> Boulder Canyon
After climbing in Boulder for almost twenty years, it is great to be able to visit new crags just ten minutes away. Unlike some of the newly developed Boulder Canyon crags (one-visit-wonders like Bowling Alley or Cornerstone) I'm still psyched to return to Avalon after a handful of visits. Avalon is one of the many, mostly-bolted crags in the narrows of Boulder Canyon. The rock seems really nice, typical of the higher quality Boulder Canyon stuff, cleaner and more pleasant than the stuff on Vampire Rock, (maybe because of the sunnier aspect) and the crag, nestled in a steep west-facing gully, has less of the road noise/roadside-feel than many others. It is shady in the mornings, but expect some afternoon sun.
Avalon is home to many moderate (5.8 to 5.10) sport routes, and has become popular in recent years. It can get busy on summer weekends.
Most of the routes are fully bolted, but several require a few pieces of trad gear. Be sure to check the route description before you head up with just a rack of quickdraws. Bring a rack of nuts and cams to 2" if you're going to do any of the "mixed" routes; otherwise, 12 quickdraws are enough for the longest route. A few routes could use one or two longer runners to keep down rope drag. Bring a 60m rope; some of the routes require it to lower or rappel.
Richard Rossiter's website, Boulder Climbs
, has descriptions of most Avalon routes, as does Mark Rolofson's new guidebook "Boulder Canyon Sport & Adventure Climber's Guide Volume II: The Upper Canyon". Rossiter's current Boulder Canyon guidebook lists very few of the Avalon routes.
The routes on Avalon lie on three tiers. The First Tier
, closest to the creek, has a number of good routes: Mists of Avalon
(10a), Iron Maiden
(10b), and Marquis de Sade
(10d) are popular.
The Second Tier
is home to most of the routes on Avalon. It is a complex area, and is split into several sub-areas: Tarot Wall
(10c), The Tower
(10a), and Wheel of Fortune
(10a). The Three Dihedrals
area has the ever-popular Dominator
(10b). The Clipboard Area
has The Clipboard
(11b) and Stigmata
(10a). The Middle Wall
has Strange Science
(11c), Free Fall
(12a), and Incline Club
(8). The Wall of the Dead
has the fun Dead Can Dance
The Third Tier
is the most remote and is visited by few climbers. Many routes up here have some moss and lichen, since the rock faces more to the north than down below, and the routes have seen little traffic. Come here to get away from the crowds. Visit the Wall of the Goddess
for some trad crack-climbing practice. Climb on the remote Crack Land
or Wall of the Dragon
to experience "adventure sport climbing". Climb Ancient Light
(10a) to Ancient Fright
(10c) to Resurrection
(9) to visit the true summit of Avalon, a magical place! The Art Of War
(10c) is an excellent new sport route in Crack Land.
In 2006, Richard Rossiter and Pebby Johns aded a number of new crack climbs in Crack Land
; bring your trad rack and have some fun!
Please stay on trails when wandering about at this crag. The popularity of this crag has led to erosion of unforseen magnitude. Hard work on the part of concerned climbers has helped mitigate this. Thanks!