Elevation: 12,677 ft
GPS: 39.606, -105.654 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 14,118 total · 112/month
Shared By: J. Thompson on Aug 10, 2008
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
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This is the rock formation(s) that make up the north side of The Black Wall (Chicago Lakes) cirque. The Tan Buttresses are very obvious from any point in the cirque. The granite can rival anything in RMNP. This formation makes up the south side of Gray Wolf Peak.

Getting There

Start by parking at summit lake and hiking the climbers trail up Spaulding, as for The Black Wall. Traverse the top of The Black Wall and hike up a short distance until a ramp/ledge system appears on the right. Leave your packs at the top of the ramp.

Hike and scramble down the ramp/ledges, leading to the base of the Buttresses.

17 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Tan Buttresses

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Lazy Sunday Route
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Hard to Say
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A0
Astro Goat
Trad, Aid, Alpine 4 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Lazy Sunday Route
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Hard to Say
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Astro Goat
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A0 Trad, Aid, Alpine 4 pitches
More Classic Climbs in The Tan Buttresses »

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Prime Climbing Season
Wherever we park!
AOSR   Wherever we park!
Fun wall, short approach, much easier and less committing than the Black Wall, and decent rock. However, it certainly doesn't rival any rock found in the park. Any route on Hallett, for instance, is of significantly higher quality. Sep 20, 2010
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
Perhaps climbing more than 1 route would be recomended before making statements about the entire formation?

josh Sep 21, 2010
Jordan Moore
Berthoud, CO
Jordan Moore   Berthoud, CO
Additional approach beta:
Hike out of Summit Lake parking lot following Mt. Evans trail, then veer off this trail as it starts to take you uphill and away from the Black Wall rim, follow the rim past the Black Wall. Now to find the ramp that drops you off at the routes continue following the rim past the largest gully. After you pass this gully and the rim starts to turn north, you will find the ramp on the other side of the next buttress/ prow feature. Jul 10, 2013
Omaha, NE (at the moment)
trisgo   Omaha, NE (at the moment)
I was interested in practicing some big wall skills here. What class is the approach ramp? Would going down the ramp with a heavy haul bag on your back be difficult or dangerous? Mar 8, 2016
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
This would be a truly horrible place to practice hauling a bag/ big wall stuff.
While the ramp is generally no big deal, mostly 3rd maybe a little 4th class, everything is loose. It's an Alpine environment, the freeze/thaw cycles and lack of root systems just don't allow things to set up in a non-loose way.
Additionally, even the cleanest section on the Tan Butts have plenty of loose rock. You'd be knocking off lots of stuff, your bags would get stuck (a lot!), and the granite is pretty sharp, so you'd do an awful lot of damage to your bags/ropes. If you were looking for true aid climbing, very few if any of these routes would be good, as there are few continuous crack systems.

Sorry to burst your bubble, there are plenty of spots that are much better for this kind of stuff.

My favorite was always Country Club Crack in Boulder Canyon.

Best of luck!

-Josh Mar 9, 2016