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Shirt Tail Peak

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Can't Find My Way Home T 
Cro-Magnon aka The Tail T 
Destruction T 
Double Life T 
Emperor's New Shoes, The T 
Future Primitive T 
Gambit T 
Ginseng Junkie T 
Giuoco Piano Direct T 
King Of Pain T,S,TR 
Missing Link T 
Moriarty's Mistake T 
Moriarty's Revenge T 
Mountaineer's Route T 
Mrs. Clean Gets Down T,S,TR 
Serrated Jam Crack T 
Sorenson Crack T 
Throne, The T,S 
Tiger Balm Arete T 
Windlass or 'The Tail' T 

Shirt Tail Peak Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 8,400'
Location: 39.93429, -105.28838 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 25,308
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Michael Walker on Sep 6, 2001
This Afternoon

79° | 45°

72° | 54°

78° | 54°

70° | 46°

59° | 41°

52° | 40°
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BETA PHOTO: Some of the major formations on the north side of ...

  • 2017 Raptor Closure Lifted MORE INFO >>>
  • Seasonal Closures MORE INFO >>>
  • Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    Viewed from the southwest, the picturesque summit of Shirt Tail Peak rises over Eldo Canyon as the culmination of the Redgarden wall. Its flat summit commands 360 degree views of the plains to the East, the divide to the west and Eldorado Canyon State Park to the south. The peak's image cuts the skyline with sharp, serrated aretes falling steeply away on its south and west sides. The mountain has a high mountain feel to it, as if it should be 20 miles west on the Divide instead of rising above the plains.

    Shirt Tail Peak's rock is variable with classic Eldo sandstone interspersed with loose rock. Take caution as the ledges contain a lot of loose rock.

    To descend from the summit:

    Option A - Scramble down and to the North 50 meters to a pine tree, which sits down below the ridge crest on the west. To get to the pine tree you will need to do an exposed downclimb that is mainly intimidating because of the threat of loose rocks. The dicey rappel off this tree may be compounded in that a retrieved rope may become stuck in cracks below the tree. Be careful when pulling the rope. Two more rappels are required, the last with a 60m rope will JUST make the shelf where you can scramble off to the gully between Shirt Tail and Rincon.

    Option A1- Continue past the first rappel tree for another 100' or so. The slings on the alternate rappel tree are easy to spot, on a 10'-wide ledge about 10' down from the top of the ridge. The downclimb to the tree is a bit easier, too. The first rappel (85') drops you on a narrow dirt-covered shelf, where you pull the rope, and then walk climber's right about 15' and down 10' to the second rappel tree. Or you can rappel 100' to the anchor. The second rappel (95') leaves you on a big ledge. From here, scramble uphill a bit, then down to the main gully. A loose but easy descent leads back to the packs. Or you can rappel 60' from the 2nd rappel point to a tree with a sling and rap link. Then, a 100' rap puts you on the ground. It takes about a half hour to do this descent. This is probably the best descent option.

    Option B - further north scramble down loose class 4 into the gully between Rincon and Shirt Tail.

    Option C - if you have the choice, for safety and ease, take all your belongings with you up Shirt Tail and hike further north, descending to the north of the Rincon wall.

    Getting There 

    The easiest approach is to use the Rincon cut-off trail off the Eldorado Canyon Trail. Once the trail has passed the boulder field and reaches the Rincon wall, near the Center Route, angle to the right along the base of the Rincon wall and find a very primitive (loose) trail climbing the steep gully between Rincon and the North Buttress of the West Ridge. The trail is steep, loose and undefined, but the route is obvious - Shirt Tail Peak will tower above the gully to the east.

    Climbing Season

    Weather station 0.3 miles from here

    20 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in Shirt Tail Peak

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Shirt Tail Peak:
    Sorenson Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   
    Gambit   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches   
    Ginseng Junkie   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   
    Cro-Magnon aka The Tail   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   
    Serrated Jam Crack   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   
    Giuoco Piano Direct   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R     Trad, 2 pitches, 310'   
    Missing Link   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   
    Tiger Balm Arete   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R     Trad, 4 pitches   
    The Throne   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Shirt Tail Peak

    Featured Route For Shirt Tail Peak
    Rock Climbing Photo: Photo 12/31/02.

    Gambit 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  Colorado : Eldorado Canyon SP : Shirt Tail Peak
    Gambit shines like a rough, uncut diamond. Interesting climbing gets increasingly better with each pitch, as one gains the majestic Southwest Face, finishing on the highest summit in Eldorado Canyon State Park. A very fun climb. Due to the loose rocks on the belay ledges, it is NOT advisable to follow another party up Gambit - 120% vigilance is required at the belays, and most of the time you're lost in the views instead! But luckily, you should find Shirttail quiet; mostly due to t...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

    Photos of Shirt Tail Peak Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Shirt Tail Peak, high above Eldorado Canyon.
    BETA PHOTO: Shirt Tail Peak, high above Eldorado Canyon.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Shirt Tail from top of Rewritten.
    Shirt Tail from top of Rewritten.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Shirt Tail from the Potato Chip.
    Shirt Tail from the Potato Chip.
    Rock Climbing Photo: STP.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bathed in fading sun, the dihedral of Gambit radia...
    Bathed in fading sun, the dihedral of Gambit radia...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Nice view from the top.
    Nice view from the top.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Cool view of Shirt Tail and the Potato Chip.
    Cool view of Shirt Tail and the Potato Chip.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Joseffa Meir tops out on the lower right summit of...
    Joseffa Meir tops out on the lower right summit of...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Shirt Tail Peak as viewed from the top of the West...
    BETA PHOTO: Shirt Tail Peak as viewed from the top of the West...

    Comments on Shirt Tail Peak Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 16, 2017
    By Kevin Currigan
    From: Lakewood
    Dec 15, 2002
    The rap described as option A above is quick, easy and safe providing nobody decides to descend after you. If someone does appear at the rap the same time as yourself, you might ask them to give you time to descend and clear the fall line or let them go first. You may not knock something off purposely, but pulling your rope could do it for you. Yesterday we were bombarded by four or five small rocks while packing up at the bottom of Gambit. It would have been dicey had we still been on rappel or at the bottom of the face under the rap route. Also, almost every rock in the approach gully sports an impact scar and many of the big ones are ready to roll. You can avoid much of the loose stuff by climbing the slabs which are on your left going up.
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Oct 10, 2003
    The trail leading up to Shirt Tail is as loose, unsettled, and in need of work, as any I've encountered in Eldo. Last month, a massive boulder let loose somewhere up high near Shirttail and travelled all the way down the gully over the lower West ridge connecting trail, where it struck a huge tree, dead center, and snapped it like a twig, continuing on down the hill... Earlier in the summer, while descending Shirttail, I slipped on loose rock, dislodged a small boulder, which painfully glanced off my shin. I realize there's loose rock most everywhere in Eldo, but just want to warn folks to tread lightly when travelling in this area as it seems potentially a bit more dangerous than others...
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 18, 2006
    With a 60m rope, you can do Option A with only 2 raps. On the first rap, just continue past the next tree and you can make it to a huge ledge, where you go off rappel and then scramble down a slab about 50' to the last tree.

    There is a lot of loose rock lying around near this rap line. When pulling the ropes, be wary of rocks pulled off by your rope.
    By Luis Barandiaran
    From: Longmont, CO
    Jun 13, 2007
    Shirt Tail - 6/9/2007. Of the descent options, descent A1 seemed best, scrambling and shuffling around ledges to the north 50 ft. PAST the first rappel tree (this first tree requires the exposed downclimb and can easily be seen from the arete on ascent). TIE KNOTS ON YOUR ROPE ENDS!!! One rappel with a 60m deposits you at a small ledge. An easy 40' scramble down and south takes you to the final rappel. TIE KNOTS ON YOUR ROPE ENDS!!! (as always!). Rappel to the ends and do an easy 30' scramble to the ground.

    The summit and descent, while loose like any Eldo ledge, was not as bad as some descriptions. That said, be very, very careful, and watch for parties below you. Like George says, watch out for pulling rocks onto yourself!
    By Keith Roussil
    From: Louisville, CO
    Apr 30, 2008
    Pics of the climb here:
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Nov 20, 2008
    Shirt Tail peak was one of the earliest recorded features climbed in Eldorado Canyon. From the 5th Edition of High Over Boulder (Ament, McCarthy):

    'In 1925, Charles Morris, poet/philosopher from Chicago, along with an unknown friend, is said to have climbed Shirt Tail Peak - high above Eldorado Canyon to the northwest. Morris reported that the ascent went "straight up the face" and that devices he called "pitons" were placed during the ascent. The name of the rock was derived when they posted a wooden stick at the top and tied a shirt to it.'
    By cheifitj Cheifitz
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Mar 28, 2010
    Thanks to the Eldo Action folks. The gully up to Shirt Tail has had huge improvements over the past year and will hopefully continue again this summer. Near the top of the gully as approaching climbs such as Gambit two new ladders have been placed to help with safety and to ease the scramble across loose rock.

    Thanks guys.
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Apr 4, 2014
    From Mike McHugh:

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife

    Eldorado Canyon State Park announces peak closure

    ELDORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Parks & Wildlife announced yesterday that Eldorado Canyon State Park has closed Shirt Tail Peak to all uses, including rock climbing, through July 15 or until further notice, to protect nesting golden eagles.

    Golden Eagles are protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under authority of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A conviction of nest disturbance can carry a fine up to $5,000 and 1 year imprisonment.

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado's wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation. For more information go to
    By Hiro Kurotsuchi
    From: Colorado
    Jul 12, 2015
    (copied from my comments for Gambit route)
    Highly recommend, decent A1 too. I've done decent A, in the dark, rain, stuck rope and aliens attacking...ok, no rain or aliens, but we did the rest. Did A1 today, so so easy, and a 65m rope put us easily onto the dirt at the bottom. It's still a scramble to reach the tree, don't blow it, but not very far off the top.

    A1 first tree currently has some fairly new looking 6-7mm cord, along with a collection of other webbing and multiple rings/quicklinks. A2 second tree has older webbing and also multiple rings.
    Approach trail, really nice nice stairs toward the bottom of the gully. Otherwise, still horribly loose everywhere else. The ladder has seen better days, pretty dented and starting to wobble, works fine though.
    By William Thiry
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Jul 13, 2015
    Did this peak several times recently and took the descent option 'A' each time. Other than being careful on the downclimb to the tree the rappelling is straightforward - never had an issue. The benefit of going this way is it drops you closer to your packs than the other options and shortens your time downclimbing the very loose and unappealing gully.
    By Mike McHugh
    Jul 16, 2017
    The 2017 raptor closure has been lifted.
    By Joe Trabucco
    From: Wheat Ridge, CO
    Jul 16, 2017
    Opened as of 7/16/17. Closure sign on approach trail has been removed.

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