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Routes in Turtle Rock: A Crag for Kids

Allen's Arete Crack T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Bob's Cat T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Cold North Shell T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Cracked Shell T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Donovan's Dihedral T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Fiona's Route T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Heads or Tails? T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
O'Neall Overhang T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Turtle Eye-Grr T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Unknown Two Pin Route T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Water Groove T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

Description

This very small, turtle-shaped crag, sits facing west, well below Canyon Block. It cannot be clearly seen from the parking pullout or driving down canyon. Follow a faint trail with cairns from the pullout that zig zags east up the hill (and not in the stream gully).

Here you will find a collection of moderate routes I developed for my daughter and her friends, who were all under age 10. There are about 10 micro-sized routes. The routes are mixed protection, a couple of bolts on the blank slab and trad gear. All bolts (4 total) were hand drilled manually.

The best introduction to the crag is via Fiona's Route, 5.7. Even more moderate introduction would be Donovan's Dihedral, 5.4.

This is a good place to practice a kid's first lead after parents have climbed it.

All descents are by careful walk off to the south. I hope this area inspires kids and their families to safely rock climb in Boulder Canyon.

A. Turtle Eye-Grr, 5, 1p, 30', gear.
B. Cold North Shell, 5, 1p, 30', gear.
C. Allen's Arete Crack, 5, 1p, 40', gear.
D. Cracked Shell, 9-, 1p, 60', gear.
E1. O'Neall Overhang, 9-, 1p, 60', gear.
E2. Heads or Tails?, 9-, 1p, 60', gear.
F. Unknown Two Pin Route, 9 or 11, 1p, 60', pins, bolt, & gear.
G. Fiona's Route, 7, 1p, 60', gear.
H1. Bob's Cat, 5, 1p, 60', gear.
H2. Water Groove, 4, 1p, 60', gear.
H3. Donovan's Dihedral, 4, 1p, 60', gear.

Eds. note there appear to be some homeless folks camping in the area. There is quite a bit of debris polluting the area. Consider bringing a big trash bag to help clean it up.
Seasonal Closure Details

Getting There

Use the same car pullout at 4.8 North as for Canyon Block and Long Walk Rock.

There is an RTD bus stop 100 meters up canyon from the pullout. Take the regional bus to Nederland and tell the driver you want off at mile 4.8.

Per Fiona Dunne: the crag is 5 minutes up the trail. After about 5 minutes, the rock will be on your left.

Eds. this is directly across from Mental Rock.

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Lee St
Dallas, Ga.
Lee St   Dallas, Ga.
Scott,
Thank you for the work on this crag. I climbed it yesterday with my 8 year old son and a few others. It was my first trip outdoors, and everyone had a really nice time. Sep 25, 2016
Fiona Dunne
Boulder, CO
Fiona Dunne   Boulder, CO
I enjoyed the routes, but I do not think this is a good place for a first lead if you're looking to gain experience placing pro. I came here hoping to get lots of practice placing pro but actually only found 2 or 3 opportunities to do so per route, excluding building anchors. The runouts did make it more exciting though! Also watch out for loose and potentially loose big blocks on top. Unknown Left Side at Happy Hour Crag would be a much better first lead in my opinion (but I am not child-sized, so I can't comment on how hard it is for kids). Jul 12, 2014
Each of the routes here is much longer than the stated 40 feet. With the possible exception of the two easy routes farthest left (which I didn't do), each of the routes climbs about 65 to 75 feet from the ground to the one-bolt anchor (where you can add a hex, cam, or big stopper to back up the anchor bolt). We brought a 100-foot rope and had to walk off after every lead.

About six feet left of the start of Fiona is a vertical seam with two fixed KBs. This is directly beneath the bolt on Fiona. To climb directly from the undercut start, up to the first pin is at least 5.11. To start a few feet farther right, bouldering up, then moving left to clip the pin is maybe 5.9-. After bouldering up from the ground, placing a small wire or RP before continuing up and left to the second pin may be better than reaching down and to the left to clip the first pin. Is this the route Heads or Tails?? Aug 24, 2013
Glad to hear you like it and it worked for Father's Day!
Yes, that is Fiona's Route. Jun 25, 2013
SavageMarmot
Nederland, CO
SavageMarmot   Nederland, CO
Scott,
Thanks for your work on this crag, it made for a very memorable Father's Day for my son and me!



I think this is Fiona's Route. Jun 16, 2013
I worked on this little crag for kids between September 2011 and Dec. 2012. I wanted to create a place for micro-adventures for children and their parents. I left some fixed ropes and nuts while working it that have been removed by someone else.

As a Boulder trad climber for over 35 years, I did not want excessive bolting to marr the aesthetics of this little area. So I have carefully thought about each and every bolt I hand drilled (4 total): three on the blank slab (for three different routes) and 1 at the top belay. I believe this spartan style creates a mixed-pro route that will be safe yet adventurous for young climbers and their parents.

Since I learned to climb in the 1970s, I planned the top anchor to be 1 bolt and 1 fixed hex in a good crack, equalized and with rap rings, but I now realize that wasn't the best idea since someone else removed the hex and rap rings. So, currently the safest way off is by walk off descent to the south until I get the top anchor safe for rappel/top rope.

Thanks for your patience with my efforts to create a bus accessible, family-style crag for youngsters.

More route photos to come.... Jun 7, 2013

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