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Routes in The Dark Side

27 Tons S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Acetylcholine S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Animatronic S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Asym S 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Audition, The S 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Beginner's Outing S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Black 'N Dicey S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Black Awareness S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Black Dihedral T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Blank Frank S 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Bonnie S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Call From Overseas S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Clyde S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Corner Pockets S 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Counter Balance S 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Crack Happens S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Crack's On Top, The S 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Crown of Thorns aka Box Lunch aka Lou Raven's Rest S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Dark Side Roofs S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Eagle has Landed, The S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Eat, Drink, and Beat Larry S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Edge Of Fright S 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
El Guapo S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Enchanted Porkfist S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Face The Music S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Fat Like Butta S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Fight or Flight S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Fragile S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Go East, Old Man S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
I Scare Myself T,S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R
Kashmere S 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
Kinesthesia S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Levels of the Game S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Line of Strength S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b R
Lumina S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Man in Black S 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Mannequin S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Missing Hangers aka Hangers Regained S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Muted by Reality S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Plum, The S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Porkus Procurement S 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Puddle Of Holes S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Punjabi S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Red Devil S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Redlined S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Rip It S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Route Fluffer S 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Shelf Road Virgin S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Stink Finger S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Stuck in the Middle With You S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Suspender Man S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Swinging Richards S 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Teenage Wristband S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Thank Heaven for Little Girls S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Trolling For Holds S 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Two Hearts S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
U Pump It S 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Unknown S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Unknown But Worth Doing S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Viaggro S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Void Lloyd S 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Warm Busch Beer T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Way We Were, The T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Welcoming, The S 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Whisper To A Scream S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Elevation: 6,800 ft
GPS: 38.628, -105.224 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 30,837 total, 156/month
Shared By: Richard M. Wright on Sep 28, 2001 with updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

Description

The name says it all. Dark rock, in the shade, and a good choice for pulling limestone pockets on a hot day. This excellent crag offers a somewhat unique experience from other crags in the main Shelf area. This is one of the "old school" crags at Shelf, with bolting & grading more in line with the original lines at The Bank, Sand Gulch & The Gallery. If you're used to Cactus Cliff style bolting, be prepared for spaced-out bolts, and be prepared to supplement some routes with gear.

As for the climbing, many of the walls are relatively slabby, with fluted black rock that can be uncommonly sharp in places. There are numerous longer lines, but generally the routes here are shorter than those at Cactus or The Gym. Overall the route quality is excellent, despite the mysterious sparsity of stars in the latest guidebook from Sharp End.

Finally, despite the name, in the height of summer, when shade is at a premium, this crag bakes in the sun 'till mid-day. Thankfully the crags sickle-shape provides shade for the East end of the crag a bit earlier (~10am). There are a number of dihedrals that provide earlier shade for routes such as Punjabi, and the routes around Suspender Man.

Getting There

There are two ways to approach the Dark Side, depending on the routes you're headed for. Park at the newly expanded parking lot just past The Bank campground for both approaches.

For routes on the West end of the cliff, hike down from the parking area toward the Bank. Shortly after the road drops down a bit you can pick up a trail to the right. This trail will take you to the 2150 Wall, Cactus, etc, or to The Dark Side by staying hard right ~15 feet after leaving the road. Head East just below the cliff band, where you will encounter various scrambling sections not suitable for young kids.

For routes on the East end of the cliff, hike ~100 yds back down the road, towards Canon City, to a turnoff on the left (N) side of the road that leads to the Group Camp site. Walk towards the Group site, which is surrounded by a ridiculous fence. Once you reach the fence pick up a faint trail that heads East along the fence line. Follow this for ~30 yds to the cliff band atop the bank. Locate a fixed rope or two, and down climb the 3rd class chimney to the base of the cliff. There are ~5 routes located East of this downclimb, but the rest of the routes are to the West. The first route encountered to the West of the downclimb is "Slap Me".

65 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Dark Side

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Lumina
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Fight or Flight
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Black 'N Dicey
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
27 Tons
Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Teenage Wristband
Sport
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Porkus Procurement
Sport
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Corner Pockets
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Enchanted Porkfist
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Crown of Thorns aka Box Lunch aka Lo…
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Muted by Reality
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Two Hearts
Sport
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
The Welcoming
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Suspender Man
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Blank Frank
Sport
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
The Audition
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Lumina 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Fight or Flight 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Black 'N Dicey 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
27 Tons 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Teenage Wristband 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Porkus Procurement 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Corner Pockets 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Enchanted Porkfist 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Crown of Thorns aka Box Lu… 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Muted by Reality 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Two Hearts 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
The Welcoming 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a Sport
Suspender Man 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Blank Frank 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
The Audition 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
@JenH-
I climbed these newer routes today. IMO, for what it's worth...
L to R
9+ : Fight or Flight.
10c/d : Cheese Cracker Stacker.
11a/b : Not Yo Daddy's Roof Pull (but the roof pull right before the anchors is easily a 12 move).

Disclaimer: I made up the name's of the last two routes myself, since I haven't found ANY documentation on them. Aug 30, 2015
JenH
Colorado Springs, CO
JenH   Colorado Springs, CO
There are 3 bolted routes between Bonnie and Fight or Flight. I'm curious of the grades of the routes. Mar 15, 2015
b hof
Pueblo West, CO
b hof   Pueblo West, CO
Directly below site 7 there is a small pinyon with webbing to make a clean rappel to Corner Pockets. Jun 12, 2012
Interesting route, worth doing. Crux on arete and at chains. Probably 11c or 11b/c. Oct 13, 2005

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