Elevation: 7,969 ft
GPS: 37.843, -106.285 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 294,389 total · 1,277/month
Shared By: Rog on Nov 6, 2001 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

Description

Penitente Canyon is a beautiful, small canyon on BLM lands located in the San Luis Valley - south central Colorado. The area is primarily a sport climbing destination with a few trad lines. The bouldering opportunities here are (I think) mostly undeveloped but almost limitless.

As per D'Antonio's guidebook (Falcon - Rock Climbing the San Luis Valley), the rock is a volcanic tuft. This translates into bullet proof rock with great friction. Many climbs utilize small crimps and edges, while others scale hueco - ridden walls. The trad lines follow rough cracks - bring plenty of tape.

From my experience, all bolted lines are well done, with good hardware and placements providing well protected routes. The majority of routes are .10 & above, with very few moderates. With the excellent bolted protection, however, this is a nice place to push the grades.

Camping is on site, costs a nominal amount (the guidebook says it is free - this has changed!), and has standard BLM regulations. Per Jesse Morehouse: as of 2012, the site fee for single site is now $11 and the group rate is $20 with 3 group sites now. Water is provided down the road from the climbing / camping area (another recent development - follow the signs), and the nearest 'goods' can be found at the 'La Garita Cash Store'.

Please note that there are several distinct climbing areas other than Penitente Canyon, including the Rock Garden, Witches Canyon, and others. Some of these are on or near private property, so be sure to watch for & obey the signs.

Trying not to ramble, but this place just rocks!!! Fun, fun, and a bit more fun.

Eds. Note, BLM Law Enforcement Ranger hand out $50 citations to people who had occupied a campsite without filling out the form and submitting the money. Even at night!

Sept. 13-15, 2019 limited access - see the popup for details!

Getting There

From Denver, W on US 285. Keep going... When you're 12 miles N of Del Norte, take a right on 'G'. Follow for 7 miles. Stop at the La Garita Cash Store & spend a couple bucks. Say hi. Get back in the car, keep going West. After the pavement ends (roughly 1 mile after the Cash Store), keep to the left on Cty 38. At the 1 mile mark, as the road turns left (South), take a right. Follow the signs.

138 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Penitente Canyon Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at Penitente Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 211
How The West Was Won
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 214
Captain America
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 84
[Redacted]
Trad, Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 101
Jewel Of The Mild
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 87
Yah-Ta-Hei
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 74
Children Of A Lesser Grade
Sport
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 91
Concupiscent Curds
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 253
Tanks for the Hueco
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 78
Breakdown Dead Ahead
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 166
Black is Beautiful
Sport
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 291
Not My Cross To Bear
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 84
Shear Strength
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 143
Los Hermanos de la Weenie Way
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 66
Forbidden Fruit
Sport
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 78
Bullet the Blue Sky
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
How The West Was Won Penitente - Inner Canyon
 211
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Captain America Penitente - Entrance…
 214
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
[Redacted] Penitente - Entrance…
 84
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Sport
Jewel Of The Mild Penitente - Inner Canyon
 101
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Yah-Ta-Hei Penitente - Entrance…
 87
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Children Of A Lesser Grade Penitente - Inner Canyon
 74
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Concupiscent Curds Penitente - Inner Canyon
 91
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Tanks for the Hueco Penitente - Inner Canyon
 253
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Breakdown Dead Ahead Penitente - Inner Canyon
 78
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Black is Beautiful Penitente - Entrance…
 166
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Not My Cross To Bear Penitente - Inner Canyon
 291
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Shear Strength Penitente - Inner Canyon
 84
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Los Hermanos de la Weenie Way Penitente - Inner Canyon
 143
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Forbidden Fruit Penitente - Entrance…
 66
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Bullet the Blue Sky Penitente - Inner Canyon
 78
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Penitente Canyon »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos