Avg: 3.5 from 602 votes
Trad, 5 pitches
|FA:||George Hurley and Bob Culp, 1965|
|Page Views:||48,214 total · 203/month|
|Shared By:||Michael Walker on Sep 2, 2001 · Updates|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC|
Eldorado Canyon SP is STRONGLY DISCOURAGING CLIMBING at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Climbing is NOT ADVISED. Social distancing is challenging in Eldorado Canyon SP with climbing. The park office is closed. Warnings (& possible evictions from the SP) may be issued for violations of the social distancing requirement for a minimum of 6 feet between people not in the same household. In addition, touching surfaces contacted by others, which occurs on climbing routes and between climbing partners sharing equipment & rope(s), is a risk.
Rescues related to this sport are highly technical, require a large number of rescue personnel and equipment, and they generally result in an ambulance ride to the hospital. Please respect the statewide state-at-home order.
Seasonal Raptor Closures
Check Park site for current closures:
For more information visit:
Double check prior to venturing there. Thanks!
Per Mike McHugh: Shirt Tail Peak is re-opened!
Per Mike McHugh
Park Resource Technician
Eldorado Canyon State Park
Shirt Tail closure is in effect as of today through July 15th, 2017.
Update: as of July 16, 2016, from Mike McHugh, the eaglet has fledged. The closure has been lifted.
Update: as of March 17, 2015, per Mike McHugh the raptor closure on Shirt Tail Peak has been lifted!
Update: as of February 2015, Colorado Parks & Wildlife announced that Eldorado Canyon State Park has closed Shirt Tail Peak to all uses, including rock climbing, through July 15 or until further notice, to protect nesting golden eagles.
Golden Eagles are protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under authority of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A conviction of nest disturbance can carry a fine up to $5,000 and 1 year imprisonment.
Due to the loose rocks on the belay ledges, it is NOT advisable to follow another party up Gambit - 120% vigilance is required at the belays, and most of the time you're lost in the views instead, but luckily, you should find Shirt Tail quiet; mostly due to the 45-minute hike. An early start is advisable in the summer as shade is provided all morning until the climber ventures out onto the southwest face. This face can be hot in the afternoon.
The following description breaks the climb into 5 pitches. It can be done by condensing P2 & P3, but by breaking them into two sections, the leader avoids some rope drag approaching the 5.8 roof and also enjoys at least one "normal" belay (read: slightly uncomfortable Serta-lounger-with-a-view on a carpet of pigeon shit). After all, the other three belays are roomy, comfortable, and relatively safe on good ledges. Pitches 4 and 5 combine nicely with a 60m rope.
Approach: follow the newly built (fall 2010) trail up Shirt Tail Peak until it ends at a nice, big, flat rock step.
P1. Start just to the right of the base of the Tiger Balm Arete (the blunt arete that narrows and finishes on the West of the summit) from near a large tree growing curiously "around" a bulge in the slab, following a large crack that gets thin, passing a small tree and entering a right-facing dihedral. Once at another small tree, jog up and left entering another short, right-facing dihedral. Fun liebacks gain the first big ledge. Belay by a big tree on this ledge.
P2. Follow the steep, tricky crack straight up from the ledge, mastering a slight overhang. Interesting climbing continues up steep terrain to a second overhang. Master this small roof, and set up a belay on the pigeon shelf, which actually provides a nice view of your second having fun in the crack below. If you plan to continue on (recommended), mind your rope drag with a long sling when protecting the traverse.
P3. From the pigeon shelf, traverse right and stem out across the void with a stunning move into the left-facing dihedral above. A great hand/fist crack follows, splitting the aesthetic dihedral. The crack arcs up and slightly left, ever steepening until it meets an overhang. Jam out the fun roof, and pull onto a roomy ledge with lots of loose rock. [addendum: if you place a #3 in the last ~20 section, there is a good chance that you'll lose it. Place a #2 instead or use a very long sling.]
P4. This pitch packs more punch than may be implied by the 5.7 rating it garners. This one is a classic. Improbably, you must first find a way up and right from the roomy belay, through a narrowing slot. A hanging slab with few holds and a half exposed pin forces climbers into the offwidth on the right. Clip the pin, go set up a nice #4 (I used a 3.8") in the back of the offwidth, reach back, and unclip the (mostly psychological) pin. I won't tell you the secret of the offwidth -- that's half the fun. Surmount the chockstone at the head of the slot, and you'll be standing on a ledge just below the Southwest Face. Now it's party time - step up right and out onto the face, following a right-angling, slightly overhanging hand crack over stupendous exposure with knockout jams...a real treat. Continue up the face until you see a made-to-order 2-foot ledge angling across the face. You get a choice of belays on the ledge, but the crown of the ledge, with two seats, made for airy position and a comfortable crib. You are belaying in space, the flat face dropping away below you. With a 60m rope, you can make it to the top if the drag isn't bad.
P5. Continue up the face on good cracks past blocky, seemingly sketchy rock that ends (thankfully!) right on the summit. Stay left near the top to avoid the worst of the loose rock. Bring your second up, watching to the south the busy Eldorado antics, the fascinating Flatirons to the north, or the Indian Peaks to the west; reveling in the solitude of the upper canyon.
Rap ~80' to a large ledge and find the next rap tree just a little further. Another ~80' rap to another tree. From there, a 60m rope just reaches a large ledge with easy climbing to the ground. If using a 50m, you can downclimb this last bit, but watch the rope ends!