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Avalon Rock Climbing 

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Location: 39.9987, -105.4124 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Steve "Crusher" Bartlett on Nov 30, 2001


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The tyrolean traverse across Boulder Creek. Gaely...

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  • Description 

    After climbing in Boulder for almost twenty years, it is great to be able to visit new crags just ten minutes away. Unlike some of the newly developed Boulder Canyon crags (one-visit-wonders like Bowling Alley or Cornerstone) I'm still psyched to return to Avalon after a handful of visits. Avalon is one of the many, mostly-bolted crags in the narrows of Boulder Canyon. The rock seems really nice, typical of the higher quality Boulder Canyon stuff, cleaner and more pleasant than the stuff on Vampire Rock, (maybe because of the sunnier aspect) and the crag, nestled in a steep west-facing gully, has less of the road noise/roadside-feel than many others. It is shady in the mornings, but expect some afternoon sun.

    Avalon is home to many moderate (5.8 to 5.10) sport routes, and has become popular in recent years. It can get busy on summer weekends.

    Most of the routes are fully bolted, but several require a few pieces of trad gear. Be sure to check the route description before you head up with just a rack of quickdraws. Bring a rack of nuts and cams to 2" if you're going to do any of the "mixed" routes; otherwise, 12 quickdraws are enough for the longest route. A few routes could use one or two longer runners to keep down rope drag. Bring a 60m rope; some of the routes require it to lower or rappel.

    Richard Rossiter's website, Boulder Climbs, has descriptions of most Avalon routes, as does Mark Rolofson's new guidebook "Boulder Canyon Sport & Adventure Climber's Guide Volume II: The Upper Canyon". Rossiter's current Boulder Canyon guidebook lists very few of the Avalon routes.

    The routes on Avalon lie on three tiers. The First Tier, closest to the creek, has a number of good routes: Mists of Avalon (10a), Iron Maiden (9+), Slayer (10b), and Marquis de Sade (10d) are popular.

    The Second Tier is home to most of the routes on Avalon. It is a complex area, and is split into several sub-areas: Tarot Wall has Lust (10c), The Tower (10a), and Wheel of Fortune (10a). The Three Dihedrals area has the ever-popular Dominator (10b). The Clipboard Area has The Clipboard (11b) and Stigmata (10a). The Middle Wall has Strange Science (11c), Free Fall (12a), and Incline Club (8). The Wall of the Dead has the fun Dead Can Dance (9).

    The Third Tier is the most remote and is visited by few climbers. Many routes up here have some moss and lichen, since the rock faces more to the north than down below, and the routes have seen little traffic. Come here to get away from the crowds. Visit the Wall of the Goddess for some trad crack-climbing practice. Climb on the remote Crack Land or Wall of the Dragon to experience "adventure sport climbing". Climb Ancient Light (10a) to Ancient Fright (10c) to Resurrection (9) to visit the true summit of Avalon, a magical place! The Art Of War (10c) is an excellent new sport route in Crack Land.

    In 2006, Richard Rossiter and Pebby Johns aded a number of new crack climbs in Crack Land; bring your trad rack and have some fun!

    Getting There 

    There are two places to park:

    • In a small paved pullout on the right side of the road, 8.2 miles up the canyon, just across from the crag. This is 0.1 miles past Practice Rock, just past a right-hand bend in the road. Cross the road and spot the talus field below Avalon.

    Warning: As of 6/20/07, this area has been posted as a no-parking zone. Evidently people are being ticketed for parking here. It's possible to park a bit downstream, just before the start of the no-parking zone. The no-parking sign is NOT visible at the usual parking pullout.

    • In a pullout on the left side of the road, 8.4 miles up the canyon, across from The Boulderado and Animal World. This is just past a concrete guard rail on the left. From here, walk 0.2 miles downstream, past Black Widow, Vampire Rock, and the Watermark, to the talus field below Avalon.

    Crossing the creek:

    • There is a tyrolean traverse (currently 3 ropes) below the talus field; use this if the water level is too high to wade.

    • If the water level is low enough, you can wade downstream of the talus field.

    • If the water level is really low, you can hop rocks to get across.

    Specific access directions for each tier will be listed in those sections.


    Please stay on trails when wandering about at this crag. The popularity of this crag has led to erosion of unforseen magnitude. Hard work on the part of concerned climbers has helped mitigate this. Thanks!

    Climbing Season

    Weather station 4.8 miles from here

    83 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',15],['2 Stars',50],['1 Star',16],['Bomb',1]

    Classic Climbing Routes in Avalon

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Avalon:
    Incline Club   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Second Tier : Middle Wall
    Iron Maiden   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   First Tier
    Sword In The Stone   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   First Tier
    Dead Can Dance   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Second Tier : Wall of the Dead
    Stigmata   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Second Tier : Clipboard Area
    The Tower   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Second Tier : Tarot Wall
    Mists of Avalon   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   First Tier
    Slayer   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   First Tier
    Dead Again   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Second Tier : Wall of the Dead
    Marquis de Sade   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   First Tier
    Dominator   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Second Tier : Three Dihedrals
    Lust   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Second Tier : Tarot Wall
    Supernatural   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Second Tier : Middle Wall
    Body Count   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   First Tier
    The Clipboard   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Second Tier : Clipboard Area
    The Devil   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Second Tier : Tarot Wall
    Strange Science   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Second Tier : Middle Wall
    Chairman of the Board   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Second Tier : Clipboard Area
    Free Fall   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Second Tier : Middle Wall
    Ripcord   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Second Tier : Middle Wall
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Avalon

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    Fapanese Direct 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b  Colorado : Boulder Canyon : ... : Tarot Wall
    This route was up in in autumn 2007 up the roof-to-headwall right of Earth Angel, on the Tarot Wall. It climbs out the body-length roof via a sort of inset corner before railing left along the lip to head up incipient cracks on the headwall.Someone had drilled holes for anchor bolts at the top, but didn't put the bolts in, so we used those. The roof is the business, but the headwall is pumper than it looks -- very sustained for Boulder Canyon and a top-quality line......[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

    Photos of Avalon Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Avalon, showing most of the major features.  Note:...
    BETA PHOTO: Avalon, showing most of the major features. Note:...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Youngest crossing?
    Youngest crossing?
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tyrolean crossing.
    Tyrolean crossing.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Avalon Upper Wall Routes.  Photo taken from Upper ...
    BETA PHOTO: Avalon Upper Wall Routes. Photo taken from Upper ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The First Tier and Tarot Wall areas of Avalon.
    BETA PHOTO: The First Tier and Tarot Wall areas of Avalon.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Area as seen by the road.
    Area as seen by the road.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Adam Miller, first approach in Colorado soon follo...
    Adam Miller, first approach in Colorado soon follo...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Peter Spindloe crosses the Tyrolean traverse to re...
    Peter Spindloe crosses the Tyrolean traverse to re...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Where did all those routes come from? As everyone ...
    BETA PHOTO: Where did all those routes come from? As everyone ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Crossing the Avalon Tyrolean on July 23rd, 2006.
    Crossing the Avalon Tyrolean on July 23rd, 2006.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Crack Land as viewed from the trail that runs alon...
    BETA PHOTO: Crack Land as viewed from the trail that runs alon...

    Comments on Avalon Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 9, 2017
    By ?????
    Jul 9, 2004
    Some alternate directions for those in need...

    From Boulder access Avalon just past Boulder Falls. Guardrail at Boulder Falls ends, then another starts in about _ mile. There is a parking area at the end of that guardrail on the left. Park there and hike back down on the creek side of the guardrail. If you look toward the creek, you'll see several ropes crossing a significant rapid about 20 feet over the creek. That's not it. Keep going till you see a green rope close to the creek in a bushy slow moving section a little way farther. Wade across the creek there. Head straight up through the trees veering left as you go up. You should be able to make out a trail. You'll come to some rocks with some bolted routes. That's Watermark. Turn left (downhill) and wind around the underside of Watermark veering right. Pass a big tree and enter a boulder field. Head straight up that. This is Avalon. The First Tier is directly to your left as you head up. The Second Tier is just beyond the top of the boulder field.
    By Bruce Pech
    Jul 16, 2004
    There's a new Tyrolean directly below the talus gully on the upstream edge of Avalon (the most direct approach to the Lower Tier, Tarot Wall, Clipboard, Middle Wall, etc.) Today, thanks to TB's rigging skills, the old, trashed ropes in the Tyrolean below Solaris were replaced for safer access to Solaris, Avalon (via the trail from Solaris to the Tarot Wall), and the south side of Bell Buttress.
    By TBlom
    Jul 22, 2004
    Bruce Pech and I replaced the rotting tyrolean traverse at Avalon last week. The new version is very simple, two strands cross the creek, both strands are tied with figure eight knots at both ends to two separate bolts on each side (four total). The two lines are kept together by an overhand knot on the road side, this side has very little extra rope involved. The other side of the creek (cliff side)has more rope involved,in a series of fisherman's knots. As this line is used and abused, left out in the sun and rain and snow... The line will eventually sag. If you must tighten the line or jury-rig something to make things work, it should be easiest from the cliff side. We used two ascenders, rigged a z-pulley setup, tensioned the #@%& out of both lines and tied them off directly to the links on the bolts. Good Luck.

    P.S. The water is low enough that it is pretty easy to cross. Take your chances.
    By Richard Rossiter
    Sep 16, 2005
    SAFETY NOTE. As of 15 September 2005 myself and Joan Johns have been clearing some very large loose blocks from the Northeast Face of the Third Tier of Avalon. This was essential and has gone quite well. However, if you plan to climb routes such as, Ancient Fright or Ancient Light bring a small broom to clean off the holds. A great deal of dirt and rock fragments were deposited on the holds and ledges of these routes. Routes farther to the west such as Mystery Ship, Charon's Boat and Dragon Slayer should not have been affected.
    By Mike Stein
    From: Denver, CO
    Jul 28, 2006
    How good is the tyrolean here? And does anyone know if it is a rope or steel cable? Or is it possible right now to just wade it? Thanks!
    By Ron Olsen
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 28, 2006
    The Avalon tyrolean is three ropes attached to two huge boulders. Getting off at the far end is easy; coming back is a little harder, but still far easier than the Cob Rock tyrolean.

    I haven't been up there in a while, so I don't know if the water is low enough to wade. The usual wading spot is about 100' downstream from the tyrolean, just left of a steep rock wall on the far side.
    By Ron Olsen
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 21, 2007
    On Wednesday 6/20/07, Bruno Haché, Matt Gates and I upgraded the Avalon tyrolean. The following work was done:

    • Installed a second bolt, hanger, 1/2" quick-link, and chain to anchor the tyrolean on the road side.
    • Replaced the old carabiners with 1/2" quick-links on the road side.
    • Replaced all the ropes. Two of the three strands are brand-new 11mm rope.

    Thanks to Kevin Currigan for donating the new rope, and to Bruno Haché for donating the hardware, and for his technical skill in setting up the tyrolean.
    By Pebby Johns
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Jul 3, 2007
    Many thanks for the beautiful work done on the tyrolean at Avalon. Thank you Ron, Bruno and Matt. The job was well planned out and the "ride" feels very safe. The addition of the new rope is awesome. Thank you again for a job well done.
    Pebby Johns
    By Andrew Shoemaker
    From: Olympia, WA
    Jun 21, 2011
    Does anyone know what the 2 bolt route is on the large boulder right off the trail to second tier and maybe 100 yds down from middle wall? It's just one route with 2 bolts!!?
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Jun 21, 2011
    I believe you may be speaking of this:
    By Andrew Shoemaker
    From: Olympia, WA
    Jun 23, 2011
    Thanks Tony! That is exactly what I was talking about. Worth doing? I kind of want to hop on it just b/c it's bizarre to me...doesn't seem like it should even be a bolted line...with enough pads and spotters it could go as a highball. But it'd be cool/funny to do a 2 bolt .11d.
    By Bruno D
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 7, 2011
    Someone left some climbing shoes on the roadside of the tyrolean...give me a call if they are yours...9732550862.
    By Austin Stephens
    May 1, 2012
    Found: A belay device at Avalon today. Let me know what kind of belay device it is, its color, and where you left it, and we can work out getting it back to you. Thanks. 714.403.5355
    By kevin murphy
    From: Lafayette, Colorado
    Sep 2, 2012
    Ben going up there today, I'll let you know if I find them.
    By Smalltoes
    May 20, 2013
    Found guidebook by the Wall of The Dead. You/your lady friend left a guidebook by Incline Club and went on to bail off of Strange Science. PM me with what you were wearing when you left it.
    By Travis Provin
    From: Boulder CO
    Jul 16, 2016
    Fun area, avoid the weekends unless you like lines, hammocks, music, dogs, and shirtless sport climbers.
    By Mark E Dixon
    From: Sprezzatura, Someday
    Jun 9, 2017
    If you park at the pullout on the south side of the road across from the Boulderado, walk downstream past the first tyrolean.

    I've been at Vampire twice in the last month, and 3 parties have arrived thinking they were at Avalon.

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