Use onX Backcountry to explore the terrain in 3D, view recent satellite imagery, and more. Now available in onX Backcountry Mobile apps! For more information see this post.
Elevation: 5,916 ft 1,803 m
GPS: 40.18628, -105.33338
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 655,244 total · 2,302/month
Shared By: Richard M. Wright on Dec 31, 2000 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC
Warning Access Issue: MM 23-29.5 - now ended daily CO 7 highway closure/delays DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

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 Suggest change

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

Suggest change

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

501 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: South Fork of St. Vrain Canyon Change
Type:  to 
Sort by:   then:

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.
V8 7B
Prospectors (stand)
V9-10 7C+
V10- 7C+
Outside Logs
V12 8A+
Log Cabins
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Hollow Man
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Sunshine Dihedral
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Upside The Cranium
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
The Bucket List
Trad, Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Temptation Arete
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Bun in the Oven
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Perfect Stemetry
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Botany of Desire
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Prospectors (stand) Creekside Boulders > River Block
V8 7B Boulder
Prophets Creekside Boulders > River Block
V9-10 7C+ Boulder
Outside Logs Creekside Boulders > Log Boulder
V10- 7C+ Boulder
Log Cabins Creekside Boulders > Log Boulder
V12 8A+ Boulder
Handcrack-a-rete Coliseum
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Hollow Man Coliseum
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Sunshine Dihedral Monkey Skull
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Upside The Cranium Monkey Skull
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
The Bucket List Trojan Bunny Buttress
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad, Sport
Temptation Arete Trojan Bunny Buttress
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Crawfish Trojan Bunny Buttress
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Bun in the Oven Trojan Bunny Buttress
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Perfect Stemetry Fang
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
Botany of Desire Trojan Bunny Buttress
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
Goldfinger Fang
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in South Fork of St. Vrain Canyon »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season