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Routes in Underworld Rock

Balance Sheet T,S,TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a X
Black Market Babies S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Drug Lord S,TR 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Gestapo Priest S,TR 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Hair Dresser T,S,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
High on Life S,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Hit Man S,TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Poop Shoot S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Underpass S,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
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Access Issue: Trails are closed from sunset to 6:00 am. Details

Description

This Rock requires a bit of a hike, but is well worth it for its pleasant shaded atmosphere, and the number of moderate slab routes (5.8-5.11mumble) it offers. All of the routes can be relatively easily top roped, and most are bolted.

Getting There

Approach Time: 10 - 20 minutes.

Option 1: Start from the Castle Rock State Park parking lot, and start down the Saratoga Gap trail (the entrance is about 15 yards to the left of the latrine) for about 200 yards to a side trail which splits off to the left up the hill at a signpost.

Follow the left trail up the hill through a number of switchbacks until you see the first smaller unmarked trail to the right (there is a log along the right side of the main trail which separates it from the smaller trail and a sign informing you that this is not 'the' trail.) Take this right trail, and if you see a series of nice looking boulders on your left (the largest with a small cavelike formation called The Graveyard Boulders and Pyramid Rock) you have gone too far.

Take the climbers trail for about 100 yards to a moderate clearing (this used to be part of an old road.) There are two small trails (ok, they look more like goat paths than trails) on the far side of the clearing. One leads up and to the right of Chew Tooth Rock, while the other leads down directly to the top of The Underworld. Top ropes for most of the climbs here can be set up from one of 2 sets of bolts accessible from here.

Option 2: Start from the Castle Rock State Park parking lot, and start down the Castle Rock Trail. It will go left from the trailhead. Stay on the trail for about a half mile until you see the climbing trail on the left side of the trail. At the intersection, there will be a sign that says "trail" with an arrow point to the right. This is for the main trail. Go left and take the climber trail for about 100 yards until you reach a split in the trail. Stay left. You will pass by Chewtooth on your left and begin to go downhill. The top of California Ride will be shortly after on your right side. The trail splits right after, with the left continuing to the Underworld. When you reach the steepest section, the rock will become visible. Stay left when the trail splits for the last time. This is the easiest way to descend into the Underworld. 

9 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Underworld Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 36
Hair Dresser
Trad, Sport, TR
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 38
Hit Man
Sport, TR
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 13
Gestapo Priest
Sport, TR
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 42
Poop Shoot
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 10
Black Market Babies
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Hair Dresser
 36
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport, TR
Hit Man
 38
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport, TR
Gestapo Priest
 13
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport, TR
Poop Shoot
 42
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Black Market Babies
 10
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Underworld Rock »

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Brian Quiter
Oakland, CA
Brian Quiter   Oakland, CA
One minor inconvienence surrounding the Underworld is that almost all climbs share the same anchors atop the rock. That means if another party is there, you've just done the hike for nothing... unless you're creative.

Equalize an anchor with a 6' sling from the tree branch atop the rock and the last bolt of Underpass. With this anchor (as long as you stay right of the other party) you can toprope or lead Poop Shoot and anything right of there. Sep 13, 2004
Bryan Howell
San Francisco, CA
Bryan Howell   San Francisco, CA
Is the anchor situation still the same now, in good ol' 2008? Anyone been there recently who can shed some light on this? Apr 21, 2008
Yes, the anchor situation is the same now (in 2009). Luckily this rock doesn't seem to get as much traffic as other areas in Castle Rock. Aug 3, 2009
Is rappelling off the top anchor the only way to get to the base of the rock? Sep 8, 2014
Guy T. B.
Santa Cruz, California
Guy T. B.   Santa Cruz, California
Does anyone have a bit more detailed gear beta? What size of pro does this take? Jan 20, 2015
Finding the rock is one of the most challenging aspects of Underworld Rock. The directions above are pretty clear until you get to the fork. Where the directions say "One leads up and to the right of Chew Tooth Rock, while the other leads down directly to the top of The Underworld", take the trail on the left. Once you're on this trail, there are numerous goat trails running off in multiple directions. When faced with a fork, choose the steepest path where it looks like you're about to fall grass over teakettle. Just keep going down, down, down, and you'll find the Underworld. Oct 16, 2016
Nathan Honka
Santa Clara, CA
Nathan Honka   Santa Clara, CA
Just went there today. Some updates:
  • You can hike down to the bottom, no rappel needed
  • Only anchors are two bolds with lengthy chains - shareable
  • If you have two pieces in the 1-2" range, you're set for this area (note that everything can be TR'd, too)

PS - I left an alpine draw on left side of the rock (silver/yellow draws, 30cm sling). If you find it, please message me! :) Jul 15, 2017

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