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Boulder Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 40.01788, -105.27998 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 3,231,024
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: John McNamee on Feb 28, 2006  with updates from Carl Schaefer


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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


Boulder is a small city of approximately 100,000, 40 minutes northwest of Denver, blessed with an amazing amount of rocks with decent variety of rock type for cragging minutes from downtown. Tucked at the base of the The Flatirons this picturesque community is convenient for climbers and has attracted more than its share of our vertically oriented community. Its youthful presence of students at the University of Colorado, CU attracts a better than average selection of restaurants and shops to satisfy your non-climbing needs.

For rock type, you can find granite, solid Fountain Formation sandstone, Dakota sandstone, quartzite, and even some gneiss or schist for your vertical adventures. A bit further afield you can find basalt, conglomerate, even limestone. For climbing styles, you can find routes from boulder problems to 700 foot vertical crags to 2300 foot slabbing adventures from highballs to bolted sport climbs to mind-challenging traditional lines. You can even climb in the rain. You can play on crowded rock or find nearly untraveled stone. You can even seek out occasional ice or mixed climbs. For seasons, you can find something to climb virtually any day of the year, depending upon your climbing style or tolerances to weather.

At one point in history, some might argue that the rocks around this town were a focal point for the advancement of American climbing. Still, these crags are rich with history. Today, with perhaps the exception of the high-end climber, nearly every climber can find something nearby to satisfy their climbing desires.

Areas nearby include:

Eldorado Canyon State Park
As one of the world's finest and most famous climbing areas, Eldorado Canyon needs little introduction. It consists of steep, beautiful Fountain Formation sandstone walls of up to 700 feet high, in brilliant shades of gold and red. The rock quality is reminiscent of granite rather than the soft sandstone found throughout much of Utah and Arizona.

The Flatirons
The Flatirons are synonymous with Boulder and the history of rock climbing in North America. It would be hard to find another location in the country where such an extensive variety, from scrambling to hard "Head Point" routes existing so close to a city.

Boulder Canyon
Minutes from downtown Boulder, a wide variety of climbing types and beautiful scenery make Boulder Canyon a favorite for many locals to climb. The rock type is granite, smooth in places but for the most part highly textured. A side canyon, Dream Canyon, has gained populariy.

Flagstaff Mt
A popular and well-known bouldering area. Follow Baseline Rd. W into the hills. Note, parking may cost if you don't have Boulder County plates.

There are many nearby areas to climb including: Mickey Mouse Wall, Eldorado Mt, Coal Creek Canyon. Further afield are areas to climb including crags surrounding Lyons, Golden, Denver, Castlewood Canyon SP, Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Cedar Park, Empire, Idaho Springs, and Georgetown. So much to climb, so much to enjoy. Maybe, that's why so many climbers live nearby.


Climbing gear:
Neptune Mountaineering (Table Mesa Shopping Center). Oldest climbing shop in Boulder. Great selection of gear and a knowledgeable staff. Thursday night slide shows, often with world-famous climbers. Check out their climbing museum: photos and climbing memorabilia from all over the world, including Edmund Hillary's boots, and a photo of Gaston Rebuffat running it out with just a hemp rope tied around his waist!

The Boulder Adventure Lodge (A-Lodge for short) is only 5 minutes up Boulder Canyon from downtown Pearl Street. Strategically located for adventure enthusiasts, the A-Lodge provides easy access to Boulder's climbing, biking, fishing, hiking and trail running. The A-lodge includes an onsite slackline park, outdoor fire pits, two hot tubs, private rooms & suites, a hostel room, and even some camping options.

Southern Sun (Table Mesa shopping center on Broadway just south of Table Mesa; next to Neptune Mountaineering). Best place in town for locally-brewed beer. Happy Hour from 4-6pm with $2 pints. Good burgers, burritos, wraps and daily specials. Favorite hangout for climbers after a day in Eldorado. Can get very busy and loud! Sister site to the Mountain Sun (Pearl St. between 15th & 16th). Mountain Sun and Southern Sun

Rio's (Walnut & 11th). Mexican food and margaritas; another favorite climber hangout.

After climbing in the Flatirons, try the Dark Horse. Not bad for brews and pub food and just a mile or two from Chautauqua E on Baseline. Pitchers are about $10 and less for happy hour, when appetizers are 1/2 price as well. Best buffalo wings in Boulder. A Big burger + basket of fries is $4 for Burger Madness every other night.

After climbing in Boulder Canyon, come down a few miles to Walnut Street and eat at the Walnut Street Brewery. The menu is more upscale ($9-15), the food great, and the beer just as good. Tuesday is Pint-Night- $4 for the first one, $2 for refills, and you keep the pint logo glass.

For the slightly-more-adventuresome palates, consider Ras Kasas - Ethiopian (new location), Tandoori Grill (near Neptune's), Mataam Fez - Moroccan (unfortunately, it closed), Khow Tahi Cafe - Thai (1600 Broadway), Sushi Tora (2014 10th), Red Lion (unfortunately, it closed), Narayan's - Nepali (unfortunately, it closed), or Wahoo's Fish Taco (2790 Pearl).

Liquor Mart (Canyon & 15th): great selection of beer and wine. Often they have good stuff (microbrews) on sale. Also, one user suggests Hazel's at 28th & Walnut for beer.


You can look at the NOAA website for some more info.

Getting There 

By Air - you can fly into Denver International Airport (DIA) which lies probably 1 1/4 hours time from Boulder. You can fly into Jefferson County Airport (private and small planes) which lies probably 15 minutes SE of Boulder.

By Car - this small community of climber-overrepresentation lies approximately 40 minutes NW of Denver on US 36. From the S, you can access it via CO Hwy 93 (aka Broadway in Boulder). From the E, you can access it off CO Hwy 119. From the N, you can access it via US 36. From the W, you can access it from CO Hwy 119 or use other possibly more circuitous routes.

Climbing Season

Weather station 0.7 miles from here

4,499 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',257],['3 Stars',1196],['2 Stars',1883],['1 Star',1049],['Bomb',79]

Classic Climbing Routes in Boulder

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Boulder:
Freeway   5.0 2- 4 I 6 MM 1c     Trad, 6 pitches   North : Second Flatiron
East Face (Standard)   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 8 pitches   North : Third Flatiron
Calypso   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 3 pitches   The Wind Tower : Wind Tower - SW Face
Direct Route   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, 10 pitches   North : First Flatiron
Rewritten   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 6 pitches   Redgarden Wall : Redgarden - Lumpe to the to...
The Bastille Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 5 pitches, 350'   The Bastille : The Bastille - N Face
Gambit   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches   Eldorado Canyon SP : Shirt Tail Peak
Ruper   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 6 pitches   Redgarden Wall : Redgarden - Tower One
The Yellow Spur   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 6 pitches   Redgarden Wall : Redgarden - Tower One
Rosy Crucifixion   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 3 pitches   Redgarden Wall : Redgarden - Tower Two
Outer Space   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R     Trad, 2 pitches   The Bastille : The Bastille - N Face
Super Slab   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 4 pitches   Redgarden Wall : Redgarden - Tower One
Death and Transfiguration   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   North : Green Mountain Pinnacle
Vertigo   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches   Redgarden Wall : Redgarden - Tower One
The Naked Edge   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 6 pitches, 460'   Redgarden Wall : Redgarden - Tower Two
Country Club Crack   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 2 pitches   Boulder Canyon : Castle Rock
Archangel   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 2 pitches, 100'   Upper Dream Canyon : Lost Angel
$00pr kr33m   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   South : The Slab
Milk Bone   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Central : Dinosaur Rock
Ultrasaurus (aka Uber-Pwnage)   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   Central : Dinosaur Rock
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Boulder

Featured Route For Boulder
Rock Climbing Photo: Tim Fleming, 2nd Flatiron

The Gutter V7 7A+  Colorado : Flatirons : ... : Second Flatiron
The Gutter is a fine alternative to the Ghetto during the seasonal raptor closure which runs from February 1 through July 31 each year. While not as big or inspiring a bouldering slot, it's a handy place to get a pump, and can be combined with the Satellite Boulders, the Yarbles or the Compound to yield a nice circuit.The Gutter sits directly below and east of the large overhang on the very left (south) side of the Second Flatiron. Approach via the Third Flatiron trail, but once at the Satellite...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Boulder Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Nuff said.
BETA PHOTO: Nuff said.
Rock Climbing Photo: Flatirons behind Boulder.
Flatirons behind Boulder.
Rock Climbing Photo: Boulder....
Rock Climbing Photo: View of Boulder from the South. Photo: Dave Fioruc...
View of Boulder from the South. Photo: Dave Fioruc...
Rock Climbing Photo: Moon setting behind the first Flatiron.  Photo: Da...
Moon setting behind the first Flatiron. Photo: Da...
Rock Climbing Photo: Keepin' it friendly in Boulder (tobacco of course)...
Keepin' it friendly in Boulder (tobacco of course)...
Rock Climbing Photo: Wavy Gravy Boulder, Boulder Milks, Walker Ranch.
Wavy Gravy Boulder, Boulder Milks, Walker Ranch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Milkyway Block, Boulder Milks, Walker Ranch.
Milkyway Block, Boulder Milks, Walker Ranch.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Boulder Milks of Walker Ranch from the trailwa...
The Boulder Milks of Walker Ranch from the trailwa...
Rock Climbing Photo: Try Avery Eighteen. Great beer brewed in Boulder.
Try Avery Eighteen. Great beer brewed in Boulder.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Flatirons in Fall Photo: Chris Hawkey
The Flatirons in Fall Photo: Chris Hawkey
Rock Climbing Photo: Layton Kor comes back to Boulder and has a beer at...
Layton Kor comes back to Boulder and has a beer at...
Rock Climbing Photo: High Drifter, V5/6.
High Drifter, V5/6.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Audobon behind Sugarloaf
Mt. Audobon behind Sugarloaf
Rock Climbing Photo: The top-out isn't that sketchy anymore.
The top-out isn't that sketchy anymore.
Rock Climbing Photo: Backcountry camping on FS land near Sugarloaf Moun...
Backcountry camping on FS land near Sugarloaf Moun...
Rock Climbing Photo: Boulder sunset.
Boulder sunset.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset over Bear Mountain.  Photo: Dave Fiorucci
Sunset over Bear Mountain. Photo: Dave Fiorucci
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan's Rock, Boulder Milks, Walker Ranch.
Ryan's Rock, Boulder Milks, Walker Ranch.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Milk Dud of Walker Ranch, Boulder Milks.
The Milk Dud of Walker Ranch, Boulder Milks.
Rock Climbing Photo: The classic Ranch Wall, Boulder Milks, Walker Ranc...
The classic Ranch Wall, Boulder Milks, Walker Ranc...
Rock Climbing Photo: Boulder on the 4th.
Boulder on the 4th.
Rock Climbing Photo: Flatirons and such.
Flatirons and such.
Rock Climbing Photo: Liquor Mart for all your liquor needs. They delive...
Liquor Mart for all your liquor needs. They delive...

Show All 29 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Boulder Add Comment
Show which comments
By Pinklebear
Jan 17, 2013

Bouldering: Flagstaff on winter afternoons.
Sport/Trad: Blob Rock until it closes (February 1).
Sport: Sport Park (if the wind's not blowing), Coney Island, Bihedral, Riviera, Plotinus Wall (access is tricky).
Trad: Eldo, West Ridge, and Rincon.

All are pretty sunny and either south- or west-facing. Enjoy!
By Forrest Wilcox
From: Las Cruces, NM
May 29, 2013
I need climbing partners in Boulder from May 30th, 2013 for two weeks, I'll lead or belay whatever, text me at 575 993 9433 or message me.
By Russ Keane
Oct 29, 2014
Such a great, great city. Ridiculous amount of climbing and beauty.
By Grey Satterfield
From: Broomfield
Feb 11, 2015
I'd like to climb in Boulder the first week of April this year. I was wondering if anyone could give me any info, if any of the popular areas would still be covered in snow. Thanks
By Jay Eggleston
From: Denver
Feb 11, 2015
The popular areas are not covered in snow right now, but they may be in April. The snow only takes a day or two to melt. We have lots of sunshine here. I rock climb year round outdoors in CO, but it may snow when you are here.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 13, 2015
I was trad climbing before work at sunrise this AM. That's less usual (32 deg, but sunny, and the rock was warm) but still possible much of the time.
Barring a freak storm, April is prone climbing weather at the lower altitude crags.
RMNP peak crags will be wet or snow-locked. Eldo will be good, Table will be good, much of the South Platte will be good in some areas (facing South). Bocan will be a crap-shoot depending on rain/snow/temps that set of days on the higher crags, but HIGHLY LIKELY good.
By reese lieberman
Mar 30, 2017
I'm going to be in Boulder next week visiting my brother. I'm about an 11c sport climber whose led on trad like 4 times (10b was hardest). Leave a comment if you want to climb sport or trad.

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