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The Watermark

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

Description

The Watermark is a small west-facing crag just above the creek, between Avalon and Vampire Rock. It is a cool spot to climb on a hot summer day. Moderate sport routes with slabs and a few roofs characterize the climbing here.

Many of these routes are around 5.8 and are good for first outside leads. Bring a 60m rope, because two routes in the middle of the crag need it (Memory of Trees and Road to Isengard).

The routes L->R:

A. Dark Tower, 6, 1p, trad. Arete.
B1. Twin Cracks Left, 9-, 1p, 85', bolts & gear.
B2. Twin Peaks, 10-, 1p, 90', bolts.
B3. Twin Cracks Right, 9-, 1p, 90', bolts & gear.
C. Glennevere, 8, 1p, 65', bolts. Slab, overhang, & headwall.
D. The Memory of Trees, 9, 1p, 100', bolts. Slab to overhangs.
E. Road to Isengard, 7, 1p, 100', bolts.
F. Minas Tireth, 10-, 1p, 60', bolts. Slab to overhang.
G. Second Breakfast, 5 PG-13, 1p, 85', gear.
H. Lothlorien, 8, 1p, 80', bolts. Center of slab.

Getting There

On the left side of the road, across the creek, about 100' above the creek. As you are going up Boulder Canyon it is between Avalon and Vampire Rock.

Park at the small pullout for Avalon at 8.2 miles on the right, or continue up to the larger pullout for the Boulderado and Animal World at 8.4 miles on the left. If you park at the Avalon pullout, cross the road and walk 45 yards upstream to the Avalon Tyrolean. If you park at the upper pullout, you'll have to walk downstream about 300 yards to reach the crag.

There are several ways to cross the creek to reach the crag:

1. Cross the creek using the Avalon Tyrolean, then head upstream (right) across the talus to a climber's path which leads to the crag.

2. If the water level is low enough, cross the creek using a handline which may be present a little ways upstream from the crag.

3. If the water level is really low, cross the creek at a convenient spot below the crag and find a climber's path up the hill to the crag.

Trails

Please stay on trails when wandering about at this crag. The popularity of this crag has led to erosion of unforseen magnitude. There is now a trail going eastward above the cliff to connect with Avalon at the Second Tier level. Hard work on the part of concerned climbers has helped mitigate this erosion. Thanks!

Routes from Left to Right

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The Watermark; photo taken from Animal World.
[Hide Photo] The Watermark; photo taken from Animal World.
Closeup of routes on the left side of The Watermark, showing bolt locations.
[Hide Photo] Closeup of routes on the left side of The Watermark, showing bolt locations.
Routes on the left side of The Watermark.
[Hide Photo] Routes on the left side of The Watermark.
The Avalon Tyrolean.
[Hide Photo] The Avalon Tyrolean.
Rachel leading The Memory of Trees -- gutsy young woman learning to lead--by leading -- 7/28/12
[Hide Photo] Rachel leading The Memory of Trees -- gutsy young woman learning to lead--by leading -- 7/28/12
Richard working on the chain gang, rebuilding the High Trail to Watermark.
[Hide Photo] Richard working on the chain gang, rebuilding the High Trail to Watermark.
Pebby getting an arm workout on the High Trail from Avalon to Watermark. We were going to go crack climbing at Avalon, but the weather had other plans for us.
[Hide Photo] Pebby getting an arm workout on the High Trail from Avalon to Watermark. We were going to go crack climbing at Avalon, but the weather had other plans for us.
The Watermark at dusk. Taken from across the creek, near the road.
[Hide Photo] The Watermark at dusk. Taken from across the creek, near the road.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Doug Redosh
Golden, CO
[Hide Comment] There are now 5 bolted lines. From the right, they go at 5.7 (though listed at 5.8 in Rossiter), 5.8 (dirty at the bottom, better up top), 5.9- (listed as 5.9), then around the corner on the face to the left, a 5.9+, then a 10b(?) or so. All bolts are new, with hangers. The water level today (May, 2002) was low enough you can cross without the Tyrolean. May 19, 2002
[Hide Comment] This is easy to find, but the description above could be a bit clearer. Cross the tyrolean as described above (or wade just downstream) to a talus slope. Follow talus up and right, and catch a trail on the right and just below a chossy buttress. The trail contours around to the Watermark.

Note that right above the talus is a cliff with a single bolt route - this is not the Watermark. Jun 3, 2002
[Hide Comment] A little more beta on the approach...

Rossiter suggests parking just past Practice Rock. If you do this, the walk is shorter to the 'lower' tyrolian, but you have to cross the road. Drive just over 1/10th of a mile past Practice Rock, park on the right at a small pullout. Cross the road, cross the barrier, and locate the tyrolian. It deposits you onto a large talus slope.

Turn right after getting off the rope, walk about 20 meters staying 25 feet or so above the water. Enter the trees at a faint path just above the water and walk another 25-30 meters before turning uphill to arrive at the Watermark. The arete that is Memory of Trees is fairly obvious.

If you park at Animal World/Boulderado, walk creekside for a ways (5-10 minutes) downhill, until you get to the second, or lower, tyrolian. Longer walk, but probably safer. Jun 6, 2002
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] There is a hand line across the creek just upstream of the Watermark. On 7/12/04, we were able to wade the creek 30' downstream from the hand line. A climber's path leads up to the rock from this point.

The Watermark is a nice, shady spot for late afternoon climbing on hot summer days. Jul 13, 2004
[Hide Comment] There are two ways to go from Avalon to Watermark: The Low trail and The High Trail. The Low Trail is only useful to reach Watermark from the Tyrolean traverse for Avalon or from the bottom of the First Tier. This trail goes upstream (south) beneath a cliffband that eventually merges with Watermark and arrives at a platform beneath Twin Peaks and Glennevere.

The High Trail is beautiful and was recently rebuilt. It provides easy access to Watermark from the Second Tier of Avalon. Depending on which way you are going, it starts just above the junction on the approach to Avalon where you can go left to the Tarot Wall or straight up to the Free Fall area and Wall of the Dead. Go right just above a big Douglas fir (well below Goat Rock) and follow a beautiful trail that leads south to the top of Watermark. From the top of Watermark continue south, then down to the west and arrive at the bottom of Lothlorien. Aug 14, 2006
aaron voreis
Edina, MN
[Hide Comment] LOST CLIMBING SHOE!

One small Sportiva Mythos W's. Lost 8/08. Call Robin @ 970.596.3191. Thanks Aug 16, 2008
Armin climber
Westminster, CO
[Hide Comment] To R.R. and J.J.: thanks for your hard work in this area! Sep 11, 2008
Eckhard
Denver, CO
[Hide Comment] Great, shady summer climbing! However, maybe it's my height, maybe the climbs are a bit soft for they're rating, or maybe it's that the lines are a bit contrived, but of the ones I've climbed Twin Peaks seemed to be the only one that felt like its grade. Dec 29, 2008
Ben Weisman
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I found a red Nalgene at the base of Twin Peaks yesterday (4/23). Looked like it had been dropped from the belay spot for Twin Peaks, but it could have rolled there from anywhere. Come pick it up in Boulder if it's yours. Apr 24, 2012
Gary Johnston
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] There is a large, recently fallen dead tree across the creek that makes for a fairly easy crossing. It's directly across from Watermark, below the hand line and above the Avalon tyrolean. It's been nicely trimmed with handhold length branches (thank you, whoever did this!). Use at your own risk, especially in high water season when a swim would be very dangerous! May 24, 2016
[Hide Comment] Yesterday, 9/17/18, I got my purple 0.5 WC friend stuck in the undercling just right of the bolt for Twin Cracks routes. Just wanted to provide an accurate timeline. Sep 18, 2018