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Areas in Unaweep Canyon

Cactus Park 0 / 4 / 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Gateway Vicinity aka The West End 15 / 0 / 0 / 17 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 32
Main Canyon: Unaweep Granite 273 / 110 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 304
Nine Mile Hill 11 / 34 / 5 / 1616 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1661
Elevation: 6,808 ft
GPS: 38.818, -108.601 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 401,814 total · 2,044/month
Shared By: Bryson Slothower on Nov 25, 2001
Admins: Jesse Zacher, Jared LaVacque, Bradley Mark Edwards, Nick Reecy, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
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This area has excellent traditional crack climbing and great bouldering on the metamorphic granite/gniess canyon walls and large Dakota sandstone blocks of Unaweep Canyon half an hour from Grand Junction. The routes ascend canyon walls via cracks of all sizes and difficulties for up to nine pitches. Lines are clean and sustained; thousands of interesting options exist.

The potential for new routes seems limitless and many of the the existing routes feel like first ascents due to low traffic and the large absence of fixed gear. Bouldering is even more vast and varied. Roadside blocks of solid Dakota sandstone offer a lifetime of challenges on very interesting rock in a quiet setting. There are over 30 established cliffs in the canyon but many are on private property. Great care must be taken not to offend the residents and locals of Unaweep Canyon as much of the climbing access lies at their mercy.

The Sunday Wall and Hidden Valley Wall offer excellent routes and are located on Acess Fund property. The Mother Buttresses offer some of the best and longest climbs in the canyon and are also very deserving of a visit. Climbs can be selected for their exposure, so climbing in Unaweep is possible on almost any dry day.

This area is rich in climbing being close to The Black Canyon, Ouray, Colorado Monument, Redstone, etc.

There are a few bolted sport climbs in the area concentrated mostly on Sunday Wall, but for the most park, expect sustained crack climbing with the occasional run out. The cracks range from splitter hand cracks through steep faces to gaping offwidths, to desperate face moves so bring a good selection of traditional gear with a few extras depending on the climb. Long runners, RPs, and often times an offwidth piece are critical. Many routes have difficult route finding due to the numerous options. The rock can take a little getting used to. Many descents entail very involved walk-offs and down climbs. Don't expect much fixed gear, but some do have bolted rappel stations.

This is a beautiful and undisturbed part of Colorado and needs to be treated with the upmost respect. Do not leave trash, park on private property, chip anything, or be overly stupid. The Canyon is also an interesting geolocial formation because it has rivers flowing out of both sides. Unaweep means "canyon with two mounths" in Ute. Here one can feel the beauty of climbing.

Eds. Note, this large area has been reorganized since it covers 40 miles of terrain.

Getting There

Western Colorado, South of Grand Junction between Whitewater and Gateway along CO Hwy 141. From Boulder take I-70 West to Hwy 50 in Grand Junction towards Ouray (Delta, Montrose). Turn right on 141 and follow it into the Canyon. Bouldering is found on the hundreds of sandstone blocks visible from CO 141 on your way into the canyon. Sunday Wall and Hidden Valley are located on Access Fund property 2 miles West of Divide Road. Camping can be found on BLM land along Divide Road as well as along CO 141, Divide Road is cleaner and quieter but there is excellent bouldering along CO 141. Bring water.

2,009 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Unaweep Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V4 6B
Crack Cave
V5 6C
Mark of Zorro (aka Route 2)
V6 7A
Chinese Algebra
V8 7B
Route 5
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Kibbles and Grits
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sun Dancer
Trad 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
True Grit
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Mint Jam
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Sweet Sunday Serenade
Trad 3 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
No Name Route
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Obe Won Canobe
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Pocket Reference
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Unknown Pillar
Trad, Sport
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Questions and Answers
Trad 3 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Crack Cave Nine Mile Hill > Crack Hole Area > Crack Hole Boulder V4 6B Boulder
Mark of Zorro (aka Route 2) Nine Mile Hill > Bone Park Boulder… > Plethora Boulder (Right Gonad) V5 6C Boulder
Chinese Algebra Nine Mile Hill > … > Mecca Area > Mecca Boulder V6 7A Boulder
Route 5 Nine Mile Hill > Bone Park Boulder… > Plethora Boulder (Right Gonad) V8 7B Boulder
Dovercourt Main Canyon: Unaw… > Sun Towers 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Kibbles and Grits Nine Mile Hill > Grit Wall 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Sun Dancer Main Canyon: Unaw… > Access Fund Trail… > Sunday Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 3 pitches
True Grit Nine Mile Hill > Grit Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Mint Jam Main Canyon: Unaw… > Mother's Buttress > Lower Mother's Buttress 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Sweet Sunday Serenade Main Canyon: Unaw… > Access Fund Trail… > Sunday Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
No Name Route Main Canyon: Unaw… > Mother's Buttress > Lower Mother's Buttress 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Obe Won Canobe Main Canyon: Unaw… > Access Fund Trail… > Hidden Valley Wall 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Pocket Reference Nine Mile Hill > Four Blocks Crag 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Unknown Pillar Main Canyon: Unaw… > Access Fund Trail… > Sunday Wall 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Sport
Questions and Answers Main Canyon: Unaw… > Mother's Buttress > Upper Mother's Buttress 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad 3 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Unaweep Canyon »

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Nick Reecy    
Blind Cantaloupe, I'm not sure what's out there for trad. I believe there is something that touches on the granite area, but it's likely not in print anymore and outdated. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can chime in on that one. It's a similar situation for the sandstone areas as well. The only guidebooks I'm aware of include Phillip Benningfield's "Colorado Bouldering 2" from the early '00s and Bob Horan's "Bouldering Colorado" from the late '00s (there may be a newer edition that I'm not aware of). Both can be found online or might be available at GJ's Summit Canyon or REI. Both are brief with information, however. Currently, I believe MP is the most up-to-date resource for the area. Dec 14, 2017
Jesse Zacher
Grand Junction, Co
Jesse Zacher   Grand Junction, Co  
No cell service in canyon after 9 Mile Hill. Some spotty service at or near the top of a few of the larger cliffs. Oct 6, 2015
Jesse Zacher
Grand Junction, Co
Jesse Zacher   Grand Junction, Co  
Steven, Upper Mighty Mouse/ Space Balls wall stays in the shade until mid to late afternoon. Quarry Wall is usually good until about 1pm depending where along the cliff you are. Mothers and Sunday Wall go into the shade in the later afternoon. Jun 20, 2014
Thanks, Nick. Well, I am a land surveyor moving to the area in the next month-ish. So maybe I will have to do something about that. Any information on Unaweep and the surrounding areas all the way out to Carbondale and as far South as the Black Canyon will be great to have. Thanks again. Dec 24, 2017
Hi Nick Reecy. Thanks for the response. Didn't want my email to go out. I'm looking for both boulder and trad guidebooks. Dec 14, 2017
Where is the best place to find a guidebook for this area, and what is the latest edition? Dec 9, 2017

Our entire camp was stolen this past weekend. When we reported it to the Sheriff's Office, they said this was a regular occurrence and happens several times per month. They target RVs, tents, whatever is unoccupied. If you camp on Ridge Road, make sure you are always will your stuff and pack up everything, every time you leave camp. May 30, 2017
Anyone know if there is cell service in the canyon at all? Oct 6, 2015
Nick Reecy    
@ErinA & @Will Sharp. I'm really sad to hear this happened to both of you. Curious if either of you reported the incident to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office? I can't imagine it will help out your cause, but it may help someone down the line. If you're not comfortable doing so, please feel free to PM me the details, and I'll give a report. Jun 1, 2015
Will Sharp
Breck, CO
Will Sharp   Breck, CO

Sure wish I would have seen these posts earlier. We camped on May 30th at Bone Park (Nine Mile area). Left folding chairs, table, and a stove/grill in camp while we were climbing. Came back to find our stuff was all gone! Super unfortunate because the climbing here is really great. Apparently, it's not a nice neighborhood. Never had any problems elsewhere in Colorado. Jun 1, 2015
Bradley Mark Edwards
Grand Junction, CO
Bradley Mark Edwards   Grand Junction, CO  
Jesse, I think Erin was roping up in the Sunday Wall area (if not Sunday, in the granite somewhere). We ran into her while bouldering, because she and her friend asked if we knew anything. They were on a road trip and all their stuff was taken. Pretty awful. May 18, 2015
Jesse Zacher
Grand Junction, Co
Jesse Zacher   Grand Junction, Co  
Hey ErinA. Sorry to hear this! That sucks. Was your tent stolen from the Nine Mile Hill area or up on Divide Road area? May 13, 2015
Be careful with your stuff while camping on BLM land in Unaweep. We had our tent stolen from our campsite! Pack it up, take it with. May 12, 2015
Steven Lucarelli
Moab, UT
Steven Lucarelli   Moab, UT
Are there any shady walls worth climbing at this time of year? Jun 19, 2014
  • *LOST CAMERA** On 5/30/12 My camera fell from the top of the 2nd pitch on Sweet Sunday Serenade, Looked like it went into the left side of the pillar off to the right when looking down. It's a digital Nikon in a small black hardcase. REWARD IF FOUND! Please contact Britney at (208)-353-6548 or 505 W. Dogwood St., Boise ID 83705. Thank you and have a great day!
Jun 1, 2012
PTZ   Chicago/Colorado
There is only one established route up it in the guide. There may be more now. It is like 10+ with some clean aid. Right up the gut. You can see the crack system it goes up. Never done it but looks good.
Like all routes in the canyon in the 10+ range, it will be thought provoking. There is potential there for new routes there I'm sure. Aug 10, 2010
kclimbs   Vail
I just moved to GJ and have been putting up new boulders in Unaweep lately. Takes a little searching but have found some really good rock and good problems up to V9 and hopefully harder soon. Just need some people with pads to go climbing with me some time. Nov 27, 2009

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