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How will the peaks to plains trail affect access to climbing in Clear Creek?


Original Post
Alex R · · Golden · Joined May 2015 · Points: 18

I specifically mean access in the sense of being allowed to climb, not the sense of how easy it is to get to the climbing. If the trail ends up leading right under a popular crag, to the extent that climbing at the crag becomes a danger to those using the trail, will the crag become off limits? This is already somewhat the case with the fiscal cliff wall, but it isn't particularly popular, and I doubt the trail is seeing as much traffic as it eventually will as it gets extended. Has anyone already heard any backlash from the hiking/biking community regarding fiscal cliff? It seems to me there are at least a few pinch points where the trail will almost definitely pass right under a developed crag. Is there anyone from the climbing community working with Clear Creek and JeffCo open spaces to make sure climbing access and safety is addressed in designing this trail system?

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55

You'll hear more when there's even a place going by Little Eiger, I suspect. As of a few months ago, there were still parts where they weren't sending out RFPs depending on the stretch of canyon in question, it's a slow process.


Abram Herman · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 20

From what I've heard, a prolific local route developer whose last name rhymes with Shmanderson was already asked to remove the bolts from a wall that was above the new trail. I heard it second-hand, but it was from a reputable source... I'm sure it's likely this will happen when you look at what happened to Boulder Falls access after a single rock fell at the wrong time & place.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 574

Abram Herman wrote:

From what I've heard, a prolific local route developer whose last name rhymes with Shmanderson was already asked to remove the bolts from a wall that was above the new trail. I heard it second-hand, but it was from a reputable source... I'm sure it's likely this will happen when you look at what happened to Boulder Falls access after a single rock fell at the wrong time & place.

To be fair, the stated rationale was that bighorns did some bighorn stuff at that crag.

Abram Herman · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 20

Mark E Dixon wrote:

To be fair, the stated rationale was that bighorns did some bighorn stuff at that crag.

When is the Access Fund gonna do something about these goddamn bighorns!?

Alan Bowman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 5

Abram Herman wrote:

When is the Access Fund gonna do something about these goddamn bighorns!?

I'd say kick 'em out, but they send harder lines than I.

ClimbandMine · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2001 · Points: 895

Abram Herman wrote:

From what I've heard, a prolific local route developer whose last name rhymes with Shmanderson was already asked to remove the bolts from a wall that was above the new trail. I heard it second-hand, but it was from a reputable source... I'm sure it's likely this will happen when you look at what happened to Boulder Falls access after a single rock fell at the wrong time & place.

Dare I ask what happens if a route developer tells the county "no"?  I mean is the county going to claim eminant domain on rock bolts?

Abram Herman · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 20

ClimbandMine wrote:

Dare I ask what happens if a route developer tells the county "no"?  I mean is the county going to claim eminant domain on rock bolts?

Good question—I have no idea.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 574

Perhaps somebody with more accurate info will weigh in, but I believe one non-permitted route went up and the county insisted the hangers be removed, the developer had to perform some community service and then had to reapply for the route. 


Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,788

If they actually get the path installed all the way down Clear Creek, I'd expect some crags to be permanently closed, and some to even get partially dynamited...

Mark, I think you're referring to a route at Canal Zone and that had nothing to do with the bike path (just had to do with the developer simply forgetting to apply for a permit).

Mike McNeil · · Spearfish, South Dakota · Joined Feb 2007 · Points: 1,510

Saw people belaying on the trail Friday while climbing on a sweet looking overhang right above the trail.  Seems that it would suck to lose access, but that trail is a huge project that seems it will bulldoze or blast anything in its path.  I am fairly new around here but maybe just building a few more mountain bike trails on the front range would be less impactful and provide the same effect of a great riding experience.  .  

ClimbandMine · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2001 · Points: 895

Greg Barnes wrote:

If they actually get the path installed all the way down Clear Creek, I'd expect some crags to be permanently closed, and some to even get partially dynamited...

You've got to be fukcing kidding.  So much for multiple uses...  

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 574

Haven't heard any rumors about trouble with Fiscal cliff, which is pretty much directly on the trail.

I do worry about what might happen to Stuffed Wolf. We may know soon.

Low Wire might get hit too.

Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 290

The trail will go right through most of the belays at East Colfax; Looney Tunes be dynamited.  There will probably be a bridge across the Creekside belays.

Other Critters, Safari, Doghouse, Capitalist, High Wire, Sports Wall and Wall of the 90’s will all be above the trail and in jeopardy.

Catslab is safe.  Little Eiger and Canal Zone will probably be safe.  

Nick Andrasik · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0

Jim Turner wrote:

The trail will go right through most of the belays at East Colfax; Looney Tunes be dynamited.  There will probably be a bridge across the Creekside belays.

Other Critters, Safari, Doghouse, Capitalist, High Wire, Sports Wall and Wall of the 90’s will all be above the trail and in jeopardy.

Catslab is safe.  Little Eiger and Canal Zone will probably be safe.  

I mean, there's already a trail right there. Sure it's not paved but it might as well be.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 105

Mike McNeil wrote:

 I am fairly new around here but maybe just building a few more mountain bike trails on the front range would be less impactful and provide the same effect of a great riding experience.  .  

The goal of the Peaks to Plains trail is to have an off-highway bike path that goes from the start of Loveland Pass, all the way to basically Golden. The Clear Creek part is just a small section of the 65 mile path. Up to fairly recently, if you wanted to ride to Loveland Pass from Golden on a bike (I've done this a lot of times), you had to ride the friggin' interstate in two places to do so. Right now, it is illegal to ride a bike on HWY 6 in Clear Creek Canyon, which is really strange, as then there's no access to the Mayhem Gulch TH to mountain bike on it. This section of the trail allows access to Clear Creek by bicycle.

The Acces Fund is  listed as a "supporter" of the Clear Creek section of this trail. I'd do a serious inquiry with them about loss of access rights to any crags and see what they have to say. If there's major loss of access to popular crags, then someone really dropped the f'n ball. They advertise, "enhanced access" to such recreational activities as, "rock climbing" 



Darren Mabe · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Dec 2002 · Points: 3,595

I call dibs on the bolt hangers of any of my routes that get removed

ErikaNW · · Golden, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 145

From what I know, climbing is recognized as a valued activity in the canyon and efforts are being made to preserve climbing access. People weighing in here saying such and such area is going to be closed or dynamited, please provide your source. You all may know more than I do. I believe they are looking at multiple options for the complex middle part of the canyon including potentially going up to the rim, but I do not believe dynamiting developed areas is on the table. Again, maybe I am not in the loop on this - but please don’t spread rumors unless you can substantiate them. This stuff can spin out of control and doesn’t benefit our community. But yes - support Access Fund as they are the ones who will be at the table if it comes down to a fight. 

The routes that were removed had nothing to do with the bike path - as Mark said, bighorns for one and no permit for the other (he was allowed to put the hangers back after some service). 

Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 290

If you take the wide trail cross-section already built (10 feet?) and plop it down at East Colfax, then I think the looney tunes routes are gonna have to go.  I don’t have any sources, but that’s what I think when I look at the area.  And it is what I do for my 9-5.

It’s only 4-5 routes lost, but I think it is an impact for climbers to know about and advocate against.

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

Good discussion to have. Possible issues at many areas mentioned. My biggest concern is the whole tunnel 2 area. The idea of a bike path making it through without serious impacts to climbing is hard to believe. The idea of going to the rim is pretty hilarious too, right by that raptor closure right? 

Steve Grigel · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 5

All please read Erika’s note above, Clear Creek County and Jeffco are very supportive of planning around climbing where possible. I can speak for the section of the trail that will connect Catslab parking to the west past East Colfax and on. Doug Redosh (Foothills Climbing Community through BCC), Kevin Capps, JB Habb, and I have met with Clear Creek County Open Space and their engineering firm to review this path and address the route, minimize impact to Climbing routes, minimize user conflict through good design, etc.  

Generally the route will hug the south side of the river (not impacting Creekside or the tyrol - sorry Darren, you won’t be getting the hangers back!), continue on the south side around the tunnel and again hug the road to the bridge and have a new dedicated tunnel to go under the road near the existing bridge. That’s the extent of this section that we have reviewed for now. 

Yes, there is a pinch point near East Colfax and Looney Toons.  We suggested some designs to help stabilize the rock on the slopes and give small but usable separated belay areas to avoid user conflicts between bike and belayers for example.  They are taking this input into their design.  Destroying rock/routes was not contemplated in our review - there is enough room to stabilize the river slope with concrete blocks to get the room needed.   I do not know where the funding landed for this section - I’ll find out and follow up with a post.

CCC Open Space went as far as being understanding to try and minimize Crag closures during construction as part of their project bids.  Like I said - very supportive. 

Please support Foothills Climbing Community/BCC and Access Fund!!









Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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