Elevation: 6,400 ft
GPS: 39.737, -105.318 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 64,560 total · 314/month
Shared By: Nate Weitzel on Jun 4, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures & Rockfall Mitigation Project - Completed Details


This wall contains the classic Clear Creek testpiece, Sonic Youth. The rock here is solid, overhung and powerful. The belay for Sonic Youth is basically in the river, depending on the time of the year and the water level, which makes some of the logistics of getting down from the route difficult. But the climb is worth it. Late May through July are usually the months to avoid here as the belay beach is underwater. Unfortunately, the rock is in the shade and quite cold from November to late March, so pick your climbing season well.

Getting There

Park in the large paved pullout before Tunnel Two, (same as for Highwire Crag). Most of the year, the river is raging, so don't plan on crossing the creek. Instead, hike up the road toward the tunnel and cross the bridge (right side). Turn right and locate a small trail that leads back toward the cliff (north, downstream). Stay on this trail until you are beyond some treacherous cliffbands, and pay close attention for a faint right fork in the trail. The main trail will continue up the hill to Highlander Crag. Take this faint, right trending trail down toward the river and pass under a rock known as the Merlin Formation. There is one bolted route here called Merlin (5.11d). Pass this route and continue down the river along the river bed. If you miss this faint trail, you will end up taking a very steep, sketchy and loose descent with a cliff beneath you, so be careful. If you find yourself doing this hard descent, you are probably off the trail and should go back to find the right one. Keep walking downstream, sometimes hopping on rocks until you reach the belay beach for Sonic Youth. This approach only takes 5-10 minutes.


This latest update is a bit unclear due to the lack of location descriptions in the writeups.

Unknown Craglet

A. Unknown at New River, 9+, 1p, 60', bolts.

Merlin Formation

B. Merlin, 11+, 1p, 40', bolts.
C. Dragonslayer, 13-, 1p, 40', bolts.

New River Wall

D. Warm Up, 10, 1p, TR
E. Beta Test, 11, 1p, bolts.
above E. Master Beta, 12-, 1p, bolts, extension.
F. 13, 1p, bolts.
GH. Fountain of Youth, 13+, 1p, bolts.
H. Sonic Youth, 13-, 1p, bolts.
HHI1HI2I4. La Mega Positive , 14-, 1p, 65', bolts.
HI1H. Sonic Vibrations ], 14, 1p, 70', bolts.
HI1HI2. Positive Vibrations , 14, 1p, 70', bolts.
HI1HHI2HI1HI2. Good Vibrations , 14, 1p, 70', bolts.
HI1HI2I2. ??, 14, 1p, 60', bolts.
HI2. Sweet Inspirations, 13, 1p, 70', bolts.
I1H. Ali Natural , 14-, 1p, 60', bolts.
I1. Know Your Enemies , 14-, 1p, 60', bolts.
I1I2. Know Your Inclinations , 14-, 1p, 60', bolts.
I2H. Kinky Reggae, 14-, 1p, 60', bolts.
I3H. Kinky Reggae DS, 14-, 1p, 65', bolts.
I4H. Public Youth, 14-, 1p, 65', bolts.
I4. Public Enemy, 12+, 1p, 40', bolts.
continue above I. No More Enemies , 14-, 1p, 60', bolts.
continue above I->HI2. No More Inclinations , 14-, 1p, 60', bolts.
I4JI1. Public Execution , 14-, 1p, bolts or gear.
I2HHI2JI1. No More Crucifixions , 14-, 1p, 65', bolts.
JI1. Execution , 13, 1p, 65', bolts or gear.
JI2H? Enjoy Your Youth , 13+, 1p, 70', bolts.
JI2? Love Your Enemies , 12, 1p, 60', bolts.
JI2I2JI1. Crucifixtion , 13+, 1p, 65', bolts or gear.
JI2I2. Love Your Inclinations , 12, 1p, 65', bolts.
K. ?

??, 13, 1p, bolts - location?

56 Total Climbs

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Location: The New River Wall Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at The New River Wall

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It appears that "Public Enemy" is equipped up to the roof.

Does anybody know anything about this?????? Aug 21, 2001
Does anyone know what the new route is immediately to the left of Sonic youth? It follows the arete. Anyone?? May 31, 2005
chris deulen
Castle Rock
chris deulen   Castle Rock
Okay, first of all, the beta photo on this page is wrong. None of the x's respresent where the bolts actually are. The anchor bolts for Sonic are about 5 feet lower than shown, and are preceeded by 10, not nine bolts (excluding the one placed to restrict rope drag). The 2nd climb from the right shares the first four bolts with S.Y. Beta Test (and Master Beta) has one less bolt than shown, and starts 10 feet to the right of where the x's show. The x's on climb 4 (Public Enemy) have less bolts than shown (starting off with 2 anchor bolts for a belay), and start 5 feet to the left (refer to Rolofson's CCC guidebook for the story). There are also several bolts between SY and Public Enemy that are apparently open projects obviously either impossible and/or needing more bolts. My buddy Chris and I set up yet another tyrolian (sp?). I don't know who keeps cutting them down (the rope doesn't come near the water if tightened right, so there's no reason for kayakers to take them down?), but it sucks, and I hope it doesn't happen to this one. Sonic Youth is epic. Climb it in the rain.

I heard the climb to the left was 5.14 something. Jun 1, 2006
The climb to the left of SY was finally sent yesterday by Daniel Woods, and he called it "Fountain of Youth". He thought it might be 5.13c/d but not 5.14. Sep 21, 2006
Does anyone know if the plethora of multi-colored slings hanging all over this wall are fixed? Or will they come down once projects are sent? I've been cringing every time I drive by that wall lately as they are clearly visible from the road (and from space, perhaps?) Eeeek! Just curious.... Jul 20, 2011
Brian the fixed draws are completely fine. We all know that Clear Creek is a pristine piece of nature where one can experience the magnificence of BBBBBBBBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPP. Sorry that semi's air brakes followed by the line of 97 cars just completely ruined my train of thought.

Anyways, thank you so much for the amount of time, money, and effort that you have invested in these routes! I can't even express how excited I am to get on them, keep up the good work, man! Aug 31, 2011
I disagree with Mark. Clear Creek may be a quasi-urban shit hole, but I think as climbers we should not do anything that appears to be littering, like leaving bright 3 ft long slings hanging up all over the place. The New River Wall is very visible, and the mess left there is really going to bother those people who already dislike climbers. At a minimum, use less bright webbing on the long draws. Aug 31, 2011
Mike Morin
Glen, NH
Mike Morin   Glen, NH
Clear Creek Canyon is a Jefferson County Open Space Park. While the presence of Highway 6 certainly detracts from the canyon atmosphere, one should not mistake this for meaning the canyon is lacking in opportunities for a natural experience. Bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, bald eagles, golden eagles, canyon wrens, rattlesnakes, and many other species call the canyon home. The canyon walls are considered important places for supporting cliff based flora and fauna, as well as providing for a positive visual experience for visitors to the park. This might mean driving through at 40+ MPH, fishing, rafting, or climbing. Leaving fixed gear hanging from routes in the canyon is definitely not viewed in a positive light. This area in particular was noted by myself, which led to me posting a short request in the forums. Brian responded to me promptly and we've been having a dialogue regarding this wall. I would encourage all climbers to consider their impact when recreating in the canyon. Taking a flippant attitude will not in anyway further climber access in Open Space Parks.

Mike Morin
Park Ranger Aug 31, 2011
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
As always, thanks for your input, Mike. Aug 31, 2011
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
I have had more than plenty of wild, wild, wilderness adventures in that canyon Ben calls a quasi-urban-shit-hole.

I once witnessed two rams battling head to head over a herd of sheep not even 20 yards from me. So awesome. Aug 31, 2011
I appreciate Mike weighing in on this issue as he has the most impact on the overall situation. While it may seem incongruent for a person standing on a busy highway next to a big, ugly guardrail to complain about a few pieces of fixed climbing gear, that is exactly what they will do. In some cases, perception can be more important than reality, and it should be important to the climbing community how the non-climbing public perceives us. Camoflauged bolt hangers are virtually invisible from 100 or more feet away and are thus of negligible visual impact. Long, dangling, and brightly colored slings and draws hanging all over a cliff are extremely visible and attract unwanted negative attention. People climbed for a long time on New River, Primo, and other walls in CCC without any fixed draws. Aug 31, 2011
Perception will govern over reality about 9 times out of 10, unfortunately. I agree with the above posters about trying to clean the draws up some. I think you would be 90% of the way there just by changing the runners out to more neutral colors. Aug 31, 2011
Makes me think of Cave Rock in Nevada. I had the good fortune of climbing there before it was permanently closed, and it was an awesome crag.

It may have seemed unbelievable to climbers that people could be offended by bolts and fixed draws when the government had already DRILLED A TUNNEL THROUGH THE CLIFF AND INSTALLED A HIGHWAY, but that was the case. Climbers naturally felt that there was nothing more that could be done to ugly up the cliff after the highway department did that to it.

However, it was the bolts and slings that made people upset. And although the government didn't and won't move the highway, they did close the cliff to climbing and remove all the bolts.

Moral of the story: it is always best to be low impact. You don't have any idea who you might be upsetting. Aug 31, 2011
I just don't understand how someone could complain about fixed gear as they are standing in what amounts to a parking lot littered with cigarette butts and various other trash items. Bordered on one side by a huge guard rail and the other being an unending string of deafening semis that use engine braking for the entire length of the canyon. Aug 31, 2011
Mike Morin
Glen, NH
Mike Morin   Glen, NH

I understand your perception completely. However, in the end what is trying to be accomplished is limiting the impact beyond what is already there. Just because an area is abused doesn't mean we simply turn our back on it. I would also ask you to consider the fact that the climbing community is allowed to take part in activities that in any other venue would never be permitted in a park. Un-managed trails leading to cliffs, affixing bolts to rocks after taking a power drill to them, impacting cliff bases to the point that vegetation has been beaten away. All these things would bring out the closure signs and possibly summons' for "unlawful improvements" if it wasn't happening under the auspices of climbing. Just please consider this before feeling like I or anyone else in Open Space is coming down hard on climbers. Also, what Slim stated was a good part of what I imparted to Brian in our conversation. Reduce the impact by lowering the visibility, and let's go from there. I think this can be worked out, but it'll be done in face to face, and verbal dialogue, not here in the forums. Aug 31, 2011
Perception will govern over reality about 9 times out of 10, unfortunately. I agree with the above posters about trying to clean the draws up some. I think you would be 90% of the way there just by changing the runners out to more neutral colors.


As a local, I really appreciate the dialogue and efforts by Mike and Brian. Clear Creek is our backyard, and we should try and make it as pretty as we possibly can ;) Thanks again. Sep 1, 2011
I for one feel much better now that the fixed draws look at least some better!! I've done plenty off bolting in CCC, and I know that everyone has an opinion when it comes to newly installed routes but the fixed draws that were there did look.... let's just say... noticeable.... so with that I'm glad the fixed draws were toned back to a minimum impact so the maximum effort put towards the routes can now be the focus!!! Thxs for the sick, hard, new lines and for lessening the visual impact of this area!!!! Oct 22, 2011
Adam Peters
Salt Lake City, Utah
Adam Peters   Salt Lake City, Utah
What's the very far right problem that moves from good jugs at the start to some smaller holds and then goes back to larger holds before topping out on the slab? Mar 16, 2013
Does someone have an updated photo of the routes?
The only photo (which is a good photo) is from 2001 and is difficult to understand just from the route descriptions how the routes go.
Photos on the routes with how each route goes would be nice. Oct 14, 2014
Boulder, CO
Train4life   Boulder, CO
On Public Enemy/Kinky Reggae, one of the hangers and permadraws DID, in fact, come out of the wall. One of my buddies is working on putting it back in and getting this route back to safe and operational! Oct 2, 2015
Is the New River Wall part of the new 2016 eagle closures in CC? Feb 15, 2016
Kevin Capps
Golden, CO
Kevin Capps   Golden, CO
No, it's not part of the closure. You are free to climb there. Highlander, Evil, and Tetanus Gardens are closed now for the Tunnel 2 closure. Feb 15, 2016
Isaacbg Gorrell
Golden, CO
Isaacbg Gorrell   Golden, CO
Kevin, based on the photo, it looks like the whole area is closed from Feb. 1 to July 31. Do you have a reliable source saying otherwise? I will post a photo of the closure sign. Feb 20, 2016
Kevin Capps
Golden, CO
Kevin Capps   Golden, CO
evan h
Denver, CO
evan h   Denver, CO
So many link-ups and so few topo photos.... Apr 10, 2017
Does anyone have any information on the line going directly out the roof above Public Enemy’s anchor? I am looking to try it and maybe go for a FA, but I have no idea if it has already been done and what grade it goes at if so. I’m talking about what grade it goes at after doing Public, because it could be far easier if harder depending on what route you start into it. I’m not even completely sure it’s a finished climb, but I would like to finish it if it’s not already been done. May 19, 2018