Elevation: 5,793 ft
GPS: 39.102, -108.735 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 234,951 total · 1,069/month
Shared By: Ben Mottinger on Dec 31, 2000 with updates from JuliaMV
Admins: Jesse Zacher, Jared LaVacque, Bradley Mark Edwards, Nick Reecy, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
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The Monument is a fine area of desert climbing in Colorado. Just south of Grand Junction and Fruita, it offers many types of climbing found in Utah such as towers, splitter cracks, and soft Wingate & Entrada sandstone. The main attractions here are Independence Monument, a 400 foot tower; Sentinel Spire; and some other spires and pedestals. Some nice one-pitch routes line the canyon walls on the approach to Independence Monument. Look for many other multi-pitch routes around the entire park.

The best climbing season is fall through spring, as summers are generally too hot. Winters can be quite cold, but on a sunny day, you and the rock will warm up--Fruita is at a lower elevation than most of Colorado at about 4,500 feet, so it stays warmer because of that, too.

Camping is available along the Rim Rock drive within the park, but it is 20/site/night + park entry fee ($10, without a State Parks Pass, free with a pass) and includes a picnic table, grill, plus water and showers are available.
You may also camp just South of Fruita on CO Hwy 340 at the State Park area, which is $18/tent site + $7 park entry fee. If you want to go cheap, turn West at the Horsetooth Public Lands sign about a half mile South of I-70 and follow this road until it turns into BLM property. It's not the nicest area, but it's free.

Camping is also available in the North Fruita Desert BLM campground for $10/night in the campground (dispersed camping is free).

Another camping option is east of the park boundary in Rattlesnake Canyon or Black Ridge. From the Fruita entrance, go about 7 miles past the visitor center and take a right (east) at a Y in the road. Once you're outside of the park, camping is wide open and free.

Getting There

To get to Fruita, take I-70 toward Grand Junction--Fruita is about 9mi. West of GJ. Exit I-70 South onto CO Hwy 340 and take this to the appropriate entrance depending on what rock you plan to climb.

182 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Colorado National Monument

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Luhr's Route aka Right Dihedral
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Otto's Route
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Left Dihedral aka Dihedral 1 ak…
Trad 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Short, Cupped Hands
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Steppin' On it
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
100' Hands
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Fast Draw
Trad 3 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Super Crack of the Monument
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Long Dong Wall (aka Bell Tower)
Trad 5 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Cool Breeze
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c C1
Desert Solitaire
Trad, Aid 6 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a PG13
Cirqus Voltaire
Trad 3 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Medicine Man
Trad 4 pitches
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Get A Life
Trad 5 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Luhr's Route aka Right Dihe… Monument Canyon
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Otto's Route Independence Monument
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 5 pitches
Left Dihedral aka Dihedral… Monument Canyon
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Short, Cupped Hands Tiara Rado
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Steppin' On it Liberty Cap
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
100' Hands Tiara Rado
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad
Fast Draw Sentinel Spire
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 3 pitches
Super Crack of the Monument Red Canyon > Supercrack Buttress
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Long Dong Wall (aka Bell To… Kissing Couple… > Kissing Couple
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 5 pitches
Cool Breeze Liberty Cap
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Desert Solitaire Monument Canyon
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c C1 Trad, Aid 6 pitches
Cirqus Voltaire Gold Star Canyon
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a PG13 Trad 3 pitches
Medicine Man Sentinel Spire
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad 4 pitches
Osiris Liberty Cap
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad
Get A Life Monument Canyon
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Trad 5 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Colorado National Monument »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
The monument offers some of the best attributes of climbing: adventure, questionable rock, cracks, occasional sections of solid rock, solitude (unless you climb Otto's Route), super views, and towers, towers, towers.... Mar 14, 2002
Shawn Shannon
Everett, WA
Shawn Shannon   Everett, WA
Is climbing available here anytime of the year or are there times it's too wet? (Basically, I want to go in a week and was determining if it was worth it) thanks.... Mar 17, 2003
CMN for novices

The 1st area described above has some good areas for novice climbers. About 30 yards after leaving the fence on the right side of the trail, there are 3 top rope areas. Just west of these is an outcropping with Arches-like sandstone that might make a decent beginner's climb. 50 yards beyond this is the Elephant Head Rock with several possible TR or trad climbs. Another 30-50 yards up the trail takes you to the prominent, right-facing dihedral, bolted area described elsewhere on this site. Jul 27, 2003
Jesse Zacher
Grand Junction, Co
Jesse Zacher   Grand Junction, Co  
So much climbing! Every cliff band or tower you scout out and look has anchors. So many quality climbs. Hot during the summer but a good temp during the winter. You never see anyone when you climb anything but Lower Monument Slabs and Otto's Route. Jul 20, 2006
When you are exiting through the Fuiduh Ranger's Station, there is a route visible from Balanced Rock on the west side of the canyon. There is a ten or twelve foot arch at the top with some juniper growing in it... anyone have any information for it? I looked in the Fruita Canyon section, but could find no mention of this route.

Many thanks in advance. Sep 5, 2008
Grand Junction, Co
Airbiscuit   Grand Junction, Co
You're probably talking about "Midnight Rider". 2 pitches. Bring your cowboy boots and your big guns. Sep 13, 2008
Hoez   Uganda
Grand Junction is Awesome!!!!
45 minutes from rifle gap, about an hr.+ from Moab, 20 minutes from Unaweep canyon, the metamorphic boulders up by liberty cap. what more could you want? Jun 9, 2009