Elevation: 8,074 ft
GPS: 39.417, -105.469 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 1,995,174 total · 12,436/month
Shared By: John McNamee on Feb 16, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac


The South Platte, a vast granite playground to the south and west of Denver, is known for its incredible crack climbs, strung out slabs, and towering summits. It encompasses the entire area between Conifer, and Sedalia, and just about everything south to the Elevenmile Canyon west of Colorado Springs.

To climb successfully in the South Platte, it helps to be the adventurous type and like exploring. Many of these crags are well hidden until you stumble upon them! The rock quality can vary widely from bulletproof, fine grained granite to very coarse, friable rock which can feel like climbing on ball bearings at times.

Bring a well-rounded rack of cams, some routes eat up double or triples in some sizes, and don't forget to bring a few big pieces. Tape gloves are a good idea at a lot of these spots too, otherwise your hands will get trashed.

Some of the most popular areas with easy access and good quality rock can be found at:

Cathedral Spires Area
The Cathedral Spires group is a crack climber's paradise with also the "slab masters" crag, The Dome, as well. Approaches are usually 45 minutes to an hour.

Devil's Head
Here are lots of three star routes, both trad and sport. There has been lots of recent development in the higher end grades. The rock is of exceptional quality.

Elevenmile Canyon
Elevenmile Canyon has some of the best moderate grade multi-pitch climbs around, as well as recent sport route development. A popular destination for a couple of days of camping and climbing. Elevenmile Canyon is subject to a per day entrance fee.

Pine Area
This is home to the famous Sphinx Crack. Fortunately there is a heap of more moderate routes as well. Sphinx Rock and Squat Rock are currently closed.

Turkey Rocks
Got a trip to Yosemite coming up? Then hit the cracks at Turkey rocks. This is home to Colorado's best granite crack climbing.

West Creek
This includes Sheep's Nose and smaller crags.

Getting There

Please refer to the individual areas for detailed information on how to get there. Always bring a good map when traveling in the Platte!


The updated book "Climb" published by The Mountaineer's Books has one comprehensive chapter on the history of climbing in the south platte starting with Ellingworth's ascent of the Bishop in 1924 and covering historical first ascents of Sphinx Crack, The Prayer Book (Wunsch's) and Field of Dreams.

Recommended guidebooks:

South Platte, The Climbers Guide. (Peter Hubbel)
Comprehensive coverage of the South Platte.

South Platte Rock, (Ken Trout)
A selection of the best routes the South Platte has to offer.

Rock Climbing Colorado, (Stewart M. Green)
A state wide guide book that covers several of the more popular areas. A great book if you are visiting the state for a few weeks and want an overall reference.

Please see the Colorado book listings for further details.

2,170 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: South Platte Change
Type:  to 
Sort by:   then:

Classic Climbing Routes at South Platte

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Classic Dihedral
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Gobbler's Grunt
Trad 3 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Center Route
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Straw Turkey
Trad 3 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Is This For Real?
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Sport 2 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Quiver and Quill
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Reptile Tears
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Drumstick Direct
Trad 2 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Vanishing Point
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
The Opportunist
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Whimsical Dreams
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Wishbone Dihedral
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Wunsch's Dihedral
Trad 4 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Classic Dihedral Pine Area > Bucksnort Slab
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Gobbler's Grunt Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
Center Route Cathedral Spire… > Cynical Pinnacle
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Straw Turkey Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Reptile W Creek > Thunder Ridge > Brown Wall
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Is This For Real? W Creek > Thunder Ridge > For Real Canyon
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Topaz Devil's Head > Headstone
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport 2 pitches
Quiver and Quill Turkey Rocks > Turkey Tail
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Reptile Tears W Creek > Thunder Ridge > Brown Wall
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Drumstick Direct Turkey Rocks > Turkey Tail
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad 2 pitches
Vanishing Point Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
The Opportunist Staunton SP > … > Meadow Dome > Tan Corridor
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Whimsical Dreams Turkey Rocks > Turkey Tail
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Wishbone Dihedral Devil's Head > Chicken Head Ranch
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Wunsch's Dihedral Cathedral Spire… > Cynical Pinnacle
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad 4 pitches
More Classic Climbs in South Platte »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


Here is link from the Forest Circus that gives some fire closure information:fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/news/pik… best I can extract from it is that the Pike National Forest is open for recreational uses except for the area indicated on the map, which seems to cover just about all of the climbing in the SPlatte. Some of the southernmost areas may still be open, but I'd have to do some checking to be sure of that. Aug 30, 2002
Joe Keyser
Scottsdale, AZ
Joe Keyser   Scottsdale, AZ
We did Bishop Jaeggers on the Dome a couple weeks back, and my partner lead. It was all there, but, you wouldnt want to fall off some of those spicier runouts! Topographical Oceans looks nice as well. The bolts are older, and far enough apart to be concerning.One interesting thing was that the rock seems bigger than it looks as it is less than vertical, and keeps going... Staying on your toes seemed to be the key! Oct 15, 2002
The platte rocks are outstanding. Despite the hayman fire and the idiodic bolt wars. I have climbed there over ten years. I have read many of the comments as to the guide book, and I suggest that if you have a problem finding areas and lack the paitence to seek them out, I suggest you head up to Eldo or Clear creek canyon for roadside climbs. Enjoy your time in the platte. My opinion is you deffinately have to stop at the Bucksnort for brews and big talk afterwords. Jul 29, 2003
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
I just got off the phone with a Ranger from the South Platte District. Looks like no camping in the "nice" places at S.P. Most established campgrounds are still closed, save a few such as the Lone Rock and Platte River campgrounds. They're open, but likely to be busy on the weekends. They're pretty far from the fun rocks anyway, so who needs them??? She encouraged dispersed camping, which means anywhere you want. No fire restrictions, but watch out for rains. They COULD bring about floods due to the lack of vegitation right now. Camp high... Also, since Cathedral is closed until the end of July, Turkey seems to be the most viable option for climbing. To get there at this time, park at the intersection of 360 and 68. DO NOT PARK in the subdivisions down the road. You'll get in trouble. The Ranger said to bring a mountain bike and ride the last mile and a half in with your gear. That's what most people do apparently. Hope this helps! Any more questions, you call them yourself at 303-275-5610.~Wm May 11, 2004
There are a couple more guidebooks for this area besides the 'Climbing Colorado'. South Platte guide written by Peter Hubbel (chockstone press) Includes much more rocks and routes. But bewares of Peter's obvious drug habit during the writing of this book. My partner and I have found many flaws in the info of this book during our south platte travels. All in all it's the most comprehensive guide to this great area.

ps. Many restrictions due to fires have been lifted but be carefull of flash floods during the spring! Oct 19, 2004
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
Dont be so presumptuous, coward, about the drug habit accusations. How about YOU try to put together a guide book of the entire South Platte, with no errors!? The splatte is still pretty wild, and sometimes tricky to get around. Good thing that there is plenty of beta on areas and climbs that Pete chose to leave out to keep bitchy climbers like yourself away. Oct 21, 2004
Mike b.  
I was not registered at the time I left the previous comment about the south Platte guide book info. I apologize for the "drug habit" and I appreciate your view that some info should be omitted to keep "bitchy "climbers out of the Platte before it gets too populated. I feel the same way but, sometimes we have to ask ourselves which is better in a guide, wrong info or no info.There is no doubt in my mind that Peter has much more knowledge of the Platte and I don't dispute the fact that a guidebook is a huge undertaking and mistakes will be made. But when the maps to many climbs are blatantly wrong, it causes problems. There is also an older guidebook that Mr. Hubbel was also a part of that in a lot of cases has better info. The purpose of my message was to inform others of the existence of the guide and to warn them to be careful because there are flaws. With this said,just let me say that I would have never have been able to find some of the best rock I have ever pulled down on without this guide. Darren, lighten up man, it's just rock climbing! Sincerely, "The bitchy little coward" aka Mike b. Oct 23, 2004
Beware! The Colorado Rock Climbs guide book has a lot of bunk info about the South Platte area--very easy to get lost (while driving) in and around rampart road. Get the area specific guide book, or better yet, get a local with some knowledge. Also, there is a lot of crumbly/ loose rock in the area, so bring a helmet and some competence. Jun 19, 2005
South Platte Climber's Guide error - On page 190 of this guide, which shows an overview of the Jackson Creek area (North Rampart Range Road) Road 502 (Jackson Creek Road) is closed on the SOUTH side at the junction of Road 503. In other words, to get to climbs 10-19 (Jackson Creek Dome, etc) approach from the NORTH side, (possibly via Road 507) NOT THE SOUTH as suggested in the book. The gate on the north side is permanent, however it is a lot closer than hiking from the south. On the other hand, to get to Devil's Head, Taj Mahal, Flat Top Dome, etc. it is easiest to approach from the south. - Daryl Jul 25, 2005
Seem strange that a area (11 Mile Canyon) that has the South Platte River running through it...is not in the South Platte area. Feb 18, 2006
John McNamee
Littleton, CO
John McNamee   Littleton, CO  
Elevenmile is now part of the South Platte region on this site. Feb 18, 2006
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
Maybe add Elevenmile Reservoir to the South Platte too? Feb 18, 2006
John McNamee
Littleton, CO
John McNamee   Littleton, CO  
Elevenmile Res. is now also part of the South Platte region. Feb 18, 2006
Lakewood, CO
JK1   Lakewood, CO
I am looking for someone to climb with on July 29th and /or July 30th in the Elevenmile area. I am a safe climber that leads 5.9 bolted routes and dabbling in 5.7 trad. Will follow anything or at least try. I would love to do The Staircase as it has been a couple of years since I last did this route. I also am a knowledgable and safe belayer. Jul 25, 2008
Jason Haas
G1 Climbing + Fitness
Jason Haas   G1 Climbing + Fitness
The new comprehensive, color guidebook to the South Platte (including Devil's Head) is available in all the local shops and online at Fixed Pin's website (free shipping). Happy climbing! May 22, 2012
Morrison, CO
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  
The new guidebook is absolutely sick! Tons of inspiring photos and lots of new stuff I didn't know about; it's provided lots of great reading (even my wife, who never looks at guidebooks, has enjoyed leafing through it). An amazing effort by Jason & Co. It ships really fast too, I think I got mine the day after I ordered it. I'm sure if you order today you'll have yours in time for Memorial Day Weekend. With the recent lifting of much of the Cathedral Spires closure, the timing couldn't be better.

Can't wait for Volume 2! May 22, 2012
Looking for current conditions for Turkey Rocks. We plan to arrive mid-next week 4/8ish, and I'd love to hear about access problems if there are any. I've never climbed there this time of year, so I'm unclear on the rd conditions/gates etc.... TIA! Apr 1, 2015
Cody Cook
Colorado Springs, CO
Cody Cook   Colorado Springs, CO
Thomas - I was there 2 weeks ago (as were lots of other climbers). It's perfect this time of year at Turkey. The drive in on FR360 can be done with a 2WD vehicle, but clearance is certainly preferred, as the road is somewhat gnarly in places. The drive is dry all the way to the parking lot behind Turkey Rocks. There are no gates to be concerned with. Camping is available in multiple sites along FR360 and the short road leading up to the parking lot behind the rocks. 2 weeks ago the hike up to the rocks was quite snowy (north-facing), and I was glad I wore boots for the approach, but with the recent temps, that may all be gone now. One you gain the saddle, the south-facing side (where most of the climbing is) is glorious. Such a great place. Enjoy! Apr 6, 2015