Adventure Projects is hiring a web engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Shirt Tail Peak

Can't Find My Way Home T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Cro-Magnon aka The Tail T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Destruction T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
Double Life T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Emperor's New Shoes, The T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Future Primitive T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Gambit T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Ginseng Junkie T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Giuoco Piano Direct T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
King Of Pain T,S,TR 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R
Missing Link T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Moriarty's Mistake T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Moriarty's Revenge T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Mountaineer's Route T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Mrs. Clean Gets Down T,S,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Serrated Jam Crack T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sorenson Crack T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Throne, The T,S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Tiger Balm Arete T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R
Windlass or 'The Tail' T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Order Wrong? Sort Routes
Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details
Access Issue: 2017 Raptor Closure Lifted Details


Viewed from the southwest, the picturesque summit of Shirt Tail Peak rises over Eldo Canyon as the culmination of the Redgarden wall. Its flat summit commands 360 degree views of the plains to the East, the divide to the west and Eldorado Canyon State Park to the south. The peak's image cuts the skyline with sharp, serrated aretes falling steeply away on its south and west sides. The mountain has a high mountain feel to it, as if it should be 20 miles west on the Divide instead of rising above the plains.

Shirt Tail Peak's rock is variable with classic Eldo sandstone interspersed with loose rock. Take caution as the ledges contain a lot of loose rock.

To descend from the summit:

Option A - Scramble down and to the North 50 meters to a pine tree, which sits down below the ridge crest on the west. To get to the pine tree you will need to do an exposed downclimb that is mainly intimidating because of the threat of loose rocks. The dicey rappel off this tree may be compounded in that a retrieved rope may become stuck in cracks below the tree. Be careful when pulling the rope. Two more rappels are required, the last with a 60m rope will JUST make the shelf where you can scramble off to the gully between Shirt Tail and Rincon.

Option A1- Continue past the first rappel tree for another 100' or so. The slings on the alternate rappel tree are easy to spot, on a 10'-wide ledge about 10' down from the top of the ridge. The downclimb to the tree is a bit easier, too. The first rappel (85') drops you on a narrow dirt-covered shelf, where you pull the rope, and then walk climber's right about 15' and down 10' to the second rappel tree. Or you can rappel 100' to the anchor. The second rappel (95') leaves you on a big ledge. From here, scramble uphill a bit, then down to the main gully. A loose but easy descent leads back to the packs. Or you can rappel 60' from the 2nd rappel point to a tree with a sling and rap link. Then, a 100' rap puts you on the ground. It takes about a half hour to do this descent. This is probably the best descent option.

Option B - further north scramble down loose class 4 into the gully between Rincon and Shirt Tail.

Option C - if you have the choice, for safety and ease, take all your belongings with you up Shirt Tail and hike further north, descending to the north of the Rincon wall.

Getting There

The easiest approach is to use the Rincon cut-off trail off the Eldorado Canyon Trail. Once the trail has passed the boulder field and reaches the Rincon wall, near the Center Route, angle to the right along the base of the Rincon wall and find a very primitive (loose) trail climbing the steep gully between Rincon and the North Buttress of the West Ridge. The trail is steep, loose and undefined, but the route is obvious - Shirt Tail Peak will tower above the gully to the east.

20 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Shirt Tail Peak Change
Type:  to 
Sort by:   then:

Classic Climbing Routes at Shirt Tail Peak

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sorenson Crack
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Trad 5 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ginseng Junkie
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Cro-Magnon aka The Tail
Trad 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Serrated Jam Crack
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Giuoco Piano Direct
Trad 2 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Missing Link
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R
Tiger Balm Arete
Trad 4 pitches
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
The Throne
Trad, Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Sorenson Crack
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 5 pitches
Ginseng Junkie
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Cro-Magnon aka The Tail
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 2 pitches
Serrated Jam Crack
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Giuoco Piano Direct
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R Trad 2 pitches
Missing Link
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Tiger Balm Arete
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R Trad 4 pitches
The Throne
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad, Sport
More Classic Climbs in Shirt Tail Peak »

Sun & Shade

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Kevin Currigan
Kevin Currigan   Lakewood
The rap described as option A above is quick, easy and safe providing nobody decides to descend after you. If someone does appear at the rap the same time as yourself, you might ask them to give you time to descend and clear the fall line or let them go first. You may not knock something off purposely, but pulling your rope could do it for you. Yesterday we were bombarded by four or five small rocks while packing up at the bottom of Gambit. It would have been dicey had we still been on rappel or at the bottom of the face under the rap route. Also, almost every rock in the approach gully sports an impact scar and many of the big ones are ready to roll. You can avoid much of the loose stuff by climbing the slabs which are on your left going up. Dec 15, 2002
Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
The trail leading up to Shirt Tail is as loose, unsettled, and in need of work, as any I've encountered in Eldo. Last month, a massive boulder let loose somewhere up high near Shirttail and travelled all the way down the gully over the lower West ridge connecting trail, where it struck a huge tree, dead center, and snapped it like a twig, continuing on down the hill... Earlier in the summer, while descending Shirttail, I slipped on loose rock, dislodged a small boulder, which painfully glanced off my shin. I realize there's loose rock most everywhere in Eldo, but just want to warn folks to tread lightly when travelling in this area as it seems potentially a bit more dangerous than others... Oct 10, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
With a 60m rope, you can do Option A with only 2 raps. On the first rap, just continue past the next tree and you can make it to a huge ledge, where you go off rappel and then scramble down a slab about 50' to the last tree.

There is a lot of loose rock lying around near this rap line. When pulling the ropes, be wary of rocks pulled off by your rope. Sep 18, 2006
Luis Barandiaran
Longmont, CO
Luis Barandiaran   Longmont, CO
Shirt Tail - 6/9/2007. Of the descent options, descent A1 seemed best, scrambling and shuffling around ledges to the north 50 ft. PAST the first rappel tree (this first tree requires the exposed downclimb and can easily be seen from the arete on ascent). TIE KNOTS ON YOUR ROPE ENDS!!! One rappel with a 60m deposits you at a small ledge. An easy 40' scramble down and south takes you to the final rappel. TIE KNOTS ON YOUR ROPE ENDS!!! (as always!). Rappel to the ends and do an easy 30' scramble to the ground.

The summit and descent, while loose like any Eldo ledge, was not as bad as some descriptions. That said, be very, very careful, and watch for parties below you. Like George says, watch out for pulling rocks onto yourself! Jun 13, 2007
Keith Roussil
Louisville, CO
Keith Roussil   Louisville, CO
Pics of the climb here:… Apr 30, 2008
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Shirt Tail peak was one of the earliest recorded features climbed in Eldorado Canyon. From the 5th Edition of High Over Boulder (Ament, McCarthy):

'In 1925, Charles Morris, poet/philosopher from Chicago, along with an unknown friend, is said to have climbed Shirt Tail Peak - high above Eldorado Canyon to the northwest. Morris reported that the ascent went "straight up the face" and that devices he called "pitons" were placed during the ascent. The name of the rock was derived when they posted a wooden stick at the top and tied a shirt to it.' Nov 20, 2008
Jon Cheifitz
Superior, Co
Jon Cheifitz   Superior, Co
Thanks to the Eldo Action folks. The gully up to Shirt Tail has had huge improvements over the past year and will hopefully continue again this summer. Near the top of the gully as approaching climbs such as Gambit two new ladders have been placed to help with safety and to ease the scramble across loose rock.

Thanks guys.
-Jon Mar 28, 2010
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
From Mike McHugh:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Eldorado Canyon State Park announces peak closure

ELDORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Parks & Wildlife announced yesterday that Eldorado Canyon State Park has closed Shirt Tail Peak to all uses, including rock climbing, through July 15 or until further notice, to protect nesting golden eagles.

Golden Eagles are protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under authority of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A conviction of nest disturbance can carry a fine up to $5,000 and 1 year imprisonment.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado's wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation. For more information go to Apr 4, 2014
Hiro Kurotsuchi
Hiro Kurotsuchi   Colorado
(copied from my comments for Gambit route)
Highly recommend, decent A1 too. I've done decent A, in the dark, rain, stuck rope and aliens attacking...ok, no rain or aliens, but we did the rest. Did A1 today, so so easy, and a 65m rope put us easily onto the dirt at the bottom. It's still a scramble to reach the tree, don't blow it, but not very far off the top.

A1 first tree currently has some fairly new looking 6-7mm cord, along with a collection of other webbing and multiple rings/quicklinks. A2 second tree has older webbing and also multiple rings.
Approach trail, really nice nice stairs toward the bottom of the gully. Otherwise, still horribly loose everywhere else. The ladder has seen better days, pretty dented and starting to wobble, works fine though. Jul 12, 2015
William Thiry
Las Vegas
William Thiry   Las Vegas
Did this peak several times recently and took the descent option 'A' each time. Other than being careful on the downclimb to the tree the rappelling is straightforward - never had an issue. The benefit of going this way is it drops you closer to your packs than the other options and shortens your time downclimbing the very loose and unappealing gully. Jul 13, 2015
The 2017 raptor closure has been lifted. Jul 16, 2017
Joe Trabucco
Boulder, co
Joe Trabucco   Boulder, co
Opened as of 7/16/17. Closure sign on approach trail has been removed. Jul 16, 2017

More About Shirt Tail Peak

What's New
Guidebooks (15)
Fixed Hardware Report (14)

All Photos Within Shirt Tail Peak (96)

Most Popular · Newest · Random