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Gunnison

Colorado

Description

Gunnison is a city of about 5,000 people and is located at the bottom of several valleys. Due to its location, cold air in all the valleys settles into Gunnison at night, making it one of the coldest places in Colorado if not the States.

In this area is a great variety of climbing opportunities ranging from short cragging to some of the longest rock routes in the state. In fact, the only grade VI routes in Colorado are located here.

West of the town of Gunnison is the The Black Canyon of Guninson or "The Black" as it is affectionately referred to, and is Colorado's big wall climbing destination. Land here is a combination of private, state, BLM, and federal land. Take this into consideration if you go exploring, since some locals do not take kindly to uninvited crossing of their property. Tires have been known to be slashed, cars ticketed, and climbers escorted off private land.

"The Black" is as deep as 2700 feet at its greatest depth. There are no other canyon in the country that has the same depth relative to its width as The Black and and hence it is located in the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park. The visitor guide has helpful information if you are visiting it for the first time.

Getting There

Gunnison is located on US 50 in the SW part of the state. From the east, you can drive from US 285 to US 50 over Monarch Pass (11,000 feet) and drop down into the town of Gunnison. Directions from there depend upon the exact area. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison lies West of Gunnison along US 50 for the South Rim and off CO Hwy 92 for the North Rim. From the Denver Metro area, it is 4 plus hours to Gunnison. From the West, you can access US 50 from Montrose via US 50 from the N and US 550 (the Million Dollar Hwy) from the S. From Montrose, it is an hour plus to Gunnison.

Camping and Lodging
The Tomichi Lodge (alt 10,300’), nestled in the town of Whitepine in the Gunnison National Forest, offers nearby access to The Palisades via Alpine Tunnel Road as well as numerous other climbing areas in Gunnison & Chaffee Counties. Enjoy a rustic mountain experience with some key comforts including four bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a fully stocked kitchen, indoor plumbing with hot showers and a seasonal, outdoor cowboy hot tub. Your mountain adventure basecamp awaits you.

A map of the area

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

These guys were hard core!         John Pearson, Jim Newberry and Scotty Gilbert. Back in the day. Photo from the Jim Newberry collection.
[Hide Photo] These guys were hard core! John Pearson, Jim Newberry and Scotty Gilbert. Back in the day. Photo from the Jim Newberry collection.
Early Gunnison Crazies (same day as pyramid above) who would climb anything.
[Hide Photo] Early Gunnison Crazies (same day as pyramid above) who would climb anything.
The Tune Up crew.<br>
Photo courtesy of Dave Meyer, <br>
Rock & Roll Sports Gunnison.
[Hide Photo] The Tune Up crew. Photo courtesy of Dave Meyer, Rock & Roll Sports Gunnison.
Another view of the face on Gothic.
[Hide Photo] Another view of the face on Gothic.
More unclimbed rock in the West Elks.
[Hide Photo] More unclimbed rock in the West Elks.
Scotty Gilbert, Tom Pulaski and Jimmy Newberry. Courtesy of the Jim Newberry collection.
[Hide Photo] Scotty Gilbert, Tom Pulaski and Jimmy Newberry. Courtesy of the Jim Newberry collection.
Skyland in the Fall.
[Hide Photo] Skyland in the Fall.
Gilby and the Newbs. Photo courtesy of the Jim Newberry collection.
[Hide Photo] Gilby and the Newbs. Photo courtesy of the Jim Newberry collection.
John Pearson showing the 70s version of multi-tasking....simultaneously doing 16 oz. curls and limbo!
[Hide Photo] John Pearson showing the 70s version of multi-tasking....simultaneously doing 16 oz. curls and limbo!
Early cast of Gunnison characters that put up some amazing stuff (1976)  Includes John Rosholt, Tom Pulaski, Scotty Gilbert, John Pearson, and the rest of us "dull ends" of the rope.
[Hide Photo] Early cast of Gunnison characters that put up some amazing stuff (1976) Includes John Rosholt, Tom Pulaski, Scotty Gilbert, John Pearson, and the rest of us "dull ends" of the rope.
Doug Scott under Middle Cathedral. A man who really networked climbers from this era. He knew everyone from the California guys to the hillbilly's (me) in Colorado Springs to the ice climbers in North Conway. Everyone stopped by Doug's blue house for one reason or another.
[Hide Photo] Doug Scott under Middle Cathedral. A man who really networked climbers from this era. He knew everyone from the California guys to the hillbilly's (me) in Colorado Springs to the ice climbers in No…
Unclimbed (most likely!) rock in Mill Creek Canyon.
[Hide Photo] Unclimbed (most likely!) rock in Mill Creek Canyon.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Joseph Stover
Batesville, AR
[Hide Comment] Are there any guidebooks with information about sport climbing and/or bouldering near Gunnison and Crested Butte? Where is the nearest limestone with lots in the 5.8-5.11, V0-V6 range? I was looking at the crags near Canon City and they look nice, is that a reasonable drive from Gunnison?

Any info is greatly appreciated. May 4, 2006
ropeless420
evergreen , co.
[Hide Comment] Hey Joe, Gunnison is a great place to climb. There are a couple of guides out, bouldering the G spot and unknown are both great. If you need a little help, go see Andy at All Sports Replay, he's a good guy and he knows the area. Sorry but gunny doesn't have any limestone, Shelf Road is the closest. Good luck. May 6, 2006
aaron voreis
Edina, MN
[Hide Comment] Rock n Roll Sports in Gunnison (970-641-9150) has FREE climbing guides for most of the local areas including the Ultra Sick God's Crag which features stellar bolt clipping on pocketed tuff from 5.9-5.13+. Rock n Roll also has super beta on the Black Canyon, Taylor, The Point, Spring Creek, tons of Bouldering areas, etc...

Gunnison is the most under-rated climbing area in all of Colorado. Apr 12, 2007
[Hide Comment] > Gunnison is the most under-rated climbing area in all of Colorado.

You mean all the routes are super-sandbagged? :-)

Tell Sharp End to get off their ass and print up Leo's book! Apr 13, 2007
[Hide Comment] It's finally out. Hundreds of new routes on my todo list now. Congrats to Leo on finally getting the guidebook published!

The book includes all those hardcore sport routes up at God's Crag along with tons of stuff in Taylor and Spring Creek canyons. Sep 21, 2007
[Hide Comment] OK, about time now where do I get a copy here in the backwoods of Boulder????? Oct 2, 2007
[Hide Comment] Here you go Phil:
sharpendbooks.com/cgi-bin/s… Oct 29, 2007
Lee Jenkins
Tucson, Arizona
[Hide Comment] I climbed at "The Point" near Powderhorn over the weekend and am looking for some beta. There is a new route on the east end of the south face that climbs a roof (1st route you come to). Anyone know what the rating is? I thought it was .10a but it felt way harder!

I was sorry to see that this little Crag was left out of Leo's book (which I own) but can understand that he was busy getting the damn thing published. Thanks Leo for a job well done!

-Lee Aug 17, 2008
Luke Mehall
Durango, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Hey everyone,

I'd like to extend an invitation for everyone to check out 24 Hours of Gunnison Glory, the first 24 hour climbing festival in the west. It will be at Hartmans on the 27th and 28th of June.

Also this same weekend is the Gunnison Loco Motive, Adventure Sport race: 5 miles of kayaking, 26 miles of mountain biking at Hartmans, and a 10k run. (or half that). This is all held in conjunction with the Gunnison River Festival.

Check our website(s) at:

gunnisonriverfestival.com/g…

and

gunnisonriverfestival.com/l…

or give me (Luke) a call 970-943-7053 or email: lmehall@western.edu
May 12, 2009
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
[Hide Comment] I'm going climbing Taylor Canyon next week! It's been twenty years... so fired up! (as Doug would say) Jun 11, 2010
YDPL8S
Santa Monica, Ca.
[Hide Comment] I'm really jealous, take a run up Dunn's and Left Hand for me. Jun 12, 2010
[Hide Comment] I will be in Gunnison this weekend Sep 11. Anyone around for climbing at Hartman's? Dan (415) 845-7363. Sep 10, 2010
[Hide Comment] Hey, all you Gunnystoners and Crusted Buteations, HEADS UP! Two remarkable shows at Neptune's. Thur. 5/19 8p Jorge & Joanne Urioste on the Early Days of climbing at Red Rock Nevada AND Fri. 5/20 7p A Tribute to Gunnison's own John (the Gambler) Rosholt.

If you can, try to be there. Check the News or Neptune's site for more info. May 18, 2011
[Hide Comment] Hey Gunnistoners & Crusted Butteations, I'm going to be in the area (camping at Granite campground by the 1st buttress) for the next few days. Head up and say hi, and perhaps tie in. Aug 14, 2013