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Carter Lake

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2 X 4 Boulder 
Big Block 
Book Boulder 
Bridge aka Cave Rock, The 
Burnt Orange Boulder, The 
Call it Crock Rock 
Chain Rock 
Classic Rock 
Crap Traverse 
Crayola Rock 
Dead Trees Rock 
Doughboy Boulder 
Entrance Overhang 
Extension Boulder 
Flip the Bird Slab 
Fromunda Boulder 
Giant Pebble Boulder 
Kahuna Boulder 
Little Boulder 
Little Debbie's Boulder 
Lone Star Boulder 
Mars Boulder 
Mighty Wall 
Monster Block 
Pocket Wall 
Prow Rock 
Real Pocket Wall, The 
Scenic Rock 
Scenic Sentinel 
Short Bus, The 
Skunk Rub Boulder 
Spaceship, The 
Spice Roof, The 
Split Boulder 

Carter Lake Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,960'
Location: 40.32032, -105.2139 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 79,705
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Michael Komarnitsky on Jan 1, 2001
This Afternoon

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53° | 32°

63° | 38°

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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [4 people like this page.]
Afternoon session January 26th, 2008.


A beautiful place to boulder, and a good variety of problems litter this area. All problems are found on the mile long east bank of Carter Lake. Most are slightly higher and away from the bank, with on exeption being Big Kahuna Roof, which one writer described as "Colorado's Best V5." Being close to shore, it actually lies underwater during part of the year.

The rock type feels more gentle to the fingers than Flagstaff, and there's a refreshingly nice variation of moderate lines. Landings are more in the ankle-injuring genre, given the somewhat higher elevation of the problems, but not death-like.

Steve Mammen deserves the credit for developing most of the problems in this area. We welcome more thorough commentary on this area, as we have only rarely visited it; though we do plan on journeying more up there in the future.

Getting There 

It is about a 45 minute drive from Boulder. From Boulder, take CO 119 (Diagonal Highway) north into longmont until it terminates at 287. Go north on CO Hwy 287 approximately 11 miles, where the road takes a blantantly obvious, 90 degree, banked, arcing, right turn, with a gas station on the west side of the road. There are signs at this point for Carter Lake. Instead of entering the turn, go straight ahead, and then take a left on 56 (the road right behind the gas station). Follow for about 3.1 miles, and then take a left. Follow for another 3 miles, and enter the park. You have to pay $6 for a day pass here. Follow the road to a junction with a sign that notes that continuation goes to the south side of the resivoir, and to take a right means to go to the boat launch.

Going straight, the road arcs up and right 200 yards further, and the lake is basically in site. There is a pull off for a dirt parking lot on the right side, but it kind of comes up as a surprise. Park here, and take the Fawn Hollow Trail north, staying on the ridge line or below, towards the lake.

Going right from that junction, you park at the parking available, and walk south to access the boulders around the lake.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.6 miles from here

125 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',37],['2 Stars',58],['1 Star',23],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Carter Lake

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Carter Lake:
Cave Route aka Cavus Maximus   V1-2 5     Boulder   Chain Rock
The Seam   V2 5+     Boulder   The Spice Roof
Standard Route   V3 6A     Boulder   Scenic Rock
North Seam   V3 6A     Boulder   Pocket Wall
West Face [Extension Boulder]   V3 6A     Boulder   Extension Boulder
Beach Crack   V3 6A     Boulder   Kahuna Boulder
Sit Down, Big Roof   V3+ 6A+     Boulder, 10'   Big Block
Rocky Top   V4 6B     Boulder   Extension Boulder
Squeeze Job   V4 6B     Boulder   Little Debbie's Boulder
South Line   V4 6B     Boulder   Scenic Rock
Skunk Rub   V4+ 6B+     Boulder, 12'   Skunk Rub Boulder
Flaky Pull Roof   V5 6C     Boulder, 10'   Dead Trees Rock
Beached Whale   V5 6C     Boulder, 10'   Kahuna Boulder
Sloper Chief   V5 6C     Boulder   Little Debbie's Boulder
Kahuna Roof   V5-6 6C+     Boulder   Kahuna Boulder
Sunshine   V6 7A     Boulder   Extension Boulder
Days of Whining Posers   V6 7A     Boulder, 20'   Monster Block
Doughboy   V7 7A+     Boulder, 20'   Doughboy Boulder
Sargent Woody's   V7-8 7B     Boulder   Extension Boulder
Dynoman   V8 7B     Boulder, 10'   Little Debbie's Boulder
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Carter Lake

Featured Route For Carter Lake
Rock Climbing Photo: Ian cruises up West Face with full support from hi...

West Face [Extension Boulder] V3 6A  Colorado : Fort Collins : ... : Extension Boulder
Classic highball up the center of the West face. Several starts exist to gain pebbly holds in a seam above head height in the middle of the face. Above this you'll find two of the most amazing big pockets ever. Two options from here: 1) use very small intermediate two finger pocket and/or edges to reach the big key right hand layback several feet above, or 2) make a big throw from the big pockets straight up to the layback. Now the really scary part, holding it together through more layback m...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Carter Lake Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Carter Lake.
Carter Lake.
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview of south area with approximate locations ...
BETA PHOTO: Overview of south area with approximate locations ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Left Roof band.
Left Roof band.
Rock Climbing Photo: The North Guard Tower as seen from the top of the ...
The North Guard Tower as seen from the top of the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Stan Zborovski.
Stan Zborovski.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mark Busch and Carter Lake.
Mark Busch and Carter Lake.
Rock Climbing Photo: Larissa Hillukka bouldering near Carter Lake.
Larissa Hillukka bouldering near Carter Lake.
Rock Climbing Photo: Secret stash. 5.11b fingers crack. Yes this is Car...
Secret stash. 5.11b fingers crack. Yes this is Car...
Rock Climbing Photo: Definitely a scenic area.
Definitely a scenic area.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bouldering at Carter Lake.
Bouldering at Carter Lake.
Rock Climbing Photo: Good spot to tie up the dog by chain rock.
Good spot to tie up the dog by chain rock.
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo: Dave Fiorucci.
Photo: Dave Fiorucci.
Rock Climbing Photo:

Comments on Carter Lake Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 29, 2017
By Aaron Shupp
Feb 4, 2002
Although popular among boaters, this is a good place to escape the crowds of Morrison and Flagstaff. In the summertime, don't forget your SCUBA gear; the lake bottom is full of treasure (as well as muck and garbage).
By Stephen Allen
Apr 15, 2002
A great place to climb, one of the few places you can get on the rock several times a week before work and still make it in before the boss. From Loveland it is only a 15 min drive.
By David Neckels
Apr 23, 2002
Saw a big arse snake, about bit me. Watch out.
By Brian T. Wandzilak
Dec 10, 2002
Does anyone remember the issue # of the R&I that had a miniguide for Carter Lake? Thanks for your help.
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 14, 2003
I [don't] know about a R&I issue, but there is an article on Carter Lake in an old Climbing mag (ca.2 yrs ago). Cover says: "Escape from Kyrzigstan!" or whatever.
By Jake Wyatt
From: Longmont, CO
Apr 15, 2003
It's Climbing issue #199.
By Anonymous Coward
May 22, 2003
There's lion (mountain) and bears up there @ Pinewood. I had a way too close encounter with a bear night fishing. The same night 2 mountain lions were roaming the area. Put your food away @ night and your fish. Have to be anon for now until tomorrow.
By Stephen Allen
May 23, 2003
Tried lots of other places, as far as mummy pass even, this is still the best place when time is short and energy high, other than the fee (buy a season pass), this is one of the greatest bouldering areas around, especially with Horsetooth messed up by construction.
By D@n Morta
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 1, 2005
Check out the boulder 15' north of the Kahuna boulder. It has recently tipped onto its side revealing at least four new problems. The NE arete is stunning with slopers, pinches, and a high (20') finish on perfect stone.
By Andrew Vojslavek
Jul 5, 2006
FYI, it's $7 on weekends and Holidays. Just a heads up.
By Kris Moulton
From: Bishop, CA
Mar 2, 2008
Fee for the reservoir is $7 a day now, and it's good till the next day at noon.
By cstorms
From: North Bend, OR
Mar 14, 2008
Does anyone know if the construction has stopped by the main parking lot?
By Buster Jesik
From: Allenspark, CO
May 17, 2008
The dirt lot above the bridge area is still filled with construction equipment.
By Andrew Ryder
From: Arizony
Jul 4, 2008
The North Fawn Hollow trailhead (Dam 1 parking) is open again. It still looks a bit like a construction area, but the trail sign is up again and a park officer confirmed it was legal to park there.
By cstorms
From: North Bend, OR
Jul 27, 2008
Can you climb below the construction line now? ...I'd like to head up there and climb the Kahuna Roof Boulder, last time I was there it was unaccessible.
By Joshua Merriam
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 22, 2008
Parking next to the dam was a go yesterday. Although half the parking lot was off limits by concrete barriers.

The water level was pretty low, exposing an excellent quality rock with many awesome V3-V8 problems one after the other. It's another 100ft lower on the shoreline than Kahuna.
By Andrew Ryder
From: Arizony
Dec 18, 2008
Cstorms, all boulders should be accessible if you park at the south lot (or walk over the ridge from the north lot and then drop down), don't cut past the dam.
By Matt Battaglia
Sep 25, 2009
Anyone know what's up with the new semi-steep boulder under the Kahuna Roof? There's chalk on two sweet lines, one is around V5/6 with cool sloppers and another warm up sort of thing. I did some V5/6ish sort of thing last night that started matched in underclings and went staight up, was super cool. What boulder is this? Is it new terrain with the new water level?
By Brett Billings
From: Fort Collins, CO
Sep 26, 2009
I believe you're referring to the Submarine Boulder, which is down and a little further south of the Kahuna Boulder. Although it's not out of the water all of the time, it's definitely been climbed. The problems are on the side that faces the water. There's a V1 called "Up Periscope" but that's the only one I know a name for. Further south from there is Shoreline Block which also has some problems.
By Matt Pufnock
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 29, 2011
Anyone know which boulder is uphill from Fromunda and just to the right of the Real Pocket Wall. Very obvious pocketed roof problem out the middle. Great line, probably one of the best moderates at Carter.
By Ross Swanson
From: Pinewood Springs
Aug 29, 2017
Getting there is simple:

  • North on US 287 to Berthoud.
  • Take a left (west) on Mountain Ave (West Co Rd 8)
  • Co Rd 8 makes a right and becomes 23, After a total of 3 miles, take a left (West) on Co Rd 8e, Carter Lake is about 4 miles.

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