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The "Skull Cave" is the massive cave on the East side of the canyon a bit downstream from Feline. This is a true cave, and all of the routes are completely sheltered from the rain, making this a popular hang in wet weather. However, despite the fact that no rain drop has ever touched these walls, most of the routes are often wet until mid-summer due to seepage. These lines have a rather nasty appearance, with corroded bolts, and covered in dirt and moss. Several of the once-classic lines have changed substantially over the years as the water has finally torn the choss loose.
Park downstream from the cave at a two car pullout or further down at a picknick area. Follow a trail at the "No Parking" sign up to the cave. This is the fifth crag on the right on the way into the park. Significantly large and deep, it is blocked from the road by a few trees.
Before climbers re-named it, the Skull Cave used to be named Old Maid's Kitchen, which is what the town locals still call it. Apparently an Old Maid of sorts used it as a kitchen to cook for some menfolk. Not much else is known.
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Skull Cave:
Pile Driver 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c Sport, 1 pitch
Daydream Nation 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ E7 6c Sport, Chipped, 1 pitch, 60'
Bone Machine 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ E7 6c Sport
Skull Fuck 5.13c 8a+ 30 X- E7 7a Sport, Chipped, 1 pitch, 40'
Skeletor 5.13c 8a+ 30 X- E7 7a Sport, 1 pitch, 40'
The Cracked Open Sky 5.13d 8b 31 X E8 7a Sport, 1 pitch, 60'
Featured Route For Skull Cave
Daydream Nation 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ E7 6c CO : Rifle Mountain Park : Skull Cave
Wow!! Arguably the steepest route in Rifle, this route suffers badly from seepage early in the season. After it dries, the route needs cleaning up for sure. Watch out for sand and spiderwebs. Scramble up onto a polished ledge in the very back of the Skull Cave, and carefully climb to the first bolt which is about 20 feet off the ground. That is a bad place to fall. Move up and leftish for three bolts and then enter the horizontal world. It is very core intensive climbing. Powerful climbing bring...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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