GPS: 38.167, -105.193 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Ben Bruestle on Dec 16, 2003
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
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Access Issue: Titanic reopens! South Hardscrabble Creek remains closed. Details


Climbing in the Gorge is currently illegal according to Canon City Municipal Code 9.44.080 and is allowed only by the express permission of the Royal Gorge Company.

More than just a tourist trap at the worlds highest suspension bridge, the Arkansas River Canyon hides Colorado's forgotten big walls. The 1960's thru the 1980's saw first ascents from Layton Kor, Pat Ament, Art and Earl (The Squirrel) Wiggins, Bob LaGrange, Bob Robertson, Fred Pfahler, Bob Williams, Brad and Scott Shilling, Warren Banks, Leonard Coyne, Richard Goldstone, Kevin Murray and Ed Russell. Some say it's like climbing in the Black Canyon, except these 900 foot metamorphic and granite trad lines are scarier.

Camping is available upstream on BLM land along the Arkansas River with the boaters. Access into the canyon is free, although a sticky issue. The railroad tracks and bridge are private land. The actual walls though are a Canon City city park. Don't touch the bridge. Nearby Canon City has plenty of good restaurants and places to buy beer.

Most of the classic routes are on the north side of the canyon just downstream of the Royal Gorge Bridge on the "Tombstone Wall". All are in the 5.10 range. They all top out at or near the bridge footings. The south wall also holds a couple routes that top out near the bridge footings.

Beware of abundant choss, cactus, trains, and tourist junk.

Adventure climbing at its finest.

Getting There

There are two approaches to The Royal Gorge. Both are off of US Hwy 50, about 8 miles west of Canon City. The first is a third class descent down a gully starting just outside the concession area. The second is a 2 mile walk down the train tracks after crossing the river from the Parkdale South Fishing Access, off Fremont County Road 3.

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My partner Gertrude and I did a very hard route on the North side of the Gorge this past weekend. This Ben guy must be some dreamer. Most of the climbing was like climbing dinner plates superglued to sand paper. Great adventure though.

billy bob Feb 27, 2004
Wow, what a horrendous place to climb. Makes the black canyon look like yosemite. There are not words for how crappy this rock is. I shit firmer than this rock... Feb 29, 2004
This is also the place where one of the longest rappels in history took place,,,its a long way down off that bridge, very extreme. Mar 10, 2004
I was climbing at Shelf one weekend and my girlfriend and I decided to go check out the Royal Gorge. Oh my God!!! What a tourist trap! You had to pay something like ten bucks to go and walk out on the bridge to look at a chasm that about as spectacular as Boulder Canyon. Can you believe that !!! And all the billboards and bullshit signs hyping the place up on the way in!!! What a joke. That has got to be the cheesiest "tourist attraction I have ever been too. Who owns that place? They should be ashamed of themselves. Aug 18, 2004
Couldn't agree more that the bridge area on the rim of Royal Gorge is as hideous as it is pathetic. As I recall, it is owned and operated by Canon City. Aug 18, 2004
For you naysayers out there I thought I'd let you know that next weekend (Oct. 8th, 9th and 10th) there will be an extreme event at the Royal Gorge. The second annual Royal Gorge Go-Fast games will include Base Jumping from the bridge and Americas' first multi-pitch speed climbing competition. This will take a quality new route up the north wall just up stream of the bridge. Many of the big name luminaries of our modern climbing community will be vieing for substantial prize money.This event will certainly be worth the price of admission. Oct 3, 2004
Legs Magillicutty   Durango
Is the multi-pitch speed route that Phil wrote about in his post, off limits? Feb 13, 2006
Adam Caimi
Adam Caimi   CANON CITY, CO
Okay, we can all agree the Gorge is not for climbing. What then? Rafting!!!
However, if you do decide to climb, remember, it is illegal to cross the tracks, and the bridge and surrounding land is owned by Canon City. So, really there is no legal way to climb here, sans the GoFast Games.
Keep an eye out here in the future as a friend and I have been discussing putting up routes on Sunshine Wall. Climb a river Gods face anyone? Oct 16, 2008