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Castle Rock

Colorado > Boulder > Boulder Canyon
Access Issue: Seasonal Closure / Update Details

Description

There are a number of classic climbs on this 350-foot rock, one of the earlier crags in the canyon tackled by local hardmen in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. When Robbins and Ament freed Athlete's Feat (11a) in 1964, it became the hardest free climb in America. Virtually all the climbs here are traditional, multi-pitch crack routes. The rock tends to be a little slick. Exit off the top to the north, scrambling down some class 3 and class 4 ramps and ledges.

There are a couple more modern testpieces, Headline 14- & Deadline 13+/14-, on this crag.

There is a gravel road that circles around the west, south, and east side of the crag. It is a popular spot for other recreationalists besides climbers.

Getting There

About 12 miles up the canyon, Castle Rock looms up on the left side at the apex of a right hand turn. Turn off just past the rock to a large dirt pullout directly underneath the west face. Talk about easy access!

Routes from Left to Right

5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 6
Gluten Free
Trad, Sport
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 122
West Face
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 39
West Face, Direct Start
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 22
Polyester Leisure Suit
Trad, Sport, TR
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 8
The Queen is Dead
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 2
Big Deal Pinnacle (AKA: Square D…
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 5
Times Past
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
 1
No Fly Zone
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 140
Skunk Crack
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 115
Comeback Crack
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 52
Storming the Castle
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 201
Curving Crack
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
 4
Invisible Idiot
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 170
Bailey's Overhang
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 31
Beetle Bailey
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 36
Final Exam
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 13
Pass Fail Option
Trad
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 4
Dropout Option
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 2
E-Z Action
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 61
Coffin Crack
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 59
By Gully
Trad
5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a
 5
Deadline
Trad, Sport
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b PG13
 6
The Campaigner
Trad
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 3
Rebellion
Trad
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b R
 2
Victim of Circumstance
Trad
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c PG13
 1
Innocent Victim
Trad
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 173
Cussin' Crack
Trad 3 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 1
Cussing Fingers Variant
Trad 2 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 4
Cadaver Crack
Trad
5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a
 6
Crank It (aka Slabio)
Sport
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 1
Nuclear Winter
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
 2
Fallout Zone
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 78
Jackson's Wall
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 10
Circadian Rhythms
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
 2
Direct Start
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 67
Tongo
Trad 2 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a R
 47
Atlas Shrugged
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 146
The Black Crack
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
 2
Candelaria's Connection
Trad 4 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 12
The Sting
Trad
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b R
 3
Stingay
Trad
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 96
The Gill Crack
Trad, TR
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
 1
Alien Sex Toy
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 30
Jackson's Wall Direct
Trad 3 pitches
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 8
Close To the Edge
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a X
 8
Boot Lead
Trad, TR
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 58
South Face
Trad 3 pitches
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b PG13
 17
Never a Dull Moment
Trad 4 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R
 1
Deersquatch
Trad, TR
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 126
Athlete's Feat
Trad 5 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 39
Englishman's Home
Trad 2 pitches
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 13
Nobody's Home
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 236
Country Club Crack
Trad 2 pitches
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 5
Mexican Picnic
Trad
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 6
Tourist Extravagance
Sport
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 4
Water World
Trad, Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 3
Route 66
Trad
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 4
Subterranean Homesick Blues
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 7
The Big Splash
Sport 2 pitches
V4 6B PG13
 26
The Acro-Ace
Boulder
V7 7A+ PG13
 11
The Acro-Aerial
Boulder
C1
 19
Aid Roof
Aid
V5-6 6C+ PG13
 20
Altered-Acro
Boulder
V1 5
 14
Citadel V1
Boulder
V7 7A+
 2
Hit Hard Tactics
Boulder
A3
 3
Knight With a Shining Stick
Aid
V9 7C
 0
One
Boulder
V7-8 7B
 1
Smokey the Bandit
Boulder
V5-6 6C+
 52
Standard Bulge
Boulder
V8 7B
 59
The Citadel
Boulder
V8-9 7B+
 3
The Flow
Boulder
V13 8B
 3
Free Range
Boulder
V11 8A
 6
Cage Free
Boulder
V10- 7C+
 3
Surface Tension (aka Two)
Boulder
V14 8B+
 2
Midnight Express
Boulder
V12 8A+ R
 2
Trainspotting
Boulder
V5 6C R
 26
Acrobatic Overhang
Boulder
V10-11 8A
 10
Hardboiled
Boulder
V11 8A
 5
The Replacement Killers
Boulder
V4 6B
 2
Nintendo
Boulder
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Gluten Free
 6
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Sport
West Face
 122
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 2 pitches
West Face, Direct Start
 39
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Polyester Leisure Suit
 22
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad, Sport, TR
The Queen is Dead
 8
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Big Deal Pinnacle (AKA: Squ…
 2
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Times Past
 5
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad
No Fly Zone
 1
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R Trad
Skunk Crack
 140
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Comeback Crack
 115
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Storming the Castle
 52
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
Curving Crack
 201
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Invisible Idiot
 4
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R Trad, TR
Bailey's Overhang
 170
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Beetle Bailey
 31
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Final Exam
 36
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Pass Fail Option
 13
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Dropout Option
 4
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad
E-Z Action
 2
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Coffin Crack
 61
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
By Gully
 59
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Deadline
 5
5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a Trad, Sport
The Campaigner
 6
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b PG13 Trad
Rebellion
 3
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Trad
Victim of Circumstance
 2
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b R Trad
Innocent Victim
 1
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c PG13 Trad
Cussin' Crack
 173
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Cussing Fingers Variant
 1
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 2 pitches
Cadaver Crack
 4
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Crank It (aka Slabio)
 6
5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a Sport
Nuclear Winter
 1
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Fallout Zone
 2
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Trad
Jackson's Wall
 78
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
Circadian Rhythms
 10
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Direct Start
 2
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad
Tongo
 67
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 2 pitches
Atlas Shrugged
 47
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a R Trad
The Black Crack
 146
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Candelaria's Connection
 2
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R Trad 4 pitches
The Sting
 12
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Stingay
 3
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b R Trad
The Gill Crack
 96
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad, TR
Alien Sex Toy
 1
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
Jackson's Wall Direct
 30
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Close To the Edge
 8
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Boot Lead
 8
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a X Trad, TR
South Face
 58
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Never a Dull Moment
 17
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b PG13 Trad 4 pitches
Deersquatch
 1
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R Trad, TR
Athlete's Feat
 126
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad 5 pitches
Englishman's Home
 39
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad 2 pitches
Nobody's Home
 13
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Trad
Country Club Crack
 236
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad 2 pitches
Mexican Picnic
 5
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Trad
Tourist Extravagance
 6
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
Water World
 4
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Sport
Route 66
 3
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Subterranean Homesick Blues
 4
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad, Sport 2 pitches
The Big Splash
 7
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport 2 pitches
The Acro-Ace
 26
V4 6B PG13 Boulder
The Acro-Aerial
 11
V7 7A+ PG13 Boulder
Aid Roof
 19
C1 Aid
Altered-Acro
 20
V5-6 6C+ PG13 Boulder
Citadel V1
 14
V1 5 Boulder
Hit Hard Tactics
 2
V7 7A+ Boulder
Knight With a Shining Stick
 3
A3 Aid
One
 0
V9 7C Boulder
Smokey the Bandit
 1
V7-8 7B Boulder
Standard Bulge
 52
V5-6 6C+ Boulder
The Citadel
 59
V8 7B Boulder
The Flow
 3
V8-9 7B+ Boulder
Free Range
 3
V13 8B Boulder
Cage Free
 6
V11 8A Boulder
Surface Tension (aka Two)
 3
V10- 7C+ Boulder
Midnight Express
 2
V14 8B+ Boulder
Trainspotting
 2
V12 8A+ R Boulder
Acrobatic Overhang
 26
V5 6C R Boulder
Hardboiled
 10
V10-11 8A Boulder
The Replacement Killers
 5
V11 8A Boulder
Nintendo
 2
V4 6B Boulder

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Chuck Grossman doing it right in boxer shorts and bare feet, 1981.
[Hide Photo] Chuck Grossman doing it right in boxer shorts and bare feet, 1981.
Charles "The Back" Grossman.
[Hide Photo] Charles "The Back" Grossman.
Castle Rock.
[Hide Photo] Castle Rock.
Results from 5/20/2011 .<br>
Volunteers moved about 20 yards of fill to create a nice, terraced base along the west face.
[Hide Photo] Results from 5/20/2011 . Volunteers moved about 20 yards of fill to create a nice, terraced base along the west face.
On 8th attempt I figure how to get round this part. :D
[Hide Photo] On 8th attempt I figure how to get round this part. :D
The nice "new" base @ Castle Rock.
[Hide Photo] The nice "new" base @ Castle Rock.
Keep focused.
[Hide Photo] Keep focused.
Kind of stuck here, I couldn't figure out how to get round this next area.
[Hide Photo] Kind of stuck here, I couldn't figure out how to get round this next area.
Castle Rock.
[Hide Photo] Castle Rock.
BH bouldering at Castle Rock.
[Hide Photo] BH bouldering at Castle Rock.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Ken Trout
Golden, CO
[Hide Comment] Because Castle Rock has long been popular for picnicing, I'd say the Forest Service is about fifty years overdue for the installation of outhouses and trashcans, especially compared to the facilities you find on Forest Service land near other Colorado ski areas.

Get with it, Nederland, Boulder, and Eldora Ski Area. It shouldn't just be up to the Forest Service to treat our tourists like valued customers. Sep 12, 2008
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
[Hide Comment] For some reason I seem to remember the city of Boulder has sway over Castle Rock. I remember picnicking there as a very young child with my family and the picnic tables along the creek were all maintained. And I'm certain it was Boulder that did it. In high school we'd leave party's on friday nights and drive up the canyon and bivi where the tables use to be. Great fun. Sep 12, 2008
Rogerlarock
Nedsterdam, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Hey now! FYI: new anchors on Curving Crack. New S.face rappel, dig: top of Athlete's Feat is a sloping ramp. First anchor is on the edge of said ramp. Next is at the top of the 3rd pitch. This was two OLD pitons, that judging by the webbing and biners someone actually rap'd on. Not good.... So, there are also bolts @ top of 1st, 2nd, and 4th pitches, so you can get down fer-sure with this route. Yeah yeah, I know you can down-climb the N. face. Now you can rap the South. All bolts are 3/8 ss with chains/rings, 3.5" long. Have fun and be careful out there! Oct 6, 2008
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Rick,
You could rap the route on a single rope before, just off to the side. There was a bolted rap already there. Oct 8, 2008
pfwein
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Triple Threat = South Face (aka Jackson's Wall Direct), Country Club, and Athlete's Feet in 1 day. Needed some help from the rope on P2 of CCC and P1 of AF. All clean will be Boulder Canyon dream day. Jun 19, 2010
[Hide Comment] Found green sling, locker, and figure eight in last Sunday's rainstorm. Jul 18, 2012
The Blueprint Part Dank
FEMA Region VIII
[Hide Comment] Best damn crag in BoCan. Jul 7, 2014
Kristian Starheim
Trondheim, Norway
[Hide Comment] I climbed West Phase this Monday (14 Jul) all the way to the top and some other routes at the west-part of the crag. I had my Norwegian driver's licence and debit card in the pocket, but now I cannot find it. If anyone finds something like that in the area, please let me know!

(the card is deactivated)

e-mail: kobbenes@yahoo.no Jul 16, 2014
michalm
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Found a couple stoppers and draws on a popular route at Castle Rock the other day. If you can identify them, they are yours. Aug 28, 2014
EricR
Nederland
[Hide Comment] Found a pair of fancy car keys at the base of Country Club today. Give a shout if they are yours. Nov 2, 2014
[Hide Comment] Found some gear on a 5.6. If you can tell me what it is, I will get it back to you. Jun 26, 2015
Wayne DENSMORE
Superior, CO
[Hide Comment] Ok, the descent used to be head north to a tree with chains and webbing for a rap. Got there today, and the tree had no chains or webbing on it. We found a tree nearby that had a rap station setup, but was much more awkward. One of the climbers had a nasty tangle with a branch.

What happened to the usual rap point? Haven't seen any discussion here or alternate descent recommendation. I do see a couple rap the route comments for S face descent but would need to know how to find them from the summit. Jul 27, 2015
Sean S.
Thornton, CO
[Hide Comment] The chain seems to have been removed. A few times this season I have left some webbing and a carabiner or quicklinks on the usual rappel tree. I have also been finding rap stations on a smaller tree to skier's left that leads down a more awkward line of descent. When descending the north face, look for the larger tree to skier's right just to the right of some larger blocks. Sep 14, 2015
michalm
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] We found a psychedelic Chouinard BD chalk bag and an REI chalk bucket Saturday night. Message me or post here if either is yours. Jun 7, 2016
[Hide Comment] I left a purple Black Diamond nut on the wall. Please contact me if you are able to retrieve it! Aug 8, 2016
[Hide Comment] One of the three truly magical walls in the Boulder area, along with Redgarden and the Bastille. Sep 8, 2016
[Hide Comment] Got caught in the storm this afternoon and left a handful of items on West Face. Two slings and two carabiners - one set at the top, one set in the middle notch (made it into three pitches). I also left my shoes at the base and would love to have them back! Relatively new La Sportiva Finales, probably right at the base of the crag. Contact pacspake@gmail.com if found. Jul 21, 2017
[Hide Comment] Hello! I have a pair of men's Miuras that disappeared during the rain yesterday/last night! I would really like my shoes back. I left them with the other gear when we went for cover during the rain, and when I came back out of the truck, they were gone. Please please let me know if you accidentally grabbed them when packing up! I am leaving in just a few days and would really like my shoes back. Thanks!
- Naomi Aug 10, 2017
[Hide Comment] Missing a dark green 10 mm rope. Please contact me if found. Last seen around the base of the West face. May 11, 2019