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The Sport Park

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


The Sport Park is a recently developed climbing area in the far end of Boulder Canyon. It is comprised of a bunch of different cliffs that offer tons of quality sport climbing and top-rope climbing. Virtually every sport climb can be set up as a TR by walking around to the top of the cliff. There have been some issues concerning the ethics of the place (many routes have chipped or enhanced holds, others are over bolted), so be aware that it has more of an "outdoor gym" atmosphere than a "wilderness crag" one. The rock quality is good throughout, with routes ranging from easy slabs to overhanging 5.13 power routes. It gets plenty of sun in the afternoons, but it can also be pretty windy at times.

The south face of Surprising Crag is a popular spot, and it's usually in the sun. Better to climb here during cooler weather.

The Clock Tower gets great morning shade and is an excellent destination during hot weather.

Getting There

It is approximately 12.5 miles up the canyon (look for it up on the left half a mile past Castle Rock), and it is about 2.5 miles down from the town of Nederland. The walls are clearly visible up on the left as you are driving up the canyon. There is a parking pull-out directly below the crags at the end of a guardrail on a right-turning bend in the road. Per usernameremoved: the Sport Park's (and other crags in the area) parking has been closed off by a guard rail extension. The closest place to park is just further around the corner on the right.

Cross the creek at the hand-line, and head up the dirt road on the other side. If the water is high, there is a tyrolean located a little farther downstream. See the map in the photos. Take a trail branching off to the left and follow it up the hill. Cross a stream and continue up to the aqueduct trail, a flat trail that runs horizontally across the hill below all of the cliffs. It's about 100 yards uphill from the stream.

Head left on the aqueduct trail to get to Owl Prow, Surprising Crag, The Visor, Recovery Room, Forbidden Fruit Crag, and the Sky Cafe.

Head right on the aqueduct trail to get to the Clock Tower.

Overhung Wall and Sport Park Slab lie below Surprising Crag; these can be approached by heading downstream (N) shortly after crossing the creek, then heading uphill to the crags.

Per Bal Rau: the trailhead is located halfway between mile markers 28 & 29.


Mark Rolofson has an excellent Boulder Canyon Sport & Adventure Climber's Guide, Volume II, The Upper Canyon. Consider it for more details.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Sport Park overview topo.
[Hide Photo] Sport Park overview topo.
The Tyrolean.  Good, new ropes and wood steps on the trees.
[Hide Photo] The Tyrolean. Good, new ropes and wood steps on the trees.
Location of the tyrol.  It's hard to see from the road.
[Hide Photo] Location of the tyrol. It's hard to see from the road.
Climber on Surprising Crag, enjoying the view.
[Hide Photo] Climber on Surprising Crag, enjoying the view.
The Clock Tower.<br>
Chicken Wall is on the lower left; Upper Wall is uphill to the right.<br>
Morning shade makes this a great hot-weather destination.
[Hide Photo] The Clock Tower. Chicken Wall is on the lower left; Upper Wall is uphill to the right. Morning shade makes this a great hot-weather destination.
High creek in early July!
[Hide Photo] High creek in early July!

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
[Hide Comment] Having visited this place a few times over the last two years, I think the only way to describe it is as a miniature golf course for climbing. As the number of cars builds every weekend and the crowds swarm for overgraded, overbolted, and occasionally manufactured routes, you have to wonder when it will become part of Water World or Elitch Gardens. The Forest Service should lease the site to a concessionaire so we can buy 5 dollar sodas in between burns on a chiseled 5.12 (or was it 5.10?). Get the official T-shirt! Quantities are limited.

(Well a few years have gone by and I would like to add that this cliff is excellent for beginning and moderate-level climbers. There are very few 5.8/9 routes elsewhere in the canyon like the ones here that can be lead safely and that are as fun. I think that there may have been a huge backlash to this place because of its heavily engineered feel. But that doesn't mean it's the end of climbing as we know it. It's a different form of climbing that shouldn't be encouraged to spread elsewhere and perhaps it should be left at that--August 2007) Jul 23, 2001
[Hide Comment] Is this the way that climbing is heading? As more and more sport and gym climbers dominate the climbing community many unspoken rules of climbing are being overwritten. What can be done to prevent future areas from being developed like this? Sep 14, 2001
Joe Huggins
Grand Junction
[Hide Comment] Wow, lots of negativity here, and I can see why. I read the comments in the Camera by one of the developers of this crag, and the gist of his attitude seemed to be that people shouldn't have to be scared just because they want to climb! This is pathetic. If you don't want to get scared, try golf. Overcoming fear is a large part of this sport, or didn't he know that? Oh, and by the way, every route that I did the one time I went here was drastically overrated. That's ok, as long as we feel good about ourselves, right? Dec 10, 2001
[Hide Comment] Ok, so you wonder why people I have met over 30 years of climbing think all Boulder climbers have attitudes. Yes, Sport Park is not for those who find security in the feeling that they are stronger people because they can run it out 30' on 5.10. It is also interesting that these same folks don't run it out 30' on 14a. I must say I am glad that none of these folks will return to Sport Park: that leaves more climbing for the rest of us.

So, Sport Park. The routes are short, fun routes. The bolts have been placed so that aspiring leaders and the general public can also enjoy our sport. Some of the rock has been modified. Now, I have been climbing at Surprising Crag (aka Sport Park) since 1975 and believe that this rock would have remained uninteresting, except for the bolts. One can show up and rattle off 10 climbs in a couple of hours for a good workout. One can also push their limit on the multitude of grades at the park (5.6 - 5.12). Of course most climbers know that the [cynical] term, 'overrated' is itself overused and meaningless. Each climb is as difficult as the person feels it is when they are on it. The ratings, while potentially soft for some areas, are consistent and within reason. They are actually in line with say Maple Canyon, also soft on its ratings.

So my advice, drop the attitude and enjoy the park. Chris, Rick and Mark put [a lot] of money and effort into building Sport Park. For the 30 or so times I have been to SP, including with clients as I guide/instruct at the Boulder Rock Club, everyone around seems to be having a great time at the edge of Nederland. All you need in draws! Come Climb! Mar 26, 2002
J. Thompson
denver, co
[Hide Comment] Overbolted? Underbolted? Safe? Unsafe? Overrated? Underrated? These are not the real issues with this "sport Park". The issue is- you NEVER EVER chip or drill hand holds in the rock, period. This is now and always has been [absolutely] wrong! [Anyone] can safely participate in rock climbing- try toproping. Please stop chipping and drilling! If you want to manufacture routes put them up in the gym! Apr 21, 2002
Christopher Roberts
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] So against all my well meaning [ethics] I ended up climbing here. It's fun and [definitely] a little ok. Who am I kidding a lot contrived. I guess the only consolation to the profuse bolts and chiped holds you can bivy in is that [Chris] and cronies chose dumpy choss piles. I actually met [Chris] while commenting about to my partner about how silly it was to have two [separate] bolted lines right next to one another and bolts next to cracks anyone could get gear into. [Chris] seemed to take offense and told me any problems i had with the area I could address to him such pride in such dubious craftmanship. Oh well, at least it's good for training, but then again so is the gym. Perhaps we should ask [Lynn Hill] to repeat the problems she found in her first outdoor comp in [Italy]. Thank you and goodnight. Apr 25, 2002
Brian Hansen
West of Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I just tried out the Sport Park yesterday and think its an excellent destination. These rocks would have remained lichen-encrusted heaps had it not been for the hard work of a few people. If you don't like it, there is no need to go there. The Sport Park is probably reducing the number of folks you'll run into at other areas. May 7, 2002
[Hide Comment] I consider myself a solid & well-rounded climber. I climb trad, sport, I boulder, I get tossed & take whippers, I get scared as hell 2 feet above a good piece, I run out hard moves on bad gear when I feel the any climber, I have a realistic fear of this sport. I face it and deal - - that's one of the things I really enjoy about it. Sport Park seems to be designed to eliminate fear and risk as much as possible in order to create a fun & safe experience (isn't that what we're all looking for?)(we may like to be scared silly, but we don't want to die!). The place isn't Eldo. It ain't Lumpy. Why do we need it to try to be? I like the fact that all the terrible acts of overbolting, overrating and chipping have occured in this one place. And I think taken on its own, there's nothing wrong with it. But I also think it's important to confine it to this one place. Like a playground of sorts, let's keep all the toys in the sandbox so we don't trip over them somewhere else. The take-home message here is that what happens in this designated "moral-free" zone should stay there. It shouldn't affect new route development in other areas, or encourage the "customization" of existing lines. It should by no means become an example of modern climbing! I think so long as people understand that Sport Park follows a different set of rules, everything will be OK. And if you don't like it, don't go there! That said, if I start finding bolts on the Jules Verne runout, placed by someone who cut their teeth in the SP, I'm gonna be ticked... Jun 1, 2002
[Hide Comment] The real bummer here is that with crags like the Sport park, it becomes difficult to guage your accomplishments. The ratings are so skewed that it is difficult to compete with yourself. I propose the creation of a grade comparison table like those found in some guidebooks.It could list the French grade, the German grade, the British grade, the time-honored Yosemite Decimal System, and the new Sport Park decimal system. For example a 12a in would be 7a French and about 13a at the Sport park. It would at least eliminate all the debates about the grades thus allowing climbers to instead focus on the overbolted and obscenely manufactured rout Jul 15, 2002
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] The worst thing I have heard yet about The Sport Park was a bunch of gym-kids up in Ned talking about how:

"there is this one cliff on the road down to Boulder- a park especially for climbers where they drilled in holes to climb on" and on and on. The kids were going to go there to climb on the way back to Boulder that day.

Apparently they think that that is just how climbing is. Sick. Aug 13, 2002
[Hide Comment] Wow. Love reading these comments, and can't resist adding some thoughts. Arrived at Surprising Crag before anyone else, and as soon as the sun was on the rock 20 people and 5 dogs appeared, and suddenly at least 6 ropes were up. Yup, they bolted right next to a crack. Yup, at one point I climbed within 4 feet of someone else. Yup, it was a scene. On the other hand, the routes were fun and it was a beautiful day. On the other hand (the third, that is), it seems many other places in and around [Boulder] offer a more pleasant climbing experience. Sep 15, 2002
[Hide Comment] I like climbing at the Sport Park and obviously thousands of other climbers do to. I run into lots of old climbing friends from 20 to 30 years ago at the Sport Park. The retaining walls are helping to preserve the area. Thanks for all the hard work and the great routes. There are many people who appreciate the area and love to climb there. Oct 3, 2002
[Hide Comment] ....Love the sporty parko, when [I am] feeling down and weak, slow and tired, when the mojo goes south, the ol park makes me feel skinny, strong and a bit [French] with the wind in my hair and .12a under my feet....whats not too love!? Oct 6, 2002
Dan Levison
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] The new Climbing Mag just rated Sport Park (SP) as one of the 5 worst crags in America. The SP write-up is short but funny, making reference to "The Drill Sergeants" and the manufactured climbs e.g., Butt Luscious, 12c. Also, check out the hilarious photo of two guys climbing bolted cracks. A bit harsh, maybe...definitely funny. Dec 18, 2002
Joe Huggins
Grand Junction
[Hide Comment] Well, for some reason I find myself looking at these comments again; I submitted one about a year ago, and many have appeared since. Mostly in defense I think, but it would be close. I'm not going to count. I guess what bothers me is the idea that climbing is just a sport. To me it's an art, a state of mind and being, a community with a long history, and definitely the most fun of all sports I've tried. After nearly thirty years at it, I'll be the first to tell you, I'm nowhere near the best. But I know when I see a climb that I find asthetic. And for my part, I think people who climb without an appreciation of the asthetics required for a genuine "line" still have far to go in their development as a climber. I have no doubt that the people responsible for this outdoor gym are basically good folks. And I don't for a minute believe that climbing builds character. I do believe that if you don't know the difference between a real route and a glorified climbing gym, you are missing something crucial. Dec 25, 2002
Patrick Vernon
Estes Park, CO
[Hide Comment] After Reading these comments I feel compelled to add my own.

About a month ago I was unfortunate enough to visit a crag in Italy near Bolongna. I forget the name of it, it was a large plateau of limestone in the [Apennines]. I was just out for a hike with my friend, and I decided to check out the climbing in this area. What I found was ridiculous. The first area I visited was literally grid bolted, with names (many of them [English]) and grades painted at the bottom of the climbs. Around the corner were more climbs, maybe about 10 climbs within about 20 feet almost all of which were chipped. [Not] just chipped in one or two places, but almost completely manufactured. Later I checked out the bouldering an found all problems with a painted name, and small red dots on the holds. A large boulder had a 30 foot horizontal roof that had a route of entirely chipped holes through it that continued on less steep terrain above it for 30 feet (also [entirely] chipped) to a mess of strange steel anchors that looked like something out of a [scrap] heap. I didn't have to say [anything] to my friend Patricia who [doesn't] climb, she thought it was horrible. What is my point? Respect, places like the [Sport Park] lead is the direction of a complete lack of respect for the places we are in. We already lay down strip malls, cut down forests, show a lack of respect for the natural environment and the natural challenges it gives us in other forms, why introduce this into a sport as incredible as climbing? The [Sport Park] is a step in the wrong direction, a direction that it is perfectly possible to go in, and also perfectly possible to avoid. The description I have above shows that we are [perfectly] capable of ruining our natural environment, and if more places like the [Sport Park] show up through support shown to it, it is not impossible to think of bolts on the [Naked Edge] and [Jules Verne] within 40 or so years. This isn't, or shouldn't be a debate about trad vs sport (how fucking silly) or [egos] (everyone has one), it should be a debate about the dangers and stupidity of bringing convenience and disrespect into the one place these things don't belong, nature, and knowing when things go too far. I for one have never visited the [Sport Park], so I cannot say for sure, but I have a feeling the developers have gone too far. Why? Bolting is accepted by the climbing community, but grid bolting and blatant chipping? Why do people need to chip? I would like the developers to answer this. Why grid bolt? Is it that [inconvenient] to drive down the canyon a few miles to climb some more routes? This isn't a debate about [runout] trad vs sport, sport climbing is a well established fact, and many trad routes have bolts. It is a question about the future of climbing, and contrary to what many people have said above (just climb somewhere else) it shouldn't be ignored.

=patrick Dec 27, 2002
Michael Walker
Loveland, CO
[Hide Comment] Continuing in that vein, Patrick, I was in Chile in '98 near Chillan and we came across sport climbing. How could we tell? Well, there were arrows, names and ratings painted on the rock, along with the bolts. Pretty good for us, considering we had no guidebook to the region, but it was pretty unsightly as you could imagine. Funny thing was that as we were climbing one of the routes, the equipper approached us to make sure we weren't a couple of duffers ready to get ourselves killed (what he doesn't know...) and we chatted him up. Where did he learn such craft and skill in painting and bolting? Europe.

We saw other cliffs with the same "scarring" approach to route outfitting. All borrowed, I'm sure, from the loose ethics of European route setting (ooo, horrible word, I guess, when refering to "natural" rock climbs) It really was kind of sad, especially in the wilds of Chile.

What am I trying to say? What people do at Sport Park WILL be emulated. By those who don't know any better (like our friend in Chile) or worse, by people who don't care (names withheld). I'm sure if this guy (real nice guy, by the way) visited Eldo he might have more respect for the treasure he had before him.

The problem isn't that people who don't like chipping, grid bolting or outside gyms are visiting and complaining, the problem is that people who don't know any better go here and expect all climbing to be this way. They then go out and create more Sport Park-like mini gyms at every crag they equip. Dec 27, 2002
[Hide Comment] And while you are having so much fun with your hand in the crack...why not reach into your rack and place a piece of gear..... Dude there is no excuse for this pathetic, watered down "climbing area". I've never heard of an area that was created with so little thought to the impact it might have with Land Managers.... instead of bringing to rock down to your level maybe all you posers need to put your tails between your legs and head back to the BRC....sounds like thats the sort of climbing you prefer. Feb 15, 2003
[Hide Comment] Now, I am not one for sport cragging @ the [Sport Park] and I feel that over bolting and chipping is completely wrong, but I feel that society has molded this area. Look at the technology and [convenience] that we have today compared to 15 years ago. People are lazy today. Climbing to them is about driving across town and parking @ the wall and hiking 5 seconds. Has anyone ever heard that the journey is the destination if that doesn't "corn" anyone out? Personally, I climb trad and sport climbing is ok to push oneself, but there is a guilt in clipping that bolt that seems to rob you of the true experience. Climbing has its [cliques], it's just like junior high school and people need to accept this. If you don't want to climb at the [Sport Park], than break away from the societal norm. Feb 26, 2003
Santa Fe, NM
[Hide Comment] Just a point of clarification: When we speak of "traditional" climbing, are we talking about the climbing of the 50's when you just had some stoppers and a set of hexes? The hexes were strung on soft perlon or hemp with holes drilled in them because to be strong enough, they had to be made of the heaviest damn metal in [the] shop. You can forget about Friends, much less [Aliens], TCUs, wires, screamers, drill sets for the pinches, those nice three bolt 3/4 inchers at the top of many of the pitches on Yosemite walls. Oh yeah, and we'll take away your nice stretchy rope too, in exchange for hemp or perlon. That was the kind of climbing when people didn't know what a guidebook was, your "rock shoes" went up to your ankles, and if you fall . . .

Or are we talking about the kind of climbing where you buy the guidebook at the store, your hexes are color coded anodized, you have a different camming device for every situation, your shoes are made of stickiest rubber on the planet, and when you get to the top of your "traditional" climb you're surprised to not see some sort of anchor.

Yeah, I guess climbing ain't what it used to be, and niether are the climbers. Apr 26, 2003
[Hide Comment] Yeah and in the 50's they were fully sending way rad 5.8's.....DUDE!!!

Maybe all this new traditional gear is helping modern climbers push the grades to new levels. Hey we modern climbers all appreciate and respect what the climbers of past eras were able to accomplish in light of the prehistoric equipment available to them. However, this does not take away from the achievments of todays climbers or religate true traditional climbing to the history books as you seem to be doing.

"For times they are a chang'in" Change with them or live in the past. Apr 27, 2003
[Hide Comment] Okay, Chuck - let me clarify your "point of clarification"...

Get your facts straight. Nobody thinks "traditional" refers to a time period, like the 50's. It refers to a style, namely leaving the rock as untouched as possible.

There weren't hexes or stoppers in the 50's.

Perlon stretches.

I've never been to the Sport Park and don't plan to. Apr 28, 2003
Santa Fe, NM
[Hide Comment] Thanks for correcting my factual errors. I just think its interesting that a small proportion of the climbing community thinks they are so much better than sport climbers becasue they take more risks. They define traditional climbing to be what it means to them, and that's fine. But in reality, **most** traditional climbers today take far less risk than climbers 40 years ago (or however many years ago it was) merely because of the opportunities afforded to them. So for those who draw the line between traditional and sport with risk (quite a few of the anit-sport posters here refering to "go back to the rock club"), I am curious how they decided where the line should be.

I've climbed at Smith and loved it, but I wouldn't want it everywhere. And I climb in Eldo too, and love that. You raise some excellent land use issues about Sport Park, but the whole "sport climbing isn't either" attitude - I thought people had grown out of that.

I wonder why there is such an attitude about sport climbing. I don't think the people who have the attitude are really all that concerned about some bolts in an un-aesthetic rock they aren't using. They just don't want the average person entering the sport without paying dues (someone already said this). They want to feel like they're the special adventurous climber doing something not many other people can do. They welcome new climbers, as long as the newbies do it their way. Seems like an ego thing to me.

If sport climbing is climbing to someone, what does it matter to you? Do you have something to prove? And if someone bolts a chosspile like SportPark that no one is using, what do you care? Apr 28, 2003
[Hide Comment] ...I currently live in Scottsbluff, NE!! Thats right NE stands for Nebraska!! Flat and brown. We have no climbing but for a 35' "gym" wall at the Y. I have only been climbing for a few years and still have a hard time remembering the difference between trad and sport; redpoint and onsight; chocks and stoppers! I have a harness, shoes, a [handful] of [biners], and an ATC. I dont have nuts or cams or stoppers or chocks. I [can't] afford all that stuff up front. When my wife got me into climbing on our honeymoon, the next week we bought harnesses and shoes for almost $500 at REI in Bloomington, MN. We still have not had the extra $ for the rest of the equipment needed for lead or trad climbing. We still use borowed rope and quick draws. The group we climb with are not hard core road trippin' big wall climbers. They simply enjoy climbing on weekends for the fun and enjoyment of the sport. A sport which I don't remember there was any registration or [prerequisites] or certain personality traits to get into the sport. What I want to get across is that sport climbing gives people without All the gear a chance to climb while they save up their pennies for a new nut. (i [apologize] for a mistake. I do have one nut that I bought for $6. A whole rack of gear can easily be a couple thou$$.) I am going to climb [Boulder Canyon] this weekend and the [Sport Park] was suggested because of all the sport [routes] available. The guy who suggested it told me the [ratings] were a bit higher than they should be and that they were a bit over-bolted. He said that if I climb a 5.12 it may be a 5.10. Knowing this ahead of time gave me a step up on other people. Being a strong 5.10 climber (I still consider myself as a beginner) I will try some of the 5.12 there that I may not have even attempted had I not known they were over-rated climbs. As for the bolts, he suggested I skip a few of them for a little added difficulty (just [because] a bolt is there does not mean you HAVE TO CLIP INTO IT!) Basicaly I think all climbers need to check out and research what they are going to climb before they go out and "meat it out" with a cliff. I also read some earlier comments here about "traditional" climbers. I encourage the two involved in that dispute to look up the word "traditional" in the dictionary (if you even have one) also check out the National Geographics record of the first free-climb of El-Cap (in Yosemite). I think the article was in 1974 or so... It is pretty interesting how much climbing equipment has been up-graded. also knowing the history of the sport will give you a different attitude towards it. We all just want to have fun!! I do anyway, If you [don't] climb for the fun of it you should check your priorities!! May 15, 2003
[Hide Comment] Looking up the word "traditional" in the dictionary will give nothing to the conversation. We use the word as part of a lexicon, not it's normal use. Either way, this isn't about trad. Not many people are suggesting bolting is never okay, though I'm sure some are. It's the chipping and OVER-bolting that creates controversy. May 15, 2003
[Hide Comment] Is it wrong to chip on road cut? Much of this area is the result of the building of the [aqueduct] that supplies water to the republic of [Boulder]. I don't agree with chipping...but what is the difference if it is all ready man made? I know that the example is it sets is bad. By the way I would like to thank ALL those who put up routes. I know tha it is a lot of work and is not cheap. THANKS! Jul 18, 2003
[Hide Comment] I've been here, I'll never go back. I've climbed in Eldo, Lumpy, RMNP, [Devil's] Tower, The [Monastery], The Crags, [Vedawoo], The Tetons, Red Rocks, Clear Creek, Table Mountain, Black Canyon, Rifle, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, China, France, Germany, South Platte, Castlewood Canyon, Garden of the Gods, Cape Town South Africa, Boulder Canyon, The Gunks, and prob a few more I can't recall. When on vacation the gear always comes with. For the most part when I've climbed internationally it has been on "sport routes" of them none have compared to the monstrosity that this place is. For over bolting there isn't a gym on the [Front Range] that has as many bolts. Or for what I've seen in France, thank god there is SMALL spelling of the route names at the base of most climbs, no more of a visual desecration than a bolt or the overbolting at this place. Sport climbing is like a national past time in France. I am glad people go here, I hope for themselves and for rescue groups the people who get their egos up here don't go further down the canyon to prove themselves on real "sport routes" or try tackle a similar grade in a traditional climbing area. I'm not against sport climbing at all, I feel it has a place, but when the ethics and route setting are unlike anywhere else, than this place deserves the flack it gets.

Flame me all you want, I could really care less, and this is my second comment on this place.

I'd also like to say thanks to the guys who put ClimbingBoulder together, and who haven't deleted this pile of shit from the database yet. Cause one persons pile of trash is anothers treasure.

To each is his own. Sep 7, 2003
[Hide Comment] Sport climbing: Yea!Sport Park:Boo!

I wonder if climbing at the Sport Park is even rock climbing. For example, I suspect that most climbers do not consider or refer to climbing in the gym as rock climbing. Are we really climbing on rock at the Sport Park as nature created that rock? Obviously the answer to my rhetorical question is "no". We are climbing on holds created by human beings, as we do in the gym. Therefore, I propose that we are not rock climbers when at the Sport Park, but outdoor gym climbers.

I agree with the foregoing comments that the chipping ethic of the Sport Park should not be exported outside it's confines. Oct 15, 2003
[Hide Comment] How about when we are climbing on the routes with no chipped holds? Is that not rock climbing?

It should be noted that not all, in fact most of the routes are not chipped.

Four routes on the [Clock Tower] are chipped (this roof was created in the early 1900s when the [aqueduct] was built).

The Owl Prow is has one two chipped routes (this area was created when a tunnel was blasted through the rock for the [aqueduct]).

Check out the Surprising Crag area. Oct 16, 2003
[Hide Comment] It gets me so worked up to read this stuff, that I think I will not be back. I climb for my own recreation, and to unclutter my head. These debates only clutter it more, and complicate what should be just plain fun.It occurs to me that none of these discussions will enhance my enjoyment of climbing, so this will likely be my last visit. If you see me out on the crag, don't ask me about grading the route/area, because I won't really care. I will just be happy to live in such a beautiful state, and thankful to have the money/time to pursue and activity that is such a luxury, that most people in this world would be baffled by it.

Adios!! Oct 17, 2003
[Hide Comment] Hey AC, Most of us climb for ourselves and not for those POS's that think that they are better just because they climb a certain style. I, for one, don't care what anyone else thinks about what or how I climb. I make a point to have fun and that is all.

Does Justins' comments make you feel irrelevent? Does the fact that his comments state that he does not care what you or anyone else thinks hurt your feelings. Your post sounds like it... Oct 20, 2003
[Hide Comment] I have never respected someone just because they were a climber. It is not like climbing is a contribution to humanity. Climbing by it's very nature is very selfish and egomaniacal, not at all altruistic.

How does my climbing "road cut" affect your fun.

AC, sorry you're hurt by the fact that you and your ideas are irrelevent to so many of us (not really). In fact, it makes the whole thing more fun. Heh heh heh... Oct 22, 2003
[Hide Comment] When I see people talking about the environmental impact of Sport Park, I have to wonder if they have even been to the place.It seems more likely that they've just been reading comments on the website.

Here is the reality:

1. These are just a bunch of short scruffy crags that are pretty nondescript.

2. A few climbs are good, but most of the routes are 1 star.

3. A few routes have chipped/drilled holds.Most of the routes are natural lines. Unless you climb 12 or harder you are unlikely to get on a modified route.

4. Some of the lines are somewhat overbolted.

5. Some of the lines are somewhat overgraded.

6. In general, this area is a lot like many Boulder Canyon crags, just a bit more lame.

Keep some perspective - a lame crag does not equal some sort of environmental disaster. Oct 22, 2003
[Hide Comment] AC, You made me laugh out loud. I hope you find this as fun as I do.

Seriously though, You [ought to] be careful, callin a whole [community] of a bunch of [losers.] Where I come from ([Kansas]), that can get you in a whole lot of trouble. Nobody here ever put down tradsters. But, a lot of tradsters put down the sporties. Now it is all about having fun and nobody infringes on anybody else (unless you are looking to be infringed upon).

I used to do nothing but trad (did the [Naked Edge] 3 times one week and follow that with [Outer Space] or [Wide Country] after) and would not clip a bolt. I got bored with it and started doing clip ups. Nothing wrong with that since there is no point in doing something for fun if it is no longer fun and climbing is largely pointless unless you are making a living from it. In myh 38 years I have never seen a more judgMENTAL bunch as now there are sheople bashing what I do for fun. I find it retarded. On the other hand: I use to ride 20,000+ miles per year, now I just build bikes and ride once in a while but I'm still a biker.

I don't do anything because someone says I'm suppose to and Man I am ultra greazy. Oct 24, 2003
[Hide Comment] Nice try ... Wide Country has a bolt on it. So... Rick, clip-ups = sport. ... I will explain. I use to do nothing but trad, almost every day of the week. Mostly I learned on trad. Now I do sport mostly, with only a few trad climbs a year and I still can get up .11- on gear (use to onsight mid to upper .11's). So I think that I have the right to do clip-ups ... That is my point. Oct 27, 2003
[Hide Comment] So if you enjoy sport climbs, why are you on my ass for defending them? By the way, everybody has the right to do what they want for fun without ridicule as long as it does not hurt anyone else. I have yet to here sport climbers bashing trads for climbing trad, but here a lot of trads fro bashing sport climbers. Why is that and is [there] any real point to it? And if so what is that point?

AC, did I say anyone should be afraid of anything? I am only trying to explain why sport climbing is not evil as so many seem to think.

Sport [Park, although] bent the ethics a bit, is still a good place to climb when not to crowded. One must remember that all chipped holds are on (essentially) man made cliffs (from the creation of the [aqueduct]). If you don't like it, don't go there and don't call those who do, losers. People are what they are, not from what the climb, but from how they treat others and function in their community. Who called who a petty [loser with] low standards?

I am not an advocate of chipping. I think that if the route can't be climbed, leave it until some one can or don't put it up in the first place. I think that everybody agrees with that. Oct 27, 2003
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
[Hide Comment] Greaser:

I have no idea if you are "real" or not, but I think you are vastly overstating the number of put-downs directed at sport climbers on this page. Most of the put downs, with a couple of exceptions, are directed at this area, the Sport Park, specifically. A number of them even come from people who climb mostly sport routes.

I also think your repeated contention that you and others who climb or have climbed hard trad have somehow "earned" the right to do clip-ups is BS. I read it as a back-handed slap at many of the very people who patronize the Sport Park--by your logic, these people who are learning to climb haven't "earned" the right to do sport routes. Maybe you're the one spraying on about scary trad, while putting down sport climbers! Oct 27, 2003
[Hide Comment] So, what do you think about chipping on road cut. Chipping is bad but on road cut... I do think that it does set a bad example as Tony Bubb said (the kids from Ned thinking that chipping is standard practice). That is my opinion. What is everybody else's? Is this a grey area?

As far as the sport bashing goes... It is like Harley riders bashing jap bikes. The guys who ride the rice burners and BMW's Ducati's are generally nicer that the wantabe tough guy, lawyers and bankers that get their first Harley and new, shiny, black fuck-me chaps, and think they are Sony Bargis. Oct 29, 2003
[Hide Comment] hey Greaser - Go ahead, climb any way you want! Just don't put any bolts in or chip any holds. Don't do anything to change the rock. People (?) like you suck at it and do a shitty job of it and take all the fun out of climbing and make the crags stupid and ugly and then real climbers don't want to go there anymore. Oct 29, 2003
[Hide Comment] "Greazer does the community a favor by creating routes on road cuts".

I don't put up routes. I only climb them.

I asked the question because it seems that S.P. is a focal point for the issue. There are only a few chipped holds on even fewer routes. As with any area some routes are good and some are not. One of the best routes I have done in boulder canyon is there (American beauty). It's like "I won't eat beets but will eat the mashed potatos and gravy and roast beef next to them, on the same plate".

There are a lot of sweeping conclusions being thrown around here and they paint a distorted picture for the uninformed bystander. Oct 29, 2003
[Hide Comment] On a more serious note: I've seen and heard a lot of close calls at this lot.

Last time, A biker about hit someone leaving the parking lot. He had his bike sideways to avoid the person pulling out, swerved into the oncoming lane and about got creamed. Dec 10, 2003
Shane Zentner
[Hide Comment] The land of bolted cracks, drilled holds, and over bolted routes. In fairness, there are several good lines here. This reminded me of a climbing gym. May 12, 2004
[Hide Comment] I hear a lot of this you can go and climb all these routes in a short period of time for a good workout. If you want a good workout go to the climbing gym!! As far as the ratings go, someone needs to fix them. The first and only time I went there I shot up a 5:12 without any problems. Then the next day I went to a couple of unmodified non-gridbolted 5:12's and ahd a very hard time. My concern is for the saftey of my fellow climbers. I don't want to see someone who has been to sport park and become over cofident in there abilities and kill themselves on an acurately rated route such as upper security risk where some of the first bolts are 10 to 20 feet off the ground. May 16, 2004
[Hide Comment] Great for beginner leaders, and for socializing, might be a tad over rated but not much. [Let's] stop the [chiseling] guys come on. Jun 9, 2005
[Hide Comment] What I [meant] was it's overrated, this is not the place for an argument. It's a place for people to get information. All any one has to know is some of the hold are drilled, it overrated, and that the bolts are close together. If they chose to use the [Sport Park], it's their problem not yours, so stop complaining. Jul 6, 2005
Deibolt Deibold
Bolder, CO
[Hide Comment] It's as simple as this: If you don't like it don't go. Why do people feel the need to go on and on about about how awful the place is? Were there any climbs there before the developers came along that were classics? Not as far as I can tell. It's a great places for beginners and intermediates to learn and practice leading.

You don't have to agree with the methods or ethics, just don't bring your attitude here and ruin it for the rest of us. Aug 11, 2007
[Hide Comment] The Sport Park's (and other crags in the area) parking has been closed off by a guard rail extension. The closest place to park is just further around the corner on the right. Mar 28, 2008
[Hide Comment] Attempted to cross the creek around July 15th - failed, water is too high and going too fast. I'd be interested to know if anyone has made it across yet this summer, and how it was done.... Jul 28, 2008
Dan Raymond
Longmont, CO
[Hide Comment] The "hand line" mentioned in the description is a rope that runs across the creek in the vicinity of the new guard rail. It is attached to a bolt and hanger on a boulder on the near side of the creek and a tree on the far side. When we crossed the creek yesterday the water came to your upper thigh and the hand line was very helpful due to the current. May 17, 2009
Gunnison, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Rabble! Rabble! Rabble! Jun 12, 2009
Robert Curry
Evans, Co
[Hide Comment] On a lighter note I will be visiting SP tomorrow. Because I mostly gym climb and this place is suppose to be safe (maybe a little too safe). Stay away from my belayer while I'm top ropin' and please for my sake take a moment. It is a wonderful moment, smile breathe!! Jul 5, 2009
keith story
Castlegar, BC
[Hide Comment] I am confused by the "tyrolean traverse" at the Sport Park. Why is there a TT 3 feet over a foot deep river? It seems that if the river peaked, you'd be swimming underneath the current instead of majestically ninja-ing across whilst catching fish from above.

I'm guessing it is a gear shuttle? Maybe? I guess it could be tough to carry gear across the river when it is high....

Maybe it's supposed to be a rope slackline? That would be entertaining.

I probably have it wrong all together... I'm new to these things.

I hope it isn't a TT. That would make me sad, especially after all this foolish sarcasm. Sep 2, 2009
Greg Hand
Golden, CO
[Hide Comment] It is not a tyrolean.
Probably more just something to clip into or as a handhold during higher water wading.
At the current water level, it has no purpose. Sep 2, 2009
keith story
Castlegar, BC
[Hide Comment] That makes a lot more sense than my preposterous hypothesis. Sep 3, 2009
doug rouse
Denver, CO.
[Hide Comment] I may be a day late and a dollar short, but I would like to commend the people responsible for route development. I know the long hours, days off work, sometimes total obsession, that come with putting in new lines. A sacrifice was made by anyone who has spent their own money, time, and energy to make rock passable and safe. Why all the hate? What would you all say if someone came up and told you that your approach to parenthood was anathema, and all of your work to be a good guardian was crap? I can personally understand how the route authors feel. I guess I'm just surprised no one has had their ass handed to them for too much criticism.... Bring it over to Morrison, boys.... Jan 12, 2010
[Hide Comment] Hi,
Does anyone know where I can find the current water levels of the creek? Looking to do a family-friendly outing on the rock.

Thanks! May 24, 2010
[Hide Comment] Irresponsible climbing:

From time to time, climbers have debated, sometimes publicly, the removal of fixed anchors on climbing routes ("chopping") and the creation or enhancement of holds ("chipping"). The Access Fund makes this statement to clarify its position on these issues.

Placing bolts:
The Access Fund recognizes that bolt safety anchors have been used as climbing protection for over sixty years and believes that bolts should generally be allowed where climbing is permitted. However, the Access Fund recognizes that the use of bolts may impact the natural resource. Collectively such impacts may have a significant effect on natural or social values. For this reason the Access Fund strongly encourages climbers to place bolts discretely and in a manner appropriate to local climbing tradition. The Access Fund opposes climbers placing bolts in violation of law.

Removing Bolts:
The Access Fund believes that once bolts have been placed they should not be removed unless there is compelling evidence that the bolts in question have caused or will cause adverse impacts to natural resource values or will threaten access. Removing bolts often results in significant damage to the climbing resource and can be dangerous. The Access Fund opposes individual climbers taking unilateral action on bolt removal without the support of a majority of the local climbing community or a directive from a land agency.

Manufacturing Holds:
The Access Fund vehemently opposes intentional alteration of the rock by gluing or chipping for the purpose of creating or enhancing holds. We believe such actions degrade the climbing resource, eliminate challenges for future generations of climbers, and threaten access. Jun 4, 2012
Peter Dodge
Duluth, MN
[Hide Comment] How is the river crossing this time of year? Jun 15, 2013
jd Woelfle
Loveland, CO
[Hide Comment] It isn't necessary to cross at the hand line. If you don't want to get wet, there is a large log about 50 yds upstream to cross on. Jul 27, 2013
Eric Werfel
[Hide Comment] My two cents... I am, and always will be a trad climber, but what I don't understand is people complaining about a sport crag being too safe. Isn't that the whole point of sport climbing??? If you want to feel danger, climb something without bolts.... Sep 21, 2013
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know if The Sport Park is reopened now after the flooding? Thanks. Oct 12, 2013
Kelly P
The Bubble, CO
[Hide Comment] Hmm, in regards to the conditions, is the tow line gone? Anyone know? Is it unsafe currently? Jun 20, 2014
Jake Web
Denver, CO
[Hide Comment] I was just here yesterday. Yeah, the bolts are kinda crazy, and I mostly lead 5.9s and 5.10s. It was a blast, although the routes are super short. A lot of the bolted routes are supposedly good for trad so I've heard, and they were fun to climb! Good hand jams, but I don't know trad so I appreciated the safety of the bolts. Since I'm so used to Clear Creek, this was a nice mix-up.

There is a handline set up for crossing the creek. Aug 10, 2015
Travis Provin
Boulder CO
[Hide Comment] There seems to be no mention of the tyrolean as per the approach. The description of the hand line is correct, it's still up and in good shape, the creek is knee or waist high as of 7/2/2016. 100 yards downstream, right below a yellow road caution sign, is a tyrolean. Easier to use when the water is high. Jul 2, 2016
King Tut
Citrus Heights
[Hide Comment] The trouble is not a "Sport Park" per se...if someone wants to manufacture a climbing area by over bolting, gardening, and chipping on some dirt covered, roadcut, choss pile that is otherwise useless, then that is their business.

The reason we decry this, in general, is that it should never, ever be translated to a real and worthy crag. Ever.

Donner Summit, CA has a "road cut" wall that literally was created by blasting during creation of the road. Penguin Lust there is a brilliant 12c that features at least one drilled pocket and some enhanced holds. I have no problem with the route and have TR'd it myself. Great climbing.

But if someone thinks they can enhance holds on Snowshed Wall (a crag covered in existing natural lines), then they are leading the destruction of climbing which at its heart does have a wilderness ethic of minimal impact and accepting that some lines are above your ability.

The important thing is to distinguish the two cases. Dec 15, 2016
[Hide Comment] Hi! I left my purple harness up at SP with a bunch of s*** on it, Grigri, ATC, PAS, etc. If anyone found it, please let me know!!!! Thanks.

Allison Apr 21, 2017
Travis Provin
Boulder CO
[Hide Comment] Looks like the handline to cross the river is now gone. The Tyrolean is still up. Jun 13, 2017
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] As of 7/8/17, no lines are up. The creek is a bit high right now, be careful crossing! Jul 9, 2017
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I left my belay glasses on top of my car at the Sport Park parking area and drove off! The case was bright orange, and my name and phone number are on the case. My phone was also in the case. If you found them, please call the phone number on the case. I can still get messages. Or email me at

I will offer a reward!

Thanks! Claire Sep 4, 2017
[Hide Comment] Replaced the core-shot tyrol with new static lines and webbing this evening. Someone cut it down over the winter...wish I knew why.

Really appreciate Jon Cheifitz helping me out!

Huge thanks to Rock and Resole for donating a 600' spool of static line to the effort. Please tell them thanks next time you stop in, and thanks to everyone that donated last year to help with other costs (webbing, hardware, etc)! May 10, 2018
Connor Moynihan
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Has anyone climbed at the crag above Sport Park? It's about 20 minute/1.5 mile hike up from Surprise Crag. We found it when exploring the area. It's a beautiful view where you can see the entire canyon. The routes are bolted and anchored. I have climbed a few of them up there, and I'm guessing they range from 5.9 to 5.11. Just wondering if anyone has a name for this crag. Couldn't find it on here or in the Boulder Canyon book. Jul 30, 2018
[Hide Comment] ^^ Connor - I think what you are describing is The Sky Cafe. I recall finding it in Rolofson's Boulder Canyon guide. Jul 31, 2018
[Hide Comment] Found some gear at the base of one of the crags on Friday May 24th. Let me know if this might be your gear. May 24, 2019
Elisa Cundiff
Fort Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] Managed to lose my great grandmother's ring somewhere near Monkey Bob on the southface on 5/24. (Yes... I'm an idiot, but if you find it, it would mean a lot to get it back.)

It's tiny and gold with a small diamond - blends in beautifully, I'm sure with the mica and rocks!

Lesson learned - keep your grandmother in your heart, leave the ring she gave you at home. Happy climbing, everyone. May 25, 2019