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Wheelchair accessible areas in Colorado
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By Danny Egan
From Missouri City, Texas
Aug 1, 2014
I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a form of Muscular Dystrophy, and use a power wheelchair for mobility. I will be in Colorado in mid August with my brother and 3 close friends who are all climbers. I can't physically climb, but I really enjoy watching others climb. I spend a couple days a week hanging at the gyms down here in Houston and have been out to an accessible crag a few times in Austin. I was hoping you may be able to help me with some suggestions for wheelchair accessible crags in Colorado. Some walls near paved paths would be best, but I am also capable of dealing with dirt, gravel, etc. trails if they aren't extremely rough or long. Some options with a wide range of 5.9-5.11+ sport climbing would be ideal. Some multi pitch sport would be okay as they all have experience at EPC in Mexico. No trad experience or gear at the moment. We plan to visit Garden of the Gods and I've heard there will be some accessible sport climbs there. We'll mainly be based out of Denver for the first half of the trip, so we could use specifics for at least one other wheelchair friendly area within 2-3 hours of Denver. Also, we may drive West towards Rifle for the second half of the trip, if I can get some confirmation that there will be accessible areas out that direction.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Danny Egan

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By Em Cos
From Boulder, CO
Aug 1, 2014
One that comes to mind immediately is Castle Rock in Boulder Canyon, mountainproject.com/v/castle-r...

You pull in and park basically right at the base of the climbs. While the area isn't paved, to the best of my recollection it is hard-packed dirt road style and is probably ok to get around.

I'm sure there are others, I mostly trad climb - hopefully others have some good suggestions. You may also want to contact the folks at paradoxsports.org/
They probably have a great knowledge of accessible approaches around here, and may have more great info for you as well.

Good luck, have fun!

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By Rui Ferreira
From Longmont, CO
Aug 1, 2014
Rifle Mountain Park is the first place that comes to mind regarding road side access. Eldorado Canyon and Castle Rock in Boulder Canyon also provide some degree of road side access, but these two areas are best characterized as trad areas.

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By Adam B
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Aug 1, 2014
Middle St. Vrain
Red Rocks Canyon Open Space in the Springs comes to mind, but the climbing isn't that cool.

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By Matt.Zia
From Leadville, CO
Aug 1, 2014
Red Rock Canyon Open Space in Colorado Springs is also super easy access and all bolted lines, but without any of the tourist craziness that is the Garden. I think the rock is also marginally better and almost all the climbs fall in the 5.9-5.11 range. The downsides are that the climbing isn't as cool (no towers to get on top of) and it's not your normal type of sport climbing - everything is slab.

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By Danny Egan
From Missouri City, Texas
Aug 1, 2014
Thanks for the replies. I emailed Paradox a couple weeks ago, but unfortunately never received a reply. I also emailed NSCD (National Sports Center for the Disabled) and someone from there suggested Castlerock in Boulder Canyon, but said the majority of routes are trad. For those that know that area well, are there at least enough accessible sport routes to just spend a single day there?

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By Jon Miller on the WS
Aug 1, 2014
As a little plug, my wife works with the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program. Among their many activities, they offer rock climbing in the Telluride region. Check them out at tellurideadaptivesports.org/ tellurideadaptivesports.org/

Jon

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By Adam B
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Aug 1, 2014
Middle St. Vrain
11 Mile canyon has one big hunk of rock right next to the road that fits the bill.

mountainproject.com/v/elevenmi...

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By DavidCollins
From Grand Junction, CO
Aug 1, 2014
Quite a few, but not all, walls at Rifle might work in terms of getting to the base of routes. At some of these (I don't actually know their names since the routes on them are too hard for me) you could park the car with the bumper touching the wall. Others, such as the Ice Cave Walls (easier routes!) require a creek crossing on a bridge that is too narrow. But you could still get a reasonable view from the roadside or one of the parking areas.
There are also some nice picnic areas under the trees and next to the creek at Rifle that you may find accessible. There will be parking at these but no paved trails but the terrain should be easy going.
As a disclaimer, I will mention that I have not personally tried this or seen anyone do it in a wheelchair.

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By Steve Williams
From Denver, CO
Aug 1, 2014
Parts of Eldorado Canyon are also wheelchair accessible.
(Jeff Lowe's been there numerous times in his).

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By Eliot Augusto
From Boulder, CO
Aug 1, 2014
Steve Williams wrote:
Parts of Eldorado Canyon are also wheelchair accessible. (Jeff Lowe's been there numerous times in his).


And yet they shouldn't go there. They have no trad gear and Eldo is more or less exclusively trad.

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By Monty
From Golden, CO
Aug 1, 2014
Just a teaser
I believe that a good amount of the bouldering at Gilligan's Island at 3 sisters is wheel chair accessible. Not to mention it's just a pretty spot to hang out. Other wise I think Rifle would be the best bet. The Project wall has a handful of fun 11's 20ft from the car.

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By matt c.
Aug 1, 2014
for multi-pitch might want to look at playing hooky:
mountainproject.com/v/playin-h...
The approach is actually pretty bad, however, if you stay in the parking lot you can see the whole climb very well.

also in clear creek is the riverwall. it is right next to the road. The only issue is i cannot remember if there is enough room to fit a wheel chair there comfortable without feeling like a semi is going to hit you.

mountainproject.com/v/river-wa...

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By john strand
From southern colo
Aug 2, 2014
You can get to the first group of routes in Penitente easy. Also nearby is Witches canyon that have good trails and a bonus of no crowds.

Some of the areas around Taos also are right by the river for a quick dip and not far away.

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By eli poss
From Chattanooga
Aug 2, 2014
if you're in southwest colorado and don't mind bouldering, go to turtle lake in durango. the first boulder is literal right across the road and the trails to other boulders are all totally flat and it's a well maintained dirt path. plus if you are an animal person, dogs from nearby homes tend to roam the place and are usually very friendly, which is a plus if you get bored of watching your friends climb.

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By Robots and Dinosaurs
Aug 2, 2014
Myth Rock is literally just a pull out so that would be easy mountainproject.com/v/myth-roc... Also if your friends want to boulder The Monkey Traverse would likely be an option or at least a few boulders right next to it.

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By jesylamb
Aug 2, 2014
Hey there!

Have you tried connecting with adaptive adventures? They run indoor adaptive rock climbing and I know they've been talking about starting up some outdoor as well. They may have some good ideas. Try emailing brogan or dave. adaptiveadventures.org/contact Hope you have a good trip!

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By Danny Egan
From Missouri City, Texas
Aug 5, 2014
Appreciate all of the replies! It's looking like there's at least a few options. Most importantly, I'm just looking forward to getting out of Texas and breathing mountain air!

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Aug 5, 2014
Bocan
There are some roadside things in lyons like the Ironclads (4x4 road), Scout Rock that might fit your requirements.

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By John Maurer
Aug 8, 2014
Crested Butte, looking for a landing . . .
Hey Danny . . . you guys might really like Brown Palace (Highway 34), it's pretty fun and sits over the road, plus there is an area designated for fishing accessible via wheelchair. Here's the link to Brown Palace:

mountainproject.com/v/the-brow...

Even better though would be Eleven Mile Canyon. There is great climbing throughout right off the road, and it's less than an hour from the Garden of the Gods.

mountainproject.com/v/elevenmi...

Taylor Canyon near Gunnison (easier to go over Cottonwood Pass from Buena Vista) is also a great set-up. I love watching people climb there as much as pretty much anywhere, plus the people are always so great. Harmel's Buttresses are good starting points for that area. In this area, you can get by on Mountain Project for routes, but the guide has so much more and would be especially useful given your desire to find bolted routes. I have a copy if you want to borrow it or any other guided I have on your trip. I'll most likely be in the Denver/Boulder/Colorado Springs areas while you are here. Here's that link for Harmel's in Taylor Canyon (btw, a stunningly beautiful area):

mountainproject.com/v/first-bu...

Not sure if it interests you or how extensive their operation is, but Wilderness on Wheels is about an hour from Denver (Highway 285 on Kenosha Pass, heading through some of the state's best low-key climbing areas). It looks pretty badass, the area is gorgeous, and the drive is on the way to amazing places you may want to hit. Have a great trip, enjoy the areas, and hit me up if you want to borrow a guide! I'm also available if you guys have leftover Whataburger you aren't sure what to do with.

wildernessonwheels.org

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By DavidCollins
From Grand Junction, CO
Aug 9, 2014
Harmel's would be perfect except that these are mostly trad routes and they don't have a rack. But in other circumstances it would be great: no approach, light traffic and, above all, in a beautiful mountain valley.

There are bolted routes at Hartman's rocks (just outside Gunnison) that would be accessible. You can usually get to these with a regular low clearance vehicle. However, the routes tend to be short. It is a nice and scenic area though - jumble of large rocks everywhere. Chances are good that you'll have the routes to yourself.

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By Danny Egan
From Missouri City, Texas
Aug 9, 2014
John Maurer wrote:
Hey Danny . . . you guys might really like Brown Palace (Highway 34), it's pretty fun and sits over the road, plus there is an area designated for fishing accessible via wheelchair. Here's the link to Brown Palace: mountainproject.com/v/the-brow... Even better though would be Eleven Mile Canyon. There is great climbing throughout right off the road, and it's less than an hour from the Garden of the Gods. mountainproject.com/v/elevenmi... Taylor Canyon near Gunnison (easier to go over Cottonwood Pass from Buena Vista) is also a great set-up. I love watching people climb there as much as pretty much anywhere, plus the people are always so great. Harmel's Buttresses are good starting points for that area. In this area, you can get by on Mountain Project for routes, but the guide has so much more and would be especially useful given your desire to find bolted routes. I have a copy if you want to borrow it or any other guided I have on your trip. I'll most likely be in the Denver/Boulder/Colorado Springs areas while you are here. Here's that link for Harmel's in Taylor Canyon (btw, a stunningly beautiful area): mountainproject.com/v/first-bu... Not sure if it interests you or how extensive their operation is, but Wilderness on Wheels is about an hour from Denver (Highway 285 on Kenosha Pass, heading through some of the state's best low-key climbing areas). It looks pretty badass, the area is gorgeous, and the drive is on the way to amazing places you may want to hit. Have a great trip, enjoy the areas, and hit me up if you want to borrow a guide! I'm also available if you guys have leftover Whataburger you aren't sure what to do with. wildernessonwheels.org

Thanks for the offer of the guide book, John! We may take you up on it. We were actually considering attempting Eleven Mile Canyon on Saturday, August 16, or on Sunday, August 17. Would you be interested in meeting up and joining us and climbing for the day? I bought an Eleven Mile guide book, but it would be great to meet some locals and I'm sure beneficial to have someone who knows the area.

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By John Maurer
Aug 10, 2014
Crested Butte, looking for a landing . . .
Definitely interested but probably unable to given my current schedule!

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By John Maurer
Aug 10, 2014
Crested Butte, looking for a landing . . .
Thanks for the invite and yell if you do need a book or find yourselves closer to Boulder/Denver! Will PM my number.

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