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Gollum's Cave

Colorado > Independence Pass > Grottos Day Use Area


Short, steep routes in a secluded alcove. Often buggy in the Summer. The cave is broken up into 2 sections. The lower section will be the 1st you come to if arriving from the west. It features Master of Reality, a classic & testy 5.12 roof crack. The upper section gets more sun. It contains Escher's Staircase, 1 of the steeper 5.10s on the Pass.

Getting There

Park at the Grottos Day Use area. Follow the trail over the bridge & go left shortly after the Ice Caves trail intersection (~1/4 mile). Descend into the lower lefthand end of the Cave. A 5-minute walk at most.

Per Sam Struthers: cross the bridge from the parking lot, and head upstream (left) on the main trail. Go past an avalanche debris area. You'll see a small opening with a rock on the left. Take the trail down and to the right, you'll reach the boulders first and the sport climbs are a bit farther down. There is a little swamp/pond next to the roof.

Routes from Left to Right

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Adam Sinner taking a coffee break halfway through.
[Hide Photo] Adam Sinner taking a coffee break halfway through.

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[Hide Comment] We had some tourists throwing rocks down here that landed a few feet from us. Always have your guard up. Apr 5, 2012
Lakewood, co
[Hide Comment] BRING BUG SPRAY! This area is thick with mosquitos, since the ice caves hold so much moisture. Belaying can be pretty rough without lots of bug spray. Jul 9, 2014
Zacharias Gustav
Santa Cruz, CA
[Hide Comment] Let's make the directions even simpler, because I have no idea how people have come up with such convoluted directions for this place....

From the Grotto day use parking, head over the river towards the Ice Caves. Once you get to the Ice Caves, follow the creek that formed said Ice Caves up past them until you literally bonk your head by the roof of the Gollum's Cave.

There should be a prominent, well used, creekside trail. Stay on its right side as you walk up the creek. This creek is NOT the Roaring Fork River but a tributary that follows parallel.

In summary, follow the Ice Caves creek upwards from the parking until you get to the Cave.

Good luck! That cave is sick! Jul 15, 2020