Elevation: 8,074 ft
GPS: 39.417, -105.469 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 2,752,187 total · 16,116/month
Shared By: John McNamee on Feb 16, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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.

2,380 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
 178
Classic Dihedral
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 235
Gobbler's Grunt
Trad 3 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 336
Center Route
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 145
Straw Turkey
Trad 3 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 93
Reptile
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 116
Is This For Real?
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 94
Reptile Tears
Trad
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 120
Drumstick Direct
Trad 2 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 202
Vanishing Point
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 139
The Opportunist
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 126
Whimsical Dreams
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 112
Wishbone Dihedral
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 80
Ddong Chim!
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 165
Wunsch's Dihedral
Trad 4 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 81
Light My Fire
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Classic Dihedral Pine Area > Bucksnort Slab
 178
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Gobbler's Grunt Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
 235
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
Center Route Cathedral Spire… > Cynical Pinnacle
 336
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Straw Turkey Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
 145
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Reptile W Creek > Thunder Ridge > Brown Wall
 93
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Is This For Real? W Creek > Thunder Ridge > For Real Canyon
 116
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Reptile Tears W Creek > Thunder Ridge > Brown Wall
 94
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Drumstick Direct Turkey Rocks > Turkey Tail
 120
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad 2 pitches
Vanishing Point Turkey Rocks > Turkey Rock
 202
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
The Opportunist Staunton SP > … > Meadow Dome > Tan Corridor
 139
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Whimsical Dreams Turkey Rocks > Turkey Tail
 126
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Wishbone Dihedral Devil's Head > Chicken Head Ranch
 112
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Ddong Chim! Staunton SP > … > Meadow Dome > Tan Corridor
 80
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Wunsch's Dihedral Cathedral Spire… > Cynical Pinnacle
 165
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad 4 pitches
Light My Fire Staunton SP > Staunton Rocks > Dungeon
 81
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
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