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Areas in The Narrows

Front Porch, The 1 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
Gash, The 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Industrial Wall, The 2 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Inertia Wall, The 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Narrows Proper 10 / 7 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
Schoolyard, The 7 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Watchtower, The 1 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6

Description

The Narrows is a loose, scruffy area close to Carbondale, Colorado, that, for us Rifle burn-outs, has become a sort of sanctuary. Though your overall impression of the stone whilst whipping past at 70 mph on your way to the Redstone boulders will be less than stellar, the climbing itself is good, and takes place on walls invisible from the highway.

The rock is a fractured sort of granite, grey-green in hue, with black streaks coursing down the slabbier walls. The cliffs themselves are not unlike a multi-faceted sea wall holding back an ocean of scree. Ironically, however, the scree is produced by the decomposing sea wall itself. It is prone, in certain "high-danger" spots, to sloughing off great chunks, daggers and grey-green cobble-eggs that could certainly deflower even the sturdiest of climbing helmets, and the contents therein. Fortunately, for us, we need only walk under these heinous sectors of wall to reach the good, water-polished stone that has yielded all of this year's new routes.

That said, however, there is some great after-work-type climbing here: one-pitch sport and trad routes from 5.8+ to 5.13c. It is also a great area in the summer, as it's very shady and always breezy, especially in the depths of the Narrows Proper.

Getting There

From Carbondale, drive south on CO Highway 133 as if you were driving toward Marble, McClure Pass, etc. CO 133 is the only highway through Carbonale ... it's not hard to miss. If you're coming from other parts on CO Highway 82, take a left (or right) at the stoplight at the junctions of CO Highways 82 and 133. Now proceed south on CO Highway 133.

I don't have exact mileage, but the deal is this: If you get to Redstone (15 miles from Carbondale?), you've gone too far. The beta is this: Driving south on CO 133, you'll first pass through an area of red rocks and sand, big ol' Mount Sopris looming high on your left. After a bit, however, the canyon begins to narrow, and you'll see a band of shattered whitish rock coming up fast, limning the two sides of the canyon. This is the Narrows, basically knows as such because it's also the narrowest point in the canyon. Drive slowly past the rocks and, just before the cliffs on your right peter out, locate a HUGE, I mean HUGE, parking lot on the left. This is the parking lot for the free hot springs. I've never been down in the springs, but there's them that have. Not for me. I just park and get my climbing stuff and get gone.

Walk back down-canyon (north), hugging the guard rail or, for safety, walking in the bushes behind it, for roughly 50 yards, until the roadcut to your left (esentially the west side of the highway) goes from vertical to the slabby and you spot a cairned, convenient ingress. The trail here is a bit raw, but basically follows the "old game track" up the hill as it switches-back, bringing you ever closer to the rocks, which will be on your right. After about 20 minutes of this, you'll reach a fork, hard at the toe of an appealing red-and-brown buttres. Head up and left to reach BJ's area (5.8 sport, 5.10+ sport, 5.11 sport). Otherwise head right to reach the Narrows Proper, a deep, shadowy slot offering bouldering traverses, sport routes (5.11a, 5.13b) and trad pitches (5.8+, 5.10a, 5.10+, 5.13c) on nearly bomber water-polished rock.

59 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Narrows

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Super Fresh Arete
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Night School
Sport
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
People's Crack
Trad
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Been Caught Stealin'
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Jenga Buttress Crack aka 10a Crack
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Choss Warfare
Sport
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Party At Your Mama's House
Sport
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
El Guapo
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Fasting on Ramadan Direct
Sport
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Back From The Dead
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Pump-a-Lama
Sport
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Cleanup Hitter
Sport
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
The Village Idiot
Trad, Sport
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
Easy Spankin'
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Red Faction
Sport
Super Fresh Arete Industrial Wall 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Night School Watchtower 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
People's Crack Narrows Proper 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Been Caught Stealin' Schoolyard 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Trad
Jenga Buttress Crack aka 1… Narrows Proper 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Choss Warfare Front Porch 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Party At Your Mama's House Front Porch 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
El Guapo Watchtower 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Fasting on Ramadan Direct Gash > Left Side 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Back From The Dead Front Porch 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Pump-a-Lama Gash > Trifle Wall 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Cleanup Hitter Front Porch 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
The Village Idiot Narrows Proper 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad, Sport
Easy Spankin' Gash > Trifle Wall 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b Sport
Red Faction Narrows Proper 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in The Narrows »

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Photos

The trailhead was marked by a wheel hub cap, at least the last time we were there a couple weeks ago. Aug 19, 2016
BJ Sbarra
Carbondale, CO
BJ Sbarra   Carbondale, CO
Left of the Watchtower, you mean the Industrial Wall? How far left are we talking? Aug 18, 2015
Julius Grisette
Carbondale
Julius Grisette   Carbondale
Anyone have info on the development to the left of the Watch Tower? The trail looked like a game trail earlier this year, now it's obvious that it is getting love. I walked up there and saw some nice bolted climbs, can't wait to get on them. Aug 15, 2015
Lost a stuff sack with a Grigri and some slings on 9-27-24 @ the Industrial Wall. Please contact me if you find it. 9seven0 988 six521. Oct 2, 2014
JMo
Tucson, AZ
JMo   Tucson, AZ
Really nice little crag, actually. If you don't climb 12, you might just have more fun here than Rifle. I know, I know, crazy talk, but Carbondale rocks! Jul 28, 2013
boonecounty Bradley
Basalt, CO
boonecounty Bradley   Basalt, CO
Found rope inside a bag at the Front Porch crag. Call me, Ryan in Basalt, 314 304 3074 if you lost your rope and I will get it back to you. Sep 7, 2012
scott e. tarrant
Fort Collins
scott e. tarrant   Fort Collins
For more topos and beta go to splitterchoss.com. BJ Sbarra & Co have put a lot of energy into creating a great area! If you live in the valley and have not been, I really encourage you to. If you are passing thru, I would also encourage you to stop. You will not be disappointed! I truly admire those involved for the vision, hard work, cost and time they have devoted to exposing some great climbing that has been right under our noses! Thanks! May 22, 2007
A word of caution to those that would venture here without one of the locals. Please be careful if others are climbing, it's still very much a work-in-progress, and it would be pretty easy to get messed up by some flying choss. That being said, if you want to check it out, let us know and we'll show you the goods. Dec 10, 2003

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