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Lower Grotto Wall

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Before There Were Nine S 
Coldfusion T 
Crime Victim S 
Cryogenics T 
Engagement, The S 
Espresso Love S 
Grotto Wall Traverse T 
Headless Crankin' Chicken S 
Headless Franken Chicken S 
Insurrection S 
Knuckle Head, The S 
Mad Arab T 
One for the Road S 
Pea Brain S 
Scene of the Crime S 
Space Sluts in the Slammer S 
Stage Fright S 
Stand By Your Van T,S 
Stranger Than Fiction T,S 
Tarzan S 
Twin Cracks T 
Under Pressure S 
Under Pressure - Extension S 
Unknown 13b? S 
Victims of Fashion T,S 
Wire and Fire T,S 

Lower Grotto Wall  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 39.11983, -106.70002 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 30,594
Administrators: Alvaro Arnal, Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Pinklebear on Jan 7, 2002  with updates from Pete F.
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BETA PHOTO: Image by Aspen Climbing Guides.


The Grotto Wall, with its historic and appealing Cryogenic Corner and John Sherman's highballing masterpiece The Ineditable, is the centerpiece of the Pass. The climbing here ranges from pure sport (Space Sluts in the Slammer) to Mixed (Exotic Headache) and classics are represented at just about every grade from 5.7 to 5.13+. The wall faces due south and can be quite hot on bright summer days, but does hold shade through mid-day on its left side.

The Upper Grotto Wall, a 15 minute slog up steep talus above the Lower Grotto has some great routes as well. This is a good place to get familiar with the pass and is useful for orienting oneself and finding the other crags. Routes range from 1-3 pitches in length.

Getting There 

I'm not sure about the exact mileage, but the Grotto Wall is roughly nine miles from the end of Aspen proper (measure from the City Market). It is the obvious white and black towering wall on the left as you drive up the Pass from Aspen and has a nice parking lot/pull-out on the north (left) side of the road in which to park. This pull-out is tucked into an ess curve and attracts lots of tourists, so be prepared for an audience during busy weekends in the summer.

Climbing Season

Weather station 5.1 miles from here

27 Total Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',9],['2 Stars',10],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Lower Grotto Wall:
Grotto Wall Traverse   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches   
Twin Cracks   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   
Cryogenics   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches   
Stand By Your Van   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Under Pressure   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   
One for the Road   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Wire and Fire   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Headless Franken Chicken   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Space Sluts in the Slammer   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch   
The Engagement   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   
Victims of Fashion   5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 160'   
Scene of the Crime   5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch   
Browse More Classics in Lower Grotto Wall

Featured Route For Lower Grotto Wall
Image by Aspen Climbing Guides.

Cryogenics 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  CO : Independence Pass : ... : Lower Grotto Wall
This is the obvious inset open book to obtuse corner on the left side of the Grotto Wall, highly visible from the parking lot (yes, you will draw a crowd of slack-jawed Bago warriors during the summer months) and highly classic. Scramble up on the ledge and get a load of this crack! Incut features on the quartzy right wall and sinker jams in the ever-steepening crack take you to a final, pumpy section of finger locks before you gain the ledge (10a). Belay here at bolts and chains, or if you ha...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Lower Grotto Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Second Grotto Wall. The Plaque is the smooth face at the top left of the photo. The top of Third Grotto Wall can be seen at the top right of the photo.
Second Grotto Wall. The Plaque is the smooth face ...
Grotto Wall. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Grotto Wall. Photo by Blitzo.
Left side of Lower Grotto Wall. Cryogenics is left of the trees. Twin Cracks is at the left edge of the gray area further left.
BETA PHOTO: Left side of Lower Grotto Wall. Cryogenics is left...
Lower Grotto Wall. Second Grotto Wall can be seen at the top left of the photo above and behind Lower Grotto Wall.
BETA PHOTO: Lower Grotto Wall. Second Grotto Wall can be seen ...
Grotto Wall.
Grotto Wall.

Comments on Lower Grotto Wall Add Comment
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By Frances Fierst
From: Munchweiler, Germany
Jul 18, 2003
The parking area is located between mile markers 50 and 51.
By Burns
Jun 10, 2006
In the Grotto area (Independence Pass), I am looking for trad routes. Looking for easy routes (5.8 or 5.9). Could anyone help?