|GPS:||34.985, -101.702 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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|Shared By:||Jeremy Bauman on Aug 30, 2009|
|Admins:||Hank Caylor, Matt Richardson, LeeAB Brinckerhoff|
Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the country. At more than 800 feet deep and 120 miles long the canyon is a great place to escape the seemingly featureless landscape of the Texas panhandle. Landmarks such as the Lighthouse, Capitol Peak, Castle Peak, and Sorenson Point capture the imaginations of visitors and inspire the Cherokee Indians of old to come alive within the minds of tourists.
The canyon hosts arguably some of the best mountain biking in Texas. The Lighthouse trail is by far the most popular and makes an excellent day hike that should not be missed. Hiking in the canyon can be very exciting if you make it that way. The clay type dirt is easily excavated by torrents of water leaving the canyon with dozens of caves for the bold explorer. Scrambling in the canyon is sure to give a rush as all the footing is generally loose, as my good friend said, "Everything in the canyon moves!"
About the Rock: DON'T CLIMB AFTER IT RAINS!
Palo Duro Canyon is pretty much the only local crag in the Amarillo/Canyon area. Rock quality can be questionable at times, but usually its pretty good providing the Amarillo area with some great climbing. I wouldn't, however, suggest traveling far to come climb in the canyon. Though there are a few good routes, the overall the rock quality is generally poor. I'm no geologist, but there are really two types of climbable rock at the Canyon. The first is a very brittle and rough conglomerate type sandstone found in the boulder fields and a few select cliffs. The second is a much softer sandstone found on most of the cliffs in the canyon.
Much of the rock is very soft and fragile, please try your best to avoid pulling out on flakes and breaking holds! I know of several classic routes that were quickly sent to the chosspile because people were being dumb and yarding on holds. Climb carefully. As with other desert sandstone locals, don't climb after a rain. If your shoes are tracking dirt, it's still too moist to climb. You risk breaking holds and popping your protection.
KEEP YOUR ROPE FROM RUNNING OVER THE EDGE! The sandstone here is very soft and it is our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. Please be proactive in padding edges and avoid scenarios that allow your rope to cut through the rock like cheese. Warpath is a great example: when we first did it, the rock at the top was clean and beautiful, now, thanks to poor rope management, there are rope grooves worn along the top. If you're going to TR, EXTEND YOUR ROPE OVER THE LIP! If you don't know how to do this, read some books, get help from a guide, or just stick to bouldering. If we can't protect these places, we shouldn't be climbing them.
On a similar note, there is a lot of trash in the canyon from non-climbers. Please bring a bag with you and plan on packing out trash you come across!
The majority of climbing here is bouldering, although a handful of trad climbs exist. The potential for new routes in the canyon is huge with plenty of boulders and walls being completely untouched.
Follow I-27 south past Canyon and take exit 217 and turn left. Continue 10 miles on 217 to the park entrance (be prepared to pay $8 per person). Once past the gate, continue on what is now the very windy Park RD 5 down the big hill into the canyon. See individual areas for further approach information.
Approaches are generally short and in the 5-10 minute range.
Classic Climbing Routes at Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Days w Precip