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Rotary Park

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Central Ridgeline, including Ship's Prow 
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Rotary Park Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,533'
Location: 40.56769, -105.15671 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 95,193
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Jesse Ryan on Nov 30, 1999
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BETA PHOTO: Rotary Park (view full size).


Filled with classic boulder problems from easy to hard, steeped in climbing history, step up to the plate and taste what Rotary has to offer! What a better place to finish a day than with a main course of bouldering followed by dessert, a flaming sunset of green and granite hills and fiery clouds reflected in the reservoir - whoops that is about half full now due to construction. Rotary has inspired climbers ever since John Gill first laid eyes upon them. Many a climber and boulderer has cut their bouldering teeth here. Come try the classic power problems, technical traverses or a few superb topropes. This is no wilderness experience despite the view. You share this ridgetop with giggling high school kids, CSU college kids showing sights to parents and the Fort Collins locals out for an evening session. The amazing energy and community here comes out fullest in the relaxed atmosphere of the Horsetooth Hang hosted nearly every October. An all-year area, just watch for t! he normal Colorado weather extremes in temperature, shade or sun can be chased on many of the boulders, the ridge (toproping and bouldering) faces west. Don't miss the Ship's Prow (V0), Meditation Traverse (V4), Left (V5) and Right (V3/V3+) Eliminators, Mental Standard (V3), Pinch Overhang (V5/7), Punk Rock Traverse (V5), Talent Scout (V6), Cheat (V9?) and Meat Hook (V10?), Moon Arete (V9), Reach Overhang (V6), Cat's Eye (V2), Bolt Wall (5.10- to 5.10+), Layback Crack (5.8+) and the many many classic lines here. Hands sweating yet? So ... git up and climb!

Getting There 

(1) From Horsetooth Ave in Fort Collins head up CR38, right on CR 23 across Spring Canyon Dam past the Torture Chamber on the right and Duncan's Ridge on the left. Pass Piano Boulder on the right and continue to stop sign, turn left on what is still CR 23 - OR - (2) drive west on Mulberry-furthest North, Elizabeth or Prospect and go left (South) on Overland trail, or even west on Drake and right (North) before turning west by the drive in and football stadium onto CR 42 and head up the steep hill by the Dixon Canyon Dam. Go straight through the junction with no stop at CR 23. Now cross the Dam and after the next hill look for the two one-way park lots on the left.

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.6 miles from here

112 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',8],['3 Stars',37],['2 Stars',58],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Rotary Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Rotary Park:
Curving Crack   V0- 4-     Boulder   Central Ridgeline, includin...
Penny Lunge   V0+ 4+     Boulder   Pitch Penny Boulder
Ship's Prow   V0+ 4+     Boulder   Central Ridgeline, includin...
Bolt Wall   V1- 5- X     TR, Boulder, 1 pitch, 40'   South Ridgeline, including ...
Ship's Prow Right   V1 5     Boulder   Central Ridgeline, includin...
Corner Lunge   V1 5     Boulder   Eliminator Boulder
Meditation Roof   V1+ 5     Boulder   Meditation Boulder
My Two Cents   V2 5+     Boulder   Pitch Penny Boulder
Beached Whale   V2+ 5+     Boulder   Eliminator Boulder
The Nipple Wall   V3 6A R     Boulder   Nipple Wall
Cat's Eye Face   V3 6A R     TR, Boulder, 1 pitch, 30'   South Ridgeline, including ...
Finger Ripper   V3 6A     Boulder   Central Ridgeline, includin...
Penny Pincher   V3+ 6A+     Boulder   Pitch Penny Boulder
Right Eliminator   V4- 6B     Boulder   Eliminator Boulder
Mental Standard   V4 6B     Boulder   Mental Block
Right Eliminator Left   V4 6B     Boulder   Eliminator Boulder
Right Eliminator Prow   V4 6B     Boulder   Eliminator Boulder
Cornerlock   V4 6B     Boulder   Mental Block
Punk Rock Traverse   V5 6C     Boulder   Punk Rock
Pinch Overhang   V5 6C     Boulder   Mental Block
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Rotary Park

Featured Route For Rotary Park
Rock Climbing Photo: Crankin' the Right Eliminator Left.

Right Eliminator Left V4 6B  Colorado : Fort Collins : ... : Eliminator Boulder
This Gill Arrow (squint right and you can still see it!) variation is superb. Crank the standard R. Elim. start to the triangle jug, then move left to another jug and then climb a couple of insecure holds to a bomber topout. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Rotary Park Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: South West face of the Penny Pitch Boulder.
South West face of the Penny Pitch Boulder.
Rock Climbing Photo: Jim Karn floats the Pinch, Mental Block.
Jim Karn floats the Pinch, Mental Block.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Penny Pitch Boulder.
The Penny Pitch Boulder.
Rock Climbing Photo: Problem solving on Ship's Prow.  Photo by Brendan ...
Problem solving on Ship's Prow. Photo by Brendan ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Penny Boulder.
BETA PHOTO: Penny Boulder.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beautiful Spring at Rotary.
Beautiful Spring at Rotary.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ship's Prow.
BETA PHOTO: Ship's Prow.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ship's Prow, curving crack.
BETA PHOTO: Ship's Prow, curving crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: The McCarron brothers bouldering at the Tooth.
The McCarron brothers bouldering at the Tooth.

Comments on Rotary Park Add Comment
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By Old Fart aka Dave Bohn
Jan 4, 2002
Just a few disjointed ramblings about the naming of rocks at Rotary. This was the first area that I tried back in '72 after talking to Gill before moving out here from Chicago. It was pretty much just me, [Mammen], Bass, and Hahn and later Wilford and Blunk as the locals. Of course we were in awe of Holloway and his "Modern" editions but we were diligent at ticking the problems we knew about. Gill's arrows were brand new and were the basis of our "Hat Trick"; do the Talent Scout Undercling, the "Original" Right Eliminator, and the standard Mental Block consecutively. Steve Bass was really into yoga and the Zen thing and would always start and end the day meditating on top of this rock below the Eliminator so the term "Meditation Rock" was coined. Originally there weren't any routes there but Steve (Bass not [Mammen]) started to do routes here just as stretching exercises. After exhausting the Gill Routes on the the Mental Block and exploring new "warm up" routes on the rock below (Tiger Rock), I was drawn to the large block straight below the two and on my first hike down there found a dozen or so pennies scattered around the SW corner of the block; so "Penny Block." Punk Rock is a recent edition and would be on your grey list of chipped-manufactured routes by virtue of the massive amounts of vegetation that had to be removed to make this rock climbable. "And that's the way it was, and we liked it" !!
By Adam Holmes
Mar 28, 2002
The approach to Rotary Park will be a little different for a couple years. There is construction on the dams of Horsetooth Reservoir and the roads across these dams are closed. Currently the only way to access Rotary Park is to park your car somewhere around CSU's Hughes Stadium and walk up a steep path to the right of the large "A" on the hillside. Rotary Park is OPEN but your hike to the rock just increased from 30 seconds to 25 minutes. That should diminish the crowds up there.
By Ron Whiteman
Jun 3, 2002
Here's a few more disjointed ramblings about the Horsetooth scene in the early 70's - before even the Old Fart started climbing there! Most historical segments on Horsetooth start with Gill and then skip straight to 1972, when Mammen, Bass and the rest of the gang moved to town. What they all leave out is the tremendous amount of activity that took place there from around 1970 to 1972. Some of the best climbers in the area lived in Fort Collins and bouldered at Horsetooth all the time. Scott Woodruff and Dan Hare, along with Brad Gilbert, Mike Storm and Jeff Stringham visited many of the areas and did many of the problems that were later "discovered". Landing were bad or non-existant, and nobody ever heard of a crash pad. In particular, the landing at the Mental Block was really bad. An unspotted fall at the lip probably meant a quick trip to the Hospital! I remember being up there one cold winter day with Storm and Stringham - we weren't really bouldering, we were more wandering around with a six pack working off the effects of the previous night. While sitting below the Mental Block, Storm starts lamenting leaving our shoes in the car, so Stringham stands up, grabs the starting holds of the Standard route and proceeds to crank the problem wearing hiking boots. Not to be outdone, Storm does the Pinch wearing jeans (bell bottom, of course), a jean jacket and tennis shoes! I've long since quit climbing anything hard, but the memories of those early days at Horsetooth still stick out in my mind. One thing I've always wondered though - who really put those "Gill" arrows on the problems? They weren't there in those days.
By John Gill
Feb 20, 2003
I recall the cold afternoon in 1967 that Rich and I first looked at the Mental Block. It must have been late fall or winter, with the temperaturenot far from freezing. There were no bouldering pads and we didn't feel particularly bouncy, so we rigged a short top rope. I putup the three basic routes (Pinch OH, Center, and Left) pretty quickly, but Rich pointed out , as we were leaving, that I should make the Pinch OH somewhat more challenging by not stepping off the ground! Had to return and do it in "proper" style. I did the right and left Eliminator problems at a warmer time, in shorts. My technique on the right route was to grasp the small sharp dark hold with the right hand and something unpleasant with the left hand, and dynamically step straight up to the horn. Don't think I ever used the right corner. But I believe something may have come off in that area, making it more challenging to do it my way. Also, the ground level has dropped, making my upward surge doubtful, now! In addition, I did a similar variation that went straight to the large hold to the left of the horn. It was great dynamic fun! I have wonderful memories.
By Adam Holmes
Feb 26, 2004
There was a public meeting put on last night by Larimer County Parks to discuss the "improvements" they are doing up at Horsetooth. They recently enlarged the parking lot for Rotary Park, installed picnic tables, and built a bathroom. They did all that with grant money. But now they need to maintain those facilities which means charging $6/day or $65/year. This is the same agency that runs Carter Lake so a season pass would be good at both areas.

Most everyone at the meeting was extremely pissed off about these fees. Most seemed to feel that the "old" Rotary Park was doing just fine. There wasn't much point to the meeting because the construction has already been done and the implementation of fees is almost set in stone at this point. The meeting should have been scheduled about 4 months ago so they could have gotten input before they started this mess. A true lack of PR from the County Park service.
By Chad Bowman
Mar 11, 2004
This is a load of crap - they implement a bunch of "improvements" and then expect us to use them and then pay for them. Utter crap! I assisted in fending off the park "service" in Vedawoo, WY from doing the same things up there. Several other mentors succeeded in fighting them in the courts, but the damage was still done - things were still installed against climber's wishes. I think Congress should hear about it, because the local gov can't get it right. Ugh, I'm feelin a brr, ya dig!
Oct 25, 2005
What is Tendinitis Traverse rated?

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