Elevation: 6,110 ft
GPS: 37.841, -108.807 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 71,041 total · 370/month
Shared By: Bill Duncan on Dec 12, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

Description

Dolores Canyon is a very nice, accessible canyon on BLM land that has camping, a river (sometimes), and quality Wingate sandstone rock. The climbs are 1-2 pitches in length, and the approaches are mostly short. The climbs face east or northeast, so this can be a bit chilly in the winter. This area offers seclusion in a wilderness setting.

Getting There

Just south of Dove Creek on US Highway 666, there is a turn by the airport. There is a BLM sign that says "Dolores Canyon overlook." Turn down this road, and take your first left by the airport. Do not go to the overlook (unless you want to see the view). There may be signs to Mountain Sheep Point or the pumping station. Follow this road down into Big Canyon and the boat ramp at the pumphouse. Continue past the boat ramp to where the cliffs come closer to the road and the rock quality improves dramatically. There are several obvious buttresses, and some of them have routes on them. There are still opportunities for FAs here, too. The local ethic here is traditional (ground up). There is one particularly good buttress, just to the right of a drainage system, called Beehive Buttress.

Per Ian Altman: just as you enter the township of Dove Creek on US Highway 491, look for a large brown BLM sign stating "Dolores River Canyon Access". The sign is on the south side of the highway, and the road you want is directly across the highway from it on the north side of the highway. After turning onto this road, follow it for a series of marked turns that state: "Dolores River Access" until you drop into the main canyon.

The series of turns after you leave the highway are: 1. left, 2. right. 3.left and 4. left. After taking the last left turn, the road begins to descend towards the Dolores River by descending a side canyon called "Secret Canyon". Once you reach the bottom of this descent and you first see the river, take a left, and follow this road for another mile before you reach the first chunk of climbs. There is a well maintained campground about 5 miles from CO Hwy 491 known as the "Box Elder" Campground. There are some shorter climbs near this campground, but the bulk of the climbs are a mile or so farther in an area known as "The Pump House". The Pump House access trail is marked by a cairn and is located at the far end of the buttress. This access trail will put you right at the base of the Retro Groove Wall. There are a multitude of other crags along this road, and looking for anchors is your best way to find them.

57 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Dolores River Canyon (Dove Creek)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 10
Redemption Arete
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 19
Air Time
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 14
Rope Master's Crack
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 15
Bat Master
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 9
High Time
Trad
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 6
Arm and Hammer
Sport
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 7
[Redacted]
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 4
The Groove Tube
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 3
Jonny Smoke
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 7
Sunday Stroll
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 4
Crescent Crack
Trad
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c
 4
Bearded Lunch Lady
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 4
The Wind Tower
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 3
Pump House Direct
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 6
Superette
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Redemption Arete G. Pumphouse Right
 10
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Air Time G. Pumphouse Right
 19
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Rope Master's Crack G. Pumphouse Right
 14
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Bat Master G. Pumphouse Right
 15
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
High Time G. Pumphouse Right
 9
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Arm and Hammer G. Pumphouse Right
 6
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
[Redacted] B. Box Elder Crag
 7
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad
The Groove Tube G. Pumphouse Right
 4
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Jonny Smoke D. Hillbilly Wall
 3
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Sunday Stroll F. Pumphouse Left
 7
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Crescent Crack H. Ten Mile Crag
 4
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Bearded Lunch Lady G. Pumphouse Right
 4
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c Trad
The Wind Tower I. Wind Tower
 4
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Pump House Direct F. Pumphouse Left
 3
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Superette G. Pumphouse Right
 6
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
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