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South Platte

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Tick Dome 
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Turret, The 
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From MP's sister site: MTB Project

South Platte  


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Location: 39.4171, -105.469 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: John McNamee on Feb 16, 2006
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You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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Classic South Platte Climbing - Big Rock Candy Mou...

Introduction 

The South Platte, a vast granite playground to the south and west of Denver, is known for it's incredible crack climbs, strung out slabs and towering summits. It encompasses the entire area between Conifer, and Sedalia, and just about everything south to the Elevenmile Canyon west of Colorado Springs.

To climb successfully in the South Platte it helps to be the adventurous type and like exploring. Many of them are well hidden until you stumble upon them! The rock quality can vary widely from bullet proof fine grained granite to very coarse friable rock which can feel like climbing on ball bearings at times.

Bring a well-rounded rack of cams, some routes eat up double or triples in some sizes, and don't forget to bring a few big pieces. Tape gloves are a good idea at a lot of these spots too, otherwise your hands will get trashed.

Some of the most popular areas with easy access and good quality rock can be found at:

Cathedral Spires Area
The Cathedral Spires group is a crack climbers paradise with also the "slab masters" crag, The Dome as well. Approaches are usually 45 minutes to an hour.

Devil's Head
Lots of three star routes, both trad and sport. Lots of recent development in the higher end grades. The rock is of exceptional quality.

Elevenmile Canyon
Elevenmile Canyon has some of the best moderate grade multi-pitch climbs around, as well as recent sport route development. A popular destination for a couple of days of camping and climbing. Elevenmile Canyon is subject to a per day entrance fee.

Pine Area
Home of the famous Sphinx Crack. Fortunately there is a heap of more moderate routes as well. Sphinix Rock and Squat Rock are currently closed.

Turkey Rocks
Got a trip to Yosemite coming up, then hit the cracks at Turkey rocks. Some of Colorado's best granite crack climbing.

West Creek
Includes Sheep's Nose and smaller crags.

Getting There 

Please refer to the individual areas for detailed information on how to get there. Always bring a good map when traveling in the Platte!

Resources 

The updated book "Climb" published by The Mountaineer's Books has one comprehensive chapter on the history of climbing in the south platte starting with Ellingworth's ascent of the Bishop in 1924 and covering historical first ascents of Sphinx Crack, The Prayer Book (Wunsch's) and Field of Dreams.

Recommended guidebooks:

South Platte, The Climbers Guide. (Peter Hubbel)
Comprehensive coverage of the South Platte.

South Platte Rock, (Ken Trout)
A selection of the best routes the South Platte has to offer.

Rock Climbing Colorado, (Stewart M. Green)
A state wide guide book that covers several of the more popular areas. A great book if you are visiting the state for a few weeks and want an overall reference.

Please see the Colorado book listings for further details.


Climbing Season



Weather station 1.4 miles from here

1,385 Total Routes

['4 Stars',140],['3 Stars',488],['2 Stars',542],['1 Star',199],['Bomb',8]
['<=5.6',75],['5.7',91],['5.8',138],['5.9',208],['5.10',338],['5.11',234],['5.12',146],['5.13',21],['>=5.14',1],['',0],['<=V1',36],['V2-3',66],['V4-5',17],['V6-7',6],['V8-9',3],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',3],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for South Platte:
The Staircase   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 2 pitches   Elevenmile Canyon : Arch Rock
Classic Dihedral   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   Pine Area : Bucksnort Slab
Honky Jam Ass Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Perch
Left Handed Jew   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Perch
Lost in Space   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches   West Creek : Sheep's Nose
Steppenwolf   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Perch
Gobbler's Grunt   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Rock
Turkey Foot Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad   Cathedral Spires Area : Sunshine Wall
Center Route   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Cathedral Spires Area : Cynical Pinnacle
Straw Turkey   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Rock
Reef On It!   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
Quiver and Quill   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Tail
Drumstick Direct   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 2 pitches   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Tail
Vanishing Point   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Rock
The Opportunist   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
Whimsical Dreams   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch   Turkey Rocks : Turkey Tail
Wunsch's Dihedral   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 4 pitches   Cathedral Spires Area : Cynical Pinnacle
Childhood's End   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R     Trad, Sport, 12 pitches, 1000'   Big Rock Candy Mountain
Starlight   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch   Thunder Ridge : The Wasp Canyon
Sphinx Crack   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Trad   Pine Area : Sphinx Rock
Browse More Classics in South Platte

Featured Route For South Platte
Starting P2.

Unknown between Divine Miss M & Erotic Plants 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a  CO : South Platte : ... : Acid Rock
There is some confusion about this route, and since it's not otherwise listed, here's what I know from climbing it a few weeks ago. It's not my route. This is the line with the new bolts that starts right off the block between Charlie Don't Surf and Erotic Plants. There are 3 bolts on this block/close to the ground which may be the crux; the grade eases up after you step onto the actual face. Continue straight up 70' to the anchors on 'Miss M. (You'll note th...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of South Platte Slideshow Add Photo
Great apres climbing opportunities in the Platte.
Great apres climbing opportunities in the Platte.
One of the many pleasures of the Platte.
One of the many pleasures of the Platte.
Typical Platte.
Typical Platte.
Andy Koken bouldering north of Sheep Nose.
Andy Koken bouldering north of Sheep Nose.
Found this rock between FS Road 550 and Asshole Rock. The crack is 5.8 or 5.9. It's pretty short but fun.
BETA PHOTO: Found this rock between FS Road 550 and Asshole Ro...
Platte legend Dave Bell actually on the Platte beneath Big Rock shortly before his death. Noel Childs and Byron Nelson flank him
Platte legend Dave Bell actually on the Platte ben...
Buffalo Creek fire from Lake Wellington. Wild day to be on the Castle as the fire grew and grew.
Buffalo Creek fire from Lake Wellington. Wild day ...
Beautiful day in the South Platte to hang out and relax (and maybe get some climbing in).
Beautiful day in the South Platte to hang out and ...
New boulder problems in the South Platte. FA here lots of things like this
New boulder problems in the South Platte. FA here ...
Just found this tonight.
Just found this tonight.
Another new boulder problems in the South Platte. FA here
Another new boulder problems in the South Platte. ...
Best granite in the Platte is on an unknown dome, and I would know, trust me. Actual knob climbing on bullet granite. Two routes on it so far. Room for many many others. Go find it!
Best granite in the Platte is on an unknown dome, ...
There's just a little bit of rock out there....
There's just a little bit of rock out there....
SPlatte! Could it get an better?
SPlatte! Could it get an better?
Great food and beer at Zoka's in Pine. Menu changes daily. Curt the owner is going to show some climbing films this summer to lure, like trout, climbers out of the Platte and into a restaurant.
Great food and beer at Zoka's in Pine. Menu change...
Green's Store in Buffalo Creek is a great place to buy a cold Coke, fishing lures, huge cuts of meat, and when I was a kid Dupont blasting caps! Don't forget to say Howdy to Mr. Green.
Green's Store in Buffalo Creek is a great place to...
The Bucksnort. Serving climbers for 25 years.
The Bucksnort. Serving climbers for 25 years.
Charles in 1979 after a very scary 11+ traverse that had a real bad fall if blown (for both of us). I repeated this climb last summer (2007) and a bolt has appeared smack under the crux pinch move. Wimps!
Charles in 1979 after a very scary 11+ traverse th...
Karen's card.
Karen's card.
Found this random piece of salt and pepper granite randomly in the middle of the South Platte during a hike. No stone anywhere around there like it. Wtf?
Found this random piece of salt and pepper granite...
Good coffee and good eats at Cindy Green's Elephant Rock Cafe in Pine.
Good coffee and good eats at Cindy Green's Elephan...
A friend and I hiked to the dome on the left from Radio Head in Rampart Range. Does anyone know what dome that is and if there is an easier way to access it?
A friend and I hiked to the dome on the left from ...
Rope... $200 <br />Rack... $500 <br />Climbing excellent granite to escape a flash flood... PRICELESS!
Rope... $200
Rack... $500
Climbing excellent grani...
Cabin Ridge from a valley hillside.
Cabin Ridge from a valley hillside.

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Comments on South Platte Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 22, 2012
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
Aug 30, 2002
Here is link from the Forest Circus that gives some fire closure information:fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/news/pike_o... best I can extract from it is that the Pike National Forest is open for recreational uses except for the area indicated on the map, which seems to cover just about all of the climbing in the SPlatte. Some of the southernmost areas may still be open, but I'd have to do some checking to be sure of that.
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Oct 15, 2002
We did Bishop Jaeggers on the Dome a couple weeks back, and my partner lead. It was all there, but, you wouldnt want to fall off some of those spicier runouts! Topographical Oceans looks nice as well. The bolts are older, and far enough apart to be concerning.One interesting thing was that the rock seems bigger than it looks as it is less than vertical, and keeps going... Staying on your toes seemed to be the key!
By JD Mitch
Jul 29, 2003
The platte rocks are outstanding. Despite the hayman fire and the idiodic bolt wars. I have climbed there over ten years. I have read many of the comments as to the guide book, and I suggest that if you have a problem finding areas and lack the paitence to seek them out, I suggest you head up to Eldo or Clear creek canyon for roadside climbs. Enjoy your time in the platte. My opinion is you deffinately have to stop at the Bucksnort for brews and big talk afterwords.
By William McGehee
From: Choctaw, OK
May 11, 2004
I just got off the phone with a Ranger from the South Platte District. Looks like no camping in the "nice" places at S.P. Most established campgrounds are still closed, save a few such as the Lone Rock and Platte River campgrounds. They're open, but likely to be busy on the weekends. They're pretty far from the fun rocks anyway, so who needs them??? She encouraged dispersed camping, which means anywhere you want. No fire restrictions, but watch out for rains. They COULD bring about floods due to the lack of vegitation right now. Camp high... Also, since Cathedral is closed until the end of July, Turkey seems to be the most viable option for climbing. To get there at this time, park at the intersection of 360 and 68. DO NOT PARK in the subdivisions down the road. You'll get in trouble. The Ranger said to bring a mountain bike and ride the last mile and a half in with your gear. That's what most people do apparently. Hope this helps! Any more questions, you call them yourself at 303-275-5610.~Wm
By Anonymous Coward
Oct 19, 2004
There are a couple more guidebooks for this area besides the 'Climbing Colorado'. South Platte guide written by Peter Hubbel (chockstone press) Includes much more rocks and routes. But bewares of Peter's obvious drug habit during the writing of this book. My partner and I have found many flaws in the info of this book during our south platte travels. All in all it's the most comprehensive guide to this great area.

ps. Many restrictions due to fires have been lifted but be carefull of flash floods during the spring!
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 21, 2004
Dont be so presumptuous, coward, about the drug habit accusations. How about YOU try to put together a guide book of the entire South Platte, with no errors!? The splatte is still pretty wild, and sometimes tricky to get around. Good thing that there is plenty of beta on areas and climbs that Pete chose to leave out to keep bitchy climbers like yourself away.
By Mike b.
Oct 23, 2004
I was not registered at the time I left the previous comment about the south Platte guide book info. I apologize for the "drug habit" and I appreciate your view that some info should be omitted to keep "bitchy "climbers out of the Platte before it gets too populated. I feel the same way but, sometimes we have to ask ourselves which is better in a guide, wrong info or no info.There is no doubt in my mind that Peter has much more knowledge of the Platte and I don't dispute the fact that a guidebook is a huge undertaking and mistakes will be made. But when the maps to many climbs are blatantly wrong, it causes problems. There is also an older guidebook that Mr. Hubbel was also a part of that in a lot of cases has better info. The purpose of my message was to inform others of the existence of the guide and to warn them to be careful because there are flaws. With this said,just let me say that I would have never have been able to find some of the best rock I have ever pulled down on without this guide. Darren, lighten up man, it's just rock climbing! Sincerely, "The bitchy little coward" aka Mike b.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 19, 2005
Beware! The Colorado Rock Climbs guide book has a lot of bunk info about the South Platte area--very easy to get lost (while driving) in and around rampart road. Get the area specific guide book, or better yet, get a local with some knowledge. Also, there is a lot of crumbly/ loose rock in the area, so bring a helmet and some competence.
By dgreaser
Jul 25, 2005
South Platte Climber's Guide error - On page 190 of this guide, which shows an overview of the Jackson Creek area (North Rampart Range Road) Road 502 (Jackson Creek Road) is closed on the SOUTH side at the junction of Road 503. In other words, to get to climbs 10-19 (Jackson Creek Dome, etc) approach from the NORTH side, (possibly via Road 507) NOT THE SOUTH as suggested in the book. The gate on the north side is permanent, however it is a lot closer than hiking from the south. On the other hand, to get to Devil's Head, Taj Mahal, Flat Top Dome, etc. it is easiest to approach from the south. - Daryl
By Bob D
Feb 18, 2006
Seem strange that a area (11 Mile Canyon) that has the South Platte River running through it...is not in the South Platte area.
By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
Feb 18, 2006
Elevenmile is now part of the South Platte region on this site.
By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 18, 2006
Maybe add Elevenmile Reservoir to the South Platte too?
By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
Feb 18, 2006
Elevenmile Res. is now also part of the South Platte region.
By JK1
From: Lakewood, CO
Jul 25, 2008
I am looking for someone to climb with on July 29th and /or July 30th in the Elevenmile area. I am a safe climber that leads 5.9 bolted routes and dabbling in 5.7 trad. Will follow anything or at least try. I would love to do The Staircase as it has been a couple of years since I last did this route. I also am a knowledgable and safe belayer.
By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
May 22, 2012
The new comprehensive, color guidebook to the South Platte (including Devil's Head) is available in all the local shops and online at Fixed Pin's website (free shipping). Happy climbing!
By Monomaniac
Administrator
From: Morrison, CO
May 22, 2012
The new guidebook is absolutely sick! Tons of inspiring photos and lots of new stuff I didn't know about; it's provided lots of great reading (even my wife, who never looks at guidebooks, has enjoyed leafing through it). An amazing effort by Jason & Co. It ships really fast too, I think I got mine the day after I ordered it. I'm sure if you order today you'll have yours in time for Memorial Day Weekend. With the recent lifting of much of the Cathedral Spires closure, the timing couldn't be better.

Can't wait for Volume 2!