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Possible to squeeze in a quick half day of climbing in or near Denver if my flight arrives around noon?

Original Post
Khoi · · Vancouver, BC · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 45

I might have gotten overly ambitious when choosing a very early morning departure from the Vancouver International Airport so that my flight would arrive in Denver a bit before noon.  I was hoping to be able to get some climbing in on that same day.  My climbing buddy balked at the idea of waking up early enough for an alpine start and instead chose a later flight that arrives in Denver later that night.

I will be arriving in Denver around noon on Wednesday, October 25.  What are my options for squeezing in some climbing (sport, or trad, or multipitch, or top roping - NO BOULDERING!) in or around Denver?  

Or is this idea simply not feasible?

After I pick him up from the airport later that night we'll head down to Shelf Road.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 86

So if you land at noon and are checking a bag and getting a car I would say the earliest you are on the road is 1:15.  If you don't hit traffic you are 1 hour ish to somewhere in Clear Creek. Approaches are short and let's say you are at the crag at 2:30.  You could climb until 6 depending on when your buddy is coming in. I might be a bit pessimistic but that is basically thinking. 

Eliot Augusto · · Boulder, CO · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 60

Depends on what you want to accomplish. Lets say you get in at 11:45. You'll probably have your luggage by 12:15, and a car(?). If you have to take the bus, then no way. Realistically I would expect 45 minutes to get your rental and be on the road(1230ish?). You're looking at an hour drive to Boulder with decent traffic. Because 270 goes right into Hwy36 I think that climbing in the Boulder area will be your best bet. So its probably 1400-1430 by the time you roll into Boulder, get food and find your partner. 3-4 hours of climbable light(YMMV). 

You can head into Boulder canyon and spend 15+ minutes driving and ~20 minutes hiking. There are options you can take to lessen that time like going to the Elephant butresses, Nip and Tuck, or The Dome. But you won't be on rock until 1500. The other option is Eldo, a personal favorite(be prepared to pay). There is a classic 5.7 right off the road called the Bastille Crack. There is the west side of the Wind Tower. All of these are great multi-pitch options. All of this is trad. Most sport areas are going to be in Boulder Canyon, which is going to have 15+ minutes of approach. If you go to Boulder Canyon or Clear Creek Canyon, expect to spend time turning around, looking for the pulloff, and all that jazz unless you have a local in your pocket.

I wouldn't think Clear Creek Canyon, and North Table Mountain aren't going to be very good options.

To sum up, 45 minutes for luggage and car rental, 90 minutes for driving from DIA to Boulder/getting fast food/using the bathroom. ~15 minutes driving to the climbing destination, 20 minutes to hike, 10 to rack up in record time and touch rock. So you're looking at 3 hours, assuming it all goes perfectly, from the moment you leave the jetway(bridge thingy). If you go to Eldo you can maybe squeeze in 2-5 pitches.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 579

You should be able to climb something. 

Probably 2 hours landing to trailhead.

Dark about 630, maybe a little later. Gives you 4+ hours.

Should be a nice day- high 74F.

Do you have a partner?

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 365

Drink some water, eat some food, get used to the elevation.  Coming from Vancouver you will likely feel a bit like shit when you land.  Rest up and enjoy shelf!  It’s a pretty spectacular place. 

Driving in this area can be a pain in the ass, 7 days a week with the traffic.  

Good luck.  Have fun.

Steve Sangdahl · · eldo sprngs,co · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 735

You should be able to get to Eldo in time for some climbing. Bring yer head lamp for some time honored "night patrol" . Have fun.

On a side note, having spent plenty of time driving in Vancouver, the traffic here is puke.

Khoi · · Vancouver, BC · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 45

Our current plan is to be climbing at Shelf Road until Saturday, and then head to to Boulder to climb at Eldorado for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  We'll have a rental car.

I am hoping to squeeze in some climbing near Denver, say at Clear Creek Canyon, or Coal Creek Canyon, or Castlewood Canyon, etc.  I will have with me a 70m rope, 20 quickdraws, and for trad gear I have a double rack with 10-14 extendable trad draws.  I don't have a partner yet for the Wednesday when I arrive.  I'd be down for climbing with anyone.  My climbing buddy's flight doesn't land until 7:45pm so we can climb until dark.

Even though I'll be flying in from Vancouver, I am not expecting Denver's elevation of 1609m to give me any problems.  In August we drove through Yellowstone National Park (average elevation: 2,400m), Jackson Hole, WY (elevation: 1,901m), and Pinedale, WY (elevation: 2,189m).  I had zero issues with those elevations.  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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