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Areas in Shelf Road

Bank, The 12 / 178 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 188
Cactus Cliff 8 / 145 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 152
Cactus Rose Cliff 1 / 33 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 34
Cash Wall 0 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
Dark Side, The 4 / 62 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 65
Gallery, The 5 / 172 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 175
Great Black North, The 0 / 24 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 24
Gym, The 1 / 79 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 79
North End, The 0 / 27 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 27
North Gym, The 1 / 29 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 29
Peg Leg Wall 1 / 15 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
Sand Gulch 4 / 111 / 1 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 118
Spiney Ridge 0 / 30 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 30
University Wall 2 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Vault, The 4 / 30 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 34

Description

Shelf Road is home to many quality sport routes on quality, vertical limestone. The area has recently been improved with the addition of a few new crags. Rock & Ice #103 [October 2000] (the one with Josune Bereziartu on the cover) has a mini-guide to the new areas, which are not yet covered in any guidebook. The other good guides are Shelf Road Rock by Fred Knapp and Rock Climbing Shelf Road by Mark Van Horn.

Getting There

To get to Shelf, travel to Canon City. From Boulder, it is fastest to go I-25 to Colorado Springs, then take the exit for Canon City (beware this is tough to spot - it is poorly marked, if you miss it, exit in the south part of town and travel west until you intersect CO Highway 115). Travel SW on CO 115 to US Hwy 50, then west about 10 miles to Canon City. In Canon City, take a right at the first light past the Wal-Mart (Dozier St), or take a right at the next light which is Reynolds. Travel north and the road will curve to the left and intersect Field (not Fields as Knapp says) Avenue.

Turn north on Field and travel on this weird two lane road for about five miles, when it joins up with Fremont County Road 9 via a 'Y' type intersection. From here, it is 9.4 miles to the entrance to Shelf Road, which is marked with a sign indicating as much.

There are two BLM-administered camping locations at Shelf Road. The lower area, Sand Gulch has 14 campsites and 1 group camping site. The upper area at The Banks has 11 campsites and 1 group camping site.

  • Individual campsites are $7/night and accomodate 8-10 people. The group campsites are $14/night and accomodate up to 20 people.
  • All sites are first-come, first-served.
  • For more information, the Royal Gorge BLM field office can be contacted at: 719-269-8500.

Just before you arrive at Shelf Road, you will pass Sand Gulch campground on your left, behind a red BLM gate. Close the gate as you pass through. This is quality, spacious camping and access to the Sand Gulch area, home to many moderates about a 15 minute walk from the campground. There is day use parking at the northwest end of the campground, and overflow parking at the north end, where the Freeform trail begins.

To access the Bank parking area and campground, continue down Shelf Road and it is on the left. The North End is reached by continuing straight down Shelf Road. Consult Knapp, Van Horn, and the R&I mini-guide for more details. We found some disagreement in route ratings, listings and general details between Knapp and Van Horn, but both books are well done and easy to follow.

Camping Restrictions
  • Wood cutting is not permitted in this area. Please bring your own firewood.

Mountain Shops

Per courtney.vogt Higher Limits at 224 Main St. Per saracasey casey it is no longer open.

Per Chris Oshiro: Red Canyon Cycles on 420 Main Street has climbing gear and is a great one stop shop for beta, beer, or a coffee.

Per Taketaketaketaketake ....take: The Bean Pedaler on Main also sells climbing gear as well as coffee / breakfast burritos. It's more of a bike shop, but they do have a small climbing section as well.

Facilities

Per Doug Lintz: Vault toilets at both campgrounds and another near the old parking lot for the Gem/Cactus Cliff area. In other words...convenient.

Marijuana

Though Colorado has passed Amendment 64 to legalize recreational marijuana use and limited quantity possession, the U.S. Justice Department issued a memo to federal prosecutors that the government would still "aggressively enforce" laws to prevent violations in eight areas of concern involving the drug including possession on federal property. To this point, Shelf Road has landowners that include the federal government. Be aware of where you are if you choose to use.

990 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Shelf Road

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Ga-stoned Again
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
I Claudius
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Enchanted Porkfist
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Regroovable
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Lime Street
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Illegal Smile
Sport
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
The Raw and the Roasted
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
No Passion for Fashion
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Back To The Future
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Unusual Weather
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Lats Don't Have Feelings
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Gravitations
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Freeform
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Hot Beach
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Heavy Weather
Sport
Ga-stoned Again Gym 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
I Claudius Cactus Cliff 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Enchanted Porkfist Dark Side 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Regroovable Sand Gulch > Contest Wall 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Lime Street Bank 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Illegal Smile Cactus Cliff 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
The Raw and the Roasted Gym 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
No Passion for Fashion Gallery > Menses Prow 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Back To The Future Bank 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Unusual Weather Bank 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Lats Don't Have Feelings Cactus Cliff 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Gravitations Cactus Cliff 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Freeform Sand Gulch > Free Form Wall 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Hot Beach Cactus Cliff 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Heavy Weather Bank 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Shelf Road »

Weather Averages

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Prime Climbing Season
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Photos

softfx  
Is it far fetch to go visit this area mid-December to climb for a few days ? 13 hours ago
Lost a white, Petzel helmet and a pair of belay glasses climbing 2150 wall last weekend (11/11) near Primal Scream. There was a guy that had a very similar green backpack and we're thinking we might've put some of our stuff in his bag! If you find anything extra please let me know- lojaeger@gmail.com. 5 days ago
Lost my black iPhone at Menses Prow (at the bottom of Graceland) last Saturday. If you have it, please contact me at ajoelrand@gmail.com

Thanks! Oct 23, 2017
Found a pair of men's climbing shoes at Cactus Cliff Tuesday. If yours, please respond with description, and I'd be happy to get them back to their rightful owner. Oct 12, 2017
gunter  
I left my damn helmet at the Menses Prow Sat. the 30th. It is a white a silver Petzl Meteor 3. It is rather sentimental as I have been through a lot of good and bad times with that shit on my head. So if anything, I hope it finds an equally epic home. If you do have it, please PM me, and I will gladly pay to get it to me and compensate you. Oct 1, 2017
Hey guys, I may have lost a magnetic key box from underneath my car 2 weeks ago somewhere in the Shelf Road area. I know it's a long shot, but if anyone has seen one, please let me know :( Sep 12, 2017
May have lost of full set of sport gear. 14 draws and a Cinch. If found and it wasn't stolen, pleeeeease contact me. 8609386166 Aug 26, 2017
May have left my Grigri up at Contest. Let me know if you found one. Aug 19, 2017
Yoav Golan
Milford, PA
Yoav Golan   Milford, PA
FOUND climbing shoes on Wednesday at the Dark Side area.
Describe them, and I'll give em back happily.
Contact 3609109194. Nov 17, 2016
Chris Perkins
Buena Vista, Colorado
Chris Perkins   Buena Vista, Colorado
Found a slackline at the Bank Campground. Contact me with description, and I'll get it back to you. Nov 16, 2016
peakest
Manitou Springs, Colorado
peakest   Manitou Springs, Colorado
About that time again.... Rock is getting better, and the crowds are starting to flock. Come one come all to enjoy the crimpy pocket climbing that Shelf has to offer. It amazes me the the different style of sport climbing that occurs here vs. the granite I am used to. Amazing spot - always need one day to get in the swing of things before I can really let loose. Oct 18, 2016
two chains
Fucken Zion
two chains   Fucken Zion
Yeah stay in Breck, and go to Haus Rock. 5.7s-5.14. Aug 2, 2016
Sam Spare
Breckenridge, CO
Sam Spare   Breckenridge, CO
Can anyone recommend a shady crag in the summer? Jul 7, 2016
Hey all. I am pretty new to the area and am very new to rock climbing. I am trying to find some good bouldering spots that aren't super hard. I want to do some bouldering to get in shape. Can you guys give me some suggestions besides Newlin. Thanks ahead of time! May 18, 2016
ATX
ATX  
Ah, the classic "damn teenage beer parties" logical fallacy. 'Instagram', I imagine the first day you climbed you onsighted 13d, but most mere mortals have to start somewhere, and why not at The Shelf? Get off my lawn! May 6, 2016
two chains
Fucken Zion
two chains   Fucken Zion
Place sucks. Gumby climbers and campers. People projecting 11a. Gang bangs on classics and generators and music till 4am. Who are these faacking twats?

ATZ an abundance of mortal shit/tpee is buried in YOUR lawn...place stinks.... Don't worry I'll stay out and head to Wyonothing or Flag before setting foot in Selfish Road again. Apr 26, 2016
My friend left my rope in The Bank parking lot Friday evening. It is green/white (very dirty, can't remember what brand it is), and it was in a blue/gray Black Diamond rope bag. Reward if you return it. email me at david@beckersite.com.
Thanks Mar 7, 2016
tiffany
Colorado springs, CO
tiffany   Colorado springs, CO
Camping issues:

Please extinguish your fire when you leave your site! This Sunday morning, in the camping area beyond the gate that does not have designated sites, a group of guys left a smouldering log that caught fire after they left. The log was very large and about half of it was out of the fire pit. Thankfully we had enough extra water to put it out. There is plenty of dry grass in the area that could have caught fire if this log continued to burn.

If you know them, inform them about the fire hazard they left. It was a group of guys, some in their 30s, one of them had a grayish brown Sprinter van, and the other had a white van, from Boulder CO.

These guys were drunk & loud til 2am. Is that a norm at Shelf Rd?

Mar 7, 2016
Benjamin Schaefer
Denver, Co
Benjamin Schaefer   Denver, Co
Be careful leaving your camp unattended. A sleeping bag and pad where stolen from me today. Jan 18, 2016
I lost an iPhone 5 with a black case either in the parking lot, Cash Cliff, or Cactus Cliff.

Reward offerd. Contact esingleton.se@gmail.com if you find it! Jan 4, 2016
sab160
Denver, CO
sab160   Denver, CO
Someone took my climbing shoes today, Oct. 25 climbing at The Bank, Piggy Bank. A family was climbing next to us with a teenage girl, they moved away, and I'm pretty sure they grabbed my shoes by accident. I would love to get them back, they're La Sportiva grey/metallicy color (206)602-4328. Thanks Oct 25, 2015
Nick Crews
Colorado Springs
Nick Crews   Colorado Springs
Somebody left their chalkbag on the evening of Saturday the 24th, and I picked it up. Tell me what it look like, and it's yours! Oct 25, 2015
Us crazy ladies decided to ride our bikes from Yellowstone to Vegas. We want to stop for some climbing breaks along the way! So we shipped our rope and rock shoes to Canon City general delivery. We are seeking a ride from there out to Shelf Rd, to give our bikes a break, and even possibly make some new climbing friends and share some new experiences. Text me if you're headed out there Wednesday evening or Thursday, friend. 2066583096 Sep 22, 2015
Hey y'all. I have a huge favor to ask anyone who is out at Shelf Road. I unfortunately left my rain jacket containing my red shockproof camera in the bathroom vestibule at the Sand Creek Campground. If any of you find it, could you let me know? I'll pay for shipping and then some, or if you're heading north to the Fort Collins area, I can meet you anywhere near there. Thanks!!! Aug 18, 2015
Eliot Augusto
Boulder, CO
Eliot Augusto   Boulder, CO
I'd rather someone purchased it and turned it into a campground. Same deal the BLM have going on.

Also, single sites are $8 now. At least the sticker told me so. Apr 13, 2015
Chick on Crack
Superior, CO
Chick on Crack   Superior, CO
Who has a slow day at Shelf?

Just say no to commercializing Shelf! If you want pizza & beer, climb in Golden or Boulder.

(unless that post was in the tone of sarcasm, then bravo) Mar 18, 2015
Couldn't help but notice the parcel of land for sale at right next to Sand Gulch campground last weekend. Some enterpreneural climber should snap that up & set up a Miguel's West. Add more camping, pizza & beer, how could you go wrong with something like that? Then on slow days, just walk over & get some pitches in. Any takers? Jan 22, 2015
August Voegeli 1
Jamestown, Colorado
August Voegeli 1   Jamestown, Colorado
I was climbing last weekend, and someone lost some gear at a certain area.
Hit me up with the gear and area, and I will gladly return it to the owner! Jul 16, 2014
It was a great, yet busy weekend at Shelf. Wanted to post a reminder to park on the gravel. Driving your red jeep around the rocks and parking on the vegetation doesn't help the access. Mar 30, 2014
Jason Parks
Colorado Springs, CO
Jason Parks   Colorado Springs, CO
28 Sept 2013: May have dropped my wedding ring (white gold with 5 sapphires) and another ring (titanium with silver inlay) out the Trail to Menses Prow. Any booty finders, please contact me so I can get out of the doghouse. Oct 4, 2013
Kirk Miller
Golden, CO
Kirk Miller   Golden, CO
I posted a few pics under the thread "Shelf Road Hut". There was extensive road damage from a storm in August, prior to recent events. BLM completed repairs before the last round of storms. Hopefully the road is still good to go. Cactus Cliff Yurt is available. Sep 18, 2013
Sam Miller
Boulder, CO
Sam Miller   Boulder, CO
Anyone know of any flood damage to areas or roads at Shelf? Sep 18, 2013
M Mojo  
Just a heads up:

Today (13 March 2013), while climbing at the Piggy Bank, a member of our group came across a massive, loose rock at the top of the route between 2010A and Pig City Nights. He placed his hand on it, and it started to move quite easily and looked like it could tumble down to the base of those three climbs. We marked the base of the route with some chalk. When looking up from the base: the rock is located slightly behind a wall to the left side. Be careful out there. Mar 14, 2013
It's good to know that the pathetic morons haven't made it that far south yet, but an infestation could occur at any time. Mar 9, 2013
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Tod, we don't have any pathetic morons around here, just normal ones. ;) Mar 9, 2013
You know I was looking through the two most recent Shelf guidebooks and found that almost all of the bolt counts for each route were different between the two books. Although it doesn't matter to me at all, it seems unfathomable that some pathetic moron hasn't called out a safety concern on that. Mar 8, 2013
Hiro Kurotsuchi
Colorado
Hiro Kurotsuchi   Colorado
Where to eat - try Alfanso's which is in town, just up the road from WalMart.
yelp.com/biz/alfonsos-mexic… Oct 23, 2012
bryant  
I made a video that give a quick overview of what Shelf is like. Not a lot of climbing footage but hopefully some helpful info. This Crag :: Shelf Road. Sep 13, 2012
The Higher Limits outdoor store is no longer open. Jul 12, 2012
Harald Harb
Dumont
Harald Harb   Dumont
Camped and climbed at Sand Gulch Tuesday and Wednesday. Not one party in the whole area. Midweek climbing is the answer. I won't climb on weekends with untrained dogs and loud spraying right and left. That's not why I climb, there are so many places in Colorado to climb without this mess. Jun 18, 2012
Are you sure they were "Big City Climbers"?

It's prom season, and I've encountered many LARGE parties of local HS aged kids trashing the place.

It's not just a climbers only campground. Apr 24, 2012
Doug Lintz
Kearney, NE
Doug Lintz   Kearney, NE
Pretty lame. The BLM should be able to track down these asshats.
For $10 you can buy as much scrap wood as you can stuff in your vehicle at the lumber mill north of Canon City. Just get there before they close at 6. Apr 21, 2012
Christy-Dale Sims
Lakewood, CO
Christy-Dale Sims   Lakewood, CO
Update on camping:
Today I spoke to the Royal Gorge BLM office who runs the area, and camp fees have gone up. Individual sites as now $7 a night and group sites are $14 a night. Mar 1, 2012
Doug Lintz
Kearney, NE
Doug Lintz   Kearney, NE
We got out just in time to miss 10 inches of snow about 5 years ago. This was in early April. You just never know. Jan 17, 2012
crh.noaa.gov/bou/?n=denver_…

March is the Front Range's snowiest month. Most likely, you would get 60 degrees and sunny at Shelf in early March. But a couple feet of snow and temps near zero wouldn't be a surprise either. Jan 17, 2012
JJNS  
Yes, you could get snowed on in March. It's probably not a huge risk, but it is spring time and weather patterns are shifting. Some of our largest storms on the Front Range happen in March and April. I wouldn't say not to go, but I also might not drive all the way from Indiana with a small window of days to climb. If you came out for a week, it would be worth it. If you came out for five days, it could be worth it. If you came out for three days, you might get shut down with a freak storm, but chances are you're not that unlucky. Jan 16, 2012
SteveBSU
Muncie, IN
SteveBSU   Muncie, IN
Does anyone know how the weather would be like for climbing during the first week of March? Is there risk of any big snowfall? Jan 16, 2012
LOST WEDDING RING, ENGAGEMENT RING AND WATCH AT SHELF -

Sunny crags and lots to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend. We even had chestnuts roasted on an open fire at the group campsite at Shelf Road. And then I lost my wedding ring, engagement ring, and a watch. They are all hooked together. Oh my goodness. I am freaking out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Has anyone found these? If you did, please let me know and I will give a full description, cash reward, and eternal gratitude. Call Liz at 303-642-7646 or email me at LizBrownMorgan@gmail.com. Nov 29, 2011
Monomaniac
Morrison, CO
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  
Glad to hear you're back on the rock!

It seems that the GBN, North Gym, & Damage Wall are safe for "fixed" draws. I wouldn't leave draws anywhere else. Good luck and let me know how it goes. Sep 19, 2011
abc
abc  
Seems like taking draws off of projects is becoming the norm here. I had my draws taken off of Carnage this weekend. Sep 18, 2011
Joshua1979
Colorado Springs, CO
Joshua1979   Colorado Springs, CO
Rome - Winter is the best time to climb at Shelf IMO as summer can be HOT. A sunny day in Nov. or Dec. is a beautiful thing at Shelf.

Cameron - You can get a TR on most lines at Shelf assuming you can lead up to the anchors first. There are quite a few 8s and some lower out there, just search the database here. If you are looking to scramble up to setup a TR, then Shelf is not going to be the best location for that as walking on the cliff tops is discouraged due to loose rocks that can be knocked off on climbers. Most anchors would be hard to reach from the cliff top anyway as they are generally located on the face. Have fun with the kiddos. Jun 23, 2011
Cameron Melvin
Colorado Springs
Cameron Melvin   Colorado Springs
Thinking about taking a trip w/ my kids. Any good places to top rope on Shelf Road? Looking for easier stuff, say 5.8 and lower. The kids have climbed in the gym a bunch but not so much outside, so they have a hard time picking a line and seeing the holds that are available to them. I've requested a couple of guides from the local library, but they haven't gotten here yet. Just looking for some info to see if this will be a possibility. Thanks. Jun 19, 2011
rome  
Is early November too cold to climb at the Shelf Rd? Jun 13, 2011
Joshua1979
Colorado Springs, CO
Joshua1979   Colorado Springs, CO
Climbing shoes found at Cactus Cliff yesterday (Monday, June 6th). Contact me with a description, and I'll try and get them back to you. Jun 7, 2011
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
Helmet found at Shelf Road on Sunday 5/29.

Not actually found, but it stowed away in our pack and came home with us. It looks very similar to one of our helmets.

Contact me via Mountain Project, tell me where you lost it and what kind of helmet it is, and we'll figure out how I can get it back to you.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Ivan Rezucha May 30, 2011
Doug Lintz
Kearney, NE
Doug Lintz   Kearney, NE
Braden, Shelf Road cliffs are generally dead vertical. The only place to escape rain is your tent. However, I've been chased off Cactus Cliff back to my campsite by rain only to be climbing a couple hours later, it dries out pretty quickly.

Unless the forecast is calling for an all-week rain event, you should be fine. Apr 24, 2011

 
Not the same. You're right about The Gym. Apr 10, 2011
Mike Anderson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Anderson   Colorado Springs, CO
Andrew, I've ben climbing at Shelf since you were in grade school, and you're mistaken. Shelf has always had crowds and always had GREAT cliffs that are deserted. Go to the Gym, and you'll have the best of Shelf all to yourself. Apr 8, 2011
Monomaniac
Morrison, CO
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  
True, Cactus, The Bank, The Gallery & Sand Gulch tend to be crowded, but there are many other crags that go (literally) years without any climber traffic. In my last 20 climbing days at Shelf, I have seen exactly 2 other climbers that were not in my party, and they weren't even at the cliff; we passed them on the approach. Apr 6, 2011

 
Not the same as it used to be. Only four years ago you could be by yourself at Shelf on a weekend, not anymore. Shit show. Go back to Boulder! Apr 5, 2011
Curt Nelson
Fort Collins, CO
Curt Nelson   Fort Collins, CO
It was probably the same people that s#!t in the bushes by the trail, just about 150 ft from the bathrooms. I am constantly amazed at the ever evolving stupidity here at Shelf Road! Mar 26, 2011
Unattended campfire on 3/20/11:

Upon arrival at the Sand Gulch day parking area yesterday around 10:30 AM I noticed an active campfire in Site #6, right by a red Saab with Colorado plates, that was burning with flames visible. During the time that we were getting ready to head up to the crag, I checked and there was no one in or around the campsite, so I used some of the water that they had left on the table and put the fire out. It was obvious that no effort had been made to extinguish the fire.

Leaving an active fire in a campsite is inexcusable, and even more so during red flag fire conditions. We all need to be especially careful to take care of this area. Mar 21, 2011

 
If you don't like dogs, go back to fn Boulder! Feb 13, 2011
SHELF ROAD ROCK: A Complete Climbing Reference can now be purchased as a high-res printable eBook for a very affordable $12.95 at sharpendbooks.com/prod.php?… Jan 6, 2011
Keep an eye out for this guy stealing draws at Shelf.

mountainproject.com/v/gener…

Dec 29, 2010
Doug Lintz
Kearney, NE
Doug Lintz   Kearney, NE
Vault toilets at both campgrounds and another near the old parking lot for the Gem/Cactus Cliff area. In other words...convenient. Sep 3, 2010
T.Dailey
Avon
T.Dailey   Avon
What's the pooping like? Sep 3, 2010
tim
Boulder, CO
tim   Boulder, CO
good shade can be found even now, but the biting nats/flies are terrible. Jul 12, 2010
Any Bear activity in Sand Gulch area this year? May 18, 2010
Petsfed
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
Considering that there are 10-15 campsites a piece at the Bank and Sand Gulch campgrounds, I really wonder where everyone expects to climb, assuming that each of those sites can hold up to 8 people. Maybe carpool in the future? Or take a couple days off work? Climb elsewhere? It blew me away that anyone would feel it necessary to camp along the dirt road. Incidentally, that dirt road is getting torn to hell by people driving too fast on it. Washboard gets worse when heavy vehicles drive too fast on it. I'd give it a few more years, assuming a constant wear pattern and no additional maintenance, before it's impassable by low slung vehicles. Think like the road into Eldo. May 11, 2010
Derek Lawrence   Bailey
1) what are the chances the campgrounds will be fully booked on Friday eve around 8pm?
2) is there water available?
3) is it still 4$ a night?
4) picnic tables at the sites?

1 - if it was like last weekend there were only a couple of sites still available by 9pm (granted last weekend was the busiest i've seen in years) you should have a decent chance...
2 - No, bring your own
3 - Yes, for now...
4 - Yes

Other tips... bring your own wood unless you don't mind walking a ways to gather dead wood (it's still possible, but it keeps getting further and further from the sites).

Have fun! May 10, 2010
Chris Weber
Boulder, CO
Chris Weber   Boulder, CO
Hi--looking to go to Shelf for first time this weekend, a few questions:
1) what are the chances the campgrounds will be fully booked on Friday eve around 8pm?
2) is there water available?
3) is it still $4 a night?
4) picnic tables at the sites?

Any other tips I should know for camping there?

Thanks
Chris May 10, 2010
loc
colorado springs co
loc   colorado springs co
Go there on a weekday and you have the whole place to yourself. Mar 20, 2010
Curt Nelson
Fort Collins, CO
Curt Nelson   Fort Collins, CO
I'm pretty sure that Paul (USBRIT)could be violation of rule #1... if you don't like Shelf, stay off the Shelf page and mind your own... I'm saving all wimpy trad for when I get old, ha! Everyone's idea of risk, excitement and recreation all vary. Even people with great tolerances for risk like to just have some fun climbing sometimes. I like alpine, trad, and ice and I still think Shelf is awesome! It's beautiful, has good weather, and great routes. There is also a bit o risk out there if you look for it! I have also been there dozens of times during the week and haven't seen a soul - not even a damned loose dog! Mar 15, 2010
Monomaniac
Morrison, CO
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  
For those interested in the Dog question, this might be of interest: Feb 16, 2010
I thought they were all memorable and fun.

Anyway, I love Shelf and can't wait to get back there! Great climbing! Nov 23, 2009
USBRIT Ross
Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
LOL, I am just winding you up, lads. You know just high grades do not make a memorable climb, and I wonder how many of the routes mentioned by Richard were climbed without lots of practice, lots of hang dogging, and lots and lots of shouts of take, illustrating the climb is above the true ability of the climber.... I think you realize that this is not possible on runout climbs ground up on sight. I have done quite a few sport routes (e.g. boring Rifle) granted not 5.12s, even a few FAs. I think you would find it quite a different experience and lots of fun just doing let's say some lowly 5.7/9Rs, with perhaps a bit of manky rock throw in for good measure. A slight difference from the possibility of an eight foot fall to a two hundred foot fall. Mind over muscle? Nov 23, 2009
Rich,

The routes you listed are all harder than 5.7 and probably not runout, so how could they be even remotely interesting? Nov 13, 2009
"if you climbed one line of bolts you climbed them all"

Don't think this is true, Paul Ross. Instead of guessing that this area is lame without visiting, you should give it a try, dude! Some suggested classic Shelf lines with really great variation between routes:

1. The French are Here (12c)- old school classic with a cruxy rounded bulge.
2. Head Cheese (12d) - steep and powerful, relentless
3. Ejection Seat (12b/c) - powerful roof pulling on pinches
4. This is Your Brain (12d) - thin and technical
5. M&M (12a) - fantastic movement, never too hard but just in your face all the way
6. The Example (13a/b) - sick hard and thin
7. No Rest for the Wicked (12a/b) - thoughtful moves up an incipient crack/seam

Go do all these and then post back and tell us they were all the same! Nov 13, 2009
USBRIT Ross
Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
To Astclmbr: Thanks for your advice...it does sound a bit boring and noisy. I'm sure you agree, as with my own experience when you climb one line of bolts you have climbed them all, but it is a very safe way to have a bit of fun. To Jason: I assume you really mean kick dogs not donkey's? Overall, the major problem with the remote trad climbing areas is that no one can see when you remove your shirt, and sadly many climbers have to drop their standard from 5.11 to 5.7, so I do understand. Nov 13, 2009
JasonT  
Agreed. Shelf kicks ass. Nov 11, 2009
Jeff Welch
Denver, CO
Jeff Welch   Denver, CO
The bolts are only 4' apart if you can't count.

Never seen bolts on bolts, except at anchors (and I do appreciate more than one bolt at those locations).

There are a few bolted cracks, but only because only a nutter would want to place gear in that limestone.

Shelf has hundreds of routes spread across many different cliffs... but certain ones tend to attract more people than others. You can always find solitude, and the somewhat remote location with no major roads makes Shelf feel more tranquil than most sport destinations in CO. Going to Shelf on a November weekend focusing on 5.8-5.10 at Cactus Cliff then complaining about crowds is like going bouldering at the Gunks or Yosemite then complaining there are no trad routes.

Of course, if you don't like sport climbing, you probably won't like Shelf, which should go without saying. Nov 10, 2009
Doug Lintz
Kearney, NE
Doug Lintz   Kearney, NE
Paul,
Shelf is climbable year-round, has convenient camping, easy approaches, and hundreds of routes from easy to really hard (the bulk of which fall into the moderate range 5.8 to 5.11)....and yes many of them are "well" equipped...even a few cracks. Did I mention that many of the routes are really really good?

Given all that it's no surprise that Shelf is popular. It can be crowded, but often that's because people congregate on the classic moderates. It's not hard to find solitude if you want. Nov 10, 2009
USBRIT Ross
Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
Never been to this place as it sounds like a bit of a crowded zoo. Just received this email from a friend who was there this 09 November weekend :-"I ended up doing some sport climbing at a place called Shelf Road. There are A LOT of bolts out there. Bolts 4' apart, bolts in cracks, bolts on bolts, bolts everywhere. Its truly is no fear climbing. I was able to get up stuff I would never try in the real world!"....Is this an accurate description of the area? I am wondering why so many people and animals go to these crowded outdoor climbing gyms (and then complain about it) when they have at their disposal such vast unlimited tranquil wilderness climbing areas both in Colorado and Utah. Nov 10, 2009
adam brink
Boulder, CO
adam brink   Boulder, CO
Does anyone have beta on the University Wall? Thanks! Oct 21, 2009
Lyndsy
Laramie, WY
Lyndsy   Laramie, WY
My partner and I are thinking about heading to Shelf from Laramie this weekend. It's supposed to be in the upper 50s, but I am just wondering if the rock is still pretty cold? I would love to hear what the current conditions have been? Jan 14, 2009
I want everyone to understand that I absolutely love other people's dogs, medium-well. The meat falls right off the bone! Dec 10, 2008
bobert,

As Ron Olson once profoundly said, "Foaming at the mouth does little to advance your argument"

How appropriate that it now serves this "discussion." Hilarious... Dec 9, 2008
Monomaniac
Morrison, CO
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  
What a compelling argument bobert. You really have a way with words. Dec 9, 2008
bobert  
You don't appreciate the animals of our planet F...!!! Anyone ever touch my dog you'll regret it, TRUST ME! Dec 8, 2008
Lauren D. Hollingsworth
Colorado Springs, CO
Lauren D. Hollingsworth   Colorado Springs, CO
I will add my thoughts on the dog discussion that has been going on since my opinion of dogs at Shelf has recently taken a drastic turn.

On April, 26 2008 my husband and I climbed at Menses Prow. Several parties were already there with 5+ dogs belonging to multiple parties. Just before we reached the cliff 2 dogs approached and one promptly pissed right in the middle of the trail. Later while approacing the ledge for "Jumbo Pumping Love" I was overwhelmed by the smell of fresh dog poo which I had to step over in order to reach several climbs. The icing on the cake happened while belaying my husband on a climb near the main approach trail. Someone's stuff was sitting next to the climb (not in our way and not strewn about) and a dog rummaged through the gear, pulled out a sandwich and took off down the hill with it.

Irresponsible dog owners- you know who you are. Leave your pets at home unless you can keep them with you at all times and are willing to clean up their crap! May 23, 2008
TBlom  
Shelf Road is dog friendly for the same reason it is bolt friendly. Yay for public lands! Dogs are not welcome at National Parks, and Boulder's open space is full of weird restrictions (for dogs and bolts). I think the last thing we need is a heavily regulated Shelf Road.

Unruly dog owners and their unruly dogs should definitely be checked, but should all dog owners be banned from bringing their dogs because of a few bad dogs(or owners)?

Personally I don't trust anyone that doesn't like dogs. There's just something amiss about a person who hates them! Also, dogs are not a fad, that is why they are domesticated animals(took hundreds even thousands of years of breeding to get where they are now). If anything, people are less used to dogs than ever before, and are AFFRAID!!! Perhaps people who are afraid of dogs shouldn't blame dog owners for their state of fear, but should go to therapy. Also, a barking dog is not necessarily mad or evil. It is most likely saying hello; if you were nice and said hello back, they'd probably shut up.

We'll be at shelf this weekend with at least 3 dogs...
If you have a problem, ask the owner to rope up their dogs... most would rather do that than piss someone off (but you have to ask).
P.S. If you kick my dog, I will most likely kick you.

P.P.S. Cactus Cliff has always been ridiculous(grid bolted to hell), regardless of the dogs. The damage that is there is caused by us, climbers, not dogs. May 2, 2008
Pringle,

You may be really really good at keeping your dog tied to a tree with a five foot leash, but I know for a fact that you are the rarity.

I have a dog that I will bring to a crag ONLY if i know that they are both safe from rattlesnakes and cliffs, and will not pester others. Places like castlewood where there is no one around. Is it fun for the dog to have them drive in a car for 2.5 hours, be shackled to a tree for a full day while you climb, and then leashed back at camp as not to interfere with other campsites? I would rather leave them at home, but I have a wife who can watch our dog when I climb at Pact-us cliff. Jan 25, 2008
Stucker
Centennial, CO
Stucker   Centennial, CO
Even catchier and therefore more effective: No K-9 by 2K9 Jan 23, 2008
Stucker
Centennial, CO
Stucker   Centennial, CO
From Pringle: "Like it or not, Shelf is a dog friendly climbing area"

Dog friendly? Often very hot, rattlesnakes, humans involved in dangerous activities that require their full attention. Sounds like a great place for loose dogs. Great idea. Here's a better idea. Let's get the county commissioners to pass an ordinance or law to prohibit dogs from the area. Anybody know how to start something like this? I'll help. Let's shoot for no dogs by 2009. I have a logo for our campaign: No K-9 by 2009! Jan 23, 2008
Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

No need to argue, just keep in mind the reality at Shelf:

If you go to Cactus Cliff on a weekend, you should fully expect a high density, semi-urban, fully nitwit sort of experience. I've been there with rampant dogs, kids playing boomboxes, overweight tattooed couples in relationship-ending arguments, guys drinking beer while actually on route... you name it.

Go to the Quarry Wall and you won't see another soul. Your dog will be free to roam at will. Or the far end of the Bank, or even the Gallery or Sand Gulch will offer some seclusion. Save Cactus for a weekday, or buck up and accept that this is public land and it is going to be crowded with people that have every right to do whatever low IQ stuff they may be doing.

The routes are just as good or better at the older crags anyway, and usually harder for the grade. Jan 22, 2008
LDM
LDM  
Bringing my dog to Shelf this weekend. If you don't like it, I really don't give a #$%^!!!!!!!!!! Jan 4, 2008
Randy Carmichael
Boulder, CO
Randy Carmichael   Boulder, CO
Bring on the dogs, but please keep 'em on leash. The last time I was at Shelf, two happy rambling hounds decided to have a wrestling match on my rope right when my partner was run-out at a difficult crux. It was a very disconcerting experience trying to keep my partner safe with a good belay in the middle of the doggy mayhem. Then on the hike out, I had to walk by another large dog that was not on leash and was growling at me. The owner said, “don't worry he doesn't bite”, but he still scared the *&?#$@! out of me. Dec 30, 2007
Dan Brockway
Boulder
Dan Brockway   Boulder
Yes, please leave the dogs at home. Nov 10, 2007
slim    
My partner and I have noticed at several "newer" climbs, people have painted or scratched the name and grade of the route onto the bottom of the wall. [EDIT] this is completely unacceptable. [EDIT] May 3, 2006
Some basic etiquette would be nice as users and abusers of shelf road continue to grow in number. First, let's start by saying that Cactus and Spiney are not the only place to go at Shelf... spread yourselves out folks! There are plenty of great routes that get sun/shade year round, are well protected, and not as crowded (read: impacted) as Cactus. Try avoiding the 'popular' crag on the weekend, and go exploring. New routes abound and plenty of potential is out there on walls neglected by the new popularity of Cactus.

Be courteous to others, pick up your trash, and leave the boom boxes at home. This is still public land and as climbers we need to resect the fact the others have equal right to visit an area like Shelf and not be appaled at our actions. Peace Jan 26, 2003
Hill  
Be sure to bring and wear your helmet down here! Last weekend I witnessed at least 5 separate incidents of rock being pulled off or falling off with the slightest touch. Very few people were wearing helmets and there were some close calls. Don't be a chump and think sport climbing is without serious risk, especially while belaying at Shelf Road. Wear a helmet at all times near the base of the crags and keep your brains in your head! Nov 13, 2002
If you're going to camp at Shelf Road, please pay the $4/night fee. The campgrounds, roads, and trails are maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, which has been extremely cooperative with climbers. Shelf is one of the few climbing areas with trail signs that point your way to specific climbing areas. Furthermore, the trails are well maintained solely for climbers use; it's not like a state or national park, which maintains trails for tourists and which climbers benefit from as a result. Please pay the cheap fee if you camp...it comes back to the climbing community. Nov 1, 2002
If taking 115 from Co. Springs to Canon City; Watch Out for 'mounties and 'troopers in the never ending construction zones!!. They're thicker then bolted cracks on Cactus Cliff and they do ticket at the "Fines Doubled" rate! Apr 11, 2002

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