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Areas in Rifle Mountain Park

Anti-Phil Wall 0 / 36 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 36
Arsenal, The 0 / 29 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 29
Bauhaus Wall 0 / 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 21
Canine Wall 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Crystal Cave, The 1 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
G3 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Hawaiian Wall 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Ice Cave Walls 0 / 41 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 41
Kubrick's 0 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
Lower Tier 0 / 13 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
Meat Wall 0 / 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 21
Nappy Dugout, The 0 / 16 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
Nostril Cave, The 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Project Wall 0 / 28 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 28
Religious Wall 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Ruckman Cave 0 / 38 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 38
Sanctuary, The 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Sapper Cave, The 0 / 16 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
Section M 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Skull Cave 0 / 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
Sno-Cone Cave, The 0 / 22 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 22
Wall of Life, The 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Wasteland, The 0 / 18 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 18
Well-Dunn Wall 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Wicked Cave, The 0 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
Winchester Cave, The 0 / 13 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
Zone of Silence 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6

Description

Simply put, Rifle Mountain Park offers the best limestone sport climbing in North America, especially at the 5.12 and up grades. This riparian mountain canyon 200 miles west of Boulder has undergone numerous evolutionary phases over the last decade, yet it still maintains its allure and is fairly crowded on most weekends from May through September.

The climbing at Rifle varies from slightly overhanging to very overhanging, and the routes are generally long, complex endurance-fests on large, flat holds, pockets, crimps and funky pinches. Constant traffic on some of the older routes, especially at the Ruckman Cave and the Wasteland, has turned the footholds black with shoe rubber. Many of the older routes have surely gained a letter grade or two from the grease factor alone.

Rifle hosts one of, if not the largest concentration of 5.13-5.14 sport routes in America, most of them natural, most of them quality. The rock itself, limestone of the Leadville formation, varies both in quality and aspect from wall to wall. The Wasteland, for example, offers short (50 foot) power routes on pocket and tufa-riddled stone similar to the good stuff in Europe; the towering Anti-Phil Wall, with its perfect crimpers and smooth pockets reminds one of the Blasphemy Wall at the VRG; and the looming steepness of The Arsenal offers blocky cave climbing on "pile" rock reminiscent of the good stuff at American Fork. But these are just a few of the walls.

Rifle is somewhat lacking in "moderate" routes, which can be frustrating for novice & mid-level sport climbers. This has more to do with the nature of the rock than the prejudice of route developers. The lower-angled rock tends to be covered in silt, moss, or both. Attempts to clean are somewhat futile as regular rains re-deposit a fresh layer of munge on a near-weekly basis. There are enough high quality 5.11s & below to keep most climbers busy for at least a week.

It's important to remember that access to Rifle Mountain Park has been an issue in the past. The park is owned by the city of Rifle, and locals from town were going up there to camp, barbecue, fish and picnic long before we climbers ever showed up. The Canyon is open to new route development on a permit system only, and any rock owned by fish hatchery at the west end of the Canyon is strictly off-limits.

Pay your $5 entrance fee, don't park where you're not supposed to, and keep a low, friendly profile. You can get season passes, which are a great deal, from the campground host/park ranger or at the City of Rifle Parks Department in town. The climbing here is excellent, and there's more than enough routes to go around.

While Rifle does offer a handful of moderate routes, they're generally quite polished and uninspiring. The steep stone doesn't suffer from constant run-off like the slabbier stuff, hence the "good" climbing seems to start around 11a or so. Currently the hardest route at Rifle is 5.14c.

Ice Climbing

As well as world famous sport climbing, Rifle hosts some fabulous ice climbing. Ice climbers frequented the area long before it was a twinkle in a sport climber's eye. Several quality climbs form every year, however, due to temperatures and precipitation, conditions can be variable. Some routes do not form consistantly.

Difficulty ranges from WI 3 to WI 5+ depending on conditions. The canyon is a beautiful location and often sees less climbing traffic than other quality ice climbing areas in the state. Overall, when conditions are good, Rifle offers some of the best naturally forming, easily accessible ice in Colorado.

There is a $5 parking fee in the park. You can get season passes, which are a great deal, from the campground host/park ranger or at the City of Rifle Parks Department in town. The town of Rifle offers some fairly inexpensive accomodations and even a decent restaurant or two.

Getting There

Drive west to Glenwood Springs on I-70. Ten miles further west take the Newcastle exit. Turn right off the freeway and come to a stop sign. Continue straight (north) on a four-lane road that then bends west through Castle Valley, a housing development just outside of town. After a couple of miles this road dead ends at Grass Valley Road.

Follow Grass Valley Road west, passing the turn-offs for East Elk Canyon, Main Elk Canyon (home of the Fortress of Solitude), West Elk Canyon, and Harvey Gap. After about 6-8 miles Grass Valley Road comes to a T-intersection. Turn right and follow this paved road up up up past the fish hatchery, where it turns to dirt. You're now in Rifle Mountain Park.

Additional Resources

Camping

Per Michael Schneiter: as of 2014, the camping fee has increased to $10/day.

Per Spencer Weiler: as someone who had never visited Rifle before, I was a bit confused at the camping situation or maybe I'm just an idiot and didn't do my homework. Anyway, for new people, the camping setup is like this:

There is one official "Rifle Falls State Park Campground" that is located a few miles before you get to the actual Rifle Canyon climbing. The sites are highly competitive to get and require a reservation months in advance. See the link below. Water is located here. I assume this is where most people fill up even if they aren't staying there.

Rifle Falls Camping

There is also Rifle Gap State Park, which has 5 campgrounds, which is the reservoir that you pass by on your way to Rifle Falls, 5 or so miles before.

Rifle Gap

Assuming you are a dirtbag climber, you will want to find the camping beyond the climbing. This wasn't intuitive to me. Drive through the climbing sector, and almost as soon as you leave the canyon, the first set of sites pop up with a big campground sign next to some buildings. As I understand it, the town of Rifle supports these sites. There are many, many more sites up the road, so if the ones you come to are full, just keep driving. We stayed at site 31, so there are at least that many. It was $12 per night which included your $5 day pass fee to use the park. No purified water exists (go to state park campground), but there are port-o-potties and trash dumpsters.

Per James Cranston:

Free camping at the "meadows" (the guidebook describes this just as well and is probably more accurate with distance but if you don't have it read on).

1. Go past the normal campgrounds for a few minutes (mile or so?) on the dirt road.
2. You'll see a fork in the road and an option to go left. Go left.
3. Put your vehicle into 4WD if possible, but it is not necessary (I've done it in a shitty 2WD Ford Focus). Go up this road.
4. You'll see another fork in the road. Go left.
5. The road gets windy and really bumpy. Persevere for another 3/4 to a mile or so. You'll see some small open space on your left at some point. Don't camp there. Keep going.
6. At some point the road opens up to an enormous clearing in the trees with a very large field on your right. This is the meadows. Camp anywhere here, it's 100% free.

406 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Rifle Mountain Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Merry Maids
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Carlin
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
PMS
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
80 Feet of Meat
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Pile Driver
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Feline
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Rumor Has It
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Fist Full of Dollars
Sport
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Rehabilitator
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Defenseless Betty
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Ricochet
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Cardinal Sin
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Genesis
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Pinch Fest
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Easy Skankin'
Sport
Merry Maids Ice Cave Walls > Middle Ice Caves (Potato Routes) 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Carlin Ice Cave Walls > Funny Face 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
PMS Nappy Dugout 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
80 Feet of Meat Meat Wall 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Pile Driver Skull Cave 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Feline Ice Cave Walls > Upper Ice Caves (Feline area) 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Rumor Has It Sapper Cave 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Fist Full of Dollars Project Wall 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Rehabilitator Project Wall 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a Sport
Defenseless Betty Project Wall 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Ricochet Winchester Cave 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Cardinal Sin Meat Wall 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Genesis Sanctuary 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Pinch Fest Ruckman Cave 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Easy Skankin' Anti-Phil Wall 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Rifle Mountain Park »

Weather Averages

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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Aleks Zebastian
Boulder, CO
Aleks Zebastian   Boulder, CO
"I suspect the only flashing you do, Aleks, is when your greasy plumber's crack spills over the top of your spandex. Perhaps the fish-head oil on the holds is yours, yes?"

Climbing friend storm,

I see you attempt to deliver me a vicious wang-slap over the tubes of the internet. I block your wang-slap and say to you this. Are you not respecting my authoritai? Perhaps you become enrage because you feel deep in your heart that you may be a righteous bro with fancy pants, and know that climbing is only a part of going to Rifle and being seen in a scene and proving your worth as a human being by advance gradings of the climbing rocks is much big part for many climbing friend there, yes? myah? I think yes myah.

We will meet at high noon and have a flash-off, and see who make more bold flash! And the winner will achieve glory, never ending adulation, and a lifetime supply of cheesesteaks at the losers expense, myah? Sep 1, 2015
Aleks Zebastian
Boulder, CO
Aleks Zebastian   Boulder, CO
Climbing friend,

I visit Rifle these weekends passing recently and make many bold, polished flash. Many holds of glassy texture and jagged, blocky, angular shape and power sidepull, most enjoyable.

I find the climbing most enjoyable and find many flash at the 5.13 level perhaps not so difficult. However, I am slight disturb by the high amounts of polish, it makes me scared for my feet slipping on some most difficult route. Some holds seem more slippery than a weeks-old, slimy fish-head. The route they look to be chalk-caked shoe blackened rivers of snot.

Also, I would be freaked out by everyone doing the wearing of the kneepads and perhaps the copious amounts of righteous bros, who would not acknowledge you as a human being if you cannot do the 5.13 climbing rocks. Is there perhaps a large plumbing project going on I may not know about, requiring the workers wearing kneepads? I have never seen so many plumbers and righteous bros climbing after work. May 7, 2015
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
Every month of the year is climbable if you're diehard and not picky about what you do. March can be really variable depending on the year and what time of the month you're going. There will still be snow on the ground and at the base of the shadier walls. Some stuff will be dry but a lot can be seeping. The place will likely be quiet and hard to find partners. Oct 9, 2017
Does anyone know how the climbing conditions are in March? I'm planning to go during my spring break next year for a week in March, but I just wanted to make sure that the conditions are climbable. Thanks. Oct 4, 2017
James Cranston
Boulder, CO
James Cranston   Boulder, CO
Instructions for free camping at the "meadows": (the guidebook describes this just as well but if you don't have the guidebook just read on)

TLDR: Navigate here: 39.749278,-107.701219

1. You'll end up continuing past the campgrounds on the dirt road. Specifically, from the junction with Sawmill Gulch Road (Huffman Gulch, or the main Rifle campground area), continue on the dirt road (road 217 which becomes road 217/832) for 2.0 miles (or 8 minutes) until you reach a fork in the road with an option to go left. See goo.gl/maps/pkZBQjgqtqL2 for the specifics.

2. Go left, which takes you onto Forest 832 Route. Put your vehicle into 4WD if possible, but it is not necessary (I've done it in a shitty 2WD Ford Focus). Stay on this road for 0.6 miles uphill until you reach another fork in the road with an option to go left. goo.gl/maps/MF8jqgu9JYD2

3. Go left again (this is a continuation of Forest 832 Route). The road gets bumpy. Stay on this road for 0.8 miles (still uphill). On the way, you'll see some small open space on your left at some point. Don't camp there. Keep going. At some point the road opens up to an enormous clearing in the trees with a very large field on your right. This is the meadows. Camp anywhere here, it's 100% free. goo.gl/maps/fxViv9Syoz82

The meadows are at 8,000 ft. Bring layers, even in the middle of August. Jul 21, 2017
Anybody want to do some easy 5.7s or 5.8s near Rifle or Glenwood? I've got all the gear (rope, quickdraws, anchor). I've been climbing for awhile, but I'm recovering from elbow tendonitis, so I can only climb easy stuff for a month or two. Shoot me a text, or call, 828-712-7006. Jul 4, 2017
My tent was stolen over the weekend. It was a brand new Marmot Limelight 3. If anyone sees it or hears about someone selling it, I would appreciate any info. I will be keeping an eye out on Craig's List. Other than this one incident, climbing here was great! Oct 25, 2016
Went to Rifle on my first visit last weekend and was impressed with a lot of the climbs, although they were somewhat difficult. Arsenal is my favorite crag, and I highly recommend trying Pollinator (5.12a) if you're looking for a fun, creative route.

Btw, last Sunday at Arsenal, I left behind a grey Black Diamond harness, LA Sportiva Solutions, a chalk bag, and a Nalgene. Please contact me at 301-606-2002 if you have any info regarding my lost items. Any help is greatly appreciated! Oct 4, 2016
Coming in to Rifle Friday from Arkansas looking for a partner for the month of June. I will be available everday. If someone would be so kind and help me out, it would be much appreciated. THANKS! May 26, 2016
Aleks Zebastian
Boulder, CO
Aleks Zebastian   Boulder, CO
Climbing friend,

I demand to know the "conditions," even though I, like everyone not ritard, know that some routes will be wet and some will not.

I need climb proudly flash 5.14 and practice the Rifle no brake hand Grigri technique, inattentive at all times, and with other hand resting on device contrary to manufacturer safety instructions, and unnecessary excessive loop of slack hanging down to knees or lower, so that I may be less attentive and do not have to anticipate my climber movement, as is the rifle way. May 13, 2016
I left my used tape glove at the base of Arsenal, it's white on one side and brown/dirty on the other. If you find it, please call 970-420-6969!!! Nov 17, 2015
I accidentally left my climbing helmet at Rifle on Saturday. It is a white and blue Petzl Elia. I would love to have it back if anyone has it! Oct 27, 2015
D-Storm  
I find Aleks' trolling mimicry of Sven the Great (Sven the Silent, these days) to be mostly laborious and sometimes mildly amusing. Me thinks his humor would be better if he stopped trying so hard to be like Sven and came up with original material. Rifle is full of righteous bros? That's an age-old cliche. Any righteous bros you might meet are generally the people who are passing through and not the regulars, as our egos are continuously crushed by 17-year-old girls who float up our 5.14 routes third go. I suspect the only flashing you do, Aleks, is when your greasy plumber's crack spills over the top of your spandex. Perhaps the fish-head oil on the holds is yours, yes? Aug 9, 2015
Keaton Soto-Olson 1
Breckenridge, CO
Keaton Soto-Olson 1   Breckenridge, CO
Left my 64 oz. Kleen Kanteen at the "shady picnic area" with the makeshift bridge. Please give me a call if you have it! (402)617-9827 May 2, 2015
bloom  
Any campsite near Rifle comes with restroom and shower? Apr 25, 2015
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
Maybe an admin can update the info in the description: The day pass at Rifle is $5 per car. You can get season passes, which are a great deal, from the campground host/park ranger or at the City of Rifle Parks Department in town.

The camping fee is increasing to $10 this year. Mar 21, 2014
Jacob Neathawk
Nederland, CO
Jacob Neathawk   Nederland, CO
Maybe Knuth was the first to bring cut off denim jeans to Rifle? According to the guidebook, he never wore kneepads. Jan 13, 2014
skinny legs and all
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
skinny legs and all   Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Chris Knuth was the person who brought the kneepad to Rifle from Jailhouse Rock, California, much to the dismay of early route developers in the mid 1990s but to the boon of the modern Rifle climber today. Kneebarring downgraded many already established routes at the time. It is now considered essential equipment. Jan 12, 2014
Peter J. Beyel
Glenwood Springs
Peter J. Beyel   Glenwood Springs
A rope that isn't mine ended up in my car over Labor Day weekend. I'm still unsure how it got there because the car was at the campsite on the day the rope appeared. If you are missing a rope, please email me with a description of the rope and bag. Sep 2, 2013
dbyte
Carbondale, CO
dbyte   Carbondale, CO
FYI: as of last weekend Rifle Police have been patrolling the entire canyon on both days. They are writing tickets for parking violations, driving without a seatbelt, speeding, & have even pulled over a few people to test for DUIs if they were seen drinking a beer before getting in their car or having an open container in the car while driving. Also, they're ticketing dog owners who don't keep their pooch on a leash & let it run around making a ruckus. Aug 26, 2013
Spencer Weiler
Salt Lake city
Spencer Weiler   Salt Lake city
Camping: As someone who had never visited Rifle before, I was a bit confused at the camping situation or maybe I'm just an idiot and didn't do my homework. Anyway, for new people, the camping setup is like this:

There is one official "Rifle Falls State Park Campground" that is located a few miles before you get to the actual Rifle Canyon climbing. The sites are highly competitive to get and require a reservation months in advance. See the link below. Water is located here. I assume this is where most people fill up even if they aren't staying there.

Rifle Falls Camping

There is also Rifle Gap State Park, which has 5 campgrounds, which is the reservoir that you pass by on your way to Rifle Falls, 5 or so miles before.

Rifle Gap

Assuming you are a dirtbag climber, you will want to find the camping beyond the climbing. This wasn't intuitive to me. Drive through the climbing sector, and almost as soon as you leave the canyon, the first set of sites pop up with a big campground sign next to some buildings. As I understand it, the town of Rifle supports these sites. There are many, many more sites up the road, so if the ones you come to are full, just keep driving. We stayed at site 31, so there are at least that many. It was $12 per night which included your $5 day pass fee to use the park. No purified water exists (go to state park campground), but there are port-o-potties and trash dumpsters. Jul 28, 2013
Kevin Hadfield
New Castle, CO
Kevin Hadfield   New Castle, CO
!!Jerk Alert!!!

Somebody has cleaned my draws off of Head Full of Lead.

To whom has stolen my draws, they are not yours. They have been donated to the walls of this canyon not your gear closet.

Please return them to Summit Canyon Mountaineering, no questions asked. Jun 8, 2013
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
There's no bus service from Glenwood to Rifle Mountain Park. There is bus service from Glenwood to the city of Rifle, but that leaves you many miles (10+) from the Mountain Park. People without a car usually hitchhike between town and the Mountain Park, and there is a steady flow of climbers in and out of the park every day, including climbers at the campground. So you can make it work, albeit not super easily.

Concerning new routes, there has been a lot of new route development since the '08 book, and a new book should be out soon. A lot of the new route stuff is on this site already. May 17, 2013
Is there a bus from Glenwood Springs to Rifle Mountain Park? Is it easy to get around without a car?
Thanks May 16, 2013
Anywhere hear of some very new routes getting bolted up here recently?? Aug 17, 2012
monie  
Help! I lost my clip stick! Please return it if you found it, it was a gift. It's a squid on a red pole with duct tape on the end. Please email if you have it. Thanks, simonehorness@yahoo.com. Jul 30, 2011
Lukasz F
Seattle, WA
Lukasz F   Seattle, WA
I'm going to be in the area for a few weeks in August - is it easy to find partners there (like Camp 4), or do I really need to find partners ahead of time. Really excited to climb here but no idea how to find a partner.... Jul 21, 2011
Just curious of the current conditions. Would a trip in about 3 weeks be a good idea? Mar 24, 2011
I found a brand new guidebook last weekend (Aug. 21-22). If it's yours, let me know. My email is bates@bates-as.com. Aug 23, 2010
FYI - wallet and iPod stolen out of vehicle while we were not that far away from it. It might have helped if we had locked the car...but thought I'd at least post so others weren't wooed into lethargy by the idyllic beauty of Rifle Canyon.... Aug 1, 2010
dan scales
Denver, CO
dan scales   Denver, CO
Thinking about heading up early next month (May) from Denver. Anyone been this season? Apr 17, 2010
jakemoose Taavialma
Lakewood, CO
jakemoose Taavialma   Lakewood, CO
Has anyone climbed at Rifle yet? Thoughts on the weather/conditions? Apr 11, 2010
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
This is the latest.

Feb 15, 2010
kellyk  
What's the best guidebook for Rifle? Thanks! Feb 15, 2010
Kai Huang
Aurora, CO
Kai Huang   Aurora, CO
Any more weather reports for Rifle? Is this coming up weekend possible to climb there or maybe the following one? Apr 27, 2009
I went to Rifle on Tuesday and there is plenty to climb that is dry. I am not sure about this weekend though, the weather looks pretty grim. It gets cold in a hurry if the sun isn't shining. Apr 9, 2009
Becki
Denver, CO
Becki   Denver, CO
Has anyone been to Rifle this week or last week? I am wondering what the seep status is. Do you think it is possible to climb there this coming weekend? Apr 9, 2009
I have climbed 3 times in Rifle in the past few weeks. Each time I have been in a t-shirt in the sun. With that said I wouldn't venture up here unless you live close by. One cloud right now could ruin your day. March is a tricky time. The weather is usually fine but a lot of the routes seep this time of year. If you aren't picky with your routes you should be fine in March as long as it is sunny. Feb 13, 2009
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I've only climbed in Rifle in January. Then again, I mean ice climbing. There is some pretty good ice climbing during mid-winter. What is its elevation? This can help in estimating how warm it is going to be in March. I'd guess 6-7000 ft? Feb 13, 2009
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
Depends. Some people will climb in Rifle all winter, albeit very limited. In mid-March it can still be quite chilly and route selection is probably dependent on sun. Also, there's a lot of seeping rock so some of the walls/routes will be wet. A lot of it, IMO, depends on how bad you want to climb at Rifle. Feb 13, 2009
Just wondering how early it is possible to get climbing here. I know Rifle is notorious for seeping walls. Would a trip in Mid March be pushing it or no? Feb 12, 2009
JellieBean
Lakewood
JellieBean   Lakewood
Wow what a place!!! I spent my first weekend at Rifle and it was fantastic. It's definitely not for the weak of heart or the weak in body. If you want to be a stronger sport climber this is a great place to visit.

The other great thing about Rifle is the people. I love the climbing community but the dedicated climbers at Rifle are top notch. I felt so welcome and everyone was so friendly. Thanks to everyone for making my first (and not my last) Rifle experience awesome. Jul 16, 2008
Wondering about the conditions at Rifle. Well, look no further than the new, updated, conditions page at wolverinepublishing.com/rifle_beta.html. I will be updating the page periodically as conditions change.

Also, the 2008 edition guidebook is out! However, the Demons of Bosch are hard at work, putting up routes at a furious pace. Check out wolverinepublishing.com/rifle_new_routes.html for info on new routes and corrections, since the release of the guide.

I hope to see you all out there!
-aw Jul 1, 2008
D@n Morta
Boulder, CO
D@n Morta   Boulder, CO
Conditions are good now. Most areas dry except for Wasteland and Project wall. On a side note, a grigri was left at the base of Purple and Green (Anti-Phil). Reward if returned. May 12, 2008
426
426  
Thanks Leo-I'm lame at the intertube. Great brookie action in the creek...haven't been to the lake---anyone got the line on bass/perch action there? Apr 20, 2008
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
According to www.Colorado.com it is $56 for out of state licenses. Apr 18, 2008
426
426  
Great post David. I can't wait to get back and "really" press with the feet! How much is a CO fishing license (out of state) these days? Apr 14, 2008
BJ Sbarra
Carbondale, CO
BJ Sbarra   Carbondale, CO
Hey Robbie,
Valid concerns, thanks for the input. Some of the routes at the Canine Wall are pretty damn dirty. I guess that's what you get on a shady, north-facing wall sometimes. Believe it or not, several folks have put a lot of time into cleaning these lines, including at last year's Rifle Cleanup. You wouldn't believe how dirty they were in the beginning.

I don't remember much in the way of loose rock, and can tell you from first hand experience the routes WERE picked over with a pry bar. Maybe some stuff came loose over the winter?

The mag is no longer in Carbondale, and with all the recent turnover there, it'll probably be impossible to get anyone out to finish up, so to speak. Maybe some civic minded folks will take up the task at this year's clean up.

I'll make a note of it in the info on splitter choss, thanks. Sep 17, 2007
Note about a few of the new "moderate" routes at Rifle:

Canine Wall: According to SplitterChoss.com, these were bolted by people from Climbing magazine. There are several climbs at 11a and below. While the sentiment is good, the execution is less so. Not enough cleaning was done, so there is alot of lichen and stuff, but more troubling is that there is a "a lot" of loose rock on these climbs.

For example, on Stem-o-Rama, the bottom two bolts are through a dirty garden-like area, with the only places aggressively cleaned are the bolt locations. In the upper dihedral, the crack and the left side of it are very loose: Several big blocks located directly on-route were pulled off accidentally (by experienced climbers), and several other on-route blocks are scarily loose and hollow.

My concern is that inexperienced climbers (who will be more likely to climb these) will likely pull stuff off onto inexperienced belayers. I can't recommend this area to newer climbers until some serious crowbar/cleaning goes into these routes. Aug 20, 2007
BJ Sbarra
Carbondale, CO
BJ Sbarra   Carbondale, CO
There are some good new routes going up now that the bolting ban has been lifted, check out www.splitterchoss.com/rifle-mountain-park.php for more information and some topos. Jun 29, 2007
adam brink
Boulder, CO
adam brink   Boulder, CO
How are the conditions at Rifle right now? Any info would be appreciated.

Thank You! Apr 18, 2007
MattG  
Anyone been to Rifle w/in the past couple of days/weeks? How are conditions - lots of seeping or is it drying fast? I know this time last year a lot of stuff was still soaked.... May 3, 2006
How is Rifle in the [beginning] of November for climbing? Oct 14, 2005
Mike Anderson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Anderson   Colorado Springs, CO
Rifle is pretty good now. There were a lot of people over the Memorial Day weekend. Seems like 75% of the stuff is dry, with the occasional seeping hold. It rained a lot Sunday and Monday which was a bit of a stinker. May 31, 2005
I'm not much of a climber anymore, but I am a Rifle local. Even theough I went to school (and learned to climb) in Southern California, we came to Rifle every year for summers, and now I live there.Rifle Mountain Park is just about the BEST way to get up to the high country north of New Castle once the snow melts off, so if you're climbing there after the melt, expect lots of traffic headed up and down the canyon to get up to spectacular spots like Cliff Lake and Meadow Lake (heck of a fishing spot-- you can watch bald eagles steal your fish-- not to be missed). Also upcanyon from the fish hatchery are some nice camping spots (where there's no climbing) and excellent spots to stop, eat a picnic, and gather watercress (yes, watercress -- Rifle creek doesn't freeze over in winter, so there's always watercress to be gathered).Generally (and having lived in Los Angeles, I feel that I can say this with a bit of authority) the people from the area around Rifle are a heck of a lot nicer than your average city-dweller. A smile and a wave goes a HELL of a lot further than a finger and a threat of a lawsuit.The businesses in Rifle really like the idea of climbers coming through and buying water and food and beer and other stuff.The people who enjoy the Park for whatever reason would probably sorta like the people there (for climbing) to be nice.Just nice.Try to remember that for the most part, the people of this area don't lock their doors at night, don't fear crime (there basically isn't any), and wave to complete strangers.

Now, personally, I've NEVER had any evil contacts with climbers up Rifle Creek (as we locals refer to RMP).

Quite a few of my friends and colleagues climb there regularly, and are nice sorts.

If you're nice, you won't have any problems with the "locals."

If you bring a big-city (L.A., New York) attitude, you'll be dismissed as an a-hole. Just a couple of cents from a local. Apr 13, 2005
I'm not a Rifle local, though I do make many weekend trips each summer from SLC, and I would like to continue to do this, so I thought some of you "locs" might be interested in a outsider's perspective:

This last weekend was only my 5th trip of the summer, but (just like every year) I've noticed that the Project Wall and the Arsenal seem to suffer severely from an infestation of leashless dogs. Dogs running unrestrained, doing there doggy things, all over the road while their masters blithely pose up some route that they have done 5 million times...never thinking that perhaps this is annoying to other climbers who are belaying, climbers who are smart enough to put their dogs on a leash and most importantly to the "local color" (remember they were there first) driving their enormous trucks at break neck speeds through the canyon on Labor Day Weekend.

Before you dismiss me as a dog hater, don't...I like dogs a lot and that is part of the problem for me...and I suspect some other people. I do not want to be subjected to witnessing the terrible scene of somebody's dog being run over right in front of me, and I cringe inwardly every time there is a near miss, which is often.

Unfortunately, it seems (why is this always the case) that it is the true hard core locals (you/we know who you are), the ones who should be the stewards of the area, who are by and large the worst offenders.

You peeps need to get it together, and set a better example to all the visiting fools who show up and think its just a big dog park!

I'll quit spraying now, and let the flaming begin...if anyone actually reads this...but even worse than watching a dog get killed would be to have a wall like the Project Wall get closed.Unlike most of you, I still have some routes to do there...and as we climbers are essentially a selfish and narcissistic lot, that really is the bottom line. I don't want my favorite climbing area closed down.

peace Sep 8, 2004
ac
ac  
WARNING - there are at least 2 bears roaming the campgrounds at Rifle. The park people have done very little to post any signs warning campers of this. I have heard of tents getting slashed open for the last 2 weekends. Use all neccessary precautions. Jul 7, 2004
ac
ac  
The free camping at the "dirt pile" appears to be no more. There are new No Trespassing signs there. This was a popular spot for climbers looking for a free spot to camp but now they'll need to look for other spots. Jun 29, 2004
Defenseless Betty is a great intro to moderate climbing here. good rests and great fun.

This limestone is awesome! This seems like a great place to build a foundation in the 5.12 range. No give aways though. Get ready for consistant climbing from bottom to top.

As for intimidation I found most people friendly. if not there are lots of routes to move on to. Sometimes a friendly hello will bring the same back. Just have fun!!!

Oh, one more thing, take longer rests here you'll need them ( up to 30 minutes or more)

Signed,

training harder to return anonymous coward Mar 9, 2004
ac
ac  
Drive from Denver is 3 to 3.5 hours depending on where you're starting from and whether it's rush hour traffic. Sep 26, 2003
The rock at Rifle is severley overhanging in most sections so it dry even when its raining. May 30, 2003
Has anyone been up this spring? Is the rock wet?5-7-03 May 7, 2003
Visited Rifle this a.m. and turned back, since what little was in existence this year was sopping, detached, decaying, rotten sludge today. 40 & 50 degree temps have nearly eliminated any decent ice for now. Dreaming of Red Rocks now....forecast calls for 70's all week! Jan 29, 2003

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