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Areas in The Zoo

Bird Cage Sector 2 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
New Zoo, The 0 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Old Zoo, The 0 / 17 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17

Description

The Zoo is a bit of a misnomer as the real zoo atmosphere is across the highway at Graining Fork Nature Preserve (a.k.a. Roadside Crag). If you're looking for fewer crowds and a good variety of climbs, this zoo is for you.

The Zoo is probably best know for a pair of short, classic 5.12a routes at the The Old Zoo right next to each other with each route climbing markedly different from the other. Hippocrite involves big moves on mostly all big good holds. Scar Tissue serves up steeper, more sustained climbing on smaller but still great holds.

The Zoo has seen a bit of a revival in recent years with a flurry of development at two new walls north of the older area thus necessitating a renaming of the original Zoo area, here on Mountain Project, to The Old Zoo and adding the two new areas: The New Zoo and the Bird Cage Sector.

The middle portion of The Old Zoo has some fun, long 5.11s on somewhat lesser but still plenty good rock.

The The Old Zoo area is a large amphitheater that faces mostly north but because the wall curves, you can chase sun/shade pretty well. Many of the better routes stay dry in rain.

Getting There

From Miguel's Pizza head south on KY 11 to a large, gravel parking area (37.7334, -83.6591;00.2%22N+83%C2%B039'32.8%22W/@37.7332584,-83.6599108,434m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d37.7334!4d-83.6591) on the west side of KY 11. This parking area is the shared parking area for The Zoo and Graining Fork Nature Preserve (a.k.a. Roadside Crag).

From the parking area, hike west/southwest towards the river. Apparently there used to be a log crossing over this river but that no longer exists. Take your shoes off, ford the river and find the climber's trail on the other side. Scramble up a very steep, rooty section of trail just right of a side drainage/ravine and continue steeply uphill for another five minutes.
When you reach a small arch at the top of the trail, pass through it (or around it to the left) and walk along the base of the wall a short bit and you're there. This area, to the left of the small arch, is the most well-known and established area, The Old Zoo.

If you go to the right when you reach the small arch, you get to The New Zoo. The New Zoo is a collection of newer routes. The New Zoo area begins with the route Sidewinder (5.12b).

If you continue along the wall beyond the The New Zoo, down the hill and down around the cave area, you get to a newer area called the Bird Cage Sector. The Bird Cage Sector begins with the route Sons of Perdition (5.12a).

42 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Zoo

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 135
Put Me In The Zoo
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 14
Botanical Gardens
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 80
Chimp
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 104
One Brick Shy
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 57
Armadillo
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 20
Edgehog
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 28
Skin The Cat
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 223
Monkey in the Middle
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 28
Barrel Full of Monkeys
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 99
Geezers Go Sport
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 25
Animal Husbandry
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 13
Hippopotomoose
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 7
Crimpin' Ain't Easy
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 164
Hippocrite
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 80
Scar Tissue
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Put Me In The Zoo Old Zoo
 135
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Botanical Gardens Bird Cage Sector
 14
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Chimp Old Zoo
 80
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
One Brick Shy Old Zoo
 104
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Armadillo Old Zoo
 57
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Edgehog Old Zoo
 20
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Skin The Cat Old Zoo
 28
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Monkey in the Middle Old Zoo
 223
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Barrel Full of Monkeys New Zoo
 28
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Geezers Go Sport Old Zoo
 99
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Animal Husbandry Old Zoo
 25
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Hippopotomoose New Zoo
 13
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Crimpin' Ain't Easy Bird Cage Sector
 7
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Hippocrite Old Zoo
 164
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Scar Tissue Old Zoo
 80
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
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Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Description:
The Zoo was a late developing sport crag at Red River, perhaps as it is not as obvious from the road, but with a moderate approach to the dozen or so low to mid-range sport climbs, 10's and 11's. It is a small wonder it is not a crowded destination. It is a perfect place for a small group of climbers at varying levels of ability to visit, particularly on a warmer day, since the crag is mostly shaded during the hot parts of the day, facing primarily East and North.

The climbing here is almost exclusively sport, but a few hard-looking cracks await ascents, and at least one ("Jailbird, 10d") has been climbed. Cracks on either side of "Chimp, 10b" look like they would go with only moderate difficulty, if even that, though it might be most prudent to clip the first bolt or two on "Chimp" to approach them.
At the far left and of the cliff, there are a few cracks and corners that give the appearance of offering harder lines if someone were to undertake the effort to clean and climb them.

The popular climbs here seem to be the warm up, "Put Me In the Zoo (9+)", The lower end routes "One Brick Shy (10c)" and "Chimp (10b)" and the moderately difficult routes "Geezers Go Sport (11b)" and "Monkey In the Middle (11b)."
"Scar Tissue (12a)" and "Hypocrite (12a)" both seem to get the best 'reviews' but I never saw anyone else get on them. Since both are short and not hard at the grade, perhaps they would make great projects for climbers more generally fit for the average grades at the cliff.

Directions:
They sound more complex and difficult to follow than they really are. The approach might be about 10-15 minutes in all. Park as for Roadside and look back behind you, opposite of roadside for a trail. Follow it.
More specifically, Hike toward the stream from the south end of the parking lot and continue up the trail as it crosses the creek on stones, or from what I hear- now a fallen tree. Either way, you continue uphill for a few hundred yards to the right of this stream toward a rock band and eventually reach the base of a wall. Follow the wall left as it grows into a large amphitheatre, where all of the established routes are. Feb 10, 2007
Austin Harris
Rifle CO
Austin Harris   Rifle CO
The fallen tree crossing is not there anymore. You can rock hop across the stream though. Shortly after crossing the stream, when you come to a fork in the trail go right up a very steep hill.
We almost stepped on a rattlesnake right in the middle of the trail under the steepest and biggest overhang of the cliff in the climbing area. It was hiding in the sandy area amongst some boulders. May 10, 2015
cevans  
The GPS coordinates for the parking lot listed in the "Getting There" section of this page appear to be incorrect. We followed these GPS coordinates and came to what we believe is the Emerald City parking area.

The parking lot for The Zoo is indeed the same lot as for Roadside Crag--that page on mountain project correctly lists the GPS coordinates of the parking lot as: 37.7334, -83.6591 May 31, 2016
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
cevans wrote:The GPS coordinates for the parking lot listed in the "Getting There" section of this page appear to be incorrect. We followed these GPS coordinates and came to what we believe is the Emerald City parking area. The parking lot for The Zoo is indeed the same lot as for Roadside Crag--that page on mountain project correctly lists the GPS coordinates of the parking lot as: 37.7334, -83.6591
Thanks for the correction. I verified the issue and changed the coordinates text accordingly. May 31, 2016
Mitchell Moreland
Clemson, SC
Mitchell Moreland   Clemson, SC
As of 6/24/18 there are two massive trees down in the creek. The approach is the same just don't be shocked if you are here for the first time. Jun 26, 2018

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