BETA PHOTO: Taken from the West parking area
Monitor is nice granite rock with virtually no approach and a good West face where most of the climbing can be found. Certainly by now there are close to 60 routes to choose from, sport and trad. Many are one pitch, some are several. While situated in an alpine setting, the granite is still excellent and the climbing interesting. Worth a day shot if you are heading to Independence Pass for several days. Importantly, since Monitor Rock is at lower elevation than Independence Pass, it is possible to extend the climbing season by a month or so. To keep things organized, the numbering of routes will start on the right and proceed uphill with increasing number. By this scheme, where the approach trail meets the rock, the sport route "Rad Lad" will be # 31. Presently, the only published data that I have found is Lance Hadfield's mini-guide in R&I (#74, August 1996, pp 102-105), and I will follow his numbering as much as possible allowing for new routes where this seems obvious. You will find routes from 5.7 trad to moderate 5.12 sport with numerous 5.10 and 5.11 to be had. The sun exposure is usually excellent.
From most points East you will be taking Colo 82 (off US 24 and between Leadville and Buena Vista) West past Twin Lakes and the reservoir. Several miles further you will come the Mount Elbert Lodge and B&B which can offer great lodgings for those in need and with the foresight to reserve a room. Monitor Rock is several hundred feet West of the lodge and on the right. Parking is just off the shoulder. For those in need, there is a great German restaurant in Twin Lakes that serves loads of imported German beers and terrific bratwurst.
Eds. In addition to Lance Hadfield's Rock & Ice mini-guide (#74, August 1996, pp 102-105), there is a guidebook, Independence Pass Rock II $32.99, on the Aspen area climbs by Tom Perkins which includes Monitor Rock. It is available in the bookstore in Leadville. There was a paper guide published through the Aspen Climibing Guides. Aspenclimbingguides.com may also provide more information.
Eds. If you are coming from the Leadville side & need coffee, bakery goods, or wireless internet, the Provin' Grounds Coffee Shop (508 Main St.) may have what you need.
The bookstore just north has guidebooks to the area & the Arkansas Valley.
Browse More Classics in Monitor Rock
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Monitor Rock:
Featured Route For Monitor Rock
Bear posting up on the approach.
We saw this deer dying the week before, next time ...
BETA PHOTO: This is an attempt at giving general locations for...
We made it to the top.
Monitor Rock at sunset.
|By Edward Jenner|
Apr 8, 2002
IMHO a worthy rock for sport climbing. The rock is solid and finger friendly. Aspen Climbing Guides LLC publishes a 1-page guide which has all the current routes listed.
Jul 1, 2002
Great area, with something for everyone - sport, trad, beginners, etc. Don't forget to do the Butt Wall (no routes described here) - around the right prow. There are great warm-ups there or routes for beginning leaders. Most of them have a 2nd trad pitch, though the first pitches are all sport. Easy to get to & all routes are well bolted!
|By Ben Bruestle|
From: Pueblo, CO
May 3, 2006
Spotted a few mountain goats on the southeast face a couple weeks ago showing the humans how it's done.
|By John Peterson|
Jul 11, 2007
Found: watch at the base of the Nose. Drop me an email if it's yours. email@example.com
|By 1Eric Rhicard|
Jun 30, 2009
Cool cliff with a ton of sport climbing! Wish the rain hadn't been so persistent and the fishing so good. I would have liked to do more climbs. Love the rock texture and the easy approach.
|By Brandon Schirm|
From: colorado springs, co
Jun 27, 2010
What are the routes on the overhanging wall? About 500 ft to the left of Squid Kid. A lot of chalk and a bulge at the top?
|By Rob Davies UK|
From: Cheshire, UK
Oct 16, 2010
The new edition of the Stewart Green Colorado guide includes Monitor Rock.
|By Drew Spaulding|
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 12, 2012
With the help of multiple friends, since 2006, we've established 30 new pitches on MONITOR ROCK so far. Notably, six new 3-pitch routes have been added to the already plethora of climbs. Nearly all new pitches require some natural gear placements... I will soon be posting some of the latest works....
|By BJ Sbarra|
From: Carbondale, CO
Sep 12, 2012
Thanks for all the hard work, great to see so many new climbs!