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East Animas

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East Animas Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 6,593'
Location: 37.3183, -107.836 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 88,390
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: e Dixon on Apr 28, 2006

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Top of Kong route on the Watch Crystal.


East Animas (East A) is located just outside town and is the local trad climbing hangout. There are many fine bolted climbs, but many of these require some gear. The rock is Sandstone of varying quality. The routes are one or two pitches in length and range in difficulty from 5.6 to 5.13. There are several area classics on the Watch Crystal, which is one of the best pieces of stone in the Durango area. There are many other scattered gems, plenty of adventure, some loose rock, good old-fashion sandbags, and overall good fun to be had!

East A is east facing and the cliff is shady in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. Typically the best seasons are spring and fall. Summer mornings and winter afternoons can also be pleasant.

Getting There 

The area is located on the east side of the Animas Valley. You can see the rock when driving north out of town. Take County Road 250 north from Durango for almost a couple of miles and locate a dirt parking lot on the east side of the road. It is just past an old barn. There is a sign for East Animas Climbing in the parking lot. The surrounding land is private, so respect the locals! The approach trail leads to the Watch Crystal.

Google Earth of the East Animas crags.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.5 miles from here

117 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',9],['3 Stars',57],['2 Stars',37],['1 Star',13],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in East Animas

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for East Animas:
Yellow Pages   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Watch Crystal
Bush & Dirt Crack aka Pseudo-Cenotaph aka I Need a Shower   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 100'   Jabba Buttress
Byrd's Classic   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches   Byrd's
Apple Cider   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   Apple Cider
Simians to the Sun   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 250'   Watch Crystal
Texas Sucks   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Apple Cider
Pale Skinned Nebraskan (submitted as (Enter) Sandman)   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Jabba Buttress
Push-Me-Pull-You   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Watch Crystal
Double Exposure   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Watch Crystal
Apes of Wrath   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 2 pitches, 250'   Watch Crystal
Durangutan   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 200'   Watch Crystal
Watch Crystal Crack   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Watch Crystal
Crime & Punishment   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 150'   Watch Crystal
The Slaves   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Apple Cider
Evolution   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Watch Crystal
Punta Magna   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 100'   Apple Cider
Jailhouse Monkey (on dope)   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 250'   Watch Crystal
Barney's Crack   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch   Bedrock
Stargazer   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Stargazer
Valhalla   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 70'   Apple Cider
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in East Animas

Featured Route For East Animas
Rock Climbing Photo: Aid soloing Watch Crystal Crack.

Watch Crystal Crack 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b  Colorado : Durango : ... : Watch Crystal
Climb the same start as Simians to the Sun, avoid the belay ledge and then bust up the crack to a two bolt achor....[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of East Animas Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A damn fine view.
A damn fine view.
Rock Climbing Photo: Another beautiful night for a de-proach.
Another beautiful night for a de-proach.
Rock Climbing Photo: December 7th, 2012.  -NO- snow and t-shirt craggin...
December 7th, 2012. -NO- snow and t-shirt craggin...
Rock Climbing Photo: Watch Crystal Face @ East Animas.
Watch Crystal Face @ East Animas.
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Best sunset venue in Durango in my opinion....
Best sunset venue in Durango in my opinion....
Rock Climbing Photo: Google Earth of the East Animas crags. The approac...
BETA PHOTO: Google Earth of the East Animas crags. The approac...
Rock Climbing Photo: Meandering....
Rock Climbing Photo: Find yer own sequence.
Find yer own sequence.
Rock Climbing Photo: Go East A!
Go East A!
Rock Climbing Photo: The Watch Crystal wall.
The Watch Crystal wall.
Rock Climbing Photo: Texas sucks.
Texas sucks.
Rock Climbing Photo: Joel Schiavone on?
Joel Schiavone on?
Rock Climbing Photo: Watch Crystal.
Watch Crystal.
Rock Climbing Photo: Apple Cider Wall.
Apple Cider Wall.

Comments on East Animas Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 18, 2017
By Steve C
From: Missoula, MT
Nov 29, 2007
One comment regarding access. I climbed often at East Animas between 2002 and 2005. At the time you had to cross a bit of private property to access the cliff. The landowner was extremely sensitive about having climbers' dogs cross his property. I know a separate parking area has been built since, but be sensitive to the residents living literally a stone's throw from the lower part of the access trail.
By Bill Grasse
From: Carbondale, CO.
Apr 12, 2009
Anyone know the name of the new bolted route just left of The Contortionist? It's rad! ...just wondering.
By Steve DiMarino
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 10, 2009
Anyone know what a "Standard East Animas Rack" is? The route descriptions assume everyone knows what an Animas rack is. "Protection: Standard East Animas Rack"...Huh?...If we knew that we wouldn't be reading the damn thing. You have to laugh, but how about telling us what the rack is?
By Sam Feuerborn
Aug 12, 2009
A standard East A rack...I've always used a double set of nuts and a set of hexes and been just fine...that has all ways been more than enough. I know a lot of people carry #4 & 5 Camalots for some of the bigger cracks. So, I guess in short it's just a standard rack.
By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Apr 2, 2010
Anyone interested in East A ethical issues should check out the route Contortionist on this site. A lively debate about convenience and quality vs. traditional ideals.

Now check out "The Black Arete" for a similar, more hysterical debate.
By Brad Brandewie
Apr 2, 2010
That's some clever phrasing, pairing "convenience and quality" as being the other side of the argument against "traditional ideals".

"Quality" is applicable to either side of the argument, depending on one's perspective.

By IanA
From: Durango, CO
Apr 2, 2010
I agree that a bolt would make the Contortionist more popular as a lead but does ever climb need to be brought down to the level of the average climber? Should we add bolts to the Bachar-Yerian to make it more accessible to the general climbing community? Its with in the same grade range and within the same general headspace as the Contortionist. Granted it is not as classic as the Bachar- Yerian but that does not mean that it dose not deserve the same respect!


Ian A.
By Tim Kuss
From: Durango, CO
Apr 4, 2010
Brad, I agree. Ideals = quality. My own ideals straddle both sides, so I'm enjoying the debate in my own mind as well. As Skyeler said, I suffer from "cognitive dissonance".

Ian, I don't think a bolt would bring the "level" down but only the time spent getting the gear. Just like placing fixed anchors at the top of a route make it more convenient, but not more accessible.

Anyone can stand there for twenty minutes and fish in stoppers, then it's all about the (still really hard) move(s). There is no runout factor. A route like the Bachar-Yerian has no "hassle factor", just the big runouts and route finding. The addition of bolts would indeed bring the "level" of climbing down on that route. It is an entirely different world. In other words, there is no "headspace" to get into on Contortionist, only the hassle of getting the gear, then you're safe.

I agree though that any fixed gear would change the nature of the route significantly. I also understand that getting the gear is part of the quality for some people, just as the runouts on Bachar-Yerian are an element of quality on that route.

See comments at "Three Open Books".
By Marcus garcia
From: Durango, Co.
Sep 4, 2010
I added a new route to the left of the bolted routes on the "I Need A Shower Wall". It is a short, feisty route. I called it "Better Eat Your Wheaties", 5.13.
By chosspector
From: San Juans, CO
Jun 2, 2011
The sign at the parking lot was recently vandalized by some a-hole with a sharpie. "Leave your dog at home" was written all over the sign. It's really a shame to see such a malicious act by a fellow climber. Dogs ARE allowed at East Animas. Local climbers spent lots of time and money, with the help of the Access Fund, La Plata County, USFS, and Trails 2000, to provide a parking lot with a nice sign, as well as easements for a trail for climbers and their DOGS to use. Sorry you had a bad dog at crag experience, but that's something to take up with an individual owner. It is cowardly and destructive to climbers' relationship with land managers to destroy a sign like this, just because you don't play well with others. If you don't like my dog at the crag, you can go fuck yourself instead of vandalizing our sign.
By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Jun 13, 2011
I wish there was a thumbs up option for the previous post.
By Erik Durgin
Sep 4, 2011
More vandalism by ignorant a-holes. Some lowlife with a wrench has been stealing fixed anchors of routes at East A. Marcus generously left fixed anchors (quickdraws quicklinked to the anchor bolts) at the top of both "Better Eat Your Wheaties" and "One Man Sex Party". Someone has recently stolen the draws leaving only the quicklinks on the bolts. WTF?! Seriously, bolting new routes is a lot of work, it takes a lot of time and money. Marcus Garcia is one of the leading route developers in the DGO area, and he always does it right. The lines he bolts are fun and well thought out with proper bolt placement. He even adheres to the lame out of date, crusty old fart ethics of East A by bolting his route ground up and almost always leaves fixed anchors for EVERYONE'S convenience. Fixed anchors and draws are NOT booty, they are the generous donations from one climber to benefit the entire climbing community. Please return the draws and stop stealing from the community.
By eggman
From: Durango, co
Sep 22, 2011
I think the crusty, old fart ethics written within the East A statute clearly indicates that "any individual who either, (a) onsights the route, or (b) swings across from an adjacent route, may steal biners/and or quickdraws from the anchor off of an existing route."
By Jason S.
From: Durango, Co
Dec 10, 2011
I found a pair of sun glasses under Birds, pm me to get 'em back.
By Bill Grasse
From: Carbondale, CO.
Aug 11, 2012
More anchors STOLEN from the top of Apple Cider! Ben, Matt, and I aded some lowering hooks to the anchors of AC and they were now taken. To whomever is stealing anchors: If you have a problem with lowering biners or whatever on the top of routes, have the sack to tell me or others that have graciously added this gear. If you are just poor and have to steal to fill you personal gear, please call me and I will buy you new biners so you don't have to steal from other people and the climbing community. I am serious... I will buy you brand new biners!

Bill Grasse
By Matt Pickren
Aug 12, 2012
I second Bill's comment. Be mature enough to leave them alone, especially when they are replaced after you probably stole the first set. If you need the biners for your rack, we will get you nice new wire gates! It is very annoying to think they are there, and then get to the anchor and they are gone.

Also, if you are innocent in this matter but have any idea of who it is; if you get me evidence of what DB is taking them, I will hook you up with multiple nice new biners or something similar. We won't hurt 'em ;)
By Bill Grasse
From: Carbondale, CO.
Aug 21, 2012
Lowering anchors are back on Apple Cider. Thanks to whoever returned them.
By IanA
From: Durango, CO
Sep 5, 2012
A note to whoever took the fixed line down:
The fixed line is there for a reason. It is there as a service to the climbing community to access the upper area of the Watch Crystal Crag and for emergency purposes. It is maintained by La Plata County Search and Rescue and is replaced multiple times a year. Being able to ascend this fixed line during a emergency is critical for rescue personnel to be able to setup the rope system to evacuate a injured person.

Unfortunately your timing on taking the fixed line down happened to coincide with a climber getting seriously hurt. Being able to ascend this line would have saved valuable time in get the appropriate care the patient. Please do not remove the fixed line.

Thank you,
Ian A.
By chosspector
From: San Juans, CO
Nov 15, 2012
Theft of lowering anchors is getting to be quite an annoying issue at East Animas. With so many accidents lately from worn biners, it makes sense to have some steel up there. When people steal biners from an anchor designed to have leaver biners, it ends up useless for lowering. Would any of the local shops be willing to donate some Fixe sport anchors to some of the popular sport routes? Some candidates would be the anchors on the Sandman Wall and Chingadero.
By Sarah.E
From: Durango, CO
Nov 18, 2012
This area is beautiful! Let's have safe anchors that don't disturb our access.
By Marcus garcia
From: Durango, Co.
Nov 25, 2012
We are working on replacing the anchors. Yes, the stealing of anchor biners needs to stop.
By chosspector
From: San Juans, CO
Jan 21, 2014
Anybody have info on the new route to the right of Stoneage Struggle?
By Ben Griffin
From: Durango, CO
Apr 26, 2014
I haven't tried it, but it looks sweet. I think Kuss put the bolts in on that one. I think you need a black Alien on it too. It links into Freebase!
By eggman
From: Durango, co
Jul 29, 2014
I may or may not have left my green backpack with gear in it at the East A. parking lot. It's gone. Anyone? Anyone?
Jan 7, 2015
The area people are climbing on and referring to as The Solarium is private property. My family owns it. Please be respectful and use the climbing area that is designated for the public. Everything to the right of the trail is not on BLM. Again, it's private property. I would also ask the site administrators to remove references to the Solarium as being public. Thanks.
By Shawn Heath
From: Forchheim, Germany
Apr 13, 2015
Any camping beta?
By eli poss
From: Durango, Co
Nov 20, 2015
Hey Durango, I lost a #2 Camalot with a yellow CAMP Nano 22 somewhere at East A. last weekend. I may have left it at the base of Apple Cider in the dark or it may have fallen out of my backpack when it came unzipped on the way down the trail. It wasn't at the base of Apple Cider today, so I think it may have fallen out of my pack. It can identified by blue nail polish on the bottom of the axle in between the lobes.

If you happen to find it and are feeling generous, I'll offer a good reward and you may find a new partner who's always stoked to go climbing. Thanks, and have a great Thanksgiving Breaking Durango.
By Dylan Knight 1
Oct 24, 2016
Howdy, folks! Recently after climbing with some friends after work, I believe I left my helmet at the base of Sandman. It is a grey with green tabs helmet made by Mammut.... Pretty bummed I spaced out and left a vital piece of gear and would really appreciate someone having found it and letting me know! I was still coming down from the high of the awesome climbing! Thanks for any intel!
By eli poss
From: Durango, Co
Nov 26, 2016
I may have left a Magnetron Rocklock locker up at East Animas today or yesterday. It can be identified by a bright blue nail polish on various parts of the biner. If you found it and you're feeling generous, I'd love to have it back for some beers or some herb or something.
By Fritz N.
From: Durango, CO
Jul 18, 2017
If you're developing a worthwhile route at East A, feel free to PM me and I'll buy you some Mussy hooks for the anchor.

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