One day in Clear Creek Canyon. Recommendations?


Original Post
Jess Arnold · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 381

My pals and I are ending our stay in Colorado with a day in Clear Creek. We lead up to 5.10+ (maybe a soft 5.11) and are interested in doing some trad up to 5.8. We spent the last few days at Mary's Bust, Poudre Canyon, and at Animal World today. Looking to get some bouldering in as well. 

If you had ONE day in the canyon; what would you climb, given our time constraints and ability level? The weather is supposed to be decent tomorrow and we will have the whole day. 

We're currently staying in Boulder and would be open to suggestions near or around there as well. 

willbur247 · · Denver CO · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

For your ability level you might have the most fun at North Table. Very easy to find your way from climb to climb, and there are always a few friendly faces with guide books to point you in the right direction. Lots of quality sport 10's and some opportunity to place gear on some easier things too. Make your way down to the Winter Warmer area, and fine 2 super quality 10a/b routes that run a bit more than 100 feet. Have a blast! 

Matt Rhodin · · Denver, CO · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 70

My vote is for Little Eiger in Clear Creek. Best selection of 5.10 and 5.11- routes in the canyon. 

willbur247 · · Denver CO · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Yea I forgot to mention that the approach to north table is pretty steep, while most crags in the canyon itself, including little eiger, are right off the road 

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 290

If you have one day to sample the climbing around Denver/Golden, I wouldn't spend my day at North Table Mountain. Little Eiger is a good suggestion, lots of great routes, mainly in the 5.10/5.11 range. High Wire would be another great choice, a lot of fun easy routes (5.8-5.10), but all with cruxy start. People's Choice is a pretty sweet 5.10d multi-pitch (one of the very few in the canyon), and if you want to try something harder, walk around the corner to Wall of Justice and get on Officer Friendly (5.11b). Short and bouldery, if you're used to steep climbing in the gym, it may feel a bit soft. On the other side of the tunnel is Wall of the 90s, which hosts a few long and really good 5.10s. The rest of the routes are harder, but Curvaceous is one of the best 5.11s in the canyon and a fairly easy one to onsight due to ample rests before the hard sections.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 290

I just realized that CDOT is re-paving the road half way up Clear Creek Canyon from 7a to 4p Monday through Saturday until June, so forget about High Wire and Wall of the 90s because you can’t access them during the paving operation (I left my previous post for future references). Little Eiger may still be accessible. 

Canal Zone is another good crag to sample Clear Creek climbing. It’s normally a zoo on the weekends, but if you’re there on a weekday it may not be too bad. Panama Red is a fun climb starting on huge jugs, with a slabby crux half way up. Turkey Jerky is also a great route. Made in the Shade is one of the best 5.9s in the canyon, and Cut Loose (5.11a) is mostly 5.9/5.10 climbing to a well protected bouldery crux pulling a roof. A good one to try if you want to tick an easy 5.11. Aretnophobia and Walking with a Ghost are also both very good 5.11s, but harder than Cut Loose.

On the upper end of the canyon, you can check out the whole tunnel 5 / tunnel 6 area (access by driving up I-70 to exit 244, then driving east on US-6, this avoid the whole paving operation). Catslab has a bunch of nice 5.10s if you like slab climbing, and one of the best 5.8s in the canyon (Skimbleshanks). There's also some bouldering by Catslab. If you want to do some multi-pitch, climb Playin’ Hooky at Creek Side, rappel back to the big ledge, then climb the last two pitches of Black Gold (both are good). Personally, I also liked Furlough Day to access the big ledge better than the first two pitches shared by Playin’ Hooky and Solid Gold. On the left side of Creek Side (accessed by a tyrolean), there are also Guppy (5.8) and Fish and Chips (5.9+), supposedly two of the best routes at their grade in the canyon (I haven’t done them).

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

Little Eiger

Last week the construction prevented parking at Wall of the 90's and Highwire. Looked like it might take a while before it's opened again.

Might be worth checking the Rt 6 traffic cams: http://www.cotrip.org/map.htm

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

NTM would be way too hot today. 

Little Eiger parking was fine yesterday. 

Canal Zone will be cool because shady, but has great routes in your range. Good sending conditions, but take a parka.

CODOT webcams don't show anything going on at Highwire or 90s, although I can't tell if 90s parking is open.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

Probably too late but Little Eiger for sure. 

Jess Arnold · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 381
aikibujin wrote:

I just realized that CDOT is re-paving the road half way up Clear Creek Canyon from 7a to 4p Monday through Saturday until June, so forget about High Wire and Wall of the 90s because you can’t access them during the paving operation (I left my previous post for future references). Little Eiger may still be accessible. 

Canal Zone is another good crag to sample Clear Creek climbing. It’s normally a zoo on the weekends, but if you’re there on a weekday it may not be too bad. Panama Red is a fun climb starting on huge jugs, with a slabby crux half way up. Turkey Jerky is also a great route. Made in the Shade is one of the best 5.9s in the canyon, and Cut Loose (5.11a) is mostly 5.9/5.10 climbing to a well protected bouldery crux pulling a roof. A good one to try if you want to tick an easy 5.11. Aretnophobia and Walking with a Ghost are also both very good 5.11s, but harder than Cut Loose.

On the upper end of the canyon, you can check out the whole tunnel 5 / tunnel 6 area (access by driving up I-70 to exit 244, then driving east on US-6, this avoid the whole paving operation). Catslab has a bunch of nice 5.10s if you like slab climbing, and one of the best 5.8s in the canyon (Skimbleshanks). There's also some bouldering by Catslab. If you want to do some multi-pitch, climb Playin’ Hooky at Creek Side, rappel back to the big ledge, then climb the last two pitches of Black Gold (both are good). Personally, I also liked Furlough Day to access the big ledge better than the first two pitches shared by Playin’ Hooky and Solid Gold. On the left side of Creek Side (accessed by a tyrolean), there are also Guppy (5.8) and Fish and Chips (5.9+), supposedly two of the best routes at their grade in the canyon (I haven’t done them).

Made it out to Made in the Shade! Definitely one of my favorite climbs I've ever hopped on... thanks for the advice! 

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 290
Jess Arnold wrote:

Made it out to Made in the Shade! Definitely one of my favorite climbs I've ever hopped on... thanks for the advice! 

You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

Jess Arnold · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 381

Thanks everyone for all the advice! I'm definitely headed back... too many climbs for such a short visit :) 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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