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First time in Colorado - looking for tips and advice!

Original Post
Humanjo Gomes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2019 · Points: 0

Hello everyone,,
I'm currently planning a trip to Colorado in June. We'll be mostly sticking around the Denver/Boulder area (climbing at Clear Creek Canyon and/or Boulder Canyon), but are wanting to do a Shelf Road day too.
So, questions: https://snaptube.cam/ https://syncnet.onl/telegram-web/ 9apps

  • I've heard mixed reviews that Shelf Road may a bit hot in June. Thoughts? (Also keep in mind that we're from Texas, so 100+ degrees and 90+% humidity is pretty normal for us...)
  • We're looking to climb for sure on a Thursday and Friday, hoping that going on weekdays will mean less people out. May or may not climb on a Saturday or Sunday as well, depending on how we're feeling and the amount of non-climbing activities we want to do. I'm assuming/have heard that Boulder Canyon and CCC will be pretty busy on weekends - is this true of Shelf Road as well? If we did go to Boulder Canyon/CCC on a weekend, where are we likely to find less people?
  • Is the local ethic in these places to rap or lower or does it not matter?
  • On the sport routes, are there typically ... something up top? (Whether that be sport clips, or rap rings, or...?)
  • Guidebooks - which ones should we be looking at? Is there a place to rent them? Or would Mountain Project suffice?
  • Any must-do or classic single-pitch sport routes? I can finagle my way up to 10a/b on polished Texas limestone.
  • Do you have non-climbing suggestions for food, drinks, hikes, and general fun?
  • Anything else we should know?
T G · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 11
Humanjo Gomes wrote: 
  • I've heard mixed reviews that Shelf Road may a bit hot in June. Thoughts?
It'll be pretty hot and many of the routes are in direct sun (though you can chase shade, too). Not sure anybody can tell you whether it's tolerable or not.

  • We're looking to climb for sure on a Thursday and Friday, hoping that going on weekdays will mean less people out. May or may not climb on a Saturday or Sunday as well, depending on how we're feeling and the amount of non-climbing activities we want to do. I'm assuming/have heard that Boulder Canyon and CCC will be pretty busy on weekends - is this true of Shelf Road as well? If we did go to Boulder Canyon/CCC on a weekend, where are we likely to find less people?
Shelf is typically a zoo on weekends, yes. That said, you can always find something to climb. Same goes for Boulder Canyon and CCC. There isn't any surefire advice to find less people in popular places to climb except maybe to climb less popular routes and/or climb harder routes. If you climb trad, there are lots and lots of options to get away from people.

  • Is the local ethic in these places to rap or lower or does it not matter?
Doesn't matter. Just please top rope and/or lead on your own anchor gear and the last person can lower off of the fixed anchor.

  • On the sport routes, are there typically ... something up top? (Whether that be sport clips, or rap rings, or...?)
In Shelf, Boulder Canyon and CCC, yes, 99.9% of the time.

  • Do you have non-climbing suggestions for food, drinks, hikes, and general fun?
  • Anything else we should know?
If it's hot, go up high. You'll have access to Indian Peaks and Rocky Mountain National Park and other places like that- there are a whole lot of great trails outside of the Golden/Boulder/Denver area that would be a shame to miss.
Tal Wanish · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2018 · Points: 91

Will answer what I can.

  • Haven't been to Shelf in June, can't answer this
  • You're likely to find a shitload of people regardless of where you go on the weekends. Rock Climbing is popular here. The good thing is that it's also abundant and as long as you're not looking at the classic moderates you'll be able to hop on something. 
  • Most places are fine with you lowering to clean, though there are likely some trad heavy areas that demand either a rap or a walkoff. If you're only climbing max 10a/b though, understand that a lot of what you might climb might not be vertical and a rap will likely save your rope some tear.
  • Almost 100% always something at top in the denver/boulder areas unless it's an extremely common walkoff. Either mussys, chains, or rap rings typically, those there are some quick link anchors
  • If you're staying in the immediate denver and boulder areas, MP is fine (though the boulder canyon guidebook is beautiful). If you go out further to like South Platte (highly recommended), those guidebooks can be invaluable.
  • For 
    • Clear Creek: Guppy, Playin' Hooky, Black Gold (conveniently all in the same area). 
    • Boulder Canyon: Young and the Rackless, Lust
    • South Platte: So many. Time Stands Still, Fractured Fairtytales/Tour de platte (PM me if you want a 10 pitch 1200ft slab linkup), Topaz, Reef on it, Two Jews Blues, Revelation Route, etc. Just a ton of stellar climbs out here. Keep in mind this area is significantly bigger than Clear Creek and Boulder Canyon though. Devil's head has an unbelievable amount of sport climbs in a fairly condensed area (1500 climbs in an area smaller than clear creek canyon), though you'll be fighting some raptor closures around that time (true with everywhere else as well)
    • Highly recommend driving 90 minutes west of denver to Frisco and doing Royal Flush. 1300ft 5.9 and it's a blast. 
  • Depends what part of Denver you're in honestly. Sherpa House in Golden or Smokin Yards in Idaho Springs after a clear creek canyon day are both clutch ideas.
  • Have fun. It's great out here.
Adam Brink · · on the road · Joined Mar 2001 · Points: 490

Shelf is a horrible choice in June. Go anywhere else.

Mike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 30

What sort of climbing do you most enjoy. Angles, grades, styles?

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 674
T G wrote:

If it's hot, go up high. You'll have access to Indian Peaks and Rocky Mountain National Park and other places like that- there are a whole lot of great trails outside of the Golden/Boulder/Denver area that would be a shame to miss.

Might still be pretty snowy in June this year

Jared Fehr · · Cloud City, CO · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 131

If you’re coming from Texas Shelf will be a pleasantly dry heat.  I’d just climb there and around turkey rocks/s plate if I were you and dodge the hordes at CCC and Boulder Canyon, at least over the weekend.  Camping can be hard at shelf over the weekend...

Local ethic varies, in CCC there’s lots of Mussy hooks to lower off, everywhere else you mentioned rap rings are pretty standard at the top of routes.  I generally only lower on hooks but if it’s a busy area lowering is common too on rap rings, etc.

I’d recommend the Rick Thompson guide for shelf, for CCC and BC you can do pretty well with Mountain Project.

Adam Block · · Calirado · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 716

If your from TX, you'll think Shelf is great in June. No one thinks it so it ends up being fantastically empty while Denverites flock to the granite canyons to grease off last year's projects. Enjoy the easy bugless camping at the Bank with sunset views of the Sangres every night. Wake up, poop at one of 6 magnificent vault toilets (courtesy of Pike's Peak Climber's Alliance), then head on over to the Darkside, Farside, Menses and Contest and let your cup runeth over with heaps of shady moderates. Though a harder spread, the Gym to Great Black North stretch has some of the best stone around and can be downright chilly in summer.
It would certainly be worthwhile to visit Shelf as a break from the FRange hoopla or to hide from the thunderstorms at Devil's Head or wherever for a bit.

 Also not mentioned: Poudre Freaking Canyon.

Matt Pierce · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2010 · Points: 278

Colorado's closed - didn't you hear?

Rico Kazee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

Anything else we should know?

Don’t come to Colorado.

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,482

Don't forget. All people that claim to be natives in Colorado are transplants from California. 

Sam R · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Go to Elevenmile Canyon if you're looking for sport up to 10a/b.

Victor K · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 170

You can definitely chase shade at Shelf. For Denverites, Shelf is not a choice in summer, so that might be a good choice if you climb on the weekend. If you are climbing on Thursday and Friday, Boulder Canyon and Clear Creek Canyon would be much less crowded that the weekend. A wonderful destination in Boulder Canyon is Upper Dream Canyon. It's really beautiful, and isolated from the highway. The Tan Corridor at Staunton State Park is a great destination for a 5.10 climber, and beautiful, high and shady. I think if you're climbing midweek, you'll be able to do whatever you want, though climbing the MP classics near Denver can be a bit of a shit show. Another thing about our two canyons: They are totally amazing at being close to Denver, but they may disappoint as destinations. Just sayin'.

Second the Royal Flush recommendation. It's very fun, but if you go, be sure to print the guide and keep it with you. There are a few navigation challenges on the route. Start at 6:00 am.

If you like cocktails, do not miss Golden Moon Speakeasy. It's actually a tasting room for a local distillery, they make all of the spirits and liqueurs, and have some nibbles. Golden City Brewery has a food truck out front, and it's a great local establishment. The restaurant scene in Denver and Boulder is excellent. Just avoid anything you've seen elsewhere.

Tal Wanish · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2018 · Points: 91

With regards to Victor's comments about Royal Flush, please god do not print the guide. Just screenshot the MP entry for it. It's definitely a bit of an adventure climb but if you pay attention to where bolts are you shouldn't get off route. You might take some 5.10 variations by accident, but they're like gym 5.10s. DEFINITELY pay attention to the walkoff information or you will get hopelessly lost though. We went up it as 5.10- max outdoor leaders and accidentally did every 5.10 variation and some freezing rain came in on us and my partner dropped his belay device down like 4 pitches when going to set up the anchor and we still had no falls or takes and it was like 6 hours car to car, including getting hopelessly lost for 90 minutes on the descent. I'd recommend starting early but only because it might be crowded and that will help you beat crowds. That being said, there's so many unroped places on the climb that you can likely scoot around slow parties at them. 

Damis Yancopoulos · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Climb eldo

plantmandan · · Brighton, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 50
Tim Stich wrote:

Don't forget. All people that claim to be natives in Colorado are transplants from California. 

I moved here from California, BEFORE the weed election. That qualifies me for native status if I do say so myself.

On a serious note: CCC and BC are fun, but Colorado has so much more to offer. By all means consider going bigger. Read up on Jurassic Park or Devils Head (both about 1.5 hr from Denver in different directions). Both offer spectacular sport climbing that makes you really feel like you are in the Rocky Mountains. Late June often provides great climbing weather at the 8000-9000 ft elevation range. Early June is usually OK at that elevation as well, but the weather can be more finicky.

You should have a blast no matter what. Despite the snark you read on here, people are generally friendly in Colorado, and many others at the crags will be out of state visitors as well. It won't be your last trip here.     
mtoensing · · Boulder · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 705
  1. plantmandan wrote: 

I moved here from California, BEFORE the weed election. That qualifies me for native status if I do say so myself.



Really man! I bet you have a Colorado native sticker on your lame Tacoma. 
Also. Don’t come to Colorado. It’s lame. Go to Wyoming or New Mexico 
JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

+1 the Devil's Head reccomendation. It is, IMO, the most destination-worthy sport climbing within day-trip distance of Denver. Nice temperatures in June. Fun climbing, good rock, great views, and a nice setting (way better than hanging out next to the road in CCC). Approach to many of the walls is a bit of a hike, and the altitude will be a bit rough coming from sea level, but worth it.

Patrik · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30

Depending on your temperature preference, both Clear Creek and Boulder Canyon are running east-west. If you like sun, climb on the north side of the creek, if you like shade, climb on the south. June is one of those months that many people can go either way. But as many has suggested, Devil's Head (granite) and Shelf (limestone) will probably be a better climbing experience. Also, both of these have good camping nearby, which CCC and BoCan do not.

A few have recommended Royal Flush. My "warning" is to please read all the MP comments for this particular "route" before expecting a 5* glorious 16-pitch line. I would group it more into "non-climbing activities" as more than 90% of this line is scrambling/hiking.

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

Ah, I see you too are familiar with climbing aound Reimers (my original home crag). Shelf will be a lot nicer, even in June. More textured, though sometimes just as worn for mid-10s and below.

Drinking -
Victor's recommendation are a good start. Don't expect the beer to be ridiculously better. Instead, expect a much, much greater variety of the same caliber as 512, St Arnold, Deep Ellum, etc. Los Luces features absolutely delicious Mesoamerican corn-based beverages. Lots of delicious distilleries/tasting rooms to pick from.

Dining -
Might be best to PM about restaurants, as recommendations will be heavily dependent on any dietary restrictions and your food scene back home. The food scene closes the gap with bigger cities every year. City O City is easily on par with what Veggie Heaven used to be. El Chingon is just about on par with Hugo's on Westheimer. The ice cream game is way better here than anywhere I lived in TX, tacos are a draw, and we have enough Texpats now that the bbq scene is getting pretty good.

Ethic -
Not any different than Reimers: always TR off your own gear on sport routes, then last person cleans and lowers or raps based on anchor hardware..

Safety -
* When cleaning, make sure you know how to rap, how to lower, and how to decide which is appropriate based on the anchors you encounter. I have climbed lot of routes in Colorado that only have gear for rapping, even in CCC.
* Double check whether you need a stick clip, and whether the route is mixed gear and bolt for protection.
* For walls at elevation, be cautious of summertime thunderstorms after 1 or 2ish. Pretty much the same daily schedule as a lot of Texas, but more lightning risk.
* Expect to drink more water than you are used to unless you're used to West Texas/Far West Texas.
* Expect to feel thirsty more often due to elevation. Drinking more won't help you deal with lower oxygen concentration. It's a balance.
* Bring a 70m. Lot of older stuff is shorter, and plenty of new routes only need a 60, but you really do not want to be surprised.

Grades -
Take a day to adjust how you feel/assess grades. The altitude hits mot people from near sea level hard. The same grade often feels harder here, unless you have been working stuff like Pay at The Pump or routes in the Sex Cave. In compensation, oh man, you are going to use soooo much less chalk.

Hiking -
Def the Beaverbrook Chavez loop west of Denver. Sanitas and Lion's Lair in Boulder. Anything leaving South Mesa trailhead towards South Boulder Peak. Matthews/Winters Park near Red Rocks, and also Red Rocks. Lily Lake loop near Estes (but longer drive).

Climbing -
***** Confirm raptor closures! *****
***** Lots of construction, hav backup plans *****
* CCC - Canal Zone, High Wire/Left Wire, Capitalist - Fun routes. Canal Zone is probably best on Thurs, or go Fri if you do Playing Hooky on Thurs. Great shitshows available to watch on the weekend. Made In The Shade is one of the best 5.9s in the canyon.
* Boulder Canyon - Animal World and Avalon. Lots of fun routes, variety of grades. If you're bringing gear, possibly also the Riviera. A lot of the shady summer walls require tyrol to cross the creek.
* Shelf - Look up Menses, 2150, and Contest. At the grades you mentioned, avoid Cactus Cliffs, lots of soapy, worn down rock.
* Devil's Head - Absolutely recommended. Light hiking approaches through amazingly beautiful terrain. Massive number of routes. Closer to Denver than Shelf (and only slightly further than Denver to Boulder Canyon). The walls are generally a mix of rings to rap off of or hooks to lower through when cleaning.
* Upper Dream - Scramble approach/deproach. Ridiculously good rock.
* Freeway - free solo romp up Second Flatiron. Lots of people consider this a 4th class scramble, not a 5th class climb. Or you can place gear a you go for a super casual 800 ft. Fun no matter how you slice it.

Tony B · · Around Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 23,398

June 1 is a lot different than June 30.  So plan your lower elevation times at the front end of your trip and the higher elevation times at the end.
You can climb early in the day, regardless, but do expect it to get hot at places like Shelf.
There are always more routes and places to visit though.  In CO, there is climbing all year, within an hour or two of any given place.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Colorado
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