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From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Durango Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 6,512'
Location: 37.2675, -107.88 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 160,079
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Monty, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: eDixon on Apr 28, 2006  with updates from Tim Kuss and 1 more


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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [6 people like this page.]
Durango's Premier Crag - The Watch Crystal.


Durango is a nice, mid-sized town in southwestern Colorado with a variety of local rock climbing. No single crag is a destination in itself, but each of them has some gems, and together make for a nice local climbing scene.

For a good pump on some steep limestone, check out the sport climbing at the Golf Wall. If you think trad is rad, make a trip to East Animas and don't miss the Watch Crystal. It is one of the finest pieces of stone in the area. For bouldering, check out Turtle Lake, Sailing Hawks or any of the many other areas. X-Rock is right at the north end of town and has a nice little selection of routes that are easily top-roped. If you prefer something a little more obscure, try exploring the Hermosa cliffs. Lemon Reservoir should not be missed either. It is one of the newer crags in the area where you can find quality sport, gear, or mixed lines. For a more backcountry/alpine climbing experience, look into the Pine River or Vallecito areas.

Your best bet for information on climbing around the area is to check out a copy of Durango Sandstone (new edition came out in 2014) and Durango Bouldering at any of the climbing shops in town. Both are well done and written by local climbers/authors.

Pine Needle Mountaineering
Backcountry Experience
Gardenswartz Outdoors

Spring and Fall are the best seasons to rock climb around Durango. The temperatures are typically mild during these times. Summers can get hot, especially on sunny walls, but it can be pleasant to climb in the shade or during the morning. Winter typically brings colder weather and snow, but during periods of dry weather in the sun it can be nice.

Getting There 

Take US Hwy 550 if coming from the north or south, or take CO Hwy 160 if coming from the east or west.

Google Map

Closed areas 

Everything to the right of the East Animas designated climbing trail is private property and is apparently closed to climbing.

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.1 miles from here

619 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',43],['3 Stars',260],['2 Stars',234],['1 Star',71],['Bomb',2]

Classic Climbing Routes in Durango

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Durango:
Bird Hole Right   V3 6A     Boulder, 16'   Bouldering : Big East Block
Three Finger Pocket/Petrified Prow   V5 6C     Boulder, 12'   Sailing Hawks : Petrified Boulder
Something Wicked This Way Comes   V6 7A     Boulder, 11'   Sailing Hawks : Triangle Boulder
The Fin (Stand)   V7 7A+     Boulder, 20'   Bouldering : Big East Block
Nuggernaut   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches, 900'   Pine River Trad : Tradistan Tower
The Black Arete   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   East Animas : Watch Crystal
Bush & Dirt Crack aka Pseudo-Cenotaph aka I Need a Shower   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 100'   East Animas : Jabba Buttress
Byrd's Classic   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches   East Animas : Byrd's
Simians to the Sun   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 250'   East Animas : Watch Crystal
(Enter) Sandman   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   East Animas : Jabba Buttress
Vertical Alluvium   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Lemon Reservoir : West Side
Apes of Wrath   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 2 pitches, 250'   East Animas : Watch Crystal
Durangutan   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 200'   East Animas : Watch Crystal
Gold Wall   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   X Rock : Gold Wall
Watch Crystal Crack   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   East Animas : Watch Crystal
Close To The Edge   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Cascade Canyon : Pool Area
Holy Grail   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 105'   Lemon Reservoir : East Side
Brady's Route   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 105'   Lemon Reservoir : East Side
Reverse Cowgirl    5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   Cascade Canyon : Free Tibet Sector
Valhalla   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 70'   East Animas : Apple Cider
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Durango

Featured Route For Durango
Rock Climbing Photo: Beginning of the business.

Reverse Cowgirl 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b  CO : Durango : ... : Free Tibet Sector
This route is fantastic! It is a gently overhanging, power endurance, fun factory where finger strength and fancy footwork are the key to maximum funning! Start with a few bolts of enjoyably .11- climbing. Get an almost jug at the third bolt, and prepare thyself as the angle steepens and the holds get significantly more fun (smaller) and no rest till you clip the anchors!The grade is a rough estimate, I really have no idea. It's definitely 5th class though, that's for sure. As for the name, it...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Durango Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: "Enter Sandman" @ East A.
"Enter Sandman" @ East A.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Pope's Nose.
The Pope's Nose.
Rock Climbing Photo: More bouldering on boulders.
More bouldering on boulders.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bouldering on boulders.
Bouldering on boulders.
Rock Climbing Photo: Steve, Eggman, Eginore bivying on Insectaphobia, t...
Steve, Eggman, Eginore bivying on Insectaphobia, t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Local Durango hard-goats.
Local Durango hard-goats.
Rock Climbing Photo: Gentle Ben on Legacy of the Kid 5.9 R/X. WORD!
BETA PHOTO: Gentle Ben on Legacy of the Kid 5.9 R/X. WORD!
Rock Climbing Photo: Khumbu, the Hermosa dog at the trailhead. She woul...
Khumbu, the Hermosa dog at the trailhead. She woul...
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st ascent for those who dare...Wildcat Canyon.
1st ascent for those who dare...Wildcat Canyon.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tom crossing a tyrolean in Granite lands.
Tom crossing a tyrolean in Granite lands.
Rock Climbing Photo: Baker's Bridge. Photo by B. Campbell.
Baker's Bridge. Photo by B. Campbell.
Rock Climbing Photo: Try SKA Special ESB. Photo by Blitzo.
Try SKA Special ESB. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Kris French tests out his shiny new 25-bolt anchor...
BETA PHOTO: Kris French tests out his shiny new 25-bolt anchor...
Rock Climbing Photo: Like overhangs?
Like overhangs?
Rock Climbing Photo: Durango Guide available.
BETA PHOTO: Durango Guide available.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dihedral of Grinning Hostess w/ aesthetic undercli...
Dihedral of Grinning Hostess w/ aesthetic undercli...
Rock Climbing Photo: Outside Durango.
Outside Durango.
Rock Climbing Photo: Try Modus Hoperandi.  Photo by Blitzo.
Try Modus Hoperandi. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Laser Crack, V2ish.
Laser Crack, V2ish.
Rock Climbing Photo: Try True Blonde. Photo by Blitzo.
Try True Blonde. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Valalpin's Formations....
Valalpin's Formations....
Rock Climbing Photo: Nice ice.
Nice ice.
Rock Climbing Photo: Steve, Eggman, Eginore, aid climbing on Insectapho...
Steve, Eggman, Eginore, aid climbing on Insectapho...
Rock Climbing Photo: Off-limits!

Show All 26 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Durango Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 27, 2016
By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Sep 17, 2008
The new edition of Durango Sandstone has been released! It is available at Backcountry Experience in Durango. Look for the Crow on the corner of 12th and Camino del Rio.
By IanA
From: Durango, CO
Aug 7, 2009
Here is a link to a good video representing the Bouldering in Durango.
By IanA
From: Durango, CO
Aug 18, 2009
Durango Bouldering Guide in stores now. Check it out!
By Laura Howey
From: Gilbert, AZ
May 18, 2010
Went to Durango High School and coming back July 30th - August 6th. Is anyone interested in climbing a couple of those days?

Staying at Cascade Lodge north of Purgatory. Have 60m rope, 12 draws, 2 personal anchors, harness, shoes, ATC device. I've been leading and TR 5.7, 5.8, 5.9 and am trying to tackle 5.10's before I come. Been climbing since mid-March and am addicted!!!

By .Miles
From: Durango, co
Jun 16, 2010
I'm on vacation from SF for the summer. I'll be in Durango till October and would like to find some folks to climb with. I've got gear and a descent amount of skill. I know there are a lot of good pitches here and I'd love to play on them. I have a house in La Plata Canyon. I'm at
By Peter12345
From: Bay Area, CA
Sep 8, 2010
Hi, I just moved to Durango from California and I am looking for local climbers to climb around Durango. I am also interested in climbing trips to Ouray, Telluride, Indian Creek, anything good in the area.
By Grace Gamble
Nov 14, 2010
Hey, guys! I'm new to the area: live in Dolores work in Cortez for Osprey, and have yet to find climbing partners. If interested, please contact me via email ( or phone (704-576-4313). Thanks!
By David Kozak
Jan 29, 2011
Has anyone ventured up to and climbed the two ice flows that have formed on the Falls Creek wall? From 550 they look pretty good.
By Colin Cox
Dec 20, 2011
In regards to the video..."Receptionist Stand - V9"? As a long time Flagstaff local, I know that's preposterous. Removing 2/3 of a V10 does not a V9 make.
By Jason Bernz
From: Durango, Colorado
Nov 20, 2013
I left my Panasonic Lumix black camera at Golf Wall. If you find it, please call me at 914 299 8717. Much appreciated.
By eggman
From: Durango, co
Jul 29, 2014
I may or may not have left my green backpack with gear in it at the East A. parking lot. Anyone? Anyone?
By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Sep 5, 2014
Rock Climbing Photo: The 2014 edition of Durango Sandstone is available...
The 2014 edition of Durango Sandstone is available now! Find it at Backcountry Experience, Gardenswartz Outdoors, Pine Needle Mountaineering, Maria's Bookshop and The Rock

It is also available on Amazon.
By Armin
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 14, 2014
Looking for a partner today. Have all gear, 15+ yrs exp. I have not climbed in Durango and was thinking of checking out the Golf Wall today if I can find a partner. Lead mid-5.11s at Rifle. Call or txt 970-376-8984, cheers -a
By ian altman
Nov 13, 2015
Some jackass chipped two of the jugs on the "front rock" at the Turtle Lake Bouldering area. It's unfathomable why someone would do such a thing...and either a random act of vandalism or a climber with a distorted personality. Please stop whoever you are, and let's keep an eye out folks!..the holds were clearly knocked off with a pick strike.
By Philip 'Japhy' Wells
From: Fort Collins, Colorado
Dec 17, 2015
New to the area, is there any offwidth climbing around? I know some bouldering in Sailing Hawks with offwidth, but anything more sustained trying to break out some 5s and 6s?
By eli poss
From: Durango, Co
Dec 19, 2015
Head up to East A. if the snow melts. There's a couple of pitches of awful-width in Jabba's Buttress, and some offwidth in and past Apple Cider. The Right X also has some a short OW section, but it's kinda short.
By Fritz N.
From: Durango, CO
Dec 20, 2015
Japhy, check out Gorilla Crack, Telephone Booth, Double Barrel and the Bear at East A.
By eli poss
From: Durango, Co
Mar 2, 2016
If anyone is interested, I have started mapping out some of the climbing areas I frequent on google maps, just as a personal project for fun. I figured I would share it and if others are interested, they can add additional crags. I've made it public so that anyone can edit and add places to the map if they're interested. Please add a new layer for each new area to keep it organized Here's a link:
By Clayton Knudson
From: Moab, UT
3 days ago
Hey all,

Will be in the area June 3rd through 5th. If anybody is looking to get out and climb please let me know, whatever kind doesn't matter. Pm me on here, maybe we can meet up. I guess I onsight around mid 5.11 if that matters at all.

Also would be nice to know if there are good areas for TR soloing and bouldering in case I can't find somebody to climb with. Thanks in advance

By eli poss
From: Durango, Co
22 hours ago
Check out X-rock or Lemon Reservoir for TR soloing with good access. Turtle Lake (bouldering) will be easier than Sailing Hawks for non-locals to navigate. I doubt I'll be able to climb by then (injury) but I could show you around and belay. My phone is (423) 504-7813

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