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Beginners Crack Climbing in Colorado

Original Post
McPherson McPherson · · denver, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

Im new to crack climbing. Im able to do laps in the gym but looking to get outside and climb cracks and plug gear. Where should I look for beginner crack climbs?

Mathias · · Loveland, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 308

I've never been to Turkey Rocks, but from what I've seen on the route guide, it has a high concentration of long cracks at varying grades. Most of it looks like one or two pitches.  Definitely worth considering.

Dave Holliday · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 1,416

Turkey Perch at Turkey Rocks.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 100

Many of the easy moderates at Turkey Rocks are offwidths, just FYI. 


Mathias · · Loveland, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 308

If you want a few nice routes for one day and are willing to try 5.7-5.8, The Coliseum in Saint Vrains Canyon is a great spot for hand and fist sized. The Rock is pretty easy on the skin as I remember. The approach is fairly steep and you have to cross the river (there was a tyrol last time I went), but it was a lot of fun.

Glenn Schuler · · Monument, Co. · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,320

11 Mile Canyon has some good moderate crack routes. Upside Down Staircase (The Staircase) and Hollow Flake on Arch Rock are both beginner friendly. 

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10


McPherson McPherson · · denver, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

Thanks guys I really appreciate it

Joe Trabucco · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

lumpy ridge

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 93

Here's another vote for 11-mile canyon.  The climbing at 11 may not be quite as good as Turkey, but it is much more relaxed with fewer crowds, easy approaches, and beautiful views.  Plus, when you are done climbing, the restaurant in Lake George has pretty good pizza & BEER!  Both of the routes Glen mentioned are good beginner routes.  Here's some more...

Moby Grape is a decent beginner climb with easy placements and a bolted anchor.

Captain Fist is another fun route on Arch Rock.  It starts a little scary with about 12' of unprotected moves on a slab before you can get a #4 camalot in, but it's not hard.  Unfortunately the rappel anchor is a funky cable wrapped around a block.  It seemed solid when I climbed it, but you may want to bring some webbing to back it up JIC.

Roof-by-pass on Pine Cone Dome was also alot of fun and easy to protect.  It is a 2 pitch climb, but you can end the first pitch at the anchors for talk to your toes if you don't want to build an anchor.

Turkey Rock has some good beginner routes, but if the weather is nice on a weekend you will need to get there early to get on them.  Also most routes at Turkey Rock are quite steep and can be intimidating if you are new to plugging gear.  You will also need to be able to construct gear anchors and belay from above in order to climb most of the routes at Turkey.

If you do choose to go to 11-mile, you will need to bring some cash.  I think the entry fee is $6 for a day pass.  You can also camp, but you will probably need to make reservations, since it is a popular place for fishermen and family outings.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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