Elevation: 7,968 ft
GPS: 38.174, -105.173 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Julian Smith on Mar 2, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
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Access Issue: Titanic reopens! South Hardscrabble Creek remains closed. Details


Hardscrabble Pass contains a mixture of all kinds of climbing. Monolithic spires of metamorphic granite soar into the sky with multi-pitch routes awaiting first accents or early repeats. Lover's Leap is over 500' tall. John Gill roamed this area back in the day as well. Roadside sport climbing crags tempt the less adventurous with delightfully steep pump fests. Is there bouldering? No doubt there is, but somebody will need to enlighten us. Horhan's guide for Southern Front Range Bouldering - 1995, does not list anything. Rock and Road mentions the area, but gives very spotty details. Classic sport crags in the area include the Titanic and the Bud-Lite Wall. The best sport climbing is located at mile marker 18 on Highway 96 West just west of the town of Wetmore. The sport climbing is on the south side of the road and the multi-pitch climbing is on the north side of the road.

Getting There

From Pueblo, head west on Highway 96 for approximately 32 miles. Look for mile marker 18 to get to the Titanic. As an alternate approach, take Highway 115 south from Colorado Springs and then head west on Highway 96 in the town of Florence. You can also go west from Pueblo on US Highway 50, towards Canon City and pick up Highway 115 south to Florence, where you get on Highway 96 and go west.

14 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Hardscrabble Pass

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Route Number 18
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
The Beak
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Route Number 18 Titanic
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Sport
The Beak Tanner Rock aka Raven…
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
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Horan's guide mentions some bouldering in the area a little bit past where the sport climbs are going up, "The Cling Reach Mantle is a treasure worth the drive" or something of that nature but I thought the stuff in the guide was no good with bad landings (you may stop rolling before you hit the highway!). I also have heard that the Pueblo crew has been bolting up there recently (rumor) as well as doing trad for a long time.

Mark Pavol Mar 4, 2002
Ben Bruestle
Pueblo, CO
Ben Bruestle   Pueblo, CO
Due to [historical] and ethical reasons, as well as the requests of John Gill himself, please do not bolt on Captain Winter's Spire or Lover's Leap Spire. These spires on the north side of the highway have been climbed in the traditional fashion since the late 1960's and should remain so. Please keep all bolting and sport routes to the south side of the road. Thank you. Apr 5, 2002
Ben Bruestle
Pueblo, CO
Ben Bruestle   Pueblo, CO
Hardscrabble has seen trad climbing since the late 1960's. The pioneers were Warren Banks, the Schilling brothers, and the Pueblo junior chapter of The Colorado Mountain Club, among others. John Gill and Pat Ament began climbing there in the early 70's. Apr 8, 2002
Hello, my name is Carrie Lin Robertson; I ment every word I typed a few days ago-marked under CLR- could you place it on line... unfortunetly, my dad's computer no longer has spell check. Good Day! Apr 9, 2002
Thanks to Ben for setting us all straight about which side of the taxpayer owned and funded side of the road on which we may bolt. I cannnot wait to bolt some climbs on the north side of the road... Jul 2, 2002
The base of the higher cliffs on the north side of the canyon are about 1,000 feet above the highway. The cliffs themselves are more dome-like in character, rising at 70 degrees or so, with some steeper parts. In general, holds are profuse, so that the area is best suited for traditional techniques. In fact, It's a wonderful spot to freesolo explore easy to moderate climbs. I go out there frequently for that purpose. Even "Lovers Leap" has several easy to moderate routes up the steep side. I haven't put a rope on there in over twenty years. There are some bolted climbs on the south side of the highway, I understand, that are very easy to get to. Actually, if you are looking for sport climbing, try Newlin Creek. I've seen new bolts there right off the scenic trail recently. There is virtually no bouldering at Hardscrabble. It looks promising from the road, but the rocks just are not configured right. There are several bouldering-like traverses at the base of the upper cliffs, but they are not worth the strenuous hike up if you are a serious boulderer. Jul 9, 2002
Word is that some of the areas at Hardscrabble that Gill and others politely asked to be left un-bolted were in fact bolted this summer. Bolts are obviously a mainsaty in climbing but let's have a little respect for the pioneers who have been trad climbing or "bouldering" those routes for decades. Oct 14, 2002
The bolts should stay off of Lover's Leap & Captain Winter's Spire. The routes their do not need bolts, just a little courage. Lot's of places for pro and all of the climbing is super-fantasticly-delicious. I have been up there with John Gill before and his comments are all true. If you cannot take the advice of one of the greatest climber's in history, then who will you listen to? You want sport climbing, go to Shelf Road where there are a few hundred for you to take your pick from....For those who are bolting, I know that the "old ghost" who used to chop bolts at Sugarite Canyon in NM and at South Table Mountain (AKA: Shangri-La) before it closed, frequents the northern area of Hardscrabble just for that occasion. A Protector of Tradition. IF YOU WISH TO SAVE MONEY, BUY SOME TRAD GEAR INSTEAD OF LOSING YOUR MONEY ON HANGERS AND BOLTED ANCHORS!!~Alpinisto~ Apr 12, 2003
Bob & I have bolted many new, dangerous climbs at Hardsgravel Pass, and Around 20 Miles of There. Our desire is to help scare the shit out of a climber who desires to explore a traditional since of fear -at a commendable traditional location. The modern climbers (who wish to express conceded safety fear condemn us) because -we do not express rhinestone bolts & plastic shit... near Hardsgravel Pass. Now a fearful expedition can become activated with different climbers (a little safer) each climbing day; these climbers can enjoy a modern day fear-full climb - close to what John Gill & other traditional climbers once encountered as a do Or die mission... Bob & I do not wish to disgrace or delete a previous climbing desire.... Please, do not belittle or destroy a modern honorable climbing tradition.... Apr 18, 2003
Would like to know more about the chopping of Sugarite, and who appointed themselves God to do so.

I have climbed there and loved it, and I intend to come back and put in some top anchors so that more of the lines can be enjoyed by visiting climbers. I have done a lot of bolting/anchor placement, and would like to think that someone who had chopped the crag back in the grid-bolting days would recognize quality hardware and a real desire to improve the crag and leave what I place. Tell me that it ain't so, and maybe I'll save myself some time and effort... or maybe not...

Thanks for any beta, in advance-

Ronin Apr 20, 2003
During the past few years it has become increasingly obvious that the backwater crags scattered throughout the Wet Mountains have become target venues for exercises in saturation bolting. In my grey whiskered perspective, this trend is both bewildering and unfortunate! Last Sunday I climbed with a youg friend in Oak Creek (Tanner Dome?) after not having been in the area for several years (actually many several!). What I experienced was not consistent with my expectations! Tanner Dome is now adorned with a multitude of bolted "sport" style routes. The few pitches that we climbed were on great rock (by Wet Mountain standards!) protected with abundantly placed bolts. These and the majority of other routes that we looked at all seemingly tend to be overbolted and absolutely disregard all traditional protection opportunities! Consequently, some lines seem somewhat unnatural or awkward. On a brighter note, most of the blatantly traditional looking lines have been spared from violation by hammerdrill! My criticism aside, the climbing at this crag is excellent and would be a perfect experince for the novice leader or anyone who either doesn't mind the annoyance of frequent bolt clipping or is inclined to skip a few!. Another small, highly featured crag (numerous Hueco's) exists a mile or so north of what I am calling Tanner Dome (assumption) immediately west of the road. When we stopped to check it out on Sunday, I was mortified to find climbs that John Kuzmiak and I did with traditional protection over a decade ago are now bolted! Damn!!! Yeah, one of the routes in particular (a short finger/hand crack through a bulge) was a little dangerous, but I assumed that if I could do it "safely", then just about anyone else could too!To the individuals "developing" these areas; I applaud your ambition but I deplore your methods! Try climbing (including placing protection) from the ground up! Look for more information on these areas in a pending guide book by Ben Bruestle. Jun 24, 2003
My my, the story never changes. As a long time springs resident and fairly average climber, I was offered directions and scoop on tannner from two locals who did most of the work here. My girlfriend and I had a great time and loved the routes. There are no bolted cracks, no chipped holds and none of the abominations described above. I remember 15 years ago when some springs locals started putting up routes in the platte and turkey. All the old trads came out of the wood work and began to claim that the sky was falling, the end was near, and that they were horrified! Oh the goddamn Humanity! Steve Cheney, long time springs local once proclaimed from the glorious setting of his resole shop that all the good lines in the springs area had been climbed traditionally. This was roughly the same year that D'antonio and Richard Aschert started putting up climbs at Shelf road. ( yeah, i'm the same 40+ age as those old timers.) Oh the irony... It seems to me that many of the old trads, inspite of rountine bitching about consumerism, conservatism and the devolution of trad climbing, went to great lengths to popularize their achievements. Any of us who climbed in the 80's went to numersous Brian Becker, Pete gallagher, all the usual suspects slide shows at the Mtn Chalet. Some how all the good (now bolted) routes which were (cough) regularly climbed with old golfballs strung with shipping twine just didnt make it into the slide show. Damn coincidence. I know lots of people who love the climbing at Tanner, hundreds of people climbed there since last summer and really like it. I have met people there from all over Colorado and several visitors from outside the country. If you havent climbed there, go, it's fun, even though I cant climb lots of the harder routes. Theres plenty of every grade and you'll have a good time.And remember, when you pass the old trads on the trail on their way to go sport climbing, step over them, not on them! Aug 16, 2003
It seems to me that a lot of people are confusing Tanner Dome with Tanner Rock. Tanner Dome is the large Dome off Oak Creek Grade Road. Tanner Rock is a small Rock, off highway Co.96,with only one route. Aug 18, 2003
I just went back to Tanner Dome after a year. I put up a majority of the climbs at what is being called Tanner Dome. The reason I went back was to climb some of the great climbs that we put up and to spray and camouflage the bolts and hangers. I did not bolts cracks, I led them from the ground up. The great majority of the bolted face climbs that I put up at Tanner Dome were put up on the lead with a hammer drill on my shoulder. The bolted face climbs that are rated 5.11 and up were put up by rap bolting, because they could not be led from the ground up. The reason there are abundent bolts on 5.6, 5.7,5.8 and 5.9 climbs is because we were trying to make them safe for 5.6, 5.7, 5.8 and 5.9 leaders, not old tradies like myself who can climb them without so many bolts. Hey folks, the great majority of people who are climbing these routes are people who like to be in beautiful places outside who actually need it protected the way it is. I can understand Mr. Banks anger if I placed a bolt at the bottom of a crack that he climbed a long time ago. Again it was protected for a 5.9 leader. Why did all four climbs on the Waco wall have to be destroyed. I could see that maybe, you did lead 2 of the climbs from the ground up, but why did you destroy the other two climbs? A beginner's climb on the "C" wall was also destroyed. I guess you just don't want a 5.4 climber to climb at Tanner Dome? You also messed with the lowering stations on the "C" wall. Sounds a little dangerous for people not suspecting that someone has tampered with the climb. Yes, I also own enough trad. climbing gear to put up over a 150 ground up climbs at Indian Creek, so I do not like be placed in a category of someone who does not know how to place a nut or cam. If you have a problem with what I'm doing, you need to talk to me, not destroy my property. I'm a reasonable person who respects the 1st accent. I'm also interested in the greater climbing community, the natuaral environment and creating good climbs for all to enjoy. Oct 30, 2003
In response to Nelson Lunsford's comment (10.30.2003), I would like anyone who actually cares to know, that I am not the miscreant destroying the bolted routes in the Oak Creek area! My comments (6.24.2003) on what is occuring at Tanner Dome and other crags in the area, were intended to discourage what I view as inappropriate use of our precious, limited resources. Although I question their legitimacy, I do not, in any way, advocate or sanction the vandalism or sabotage of these existing routes!Nelson was considerate enough to phone me recently and explain his involvement and the current situation in the Oak Creek area. I am confident that he now understands my concerns and knows that I am not the hostile that my comments may have portrayed.Regardless, the bullshit needs to stop immediately! Be thoughful and prudent about placing permanent protection. The quality of the routes you establish will serve your legacy far better than the number you do!As for the hoser(s) trashing the routes, get a fucking clue! Your actions are merely further defacing the rock and endangering unsuspecting climbers. No, I am not in agreement with the manner that many of these new climbs are being established, but I'm not going to fuck it up for everyone else either!A word of caution for those who continue to enjoy climbing in these area's, Nelson tells me that a number of anchor bolts have been sabotaged (sawn in half, etc.). Be suspicious of all permanent protection until you have determined that it is sound. Nov 10, 2003
The comments that you (climbing boulder.com) are blaming on Leo Paik (7.7.2003) were actually submitted by me! At least in this case, Leo is totally innocent! There is an apparent bug in your site programming. Nov 12, 2003
So all bitter old athletes arent in Boulder after all? Dont believe Warrens hype. This place rocks, it's not saturation bolted and there are quite a few good hard trad lines. Warrens problem is twofold. He has lived in the southern colorado backwater too long and takes the isolation for granted. If he spent a little more time climbing in my neighborhood here in Boulder, he 'd better appreciate what a great job the route authors did at Tanner. I first came here two summer ago and regularily visit with friends. The climbing here gets my two thumbs up and I know of that which I speak cuse I'm 49 and have been climbing for over 20 years. In particular the mixed lines, though mostly 5.10 and up, are really spectacular bolt and gear leads. The easy routes are very well bolted and lots of fun for those who dotn aspire to the harder stuff. Reminds me of some of the mixed stuff at turkey and lumpy. This really tells me that Warren is talking out his ass. He obviously hasn't climbed those harder routes cause if he did, he be out climbing not bitching about an imaginary crisis. Climbing a few 5.8s that YOU might find amply bolted does NOT constitute an emergency. I certainly hope your not chopping here, Mr Warren whoever you are. This is a great area and my old ass will kick your sorry old crank ass on sight if I caught you chopping. Does anyone have any actual route data for the climbs here? The Wet mtns guide by Brestle sucks big time. Nelson and partners ..keep up the good work and thanks for the climbs and the trails.

Pete Mar 19, 2004
Whoa, Pete!Judging by the animosity reflected in your comments, I suspect that you either didn't really read mine, or simply didn't comprehend them!So you are pushing fifty and have been climbing for twenty years. I'm damn happy for you! Consider the possibility, that if you had started climbing a decade or so earlier, your perspective on ethics and style might be dramatically different!I'm a few years your elder and have been climbing for about thirty-five years. I won't pretend to have been everywhere and done everything over the years, but I have climbed in quite a number of areas throughout the States and Canada, including Boulder! The fact that you don't have a clue about who I am, or what I have been up to, is actually comforting and somewhat by design! Years ago, it occured to me that climbing in the relative obscurity and serenity of "my neighborhood", was far more gratifiying than enduring the circus occuring in yours! By keeping a lid on the activity of local players, the inevitable invasion of "our" crags was kept at bay for well over twenty years.Regarding my "imaginary crisis", if what I'm seeing was limited to "a few moderate routes", as you suggested, I wouldn't be so concerned! Fact is (my opinion!), the practice of doing whatever you damn well please, wherever you damn well want, has become far too widespread and has adversely impacted climbing! Facts are (again, my opinion!), there are individuals placing a lot of bolts where they really don't belong, people like you aggravating the situation by endorsing their activity and yet other cretins running around destroying things - not a good situatuion! I don't have any reason to believe that the issues I have voiced will significantly change anthing, but it just might make someone stop for a moment and consider what they are doing!Regarding your foolish offer to kick my "old crank ass", I am not the one chopping bolts or otherwise damaging routes, so you will have to fabricate another reason to engage me - whatever!Regarding your assessment of Ben Bruestle's guide book - yeah, it generally lacks detail and has numerous inaccuracies, but it represents an ambitious effort. Understand that a number of Ben's sources (social bricks like myself!), withheld far more information than they actually provided. Ben had to really dig for everything! Incidentally, I'm way OK with the fact that you don't like it!Your comments implied that there is still an "old crank ass" faction remaining in the Boulder area - this is probably the only reassuring thing that I managed to dredge from your rhetoric! Hopefully, the influence of the "old guard" will continue to be a thorn in the side of the factions in our sport that choose to compromise ethics and style for whatever it is that they believe is being achieved.Warren Whoever Apr 7, 2004
This Warren guy has been in the Mtn chalet a few times. I heard him going off about tanner and newlin etc. He's a windbag. Yet another aging crybaby. Why is it that so many old trads are bitter spray lords? I Mean, its obvious that sport climbing has added to the sport , given people more options. Warren and the rest of the trad gestapo act like somebody cemented all the worlds crack climbs and put bolts in every square inch of the earth. Warren is just another angry trad who is desperately worried about HIS legacy and HIS idea of right and wrong and has that ever present trad sense of Ownership of the crags. If Warren had his way we'd all have to give up modern medicine, cars, computers and treated water because our ancestors in africa survived without it for 5 million years. These areas are great, the routes are good, both trad and sport. There is no grid bolting. Someone should contact Warrens family and make sure he gets some counseling. Apr 16, 2004
If two geezers get into a fight in the parking lot are they covered by medicare? Apr 16, 2004
Warrren...exactly what is it that makes you senior citizens think you won the crags, that you represent some mythical "old guard"? Tannner is one of the best new places to climb in the southern part of the state in years. It seems that every time one o of you guys complains, it's really about YOUR legacy and YOUR idealistic view of climbing. If you spent more time climbing and less time complaining you'd probably be happier.

There is NO foundation to the complaints about bolting. It seems to me that the climbs here are well bolted, but not inappropriately. I also have climbed lots of the mixed lines and had a good time. I have seeen lots of bad bolting and poor line choice, but not here. The guys who did these routes did a really nice job. In the two summer of climbing here I have done many of the routes and have yet to see any egregious bolt lines. No bolted cracks, or any of that kind of thing. Maybe you should think of YOUR legacy Warren, you'll be remembered as an uncompromising ass. Theres a legacy for ya! Apr 16, 2004
Hey Warren, Does you concern about people "...doing whatever they want.." apply equally to you friend the 'Old Ghost' who did what he wanted and chopped alll the bolts at sugarite a few years back? Quite a double standard you've got got going on there. Apr 18, 2004
Ditto on the Ben Brusel guide. It bouhgt it, took it climbing and threw it away at a canon city gas station.Still, I should have known, anything Fred Knapp publishes sucks and reaks of gross underachievement. 'The Ripper' is just another example of what you can accomplish if you set your sights low enough. Dont give up the day job, Ben Apr 18, 2004

Does the same question apply if some geezers get hurt chopping bolts and require hip replacement? Similarly, if Warren or the Old-Ghost gets hurt chopping bolts on 'their own crags" can he/they sue himself for negligence? Apr 20, 2004
Had to chime in on this discussion. Climbed at Tanner for the first time this week. I was given an advance copy of the new guide that will be available online. This is a really nice area. IMHO, among the best new areas in colorado in years. Hard to imagine what Waren is all upset about. Routes are well chosen and bolted reasonably though not at all excessively. Hope fully Bill and Nelson will get that site up soon. Anyone hear anything??

Chris May 1, 2004