Ross climbing The Art of Breaking.
The Narrows is a loose, scruffy area close to Carbondale, Colorado, that, for us Rifle burn-outs, has become a sort of sanctuary. Though your overall impression of the stone whilst whipping past at 70 mph on your way to the Redstone boulders will be less than stellar, the climbing itself is good, and takes place on walls invisible from the highway.
The rock is a fractured sort of granite, grey-green in hue, with black streaks coursing down the slabbier walls. The cliffs themselves are not unlike a multi-faceted sea wall holding back an ocean of scree. Ironically, however, the scree is produced by the decomposing sea wall itself. It is prone, in certain "high-danger" spots, to sloughing off great chunks, daggers and grey-green cobble-eggs that could certainly deflower even the sturdiest of climbing helmets, and the contents therein. Fortunately, for us, we need only walk under these heinous sectors of wall to reach the good, water-polished stone that has yielded all of this year's new routes.
That said, however, there is some great after-work-type climbing here: one-pitch sport and trad routes from 5.8+ to 5.13c. It is also a great area in the summer, as it's very shady and always breezy, especially in the depths of the Narrows Proper.
From Carbondale, drive south on CO Highway 133 as if you were driving toward Marble, McClure Pass, etc. CO 133 is the only highway through Carbonale ... it's not hard to miss. If you're coming from other parts on CO Highway 82, take a left (or right) at the stoplight at the junctions of CO Highways 82 and 133. Now proceed south on CO Highway 133.
I don't have exact mileage, but the deal is this: If you get to Redstone (15 miles from Carbondale?), you've gone too far. The beta is this: Driving south on CO 133, you'll first pass through an area of red rocks and sand, big ol' Mount Sopris looming high on your left. After a bit, however, the canyon begins to narrow, and you'll see a band of shattered whitish rock coming up fast, limning the two sides of the canyon. This is the Narrows, basically knows as such because it's also the narrowest point in the canyon. Drive slowly past the rocks and, just before the cliffs on your right peter out, locate a HUGE, I mean HUGE, parking lot on the left. This is the parking lot for the free hot springs. I've never been down in the springs, but there's them that have. Not for me. I just park and get my climbing stuff and get gone.
Walk back down-canyon (north), hugging the guard rail or, for safety, walking in the bushes behind it, for roughly 50 yards, until the roadcut to your left (esentially the west side of the highway) goes from vertical to the slabby and you spot a cairned, convenient ingress. The trail here is a bit raw, but basically follows the "old game track" up the hill as it switches-back, bringing you ever closer to the rocks, which will be on your right. After about 20 minutes of this, you'll reach a fork, hard at the toe of an appealing red-and-brown buttres. Head up and left to reach BJ's area (5.8 sport, 5.10+ sport, 5.11 sport). Otherwise head right to reach the Narrows Proper, a deep, shadowy slot offering bouldering traverses, sport routes (5.11a, 5.13b) and trad pitches (5.8+, 5.10a, 5.10+, 5.13c) on nearly bomber water-polished rock.
Browse More Classics in The Narrows
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Narrows:
Featured Route For The Narrows
Jenga Buttress Crack aka 10a Crack
: ... : Narrows Proper
This is a fun route that, at a full 30 meters long, has plenty of varied climbing in its length. As you enter the corridor, walking uphill toward the hump, you'll notice a very clean, glassy wall (The Cement Garden, 5.13) on your left. The 5.10a Crack is just past this glassy panel, and is the long, semi-diagonalling (right to left) crack line splitting the buttress about 15 feet left of a junky corner.Climb somewhat silty moves off the deck in a faint corner, then step left onto a ...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
|By B.J. Sbarra|
Dec 10, 2003
A word of caution to those that would venture here without one of the locals. Please be careful if others are climbing, it's still very much a work-in-progress, and it would be pretty easy to get messed up by some flying choss. That being said, if you want to check it out, let us know and we'll show you the goods.
|By scott e. tarrant|
From: Fort Collins
May 22, 2007
For more topos and beta go to www.splitterchoss.com. BJ Sbarra & Co have put a lot of energy into creating a great area! If you live in the valley and have not been, I really encourage you to. If you are passing thru, I would also encourage you to stop. You will not be disappointed! I truly admire those involved for the vision, hard work, cost and time they have devoted to exposing some great climbing that has been right under our noses! Thanks!
From: Basalt, CO
Sep 7, 2012
Found rope inside a bag at the Front Porch crag. Call me, Ryan in Basalt, 314 304 3074 if you lost your rope and I will get it back to you.