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Monitor Rock

Select Area...
1. Butt Wall 
2. The Bird's Nest 
3. Trailhead Wall 
4. Boulder Wall 
4b. Iron Stone Wall 
5. Iron Side Wall 
5b. Summit Dome 
6. Endless Wall 
6b. Space Your Face Wall 
7. F.Y. (Forever Young) Wall 
8. Tombstone 
Below Monitor Rock 
East Face aka Clairabell Mine Wall 

Monitor Rock Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 10,191'
Location: 39.0726, -106.4513 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 76,117
Administrators: Alvaro Arnal, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Jan 31, 2002
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [3 people like this page.]
A sunny view of the Monitor from the west.


Monitor is nice granite rock with virtually no approach and a good West face where most of the climbing can be found. Certainly by now there are close to 60 routes to choose from, sport and trad. Many are one pitch, some are several. While situated in an alpine setting, the granite is still excellent and the climbing interesting. Worth a day shot if you are heading to Independence Pass for several days. Importantly, since Monitor Rock is at lower elevation than Independence Pass, it is possible to extend the climbing season by a month or so. To keep things organized, the numbering of routes will start on the right and proceed uphill with increasing number. By this scheme, where the approach trail meets the rock, the sport route "Rad Lad" will be # 31. Presently, the only published data that I have found is Lance Hadfield's mini-guide in Rock & Ice (#74, August 1996, pp 102-105), and I will follow his numbering as much as possible allowing for new routes where this seems obvious. You will find routes from 5.7 trad to moderate 5.12 sport with numerous 5.10 and 5.11 to be had. The sun exposure is usually excellent.

The subareas:

East Face aka Clairabell Mine Wall - East of Monitor.

1. Butt Wall.
2. Bird's Nest.
3. Trailhead Wall.
3b. Nose Wall (above the trailhead).
4. Ironclad Wall.
5. Boulder Wall.
6. Ironside Wall.
above 6. Summit Dome (above Ironside Wall).
7. Endless Wall.
8. Forever Young.
9. Tombstone.

Below Monitor Rock

Getting There 

From most points East you will be taking Colo 82 (off US 24 and between Leadville and Buena Vista) West past Twin Lakes and the reservoir. Several miles further you will come the Mount Elbert Lodge and B&B which can offer great lodgings for those in need and with the foresight to reserve a room. Monitor Rock is several hundred feet West of the lodge and on the right. Parking is just off the shoulder. For those in need, there is a great German restaurant in Twin Lakes (now called Twin Lakes Inn) that serves loads of imported German beers and terrific bratwurst.

More Info 

Eds. In addition to Lance Hadfield's Rock & Ice mini-guide (#74, August 1996, pp 102-105), there is a guidebook, Independence Pass Rock II $32.99, on the Aspen area climbs by Tom Perkins which includes Monitor Rock. It is available in the bookstore in Leadville. There was a paper guide published through the Aspen Climibing Guides. may also provide more information.


Eds. If you are coming from the Leadville side & need coffee, bakery goods, or wireless internet, the Provin' Grounds Coffee Shop (508 Main St.) may have what you need.

The bookstore just north has guidebooks to the area & the Arkansas Valley.

Climbing Season

Weather station 7.2 miles from here

72 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',37],['2 Stars',26],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Monitor Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Monitor Rock:
The Nose   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 5 pitches, 700'   1. Butt Wall
Trooper Traverse   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   3. Trailhead Wall
Little Flatulence   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch   1. Butt Wall
Dihedral Crack aka Red Dihedral   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches   6. Endless Wall
One Stick or Two?   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   East Face aka Clairabell Mi...
Going Greek   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   1. Butt Wall
Squid Kid   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   3. Trailhead Wall
Prospector   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   5. Iron Side Wall
Wild Flower   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   6. Endless Wall
Master Blaster   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   East Face aka Clairabell Mi...
Mother Lode   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 350'   3. Trailhead Wall
Pirate Mode   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 275'   3. Trailhead Wall
Brother Toad   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   3. Trailhead Wall
Slip...Not!   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   4. Boulder Wall
Meltdown   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 5 pitches, 450'   3. Trailhead Wall
One Thin Line   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   5. Iron Side Wall
Rad Lad   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   3. Trailhead Wall
Transformation   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 4 pitches, 450'   6. Endless Wall
Rock Juice   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   East Face aka Clairabell Mi...
Glory Hole   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   5. Iron Side Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Monitor Rock

Featured Route For Monitor Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: After The Gold Rush is the 2nd route from the left...

After The Gold Rush 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  Colorado : Independence Pass : ... : 7. F.Y. (Forever Young) Wal...
Pitch 1 - Climb the wide looking hand crack to a 2 bolt, 5.11b crux. You can also continue out left up the crack as an easier variation at 5.8. Scamper up moderate ledges to the 2-bolt anchor above.("Heart Of Gold Ledge"-this is the best anchor to rappel to from Routes 1,2,3,4 and 5! This is the best rappel to the ground...)Pitch 2 - Climb straight up through the 2 roofs above(5.11a) and continue up the beautiful bolted line on high quality, glacially polished granite.(5.10+) ...A few pieces of ...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Monitor Rock Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: We saw this deer dying the week before, next time ...
We saw this deer dying the week before, next time ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Monitor.
BETA PHOTO: Monitor.
Rock Climbing Photo: Monitor Rock at sunset.
Monitor Rock at sunset.
Rock Climbing Photo: We made it to the top.
We made it to the top.
Rock Climbing Photo: Josh Alford laughing his way up the left 5.7 crack...
Josh Alford laughing his way up the left 5.7 crack...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rasta Ledge.
Rasta Ledge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rasta Ledge.
Rasta Ledge.
Rock Climbing Photo: This is an attempt at giving general locations for...
BETA PHOTO: This is an attempt at giving general locations for...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bear posting up on the approach.
Bear posting up on the approach.
Rock Climbing Photo: Taken from the West parking area
BETA PHOTO: Taken from the West parking area

Comments on Monitor Rock Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 8, 2017
By Edward Jenner
Apr 8, 2002
IMHO a worthy rock for sport climbing. The rock is solid and finger friendly. Aspen Climbing Guides LLC publishes a 1-page guide which has all the current routes listed.
By Wendie
Jul 1, 2002
Great area, with something for everyone - sport, trad, beginners, etc. Don't forget to do the Butt Wall (no routes described here) - around the right prow. There are great warm-ups there or routes for beginning leaders. Most of them have a 2nd trad pitch, though the first pitches are all sport. Easy to get to & all routes are well bolted!
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
May 3, 2006
Spotted a few mountain goats on the southeast face a couple weeks ago showing the humans how it's done.
By John Peterson
Jul 11, 2007
Found: watch at the base of the Nose. Drop me an email if it's yours.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Jun 30, 2009
Cool cliff with a ton of sport climbing! Wish the rain hadn't been so persistent and the fishing so good. I would have liked to do more climbs. Love the rock texture and the easy approach.
By Brandon Schirm
From: colorado springs, co
Jun 27, 2010
What are the routes on the overhanging wall? About 500 ft to the left of Squid Kid. A lot of chalk and a bulge at the top?
By Rob Davies UK
From: Cheshire, UK
Oct 16, 2010
The new edition of the Stewart Green Colorado guide includes Monitor Rock.
By Drew Spaulding
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 12, 2012
With the help of multiple friends, since 2006, we've established 32 new pitches on MONITOR ROCK so far. Notably, six new 3-pitch routes have been added to the already plethora of climbs. Nearly all new pitches require some natural gear placements... I will soon be posting some of the latest works.... on The FY Wall!
By BJ Sbarra
From: Carbondale, CO
Sep 12, 2012
Thanks for all the hard work, great to see so many new climbs!
By Hearne
Apr 28, 2014
New route info: Rimpelstiltskin is the bolted face route located on the large, left-facing dihedral between Iron Side Wall and Endless Wall; left of Climax and right of Dihedral Crack. FA: Nicole Rimpel, Chris Martinez, Dean Morgan. 11a/b if you stay on the face. 13 bolts, chain anchors, 105 feet.
By Don Nguyen
From: Ellensburg, WA
Sep 8, 2014
Lost a pair of glacier goggles and all my cards on a fall over the Trooper Traverse. If you see anything, please turn it into Leadville Outdoors shop. Thanks.
By Michael Arriola
Sep 26, 2014
Any camping options nearby?
By Michael Schneiter
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Sep 29, 2014
Yes, there are a few USFS campgrounds close by. Twin Peaks and Parry Peak are east of Monitor and within a few miles.
By Bruce H
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 28, 2016
I found a Red Chili Size 39 Right Shoe like new on the east side trail. Msg me if it is yours.
By Thomas Fagan
Jul 11, 2016
Found a white Mammut helmet at the trailhead wall on 7/10/16. Let me know if it's yours.
By D. Scott Clark
From: Boulder
Jun 12, 2017
Administrators, please add numbers to the beginning of each area name so they can be viewed in order. For example

1. Butt Wall.
2. Bird's Nest.
3. Trailhead Wall.
3b. Nose Wall (above the trailhead).
4. Ironclad Wall.
5. Boulder Wall.
6. Ironside Wall.
6b. Summit Dome (above Ironside Wall).
7. Endless Wall.
8. Forever Young.
9. Tombstone.
By Cody Goldberg
From: Lakewood, Colorado
Jul 8, 2017
Unfortunately, the German restaurant listed in the Getting There section is now the Twin Lakes Inn. They serve food and beer aber es gibt nur ein deutches Bier. Schade....

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