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Colorado > Boulder


Flagstaff Mountain is the local bouldering area. This place has quite a history, and despite the fact that it is no Hueco Tanks, there are many historical and classic "moderate" problems. Flagstaff Mountain is a unique area in that the bouldering does not involve pushing yourself on the latest V9, but attempting moderate and historical problems that are sometimes a little scary and sandbagged. There are few beginner problems, and not a whole lot of world class problems, but tons to pander to the intermediate climber. There is quite a lot of climbing at Flagstaff. There are the central popular areas like the Monkey Traverse, Beer Barrel, Red Wall, Capstan, and Cloud Shadow areas, but also many outlying areas that give some relief from the afterwork crowds, these are the Candle area, Pumpkin Rock, and Upper area. Climbing at Flag has several prerequisites. The climbing tends to be powerful, and quite bold sometimes. The rock will quickly tear up your fingers because of its sandpaper consistency, yet feel greasy at the same time. I have always found the place particularly conductive to circuits, starting at the Upper area and working down to Pumpkin Rock, one can do around 100 problems in the V0-V5 range. One can conduct innumerable ciruits from these problems. Some good problems at Flag include Cloud Shadow Traverse (V2-V6), Hagan's Wall (V5), Consideration (V3), Monkey Traverse (V3, greasy and often too crowded), Pratts Mantle (V2), south arete of Beer Barrel (V0), Polling Pebble (V5), Tree Slab Traverse (V1), right side of Redwall (V4 very height dependant), King Conquerer (V2 scary!). Harder problems (which I have not done but are obviously classic), Just Right (V7), Undercling Traverse (V9), Hollow's Way (V8), Mongolian Cosmonaut (V8), Over Yourself (V10), Ooze Pig (V7), Trice (fifth class, I believe it has still never been repeated since holloway did it in the '70s, and not for lack of trying).

Getting There

Take Baseline Road west, go up the hill trying to avoid the flashy bikers. There are several places to park. The Capstan is a 30' spire in the middle of a hairpin turn, one can park here or continue on to the first lot on the left after the Capstan, this will take you to the Monkey Traverse area or across the road to Red Wall. Another thing to mention is that Flag is within reasonable walking distance from CU, it is about 1.5 miles away from campus, yet I have made this walk innumerable times, it takes about a half hour and is highly enjoyable.


Please consider minimizing your impact when enjoying the area. There are already significant signs of erosion, plant trampling, etc. There have already been projects begun to repair the impacts with revegetation and soil restoration in the area. Remember that pads do have a significant impact on the flora. Do your best to ensure future access to this wonderful area!

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Jim Holloway bouldering on Flagstaff.
[Hide Photo] Jim Holloway bouldering on Flagstaff.
Anne Carrier bouldering on Flagstaff, 1981.
[Hide Photo] Anne Carrier bouldering on Flagstaff, 1981.
Rob " CAT" Candelaria bouldering on Flagstaff.
[Hide Photo] Rob " CAT" Candelaria bouldering on Flagstaff.
Anne Carrier, warming up on easy stuff...1981.
[Hide Photo] Anne Carrier, warming up on easy stuff...1981.
Area shot.
[Hide Photo] Area shot.
Bouldering near Monkey Traverse in Boulder, CO.
[Hide Photo] Bouldering near Monkey Traverse in Boulder, CO.
Bouldering on Flagstaff, photo: Bob Horan Collection.
[Hide Photo] Bouldering on Flagstaff, photo: Bob Horan Collection.
One of the more popular bouldering areas, with a clear view of the Monkey Traverse. Photo: Dave Fiorucci
[Hide Photo] One of the more popular bouldering areas, with a clear view of the Monkey Traverse. Photo: Dave Fiorucci
Luke Childers on Hollow Way's Way.
[Hide Photo] Luke Childers on Hollow Way's Way.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Flagstaff is an awesome place to take beginners. Lots of good topropes and some good rappeling! and the best part is most of it is a short two minute walk from the road. Sep 10, 2001
[Hide Comment] Not much can be said concerning the wonderful bouldering at Flagstaff. Both the history and profundity of rock on the mountain is overwhelming. But here's the deal - it's filthy. I know damn well it isn't only climbers (as a matter of fact it's mostly the climbers making any concerted effort to keep the place looking snazzy), but let's step up to the plate and pretty the place up. If we all brought one Safeway or "whatever" bag every time we travelled to the crags, and tried to fill it, think of the improvement. It takes minimal time and minimal effort. Anyway, love the place, love the site. Oct 1, 2001
Longmont, CO
[Hide Comment] I don't think Flagstaff is for beginners. Very sharp grit will shread your hands. You must be able to Boulder in the mid to upper V scale or you will be frustrated on many sandbagged ratings. Great place to go though, but too many gapers. Beginners should look at Mt. Sanitas. Problems shouldn't tear your hands as much and lots of hot babes chillin. Jan 9, 2002
[Hide Comment] I have had an unbelievable amount of luck hitch-hiking up to flagstaff from baseline rd...this is awesome if you don't have a car, and it's the hikers and climbers that mostly pick up folks---thank yall Mar 2, 2002
Anonymous User
[Hide Comment] Pretty sweet bouldering but it can tear your hands apart. Jan 16, 2003
[Hide Comment] OHHHHHH...mommy, my hands won't quit hurting. The rock is all sharp and hurty...sob, ohh, boo, hoo. If I would have just climbed at the BRC my hands wouldn't hurt so bad. Hope none of you whiners ever want to come out to Yosemite and climb long cracks, because you might drown the party that was about to pass you with your hurty hand tears. Come on grow a pair and enjoy the great bouldering on Flag without all the moans. Props to the clean up dude, Flag needs it!! Jul 27, 2003
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know anything about the boulder just above the parking area on the right after the main monkey traverse parking area? There was some chalk on some up problems, but there is also quite a good traverse from right to left . Just wondering if anyone has done it before, I'm sure someone has. May 14, 2004
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] Well AC, I will actually admit to doing umpteen silly little vertical problems on it as well as the right to left traverse in 1999. As you know, plenty of people have probably fooled around on it through the years, although it has never been included or mentioned in any guides. The problems are too short to be of interest to most boulderers ... nevertheless, it is one of the nicer boulders for full-on beginners; ie: nice landings, short falls, pad not required, etc.

Here's a link to the miniguide for this boulder:

flagstaffmountainbouldering… May 14, 2004
[Hide Comment] Thankf for the beta Chip! Also some additional comments: What is the VB rating? I don't believe I've seen it before. Also, the traverse on tutorial rock is probably still V4/V5 without the big hold. May 15, 2004
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] You bet. The VB rating is common at California areas and in RockFax bouldering guides. It usually equates to 5.8/5.9 boulder problems. May 15, 2004
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] Well AC, I revisited Tutorial Rock when you suggested it was still V4/5 without the huge handlebar rail. While I will agree that the high traverse riding the lip could fairly be graded V4 or and deserving of a *, the low traverse dropping down from the slopers just past the two pebbles to what is left of the rail, continuing left into the start for Layback Lesson and then up, is quite a bit harder and less enjoyable on crumbly sharp rock. Its too bad the handlebar rail went bye bye. It was a truly awesome finish. May 19, 2004
[Hide Comment] V6 then I guess. Heel hooking eases the weight on the arms quite a bit. May 21, 2004
[Hide Comment] I guess I was just psyched to find something "new" up there. New to me that is. May 21, 2004
[Hide Comment] Flagstaff is a great place to find "new" problems, especially if you have been bouldering for a while. Now I don't mean FA's, those are few and far between. I am talking about walking that extra little bit to the boulder you keep seeing just off the road, down the hill, or across the valley. Get off the beaten path, walking on hard surfaces of course, and explore! Usually it doesn't take too long to find something up on Flagstaff that will intrigue you for weeks. The best part is you tell your buddies about your latest project and they've never heard of it, or they've always wondered about that boulder and just never had the time to explore. The rock is gritty, but suck it up and after a couple of days you won't notice.

-D Mar 3, 2006
[Hide Comment] Where are the top ropes on Flagstaff? I am taking my young neices climbing and I can't find info on website exactly where they are. Thanks. Jul 9, 2007
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I'm new to the area and just starting to get aquainted with the local spots. Does anyone know what the south arete of the North Boulders go at? The boulder I am referring too is the closest to the Red Wall, there is an obvious sit start on two underclings to some pinches and slopers. Name? Grade? Mar 10, 2008
Caleb Phillips
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I just wanted to point out this awesome website for Flagstaff beta (by Chip Phillips):


It's linked to on a couple of pages, but it needed to be in a more prominent spot, because it is really solid and fills in many gaps here. Apr 24, 2008
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] Thanks for the plug Caleb. FWIW, the blog-guide on the above link should be completed by the end of 2010. It has been a much longer process than I expected.

It was always my hope that I would publish this guide as a fold-out map on tear-proof/waterproof kevlar paper. At this time, however, I believe the online format works best for this sort of endeavor. Entries may be edited/modified, etc. as unknown and new information comes to light.

As of 01/2010, approximately 670 problems covering more than 2/3 of the mountain are up on the blog-guide. More will be up soon. Hopefully, it will be a great resource for those of us who enjoy venturing up Flagstaff from time to time. Apr 25, 2008
[Hide Comment] The guide is crazy comprehensive, great job, really well done. Nov 28, 2008
[Hide Comment] Hey, can everybody list what they think are the best classic boulder problems on the mountain? I'm trying to make a list of the best boulder problems associating history and great movement for the grades of V0-V12. Curious to get others input on the subject! Oct 10, 2009
Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
[Hide Comment] Join local climber/OSMP Trail Guide Peter Beal and Ranger/Naturalist Geoff Jasper for an introductory program for Flagstaff Mountain, one of the most important urban bouldering areas in the country. Get the beta from Peter on Flagstaff's major formations, dozens of problems, and information on environmentally sound bouldering practices. Geoff will answer questions about park resources and policies. We will also be joined by Chip Phillips, Flagstaff Mountain bouldering guru, for any questions about specific problems or other climbing-related info. Meet at the First Overhang Parking Area at 10:30 on Saturday, May 1. This hike will last approximately one hour. The tour will not provide technical instruction or safety advice related to bouldering or climbing. Apr 23, 2010
David Hertel
Haines, Alaska
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know what problem this is? Nobody I've talked to does. It's one of my favorite climbs on Flagstaff Mountain.
Nov 8, 2010
Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
[Hide Comment] The arete on the right is a fun V0, the left is a good V3 through the undercling. Look up the amphitheater areas in Chip's online guide. Nov 10, 2010
David Hertel
Haines, Alaska
[Hide Comment] Thank you. I don't know why it wasn't posted up on Mountain Project, but now it is. Nov 10, 2010
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Found a Patagonia R1 pullover balled up under a boulder near Tree Slab late tonight. Let me know if you are missing one. Apr 19, 2012
[Hide Comment] Remember, Flagstaff Trail Days are coming! More info here:… Aug 27, 2012
doug rouse
Denver, CO.
[Hide Comment] A large area has recently been closed just North of King Conquer. The area was previously posted closed from Feb -to-August for raptors I assume. Anyway, A recenly re-discovered proj from the early '90s (Chip Phillips lists this as the "Forgotten Boulder"), is now reached only by hopping a newly created fence, along with numerous saplings laid across the unobtrusive trail. No notices have been posted on this closure, other than the fence and saplings? The boulder in question was "on this side" of the closure's marked for what gives? Nov 26, 2012
[Hide Comment] If the fence in question isn't posted with a raptor closure or as a Habitat Conservation Area, then it isn't closed to use behind the fence. It is like a cattle fence...designed to keep dumb creatures from mindlessly following a trail that leads them where they probably don't want to go anyway. FWIW, there is a well used social trail in that draw that drops straight down to Boulder Creek and comes out behind a commercial building (no resisdential property crossing necessary) just South of Eben G Fine. I'm sure OSMP would prefer people stay out of there, but until it is designated an HCA, you can go climb that Forgotten Boulder. Nov 27, 2012
MJ Smoot
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] There were a number of improvements and trail modifications made during the recent trail work days in Sept. and beginning of October. New landing areas were created for popular areas and fences were erected to prevent land erosion and preserve the natural habitat from damage cause by the vast number of social trails. As one of the volunteers that worked on the project, we ask that you stay on the clearly marked trails and do not "jump" fences or take what you believe to be a shortcut. You're still able to access your favorite areas, and if you can't it is because, they are in a conservation area.

You'll notice major improvements, especially to landing areas, at the First Overhang and Upper-Y Traverse. Please help protect the area for future generations by staying on trail and packing out whatever you carry in. Dec 2, 2012
Rodger Raubach
Loveland, CO
[Hide Comment] Sigh! Sob! I recently visited Flagstaff after having been away for many (nearly 25!) years. The place has been "loved to death!" The ground level for almost all the boulders has eroded away by 12"-20" for some. I simply left in disgust without putting on my shoes. I was fortunate enough to be climbing there while it was still pretty "virgin." i.e. I started bouldering on Flagstaff in 1959! Apr 16, 2013
D@n Morta
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Flagstaff is CLOSED to all non-residents as of October 24, 2013. I called OSMP and they confirmed the closure. Asked if I could walk up and was told I'd have to get past the ranger at the bottom. I have no idea what that means. Probably just steer clear of this area until it re-opens. When it does, it will be posted on OSMP re-opened climbing areas. Oct 24, 2013
Hunter Damiani
Boulder, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Here is a video of a new problem I put up on Flagstaff. It climbs "South Overhang" V3 but WITHOUT the Pedestal/Other Boulder. Super rough top out/epic beached whale with very southern style, sloper campusing. It's called "G.R.I.T.S." (Girls Raised In The South), V10, due to is southern style and very gritty texture. I put it up about 8 years ago, but it is never chalked, and I don't think it ever been repeated hopefully it can go up on Mountain Project now, and more people will be interested in giving it a go. It starts with a really cool two finger, quartz crystal crimp for a right hand and left hand on a slopey pinch, campus left hand to sloper then right to sloper, to multiple campus bumps with right hand to a vicious unforgiving mantle. "G.R.I.T.S." climbs the south face of the Rock Shelter Boulder in the Upper Great Ridge/King Conquerer area. Mar 29, 2014
Chip Phillips
Broomfield, CO
[Hide Comment] That was sick, Hunter! Apr 7, 2014
[Hide Comment] Hello everyone, OSMP in collaboration with Flatirons Climbing Council is hosting a trail repair event on Saturday, June 24 from 8am to 4pm. We are looking to have 25 volunteers on Saturday and five volunteers on Wednesday (8- 2pm) to prepare the work site.

The objective is to repair the area surrounding the Pebble Boulder:….

On Saturday. we will meet at the New Vista High School (Baseline & 20th) to register and car pool to the Crown Rock parking lot. Lunches and FCC t-shirts will be provided to all volunteers. To register for the event go to:….

Thanks for you help in preserving a treasured bouldering resource.

FCC Jun 9, 2017
[Hide Comment] What is the large boulder just north of north rock with the two obvious routes. Highball problems?

Thanks for any help. Oct 20, 2017
Kevin Nichols
Evergreen, CO
[Hide Comment] Hey guys & gals!
I forgot my Falcon Colorado Bouldering guidebook at this area last Saturday, May 5th. I'm hoping some nice person might be willing to return it for a six pack of beer or something else of your choosing! I just bought it from Neptune Mountaineering the same day and left it behind. Super sad about it and hoping someone might be in search of some good karma as well! Please email me at if you have it! Or, just reply to this comment, and I'll DM you! Thank you! May 7, 2018
[Hide Comment] New to the area, and it makes me super nervous to try to climb sandstone after rain (don't want to be the one to break a hold!!!). How much time do ya'll give it here after some rain before playing on the rocks? Oct 12, 2018
[Hide Comment] Found a pair of Tarantulace climbing shoes sitting below the Capstan this morning. If they're yours, shoot me a message with the size and color, and I can get them back to you. May 31, 2019