Elevation: 6,000 ft
GPS: 40.186, -105.333 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 506,696 total · 2,044/month
Shared By: Richard M. Wright on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

Description

Located West of Lyons, the South Saint Vrain Canyon offers a considerable amount of climbing close to Boulder or to Longmont. As a granite canyon, many of the known routes in the SSV follow excellent crack systems on trad gear. Many of the newer lines have gone in as sport routes, on good faces or where the cracks are very short and intermittent. Routes can vary in length from half rope pitches to several rope length pitches. Granite quality is variable in the SSV. The best rock is well consolidated and featured with edges and flakes, while the worst is chossy and crystalline. Slab to vertical climbing is rather common on the older trad lines. However, many of the newer sport lines run through some big roof systems with steep the rule. Development of SSV sport climbing started many years ago with the Monkey Skull and The Fang, where Mark Rolofson and his associates have put up some very difficult climbs. Rock in the SSV seems to face in just about all directions, so it has been possible to climb here throughout the year. The best climbing is to be had in the summer and fall when temperatures are less comfortable further East or South.

Getting There

The South Saint Vrain Canyon can be approached from Boulder North along US 36. This will take you to the intersection with CO 66 one mile East of Lyons. From Longmont, simply take CO 66 West to the town of Lyons. At the intersection of CO 66 US 36, head West into Lyons and to the main intersection that forks North to Estes Park on US 36 or South to Estes Park via the SSV canyon and CO 7. Set the odometer from this intersection; climbing in the SSV begins at The Scout Rock 3.1 miles upstream on CO 7.

Per Matt Henry, Recreation Program Manager, Forest Service (April 2020):

CDOT will be reconstructing US Hwy 7 at some point in the near future . They want to try to maintain parking to allow for climbing access on National Forest System lands, if possible (but not too much parking to overcrowd the area for the future). It is not yet clear which pullouts/parking areas will be used. 

Link to S St Vrain Ice

Mileage for Crags

With the help and prompting of John Marsella& George Bracksieck, we'll list these crags going uphill from CO 7 & US 36 at approximate mileage.

SouthSt. Vrain

Mile 3.1 North: Scout Rock | Scout Slab

Mile 3.5 South: Guard House | Guardian Rock

Mile 3.6 North: Dance Hall of the Dead | Turd World Country | The Shrine of Vanity | Atoll, The | Deadman's Gulch | Deadman's Gulch Boulder

Mile 3.8 South: Mushroom Massif

Mile 3.9 South: Area 51 | Desdimona

Mile 4.1 South: The Wave Twister

Mile 4.2 North: Kids' Wall | Shortcrack Lump

Mile 4.3 North: Backstage Wall | December Wall

Mile 4.4 South: The Cliffs of Insanity

Mile 4.4 North: P. Mosh Wall

Mile 4.45: Whistler's Mother

Mile 4.5 North: The Thinker

Mile 4.5 South: The Sentinel

Mile 4.6 North: Roadside Rock

Mile 4.7: The Ant

Mile 4.9 South: Sweat Loaf aka Big Dogs | The Thinker

Mile 5.1 North: The Throne | Infirmary Slabs |  Upper Infirmary Slabs | Lower Infirmary Slabs | Left Infirmary Slab | Defibrillator Dome

Milepost 28: 

Mile 5.3 North: North Narrows Slabs | Swift Rock | Observatory Rock | Defibrillator Dome | Mortuary

Mile 5.5 North: Vrain Dead

Mile 5.5 South: Mechanical Man

Mile 5.6 South: Rapids Rock

Mile ~6: Wailing Wall

Mile 6.0 South: The Spire

Mile 6.5 North: The Monkey Skull | Rhesus Monkey

Mile 7.0 South: Mystery Rock

Mile 7.0 North: The Hobo Car

Mile 7.2 South: Trojan Bunny Buttress

Mile 7.3: Pilot Knob

Mile 7.4 South: Stewardess Convention Crag

Mile 7.5: Sandbox Wall | The Acrophile 

Mile 7.7 South: Arch of Titus | The Coliseum | Roadeo | The Pantheon

Mile 8.1 North:

Mile 8.3 South: The Sundrop

Mile 8.6 South: Hideaway Dome

Mile 9.1 South: The Fang

Mile 9.3 North: Stray Dog

Mile 9.6 North: Violator Buttress

Mile 10.4 South: The Watchtower

Middle Fork of St. Vrain

Mile ~14 south on CO 72: Piz Cengalo

Mile 14.4, south on CO 72 -> "a few miles" East: Piz Badille

North St. Vrain

2.9 mile hike from Johnny Park off CO 66 : Coulson Gulch

471 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at South Fork of St. Vrain Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 55
Community Service (formerly Litt…
Sport, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 90
Handcrack-a-rete
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 70
Unleash The Lions
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 61
Remission
Sport, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 74
Hollow Man
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 85
Casual Corner
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 119
KeeMoSabe
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 93
Sunshine Dihedral
Trad
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 57
Panic in the Gray Room
Sport, TR
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 53
Ionic Column
Trad, Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 108
Upside The Cranium
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 65
Rawhide
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 42
Life After James
Sport 3 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 44
Temptation Arete
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 21
Botany of Desire
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Community Service (formerly… Infirmary Slabs > Upper Infirmary Slabs
 55
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport, TR
Handcrack-a-rete Coliseum
 90
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Unleash The Lions Coliseum
 70
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Remission Infirmary Slabs > Upper Infirmary Slabs
 61
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport, TR
Hollow Man Coliseum
 74
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Casual Corner Monkey Skull
 85
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
KeeMoSabe Scout Rock
 119
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Sunshine Dihedral Monkey Skull
 93
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Panic in the Gray Room Infirmary Slabs > Upper Infirmary Slabs
 57
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport, TR
Ionic Column Coliseum
 53
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Sport
Upside The Cranium Monkey Skull
 108
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Rawhide Scout Rock
 65
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Life After James December Wall
 42
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport 3 pitches
Temptation Arete Trojan Bunny Buttress
 44
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Botany of Desire Trojan Bunny Buttress
 21
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in South Fork of St. Vrain Canyon »

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