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By Scott Hansen
From Westminster, CO
May 25, 2011
Teton beer

Where do those who climb with kids go and why? We have 4 kids ranging in ages from 13 to 1 and we seem to wind up at the same places every season. So I'm looking to broaden our horizons to other kid friendly venues primarily in Colorado but also within about a day drive of Denver so WY, UT & NM. Places with a mix of grades at or below 5.11, trad, sport or both, would be great. Thanks!


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
May 25, 2011
Stabby

The Lower West Side of Devils Head, Elevenmile, Red Rock Canyon Open Space and Penetente.
Reasons would be:
short, easy approaches
no serious ledges
small chance of rockfall
routes from .8 to .11


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By Matt Roberts
From Columbus, OH
May 25, 2011
Hittin' Miguel's with the new Chimps in tow

Scott,
Unfortunately, I don't have any good suggestions, we spend 1-2 weeks in Estes Park each summer, and always enjoy Jurassic park, but my kids are 10-14. If you don't mind my asking, where are your 'same old places'? I would like to change things up.

Matt.


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By PTZ
From Chicago/Colorado
May 25, 2011
Where? Wouldn't you like to know. You have to buy me a beer, then I will tell you.

Agree with Elevenmile. Great place and has place for kids to play in river and stuff.
Penetente may have snakes, spiders and other creepy crawleys that can be bad for little kids. Turkey rock may be good also.


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By P.K.
May 25, 2011

Not exactly a destination, but Camp Hale just past Redcliff has about 50 sport routes about 70% of which are 5.10 and under. More than enough to keep you busy for a weekend and plenty of good camping to found....


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By Jonny d
May 25, 2011

You might try the Ironclads. Same reasons Mike gave.


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By David Hodges
From Parker, Colorado
May 26, 2011
Rubicon J Tree CA

For sport climbing Penitente can't be beat.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
May 26, 2011
Stabby

DavidH wrote:
For sport climbing Penitente can't be beat.

For what its worth, this is a picture from Penetente.

Now, I spend too much time at Castlewood and thus am really skittish about snakes, having seen a couple hundred out there through the years. And in all fairness I have not seen one at Penetente. But those high shrubs lining the paths tightly to the walls give me the creeps, much less having toddlers in tow. But all in all Penetente is a fun place.


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By longroper
From Spokane Valley
May 26, 2011

City of Rocks near Almo, Idaho. I haven't actually been with the kids (Due to proximity) but I want to. It's similar to JTree in that it's mostly flat with many large rock formations.

It has nice camping, flat approaches, flat bases for the climbs, and many good single pitch climbs.


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By Scott Hansen
From Westminster, CO
May 26, 2011
Teton beer

@Matt, We mostly end up at the Ironclads since it is so easy to approach, is not cliffy and has not snakes. Other ares we hit are Shelf (avoiding the Bank campground), Turkey Perch and various bouldering areas like the Upper Boulderfield near Independence Pass.

We have been avoiding Castlewood precisely because of the snakes.


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By Scott Hansen
From Westminster, CO
May 26, 2011
Teton beer

What about smaller crags like Nip and Tuck in Boulder Canyon? Anyone know of any others? I'm trying to compile a solid list.

Most snake-free venues seem to be higher elevations making them snowy or cold in spring.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
May 26, 2011
Stabby

Try the Lower West Side of DH. It gets a lot of sun w/out getting too hot. Lots of moderate and really fun routes.


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
May 26, 2011
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

Scott,

I took my daughter up to Camp Hale last summer. The "Practice Wall" was awesome. Easy routes, bolted anchors and the Forrest Service has an outhouse there and it wasn't covered with explosive diarrhea. Down side was I showed up to a real shit show with Outward Bound. They had a group of about 50 and every route had ropes hung whether there were climbers on them or not. I also saw them brow beat some terrified teenage girl into climbing something she did not want to. She was visibly shaking and crying, not a pretty site. You can squeeze a few more routes in between the bolted ones with gear TR anchors. Bring tricams. If you camp there be sure to make yourself aware of the areas were they have unexploded ordinance. Not really a big deal, lots of signs, easy to avoid unless you are looking for trouble.

The spillway campground in 11 mile would be unbelievable for a family. You can drive to the more established climbs or walk right through camp to some easy 5.0 - 5.2 multipitch and a steeper toproping wall. If you get camp site 002 you will have bouldering problems surrounding your picnic table. There are some awesome hiking trails right out of this campground as well, gotta checkout Baboon Rock.


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By P.K.
May 26, 2011

Re: Camp Hale

There is a guide available from the same people that put out the independence pass guide. The practice slab is good for top roping, but there are plenty of crags down valley and across the valley that are secluded. Also if you are up there check out the free camping up homestake road and a fun little sport crag just after you turn homestake road itself.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
May 26, 2011
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space in Colorado Springs is excellent for young children in some areas of the park. These walls have flat, sandy areas right next to the trail to belay from. Very few catus in the park also make it nice for little ones. I hope to bring my 3-year-old out there this weekend, weather permitting.


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By Mia
May 26, 2011

- Mt. Rushmore, Black Hills is great for kids (and adults). And there is lots to do for families on rest days.
- We love Maple Canyon. We even took a jogging stroller to some of the crags.
- Devil's Head has some good climbing with kids and really fun camping for kids. - Lots of boulders to play on.
- Lots of areas at Shelf Road are also great for kids especially if they are a little bit older:
Kids swinging at Shelf Camping at Sand Gulch is safer for the little ones. Lots of fossils can be found.
- El Rito, NM has fun easier climbs for kids and good routes for adults.
- Ten Sleep, Ice Box area is great for kids; short approach, ice caves to explore, easy climbing for kids, good routes for adults.


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By Jon Lachelt
From Fort Collins, CO
May 26, 2011

Jurassic Park (Lily Lake) in Estes is great for kids.

  • 15-20min hike (moderately strenuous) in from the parking lot
  • RNMP maintained pit toilets at the parking lot
  • fun area to explore (with supervision for the younger ones since they can easily walk up on top of a cliff where there is some loose rock)
  • true to the name it feels rather pre-historic
  • nice view of Longs Peak
  • predominately single-pitch sport, a few at every grade from 5.12 down to 5.6. Coloradoddity (95' of 5.6) is perfect for the beginning leader.
  • two short 5.7 broken cracks for a taste of trad


No mention of Vedauwoo so far.
I only have a bit of experience there myself but I know many people, climbers and not, that love to go there with their kids.
  • camp sites
  • picnic areas
  • toilets
  • LOTS of area to explore - long and short hikes
  • predominately trad, some mixed
  • more climbing than you can cover in many trips at all grades


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By Scott Hansen
From Westminster, CO
May 26, 2011
Teton beer

Vedauwoo has been one of my family favorites too. I had not been there in a year or two until I went last fall and nearly broke into tears at the sight of all the dead trees. Then the wind kicked up and all those widow makers started to sway...


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By Scott Hansen
From Westminster, CO
May 26, 2011
Teton beer

And another nice place are the crags in the Naturita area. Good for families who want some desert stone with a mix of trad, sport and good bouldering.


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By rj-n-foco
From Ft Collins, CO
May 26, 2011

Leave 'em at home!!

There's no place for kids at the crag, peeing on ropes, digging holes, poopin' everywhere, barking(crying) all the time, diggin thru packs for food and turning the crag into a daycare! I goto the crag to get away from all that "family business". Goto the gym, its safe and air conditioned!

Oh wait....that was supposed to be about dogs at the crag! oh well, same difference ;-)


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By David Hodges
From Parker, Colorado
May 26, 2011
Rubicon J Tree CA

Mike Lane wrote:
For what its worth, this is a picture from Penetente. Now, I spend too much time at Castlewood and thus am really skittish about snakes, having seen a couple hundred out there through the years. And in all fairness I have not seen one at Penetente. But those high shrubs lining the paths tightly to the walls give me the creeps, much less having toddlers in tow. But all in all Penetente is a fun place.


I saw this Mike and the first thing I thought of was Castlewood! Yes, passing thru the high shrubs can feel like a scene out of Jurassic park. You're never going to be able to eliminate 100% of the risk it's just a place my wife and I alone can manage 2 kids and climb.


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By Brad Mills
May 26, 2011
Max

I'd vote elevenmile if you haven't been there yet.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
May 26, 2011
Stabby

DavidH wrote:
I saw this Mike and the first thing I thought of was Castlewood! Yes, passing thru the high shrubs can feel like a scene out of Jurassic park. You're never going to be able to eliminate 100% of the risk it's just a place my wife and I alone can manage 2 kids and climb.

I just probe ahead w/ my stick-clip, so not too bad. What I worry about is the occasional retarded snake that actually comes up on you. Richard Wright once had one coil up on his rope while he was belaying at CWood. But all in all the snake issue is very minor and manageable, except maybe for October.


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By Scott Hansen
From Westminster, CO
May 27, 2011
Teton beer

Thanks everyone for the information! Shoot me an email if you're interested in some family friendly climbing trips this season.


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By Emerson Takahashi
From SLC, UT
May 27, 2011
Smear, smear, smear

Fremont Canyon, Pathfinder Marina, and Cody, Wyoming.
The Love Shack area at Fremont is a really nice and quiet crag with a few nice climbs.
The crag right behind the Pathfinder Marina parking lot is really neat too. A few rocks on a huge slab for kids to run around and play on, and a nice view of the reservoir
Cody has a bunch of great places to climb, notably the Island, which has a HUGE space for kids to play around (including a little "fort" that kids built out of rocks).


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By canyonclimber
From Casper WY
May 27, 2011

I second Fremont Canyon WY, (you can top rope everything and no approach) and Ten Sleep WY, (the whole valley is a kids playground and great climbing).


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