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Areas in San Luis Valley

Alamosa Canyon 0 / 0 / 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Big Meadows 5 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
Breakfast Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
English Valley 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
La Garita Creek 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Manassa 0 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Penitente Canyon 17 / 118 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 128
Pharcyde, The 0 / 10 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Quarry, The 1 / 1 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Rock Garden 1 / 31 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 36
Sidewinder Canyon 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Stonehouse Gulch 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Witches' Canyon 3 / 23 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 26
Elevation: 7,885 ft
GPS: 37.695, -106.348 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 170,587 total, 1,188/month
Shared By: John McNamee on Feb 26, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

Introduction

Spanning almost 8,000 square miles, the San Luis Valley is the world's largest alpine valley. The average altitude is 7,500 feet, so it can be very warm in the summer and very cold at night in the winter. With the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east and the Rio Grande to the west.

The San Luis Valley sits atop the Rio Grande Rift, a split in the crust of the Earth where the sides are pulling away from each other. If the Valley floor were excavated, bedrock would be down about 30,000 feet, making the bottom of the Valley close to 4 miles below sea level. Over millenia, the mountains surrounding the Valley have eroded away, filling in the hole with rock, sand and earth. Quite a few streams flow into the Valley, only to sink into the ground before they go very far.

Getting There

This is part of the reorg of the Colorado site.

From the Denver Metro area, you can go US 285 West all the way into the valley. You can also take I-70 to CO 91 through Breckinridge to US 24 South to US 285.

From Grand Junction, you can take US 50 East to US 285 near Poncha Springs, then go south on US 285.

From Durango, you can take US 160 East to US 285 North.

Resources

Camping is availabe at Penintente Canyon; however, it now costs a bit and has standard BLM regulations. Water is provided down the road from the climbing / camping area (another recent development - follow the signs), and the nearest 'goods' can be found at the 'La Garita Cash Store'.

There are a variety of small, charming B&B type accomodations throughout the valley, in Poncha Springs, La Garita, Del Norte. There are a smattering of motels/hotels in the area as well.

Alamosa is the largest town in the valley for supplies, etc.

252 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at San Luis Valley

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
The Serpent
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
How The West Was Won
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Captain America
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Bucket Slave
Trad, Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Jewel Of The Mild
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Yah-Ta-Hei
Sport
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Concupiscent Curds
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Tanks for the Hueco
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Breakdown Dead Ahead
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Whipping Post
Sport
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Not My Cross To Bear
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Shear Strength
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Los Hermanos de la Weenie Way
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Forbidden Fruits
Sport
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Bullet the Blue Sky
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Serpent Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Entrance Area 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
How The West Was Won Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Inner Canyon 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Captain America Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Entrance Area 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Bucket Slave Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Entrance Area 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Sport
Jewel Of The Mild Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Inner Canyon 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Yah-Ta-Hei Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Entrance Area 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Concupiscent Curds Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Inner Canyon 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Tanks for the Hueco Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Inner Canyon 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Breakdown Dead Ahead Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Inner Canyon 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Whipping Post Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Entrance Area 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Not My Cross To Bear Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Inner Canyon 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Shear Strength Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Inner Canyon 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Los Hermanos de la Weenie Way Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Inner Canyon 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Forbidden Fruits Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Entrance Area 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Bullet the Blue Sky Penitente Canyon > Penitente - Inner Canyon 5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in San Luis Valley »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
Witches Canyon has some stuff for TR. Mar 28, 2017
Are there any good areas to set up topropes for kids in this area? A variety of grades preferable. I know there aren't many climbs listed as TRs but just wondering if some locals had better beta, thanks! Mar 28, 2017
Laura.Burkhardt
Alamosa
Laura.Burkhardt   Alamosa
Hi! My name is Laura. I recently moved to Alamosa and am looking for climbing partners! My email is burkhardt.laura@gmail.com. :) Aug 5, 2016
Hi! My name is Lisa, and I am medical student working and living in the Del Norte area for the next three months. I have so far been unsuccessful finding a climbing partner in this area. Please email me if you are looking for a climbing partner at Lisa.wolff@ucdenver.edu. I've got plenty of gear to share, both trad and sport. Thanks! Jun 5, 2016
Christy-Dale Sims
Lakewood, CO
Christy-Dale Sims   Lakewood, CO
LOST at Penitente Canyon (6/6/12): blue camera attached to red case with brown 'biner on it. Was missing when we returned for it later in the day. Getting it back would mean a lot, no questions asked. Please message me - I'll obviously reimburse any return costs. THANKS! Jun 7, 2012
Mike Howard    
Penitente Canyon Anchor Replacement & Trail Repair Weekend
Public Event ยท By Bob D'Antonio

Saturday, May 12, 2012
9:00am until 7:00pm
Penitente Canyon, San Luis Valley, Colorado
Penitente Canyon Anchor Replacement & Trail Repair Weekend. This is for all climbers, hikers, or anyone who loves the Canyon and the work that volunteers and the BLM have done in the past. Show up and then get to work. Beer, Food, Bolts, Anchors, Tools and good vibes with be provided.... Come and show some love to this very special canyon.

facebook.com/events/3129748… Feb 8, 2012
dyager Yager
Fort Collins
dyager Yager   Fort Collins
Thanks, BGreen! Mar 9, 2011
BGreen
Del Norte, CO
BGreen   Del Norte, CO
Temps are usually great in May. Shade/sun can always be found in the canyon as needed. Depending on the snowpack it could be windy in the afternoons into May. NOAA long term forcast is for continued warmer, drier than normal conditions. Mar 8, 2011
dyager Yager
Fort Collins
dyager Yager   Fort Collins
Is mid to late May too hot to climb in Penitente Canyon?
Thanks! Mar 8, 2011
Monty
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
Dry Winter + Wet Spring = BAD TICKS! Feb 18, 2010
Scott Miller
Denver, CO
Scott Miller   Denver, CO
Hey, Honest mistake it's not often you meet a Colorado legend in the dark. Thought he was some bum trying to talk shit, "Yeah I wrote the guide book." Anyway, can't thank you enough for all the hard work Bob.
About the ticks, I've seen a growing number of them in the past few years. (Castlewood, Penitente, Boulder,and Summit County) I seem to be a magnet for them, just a little heads up to all with dogs and little ones. Nasty little buggers. May 3, 2006

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