Elevation: 8,074 ft
GPS: 39.417, -105.469 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 3,248,554 total · 18,433/month
Shared By: John McNamee on Feb 16, 2006
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.

2,574 Total Climbs

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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.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 185
Classic Dihedral
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 244
Gobbler's Grunt
Trad 3 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 342
Center Route
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 152
Straw Turkey
Trad 3 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 96
Reptile
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 118
Is This For Real?
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 95
Reptile Tears
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 217
Vanishing Point
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 127
Drumstick Direct
Trad 2 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 169
The Opportunist
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 133
Whimsical Dreams
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 117
Wishbone Dihedral
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 109
Ddong Chim!
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 168
Wunsch's Dihedral
Trad 4 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 110
Light My Fire
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Classic Dihedral Pine Area > Bucksnort Slab
 185
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Gobbler's Grunt Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
 244
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
Center Route Cathedral Spire… > Cynical Pinnacle
 342
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Straw Turkey Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
 152
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Reptile W Creek > Thunder Ridge > Brown Wall
 96
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Is This For Real? W Creek > Thunder Ridge > For Real Canyon
 118
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Reptile Tears W Creek > Thunder Ridge > Brown Wall
 95
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Vanishing Point Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
 217
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Drumstick Direct Turkey Rocks > Turkey Tail
 127
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad 2 pitches
The Opportunist Staunton SP > … > Meadow Dome > Tan Corridor
 169
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Whimsical Dreams Turkey Rocks > Turkey Tail
 133
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Wishbone Dihedral Devil's Head > Chicken Head Ranch
 117
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Ddong Chim! Staunton SP > … > Meadow Dome > Tan Corridor
 109
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Wunsch's Dihedral Cathedral Spire… > Cynical Pinnacle
 168
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad 4 pitches
Light My Fire Staunton SP > Staunton Rocks > Dungeon
 110
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
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