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Rock Garden

Routes Sorted
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Big Brett the Baker's Buddy 
Bottom Line, The 
Buffalo Chips 
Bust A Move 
California Crack 
Come A Time 
Court Jester 
Darla Does Buckwheat 
Delusions of Grandeur 
Fine Young Cannibals 
Gun Control 
Hanging Garden 
Just Do It 
Just Say No to Nancy 
Ligneous Embracer 
Ninos y Viejos 
No Honor Amongst Theives 
Pumping Pockets 
Reckoning, The 
Rocky Mountain Oysters 
Rude Mood 
Shield of Achilles, The 
Slinky + Escalator 
Super Crack 
Team Geritol 
Terror, The 
Unsorted Routes:

Rock Garden 

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Page Views: 8,187
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Rog on Nov 7, 2001
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Entering the Garden.
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Basically the same story as Penitente proper, but more remote and perhaps more beautiful. The hike over is fairly short (10 minutes?) and has great views. A perfect spot to escape any crowds that might be forming in the more well known areas.

Addendum: Eds. this area has been moved out from under Penitente Canyon to San Luis Valley, since it can be considered distinct.

Getting There 

Enter into Penitente Canyon & follow the main trail. Towards the end of the canyon, keep your eyes peeled for a trail on the right (on a small slab) marked by a wooden sign 'Rock Garden'. For the most part the trail is obvious. At the areas where it fades out keep your eyes peeled for cairns. The trail is a bit twisty, but a bit of patience will drop you into the middle of the Rock Garden area. Personally, I was drawn straight to 'Ligneous Embracer'.

35 Total Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',10],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Rock Garden:
Otto   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   
Ligneous Embracer   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   
Jugalicious   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
The Bottom Line   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   
Hanging Garden   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Copacetic   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
The Terror   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   
Rude Mood   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   
Browse More Classics in Rock Garden

Featured Route For Rock Garden
High up on "Copacetic".

Copacetic 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c  CO : San Luis Valley : Rock Garden
Copacetic heads up a left-facing corner with huecos and fun stems. It is located on a piece of rock that is fairly far up-canyon in the Rock Garden - beginning on a ledge 25 feet above the trail....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Comments on Rock Garden Add Comment
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By Edward Jenner
Jan 11, 2002

The nearest and only climping shop in the San Luis Valley 12 miles from PENITENTE CANYON area is CASA DE MADERA SPORTS 660 Grande Ave. Del Norte, Co 81132. 719 657 2723 We provide many other services including locations of other top quallity areas that are little known both rock and ice. We also have updates on some new rotes.

Alex Colville

By Mike Anderson
From: Dayton, OH
May 16, 2005

Does anyone know if it is OK to park in the pullout at the entrance to Rock Garden? It seems like one of the guidebook warns against it, but is that still the situation? There is a very well worn trail that indicates people have been parking there.

It's surprising more people don't climb here.

By Chris Cavallaro
May 16, 2005

I always park in the pullout. Just don't make a lot of noise etc.

By Jesse Morehouse
From: CO
Sep 21, 2008

Casa De Madera isn't really a climbing shop anymore. Parking at the entrance is not a problem but is fairly limited.

By M. Moore
From: Albuqeurque, NM
Oct 6, 2008

I highly recommend the bouldering in the area. The highest concentration of problems I found are straight west of the entrance pulloff. If you walk up the hill towards the rock to the right and follow the road (don't go into the canyon itself), you will start to find north-facing boulders. There is everything from V0 to V10+, great area...check it out!

By sean31
Oct 24, 2008

I was wondering if anyone has any information about the rock garden being closed between October 15 and November 15. In the guidebook it says that the ranch entrance is closed during this time, but given that the canyon seems to be privately owned I would hate to get run off after making the trip from Salida.


By sean31
Oct 25, 2008

The closure is mentioned in the "environmental and ethical issues" section of the guide. It seems that the closure is not for the canyon per se, but for the parking area by the Spearman Ranch. However, I just wanted to get a little clarification before venturing that way.

Thanks for the input.

By William Mondragon
From: My car
Nov 1, 2012

Not all the routes here are fantastic, and definitely don't assume every route has an anchor (Pumping Pockets)... but there are a some amazing routes in The Garden, a few of my favorites actually.