Elevation: 6,900 ft
GPS: 40.004, -105.406 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 104,631 total · 639/month
Shared By: Orphaned on Nov 11, 2005
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
Access Issue: Seasonal Closure / Update Details


Tonnere Tower is the modest-sized crag across Boulder Creek and slightly upstream from the Boulder Falls parking area. It rises more than 450 feet from the creek to the summit, making it one of the tallest crags in Boulder Canyon. The summit area provides great views of Lower Dream Canyon and Boulder Falls.

Visited by climbers many years ago, the crag has long been neglected, and gets only a brief mention in Richard Rossiter's Boulder Canyon guidebook. The only documented route is an old line on the northwest ridge which is seldom climbed today.

In May-July 2007, several new sport routes were established on the east face. With six 2-pitch sport routes in the 5.10 and 5.11 range, and a 3-pitch 5.10 sport route, Tonnere Tower has become a favorite spot in Boulder Canyon for multi-pitch sport climbing. The east face of Tonnere (Sport Land) is a great place to climb on hot summer afternoons and evenings, going into the shade by 2pm.

In July-October 2007, many new mixed routes were established on the north face; one four-pitch route (Los Pinos) climbs from the creek to the summit. The north-face routes are in the shade for most of the day.

The best climbing months are May through October. By November, most of the routes are in the shade all day, and are enjoyable only if the weather is unseasonably warm.

All of the new routes have 2-bolt anchors, and can be climbed and rappelled with a single 60m rope. Most routes have double-ring anchors which provide multiple clip-in points. Several routes have lowering hooks at the anchors for convenient lowering without having to untie to thread the rope. Routes that go to the summit use tree anchors for the top pitches.

With many good multi-pitch sport, trad, and mixed routes (35 routes and 56 pitches of climbing) and very easy access, Tonnere Tower is now a crag often visited by climbers, instead of the forgotten crag that it once was.

Tonnere Tower has several different climbing areas; Eds. the beta photo has been deleted by its submitter. From left to right:

Sport Land, on the east face, features multi-pitch sport climbs. There are also two pure trad routes in this area. Featured routes: Sidekick, Stayin' Alive, Toe The Line, Tag Team, and Total Eclipse. Eds. the beta photo has been deleted by its submitter.

Treasure Wall, on the left side of the north face, has single- and multi-pitch sport climbs, a trad climb, and several multi-pitch mixed routes. Featured routes: Buried Treasure, The Twilight Kid, and Fields of Gold. Eds. the beta photos have been deleted by their submitter.

The Garden, in the center of the north face, has several single- and multi-pitch mixed routes and one sport route. Featured routes: Before The Deluge, Crackdown, Showtime, and The B Boys. Eds. the beta photo has been deleted by its submitter.

Creekside, on the north face down by the creek, has single- and multi-pitch mixed routes. Featured routes: Local Hero and Spirit on the Water. Eds. the beta photo has been deleted by its submitter.

Northwest Face, on the right side of the north face, has one old multi-pitch trad route, Northwest Ridge.

Getting There

Park at the upstream end of the Boulder Falls parking area, about 8.0 miles up the canyon, or just beyond by Boulder Slips.

A tyrolean traverse can be used to cross the creek when the water is too high to hop rocks or wade. It is located about 60 yards upstream from the Boulder Falls parking area, opposite the trailhead to Boulder Falls. The far end of the tyrolean is right by the path heading up to Sport Land, Treasure Wall, and The Garden.

If the water level is low enough, you can wade across the creek just downstream from the tyrolean. If you want to hop rocks, there are several spots a bit upstream from the tyrolean to check out.

Wading or hopping rocks can be done from late July until mid-May. The tyrolean is the best way across the creek from mid-May until late July.

See the individual sub-areas for detailed approach information.

36 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Tonnere Tower

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Dutch Treat
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Trad 2 pitches
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Buried Treasure
Sport 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Spirit on the Water
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Total Eclipse
Sport 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Stayin' Alive
Sport 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Fields of Gold
Trad, Sport 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Local Hero
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Toe The Line
Sport 2 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
The Twilight Kid
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
The B Boys
Trad, Sport 3 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Sport 2 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Generous Donation
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Smooth Operator
Trad, Sport 3 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Dutch Treat Garden
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Showtime Garden
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Buried Treasure Treasure Wall
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Sport 2 pitches
Spirit on the Water Creekside
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Total Eclipse Sport Land
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Stayin' Alive Sport Land
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Fields of Gold Treasure Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Sport 3 pitches
Local Hero Creekside
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Toe The Line Sport Land
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport 2 pitches
The Twilight Kid Treasure Wall
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
The B Boys Garden
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, Sport 3 pitches
Sidekick Sport Land
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport 2 pitches
Generous Donation Sport Land
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Smooth Operator Garden
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad, Sport 3 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Tonnere Tower »

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Had a wonderful time with friends here today. Great climbing on great rock with excellent protection. I want to thank the folks that put these routes in. Jun 14, 2007
For what it is worth, I think the climbing is pretty darn good for Boulder Canyon. A tremendous amount of effort has been put into cleaning, flossing and in general creating a cliff which is very user-friendly with routes which are fun and interesting. In a way it is even more aesthetic than before. Sure the pitches are short and the bolts on an average of 6 feet apart but if some are skipped then the run-outs become more worthy of conversation. Yep, there are lots of bolts next to cracks but once the bolts are skipped and the cracks plugged up with TCUs or stoppers, leading becomes more like it always should be: thoughtful and well, MORE thoughtful. Trad climbing is possible because the cracks are clean. And that pleases me.

My point here is that this is a cliff where trads and "sport-to's" can climb, come together and have a good time. In a way it is a communal crag. It isn't difficult to place passive gear, you just have to be strong enough, to have enough "spunk" to overlook and disregard the bolts.... This is an engineered cliff where the creator (Ron?) has put in a lot of effort to clean and create an otherwise unclimbed cliff into what will be and is already a very popular destination. I enjoyed my day of climbing here and I will return. I'll tell all my friends about it. They'll come with their girlfriends and TRAINED, domesticated animals. I hope they will clean up their poop.
It's good fun. which is what most climbers want anyway and the direction climbing here is going. Fun and a challenge. Maybe not life-changing but who knows? It's a chance to create something positive.

This crag development didn't happen in Yosemite, Eldorado or RMNP.
No classic routes were discriminated against, and no one was hurt.
Maybe there was the potential for radical life-changing routes but no one had put in the effort to find out. AND the potential still exists..........

It isn't a bad thing. It seems like the natural evolution of crag development in this area. Why it could even become a positive step for relationships between climbers and land managers.

That's it. The climbing is fun but for sure bring a trad rack because you can do that too. Bring a pulley for the tyrolean across the stream but you can also walk across the water. It isn't deep. Ignore the cheering crowds of tourists as you pull the 10d (or is it 10b?) crux over the roof because as much as the tourists annoy you, you also enjoy their adulation. It's climbing in Boulder Canyon. It's supposed to be fun! And it really is.
And it's for everyone.

Jack Jul 21, 2007
The issue is not the cleaning, I think Paul Heyliger's comments sum it up very well and put this issue to bed. The issue here in my opinion is the bolting of cracks and over bolting. I climbed here yesterday and the climbing is awesome. However, bolting cracks and over bolting are bad practices. When you have a bolt at your feet, a bolt at your waist and are in arms reach of the next bolt something is not right. To the individuals putting up routes here - PLEASE stop spraying bolts on gear protectable lines. Let's avoid another Sport Park here. Many of the lines need the bolts (less of them), but many do not need any at all. Say no to Sport Park ethics! All this aside, thanks to Ron and others for their efforts here, the climbing is very good. Jul 25, 2007
Friends and I went by this area again today and did a few climbs. I don't know which ones we did 'cause we didn't have the guide. It seems like people are helping clean up some the area at the bottom of the routes which is a good thing. Nothing seemed amiss when viewed from across the creek.
Again, the routes we did were very enjoyable. Clean with good rock. Regarding the number of bolts that protect the routes, yep there are a lot of them but no more than at Security Risk, Animal World, Black Widow and many other crags in this canyon. As far as I can tell this has been the Bldr Cyn norm now for over ten years. The difference is that the cracks here have also been cleaned so you have that option; to protect with gear or with bolts. Ya don't have to clip every bolt. We didn't. Have fun. Jul 31, 2007
Tim Snipes
Boulder, CO
Tim Snipes   Boulder, CO
Ron, A friend took me to Tonnere Tower the other day and we climbed many of your routes. I thoroughly enjoyed my day there. I think the condition of the area, to include the trails and the routes, are well done. I was involved in much "gardening" back East in the late '70s and early '80s. These routes today see many, many climbers repeating what are now classics. Aug 22, 2007
Dan Brockway
Dan Brockway   Boulder
Wow, have been to Tonnere Tower and climbed most of the routes there and am surprised about the controversy above. Are there signs of impacts from the climbing? Yes, but the area (especially the base) looks to me pretty much like any other area.

Is it overcleaned and excavated? Gosh, maybe, I did see signs of cleaning. But for all you that must have adventure, be assured there is still loose rock up there. We easily pulled a bowling-ball-sized, loose rock off (and were able to stuff it in an alcove where it is safe) just last week. So, as always, be careful.

All in all a nice area. If I had a criticism I would say that some of the routes could have been put in as mixed gear and bolt routes. But that's just me, I happen to like that kind of thing. I did the top pitch of "Staying Alive" yesterday and took some gear and skipped some of the bolts. That is no statement on ethics or anything I just wanted to do it as a mixed route and got exactly what I wanted. I know I did not have the commitment factor cause I could always clip the bolts - so what. If I had wanted to scare myself I would have done something dangerous.

I would like to say thanks to Ron and others for the work on the area. Sep 3, 2007
Why aren't more trad lines going up? There is plenty of new rock to be climbed in Boulder Canyon but it seems that most of the new routes are sport. Is it because the majority of climbers that are getting into rock climbing these days are sport climbers and sport climbers are mainly only interested in the physical aspect of climbing, not in the mental stress that comes with placing gear? Trad climbers seem pretty complacent when it comes to first ascents in BC. I've recently done a couple of new trad routes on Eagle Rock that are pretty good, but I don't know about many other FAs in Boulder Canyon that were put up in trad style. Where have all the trad first ascentists gone?

Maybe some of the people who complain about too many sport routes going up should develop their own crag in Boulder Canyon. I'd vote for that! Sep 12, 2007
I think that the main reason that people aren't putting up trad lines in Boulder Canyon is that there really aren't a lot of impressive lines. The rock is very ledgy and inconsistent, and rarely is there a long section of impressive rock that gets the imagination flowing. However, I think that this does provide an opportunity for moderate climbers to do so, but it seems that moderate climbers aren't as interested in putting up gear lines.

That's just my $.02. Sep 12, 2007
I was trolling up and down Boulder Canyon today looking at rock which has yet to be developed or probably even climbed, and it reminded me that in order to put up new trad routes around here one would have to be willing to put in a lot of work. Much of the remaining rock is dirty, the cracks may not be that great for protection, bushwacking of course to the base of the climb and maybe not climbing really hard grades. Of course, most of us put up first ascents in the first place mainly for adventure and the thrill of going into the unknown but perhaps the majority of today's climber's prefer perfect rock, swooping flawless rock architecture and known difficulty. That those are the most important qualities to most climbers around here. Maybe going to all the trouble to do trad FAs is just, well, too much work. I don't know, I'm just guessing. There is a reason that Trad climbing is also refered to as "Adventure Climbing". You just never know what you're going to run into and the addictive quality is getting into trouble and how you get back out of same trouble.
Of course Ron is attempting to develop a crag with something for everyone. Even Tony. And obviously, it's going to impossible to keep some climbers from claiming silly FAs or to keep others from complaining about this bolt being too close and that rating being wrong.
I think there is still time for would-be trad first ascent leaders to grab their FA on this cliff if they are so inclined. But if you aren't involved in putting up the routes or helping in some positive way then stop criticizing those who are. Now is the time to help out with this cliff's development. Sep 12, 2007
Though I told them in person, I wanted to publicly thank Ron and Bob for their work at Tonnere. Great lines -- many beginner-friendly -- and the luxury of hooks (instead of rings) at certain anchor points. Thanks for the time, effort, and imagination that went into making Tonnere a great spot.

- Dan Sep 19, 2007
Richard Radcliffe
Louisville, CO
Richard Radcliffe   Louisville, CO
Yes, there are many bomber gear placements on some of the Tonnere Tower climbs and perhaps bolts should not have been placed at those spots. But I wonder how many of the critics would have ever given that crag more than a passing glance prior to its development...? Sep 23, 2007
The gardening criticism reveals naivete; apparently they have never had the pleasure of going up an uncleaned route, breaking off a hold, falling and bombing their belayer. And those complaining about bolt density should reflect on the alternative. It was only after viewing route specific comments that I found acknowledgment of the effort to develop this area. Thank you for making it safe and stabilizing the approach trail.

Beware of the boulder just upstream of the tree on the road side of the tyrolean. Any more than one person standing on the stream side edge will tumble it (August 2008). Aug 22, 2008
I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Ron Olsen, Bruno Hache, Bob D'Antonio, Ken Cangi and others who contributed their considerable time, effort, expense and expertise to create the climbing routes that are now to be found on Tonnere Tower. Please keep up your excellent work. I climbed at this area for the first time today and had a truly outstanding day of climbing. I will be back for more. Sep 20, 2008
Boulder, CO
tooTALLtim   Boulder, CO
This place really puts the "bolt" in "Bolter Canyon". Pretty sad stuff when bolts are 6" from perfect cracks. But I didn't garden and develop the place, so I guess you get to bolt the hell out it if you get there first, right? Sep 16, 2009
Where did all the information for this crag go? I have a print out from September with pictures and all, what happened? Dec 12, 2009
Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
Peter Beal   Boulder Colorado
As a contributor to the Boulder Canyon guidebook, I would like to say that the wholesale removal of route contributions to MP was a really bad idea. I would like to see MP figure out a way for this not to happen again. If you submit a route to the site, it should stay there unless there is a really compelling reason to remove it. Dec 13, 2009
Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
Peter Beal   Boulder Colorado
I think this should head to the forum pretty soon so I'll add one more word here. The routes were not deleted but descriptions replaced with a reference to the guidebook, thus seeming to say, "buy the book," and acting as a sort of paywall. The book is clearly superior in the field, compared to printed-out MP descriptions but the MP descriptions are much more lengthy, detailed and often more useful than any guidebook would allow. The guidebook would have to be literally three times as thick and much more expensive. The two can coexist side by side. Dec 13, 2009
Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
Peter Beal   Boulder Colorado
I posted a forum topic here:
mountainproject.com/v/color… Dec 13, 2009
Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
Peter Beal   Boulder Colorado
I should add that Bob D'Antonio had nothing to do with this decision. I respect Ron's right to remove the descriptions, but the practical effect of the removal is substantial enough to question whether it's the best thing to do. Dec 13, 2009
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
Why can't we get at least one picture of the general overview of all of the routes on this crag? It's really annoying trying to figure out where to start when the only hint is "Climb A is left of climb B." I then followed the trail to climb "F" or so and discovered "Climb F is left of the pine tree." May 3, 2010
G. O.  
So is there now a now a no beta photo policy here, or would someone else be allowed to put some up providing they took them and annotated them themselves, rather than simply reposted the old ones? Jul 3, 2010
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
You can totally put up your own. I would have if I've ever been. Jul 3, 2010
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
FWIW, there is no "no beta photo" policy. In brief, the individual (a former admin), who had posted the previous beta photos, removed them. Beta photos are welcome. Jul 5, 2010
Anthony O.
Boulder, CO
Anthony O.   Boulder, CO
There is now a sign warning climbers about them on the tree for the tyro. No problems today with them. A bit windy though. Sep 11, 2010
Muncie, IN
SteveBSU   Muncie, IN
Does anyone know how the weather would be here to climb during the first week of March? Jan 17, 2012
Hey Steve,
Tonnere faces north (northwestish) so could still be cold in March, but then again we do get warm days then. March can be very snowy in CO, though, so if it dumps, it will stick to the rock and tend to stay there for a while. Hope this helps...March is usually in the 50s and 60s in town, so 10 degrees less (and then factor in wind chill, possibly) in the canyon. Jan 19, 2012
Probably pretty chilly, and crossing the creek might be tricky, particularly if there is much snow. That time of year you will probably want something more sunny. Jan 20, 2012
Chris Zeller
Boulder, CO
Chris Zeller   Boulder, CO
All the anchors here are top quality. Really makes climbing much more fun when you can rap off two new Fixe bolts and rings that inspire confidence and safety. May 3, 2012
Top Rope Hero
Was Estes Park, now homeless
Top Rope Hero   Was Estes Park, now homeless
Kinda fun (in that sad, big sigh kinda way) reading all the Roberts comments here, like he's still all here, in real time and everything.

R.I.P. Jack. Jun 10, 2012
Jay Eggleston
Jay Eggleston   Denver
The tyrolean now has a new rope fixed across it. Aug 4, 2013
Anyone find a beat up Boulder Canyon guidebook here? Sep 2, 2015
Replaced the core-shot tyrol with new static lines and webbing this evening. Really appreciate Jon Cheifitz helping me out!

Huge thanks to Rock and Resole for donating a 600' spool of static line to the effort. Please tell them thanks next time you stop in, and thanks to everyone that donated last year to help with other costs (webbing, hardware, etc)! May 10, 2018