Elevation: 8,074 ft
GPS: 39.4171, -105.469
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Shared By: John McNamee on Feb 16, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

Introduction

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!

Resources

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.

Bats - conservation

See a bat on a route, give a shout. Climbers for Bat Conservation is working with climbers to understand bat ecology and why bats choose certain cracks and flakes. If you see bats, and want to tell them, here is their email (climbersforbats@colostate.edu) and their website ( climbersforbats.colostate.edu/).

Climbers for Bat Conservation is a collaboration between climbers, bat biologists, and land managers to understand where bats roost and where large populations may reside. They are interested in finding bats because a new disease, called white-nose syndrome ( whitenosesyndrome.org/), has killed millions of bats in North America. This collaboration has identified bat roosts throughout the U.S., and as far away as Norway and Bulgaria. CBC was developed by biologists who climb and they are advocates for climbing access and bat conservation. If you see bats while climbing, please let them know by emailing them at climbersforbats@colostate.edu, or visiting their website to learn more ( climbersforbats.colostate.edu/).

Rob Schorr

Zoologist, Colorado Natural Heritage Program ( sites.warnercnr.colostate.e…)

Director, Climbers for Bat Conservation

Robert.schorr@colostate.edu 

3,233 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at South Platte

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 281
Gobbler's Grunt
Trad 3 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 435
Center Route
Trad 3 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 82
Topographical Oceans
Trad 4 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 111
Reptile
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 107
Reptile Tears
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 252
Vanishing Point
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 154
Drumstick Direct
Trad 2 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 280
The Opportunist
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 161
Whimsical Dreams
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 192
Ddong Chim!
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 78
Devil Dog
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a C0
 200
Wunsch's Dihedral
Trad, Aid 4 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 199
Light My Fire
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 104
Branching Out
Sport
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
 82
If and Only If
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Gobbler's Grunt Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
 281
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
Center Route Cathedral Spire… > Cynical Pinnacle
 435
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Topographical Oceans Cathedral Spire… > Dome
 82
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 4 pitches
Reptile W Creek > Thunder Ridge > Brown Wall
 111
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Reptile Tears W Creek > Thunder Ridge > Brown Wall
 107
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Vanishing Point Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
 252
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Drumstick Direct Turkey Rocks > Turkey Tail
 154
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad 2 pitches
The Opportunist Staunton SP > … > Tan Corridor > Upper Tan Corridor
 280
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Whimsical Dreams Turkey Rocks > Turkey Tail
 161
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Ddong Chim! Staunton SP > … > Tan Corridor > Upper Tan Corridor
 192
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Devil Dog Devil's Head > Devil's Gate Se… > Devil's Gate
 78
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Wunsch's Dihedral Cathedral Spire… > Cynical Pinnacle
 200
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a C0 Trad, Aid 4 pitches
Light My Fire Staunton SP > Staunton Rocks > Dungeon
 199
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Branching Out Staunton SP > Staunton Rocks > Dungeon
 104
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
If and Only If Staunton SP > Staunton Rocks > Dungeon
 82
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c Sport
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