Elevation: 6,900 ft
GPS: 38.63, -105.223 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 1,539,110 total · 6,453/month
Shared By: Kreighton Bieger on Dec 31, 2000 with 4 Suggestions
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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.

Rick Thompson and Bob D'Antonio both recently published updated guidebooks (2018). 

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 Evan Crumpecker: 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.

1,148 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.
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 138
Silverado
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 220
Lime Street
Sport
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 218
The Raw and the Roasted
Sport
Gym
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 157
No Passion for Fashion
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 205
Back To The Future
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 189
Unusual Weather
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 309
Lats Don't Have Feelings
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 160
Gravitations
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 95
In The Morning, You'll Be Mine
Sport
Gym
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 120
The Gym Arete
Sport
Gym
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 182
Freeform
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
 162
Heavy Weather
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 105
Tits Up
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 104
The Hurricane
Sport
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 86
The Ejection Seat
Sport
Gym
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Silverado Sand Gulch > Contest Wall
 138
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Lime Street Bank
 220
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
The Raw and the Roasted Gym
 218
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
No Passion for Fashion Gallery > Menses Prow
 157
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Back To The Future Bank
 205
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Unusual Weather Bank
 189
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Lats Don't Have Feelings Cactus Cliff
 309
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Gravitations Cactus Cliff
 160
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
In The Morning, You'll Be Mine Gym
 95
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
The Gym Arete Gym
 120
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Freeform Sand Gulch > Free Form Wall
 182
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Heavy Weather Bank
 162
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
Tits Up Cactus Cliff
 105
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
The Hurricane Spiney Ridge
 104
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
The Ejection Seat Gym
 86
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
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