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Routes in The Twilight Zone

Chaser, The S 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Execution S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Freedom Fries S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Mind and the Matter, The S 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Shadow Play S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures & Rockfall Mitigation Project Details

"The place is here, the time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we're about to watch could be our journey."

In the spring and summer, the area stays shady and cool through the morning then bakes in the afternoon sun. In the fall, sunshine is as rare as slabs here. If steep, shady rock is your bag, consider making a journey into The Twilight Zone.

We've done our best to clean up the routes and surrounding rock, but these climbs are still pretty fresh, so care is in order.

Getting There

About thirteen steps beyond the end of the cement retaining wall at the Canal Zone, head uphill by stepping onto a big boulder with a straggly pine tree above it. Scramble up to reach the beaten path uphill to the left. Third class into the red dihedral, exit right, and scramble up onto the trail. The approach is steep, exposed, and a little loose in spots...not for the faint of heart.

Eds. Note that rocks knocked off along this approach can go all the way to the level of the canal trail!


A. Desperado, 12+, 1p, bolts, 50'.
B. The Mind And The Matter, 11, 1p, bolts, 90’.
C. Freedom Fries, 11, 1p, bolts, 100’.
D. Shadow Play, 11+, 1p, bolts, 90’.
E. Execution, 11, 1p, bolts, 90’.
F. The Chaser, 11-, 1p, bolts, 80’.

5 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Twilight Zone

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
The Chaser
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Freedom Fries
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
The Mind and the Matter
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Shadow Play
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Chaser
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Freedom Fries
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
The Mind and the Matter
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Shadow Play
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in The Twilight Zone »

Sun & Shade

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
Kirk is on fire!!!
Way to go! Dec 1, 2008
Joby Spencer
Boulder, CO
Joby Spencer   Boulder, CO
Thank you for these excellent routes Kirk. I climbed The Chaser and Freedom Fries on my birthday last week. Both routes definitely added to a great day. The area is well worth the added effort to get up to them. I'm anxious to get back and tick-off the remaining climbs. The bolting is just right, and The Chaser and Freedom Fries were just plain fun routes. They will be on my list of good fun climbs (along with the entire Canal Zone area) to recommend to other climbers. Thanks again. Jan 4, 2009
Dan 60D5H411
Colorado Springs, CO
Dan 60D5H411   Colorado Springs, CO
Seems like the bottom of the routes is the worst in rock quality but should clean up with time (and luckily is the easiest terrain.) I was surprised to find how solid most of the roofs were and the top of the climbs (although lichen-y in spots) seemed really solid. The climbing here is really FUN. Jul 18, 2009
Wherever we park!
AOSR   Wherever we park!
"Eds. Note that rocks knocked off along this approach can go all the way to the level of the Canal Zone belays!"

That is a somewhat misleading statement. While it is possible to send a rock all the way to the trail (so be careful), it is not possible to send one into the belay zone for Canal Zone. Jul 18, 2010
Denver, CO
aBove   Denver, CO
For folks visiting this area....

-MAKE SURE your belayer and climber is wearing a helmet!! Loads of friable rock make ripping grips off a very likely possibility (I personally had a brick size rock rip off a seemingly decent spot).

- BE SUPER CAREFUL of trundling boulders down. While the boulders aren't necessarily going to hit "belayers" at the canal zone, they come extremely close to the trail, if not on the trail, leading west away from the canal zone. And yes, people other than rock climbers use this trail.

-DO NOT bring a dog up there... its loose and 4th class in areas.

However, with a little more cleaning and possible trail maintenance this area has some nice lines worthy of pulling on! Aug 24, 2011
Really fun! Consistent 5.11 climbing throughout. Oct 3, 2013
The furthest left line on the cliff appears to be newer and not listed on mountain project yet. Do not confuse this route with the five listed 5.11s. I didn't know much about the route, but the overall description of the crag above says it is "Desperado, 5.12+." I do not recommend this route. It had 5 bolts in the 45 degree overhang on very slopey holds. The crux comes right away and requires a very attentive belayer to avoid groundfall. There was also an abandoned birds' nest on a chockstone in the overhang. The overhang is more like a boulder problem, and everything above it is covered in lichen and loose. At one point, you have to shove your hand through a bush to get a jug while doing a kneebar. Jul 11, 2015
Everyone has their own level of risk acceptance. I'm aware that mine is quite low. With that out of the way:

This crag is nowhere near worth the approach or risk of crumbling rock on the routes. Went up there yesterday for the first time and was surprised at just how exposed the approach was at points, only to be incredibly disappointed when I finally got up to look at the routes. Many holds and bolts are on rock that is cracked on all sides and look ready to break at any moment, which is confirmed by the endless scree beneath the routes and all the way down to the trail.

While I greatly appreciate the work of the bolters to clean and bolt the area, I do not recommend this crag. Oct 16, 2017
Dwight Jugornot
Arvada, Co.
Dwight Jugornot   Arvada, Co.
Excellent routes! No people! Shade! The approach is no worse than your average Eldo "walkoff". Be careful, be amazed! Loved this area. Oct 22, 2017

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