river, it's...
Besides no people, good camping, and a river, it's...
Rock Climbing Photo: Area I have found most routes put up. Near pump ho...
BETA PHOTO: Area I have found most routes put up. Near pump ho...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tana on unknown mod in Dolores Canyon.
Tana on unknown mod in Dolores Canyon.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Dolores River Canyon near Dove Creek, CO. Wing...
The Dolores River Canyon near Dove Creek, CO. Wing...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunflowers above the canyon.
BETA PHOTO: Sunflowers above the canyon.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown route in the canyon.
Unknown route in the canyon.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown corner.
Unknown corner.
Rock Climbing Photo: View up canyon from the Red Rocks Simulator Wall, ...
View up canyon from the Red Rocks Simulator Wall, ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Wind Tower ~ splitter fingers with good feet all a...
Wind Tower ~ splitter fingers with good feet all a...

Show All 26 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Dolores Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 11, 2016
By Johnkelley
Jan 31, 2012
Are people still climbing here? We put up several lines in this area in the late '90s/ early 2000s. The "unknown" photo of the 5.7/8 is the Red Rocks Simulator. Don't remember the name of the one called 5.10b in the photo, but Crystal Davis and I did the FA. I remember that we called the thin crack/seam that it shares an anchor with The Seamster.
By Johnkelley
Jan 31, 2012
The photo in the center, traverse in from the left to the finger crack, is Sunday Strole. Ian Altman did the FA with someone, sorry it's been a while and I can't remember.
By kyle a.
Mar 26, 2012
Good climbing, cracks and faces. The routes can be hard to find, Ian Altman in Durango has the topo and crag locator. Thanks, Kyle
By ian altman
Feb 28, 2014
Dolores River Canyon topos - "Pump House Crag" 4.3 miles from Dove Creek, CO. Our crew began climbing the obvious crack lines here in 1995 and quickly ventured onto the faces ground-up style throughout the early ots.

Rock Climbing Photo: DOLO topos.
DOLO topos.
By ian altman
Feb 28, 2014
Dolores River Canyon Topos- "Pump House Crag" 4.3 miles from Dove Creek, CO.

Rock Climbing Photo: Dolo topos.
Dolo topos.
By ian altman
Feb 28, 2014
Rock Climbing Photo: DOLO topos - Pump House Crag, close up on Red Rock...
DOLO topos - Pump House Crag, close up on Red Rock Simulator Wall. "Bee Hive Buttress" and the obvious arch/cave are just to the looker's right.
By ian altman
Feb 28, 2014
Dolores River Canyon - "Ten Mile Crag" just 10 miles from Dove Creek, CO. We first climbed here in 1995 through the late '90s and did a few more in early '00s.

Rock Climbing Photo: DOLO topos - Ten Mile Crag - 10 miles from Dove Cr...
DOLO topos - Ten Mile Crag - 10 miles from Dove Creek, CO.
By ian altman
Feb 28, 2014
This one is well worth the river crossing and the steep/loose approach. A real gem with one of the better Wingate finger cracks in the canyon! A unique stem box (protected by 4" Rawls :) to a dead vertical, splitter and locker finger crack surrounded by foot holds.
Rock Climbing Photo: DOLO topos - The Wind Tower - FA I. Altman, K. All...
DOLO topos - The Wind Tower - FA I. Altman, K. Allinger, & J. Kelly, 1995. FFA - I. Altman, J. Hooten, 2001.
By Aaron Rashaw
Jul 10, 2016
Climbed here in the spring of 2016, and it seems there are a bunch more routes done now than reported? It also seems like some closely spaced rap bolting might be going on? I read about the traditional ground up ethic and kicked things down a few grades. I'm glad I did, there was comfortable excitement on the face routes! Dolores reminds me of Buckhorn Wash in The Swell, lower concentration of splitters but no people. The green faces remind me of Zion face climbing.
By Will Cooper
Jul 11, 2016
For the "Description" section, the contributor mentions turns beginning "just as you enter Dove Creek on Highway 491", but he does not say from which direction one is entering Dove Creek! = One can enter Dove Creek on Highway 491 either from the East or the West, and obviously it makes a big difference in terms of the directions.

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