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Taylor Canyon

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Taylor Canyon Rock Climbing 

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Location: 38.72652, -106.76942 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Kirk Woerner on Sep 17, 2003  with updates from phil broscovak
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The upper wall at sunrise.


Taylor Canyon (known by the locals as Harmels, for the ranch near the First Buttress) is a favorite in and around Crested Butte. The climbing is mostly traditional. Routes are usually under three pitches, but there are a lot of them of that length as well as single pitch. The rock is high quality granite in most places. There is a Kayak/Raft/Climbing guide shop also right next to the the First Buttress. A number of the climbs are runout and the grades are known to be pretty stiff (some might say sand-bagged). Consider that Otto's Route on Independance Monument is a "5.8" and it has chopped steps, while Left Hand Crack is a "5.8+" and I defy anyone to get such an awkward move on the first try.

Getting There 

From Gunnison, go north on highway 135 for about 10 miles. At the small town of Almont, turn right and head up toward Taylor resevoir. After another ten miles or so, you will come to Harmels Ranch. Immediatly after this will be a climbing/kyaking guiding outfit. The First Buttress is obvious (very). Park on your left just after the Kayak outfit. Note, you will cross the Taylor river once, if you pass Harmels ranch and then cross the river again, you have gone too far...

Climbing Season

Weather station 10.2 miles from here

148 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',31],['3 Stars',68],['2 Stars',36],['1 Star',11],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Taylor Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Taylor Canyon:
Kindergarten Crack   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   First Buttress : Baby Face / Middle Wall
Solo Crack   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   First Buttress : Baby Face / Middle Wall
Tony's Tango   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   First Buttress : Baby Face / Middle Wall
The Jackal   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   First Buttress : Parking Lot Wall
Left Hand Crack   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch   First Buttress : Left Hand
Chucky Cheese   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 325'   Second Buttress
Air Conditioner   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   First Buttress : Left Hand
Zig Zag   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   First Buttress : Parking Lot Wall
Mirror Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches   Rosy Lane
Baby Face   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   First Buttress : Baby Face / Middle Wall
Taylor Made   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   First Buttress : Baby Face / Middle Wall
Journey through Gwondonaland   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   Second Buttress
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 3 pitches, 235'   Gunnison Mountain Park Picn...
Oh Mama Mama   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 270'   First Buttress : Parking Lot Wall
Whiskey Crack   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   First Buttress : Parking Lot Wall
Persnickety    5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   North Bank : North Bank Left
Back for Seconds   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 95'   Second Buttress
Question of Balance   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   First Buttress : Left Hand
Rogue Repeater   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   North Bank : North Bank Left
Double Time at Sue's Place   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   First Buttress : The Big Roof
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Taylor Canyon

Featured Route For Taylor Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: Charles on the approach on the first ascent.

Welcome to China 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  Colorado : Gunnison : ... : The Big Roof
The route left of Guanos Dias and Double Time at Sue's. Slabby face climbing to a flared roof crack with some fixed wires....[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Taylor Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Riff raff.
Riff raff.
Rock Climbing Photo: Moonshinin'.
Rock Climbing Photo: Wild Things in designated wild areas only.
Wild Things in designated wild areas only.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ghosts of daze gone by.
Ghosts of daze gone by.
Rock Climbing Photo: There goes the neighborhood.
There goes the neighborhood.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mostly Motley Crew.
Mostly Motley Crew.
Rock Climbing Photo: Long time local ne'er-do-well Joe M. On belay, man...
Long time local ne'er-do-well Joe M. On belay, man...
Rock Climbing Photo: Blake Collins on an unknown route in Taylor Canyon...
Blake Collins on an unknown route in Taylor Canyon...

Comments on Taylor Canyon Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 9, 2017
By phil broscovak
Feb 20, 2004
F.Y.I. Sharp End Publishing will soon be releasing a Guide book to the Taylor Canyon / Crested Butte area.The guide is authored by long time Gunny/Butte local Leo Malloy. Leo is a good man and his guide should prove to be fairly comprehensive and well thought out. Look for it if you are at all interested in this wonderfull cragging area.
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 17, 2005
Taylor Canyon offers 4 star rock quality and many great routes. Left Hand is one of the hardest and best 5.8's anywhere, and it has humbled even 5.12 crack climbers. Flaring, overhung offwidth cracks are usually not a 5.8 quality. There are a ton of trad climbs and several sport routes further up the road past the second buttress. Most routes range from 5.7 - 5.12. A great place to spend a few days climbing.
By Lee Jenkins
From: Tucson, Arizona
Jun 27, 2006
Any more news on the guidebook? If available where can it be found? I live in Buena Vista.

By phil broscovak
Jul 12, 2006
Just heard from Leo. Sharp End should have it on the shelves by the end of this year or early 2007.
By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Mar 17, 2007
I think it is one of the best local crags in the state. Certainly worth a visit if you're around or even near Gunnison or Crested Butte. If it's a worth a thing I had a great time climbing here in 1980/81 as a very young decadent climbing youth.
By D Winger
Aug 11, 2007
Did the guidebook ever come out? I just checked Sharp End's site and couldn't find it (late summer 2007).
By phil broscovak
Oct 3, 2007
Guide book is in Guide Book is good!
I was amazed how many routes there are now.
You Gunny-Bunners and Butte-taters have been busy!
Leo, great job on a huge project!
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Oct 4, 2007
Phil, is there any way to order this guidebook? I went on Sharp End website and it's not listed in their guidebook section yet.
By phil broscovak
Oct 4, 2007
Scott call Sharp End directly and ask. Their number is on the website. I snagged the last copy Neptune's had and showed it to Boulder Mountaineering so they would order some asap.
Scott do you remember that you are who introduced Jim Nigro and I all those years ago? What a long strange trip it's been....
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Oct 4, 2007
Phil, Thanks for the info. I didn't remember about introducing you to Jim. He and I first met through Jon Ake when we did the Ellingwood Arete on Crestone Needle on the 4th of July 1976 (the Bicentennial). Jon sprained his ankle on the approach and so Jim and I swapped leads on that very cool climb....the bond of the rope, it can last for a long time!
By chris begue
Apr 2, 2008
These words and photos bring back such good memories!!!! First ascents-first leads-great friends-really makes me want to drive out and tie in on Whiskey Crack or Oh Mama Mama!!!
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Apr 2, 2008
Hey Chris, while you're at it, maybe you could submit Whiskey, no one else has (hint, hint Phil) and I am too far removed and too out of touch with the new equipment to post up a safe entry.
By phil broscovak
Apr 7, 2008
Welcome back Chris.
By John Peterson
Aug 24, 2008
Passing this on for Luke and the others that are actually doing all the work on the first buttress situation. Slightly edited for brevity.


The Property and the USFS Easement

Nicole Sul of Gunnison was kind enough to do some research about the piece of property, and the easement that the Forest Service granted in 1988.

The property is 12 some acres (I could be a bit off on this forgive me if I am), and as we understood it, nearly graces the first buttress on its northeastern end. The lot is for sale for $400,000 plus, and it is owned by a family named Anderson, who live in Texas. The father who owned the property has recently passed away.

The lot is for sale, but has not been purchased yet.

Most everyone agreed that this is of concern to climbers, especially after Nicole Sul revealed the information regarding the easement that was granted by the Forest Service to the property owners. This easement is necessary for the completion of the property, and stretches from the pitches that approach the sundeck ledge to the flat piece of the property where the house would most likely be built. Basically this means, if a house would be built, a driveway would be paved directly under the climbs (Tourist Attraction, Hurtin for Certain, Awkward and Wide, Left Hand Mantel etc.).

The Sign

Another major thing we discussed was the real estate agencies sign (on the property), and the fact that it is been removed repeatedly and how this is really putting us climbers in a bad position with the property owners and Crested Butte Realty. CB Realty is upset with this and in fact the agent Jesse has to come out and put the sign back up. They are talking about putting NO TRESPASSING signs up, and pressing charges to those who remove the sign. We put the sign back in and agreed to spread the word that taking the sign out is hurting our relationship with the property owners and CB Realty, a relationship that is essential to help in this process of halting the development in our beloved Taylor Canyon.

Please if you know those who are removing the sign, encourage them to join our group so that we can all work together in the most positive manner to preserve the climbing at the First Buttress.

The Gunnison Valley Climber's Coalition

We all agreed that starting an organization to help us SAVE THE FIRST BUTTRESS would be a good idea. Initially we proposed that the group be called the Taylor Canyon Climber's Coalition, but then we realized this would be too limiting. We are now calling the group The Gunnison Valley Climber's Coalition. This will ensure that if there is a future issue in the climbing community we will already have a group formed and some organization.

What To Do

We all come to the conclusion that we are in a good position right now for this mission to SAVE THE FIRST BUTTRESS

  • The property has not been purchased yet by a developer
  • We have time to save our relationship with Crested Butte Realty
  • We can spread the word to keep the sign in place and prevent further damage of this relationship with Crested Butte Realty
  • We have a motivated group of positive people and a tremendous amount of support and resources
  • This is the only major access issue that the climbing community faces today in the Gunny Valley

Action Items include:

  • making a sign to go next to the realtors sign to encourage climbers to leave that sign in place
  • start a petition
  • talking to a lawyer (Nicole is taking care of this)
  • communicating with various agencies that may be able to help us out
  • communicating with Crested Butte Realty (Nicole is also taking care of this.
  • writing a mission statement

Spread the Word

Please spread the word about what is going on, and let us know who may give some major money to SAVE THE FIRST BUTTRESS, or who has some creative ideas of how we can make everyone happy (Crested Butte Realty, the property owners, climbers, boaters, etc.)

Thanks for your interest, and forgive me if I overlooked any details regarding this meeting and the Gunnison Valley Climber's Coalition TO SAVE THE FIRST BUTTRESS.

Luke Mehall, Gunnison Valley Climbers Coalition []
By mike bromberg
From: Revelstoke
Nov 23, 2009
Many new anchors appearing in the Taylor these days. Tourist Attraction, Sunshine Dihedral and one Between Awkward and Wide and Left Hand Mantel all have the same Faders hardware.... Anyone know where those three came from?

P.S. - not looking for a debate- just curious.
By phil broscovak
Nov 28, 2009
I would ask, are these anchors necessary?
By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
May 4, 2010
Lazy and paranoid climbers putting in anchors where there has been no need for fixed anchors for 30 odd years. Why now dudes? Walk down like everyone else has for years.
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
May 4, 2010
Maybe without their gps they're afraid of getting lost on the descent (I know, I botched guideline #1).
By phil broscovak
May 4, 2010
Ha ha ha, good one, MossMan.

I haven't seen them myself, but any bolts on the Sun Deck are a lame shame!

Maybe I will take my crow bar next time I am there.
By mike bromberg
From: Revelstoke
Jun 10, 2010
Nice to see so many folks out climbing in Taylor lately!

Anyways, the 3-bolt non-welded cold shut anchor at the top of Cig-Arete is in a pretty bad state....

Do folks here have any suggestions for what they would like to see as a replacement? Fixe ring bolts? Chains? Keep as is? Add an anchor for Dunn's Dihedral to keep off the Cig anchor?
By R.Rees
Jun 12, 2010
The anchors on Cig Arete don't seem too bad, but if conditions get worse new bolts would be appropriate. Please do not put any new rappel anchors on routes such as Dunn's, they are not needed. There is a tree to belay on top, and you can walk to Cig Arete and the traffic with both those climbs doesn't warant new hardware. Lately there have been many bolted anchors going up that are highly unnecessary. Natural anchors have been made in these spots for decades, and I see no reason to add bolts to them. Let's try to keep the first buttress a proud climbing area and not dumb it down. If you can't build natural anchors or are too lazy to walk off, go to Hartman's. And if you do put in bolts, try to at least paint the hanger.
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Jun 12, 2010
Here, here, Rees! Use the walk-off to do something productive, like "take the edge off" :-) Or, if you don't partake, hone your downclimbing skills on something like Solo.
By mike bromberg
From: Revelstoke
Jun 13, 2010
Thanks for the input, guys. I'm not looking for a debate, but am interested in what you think would be practical for upgrading a potentially dangerous fixed anchor. I completely appreciate not adding any additional anchors up in that zone, but I think 3/8" un-welded, un-equalized and loose cold shuts is the opposite of "proud".

Just wondering what you would like to see in terms of hardware up there? Yes, they will be painted.
By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Jun 13, 2010
Just pull the anchors all together. There's no need for them. Anchors on the Sundeck? On Dunn's? Convenience store climbing is all I can say.
By mike bromberg
From: Revelstoke
Jun 14, 2010
We are talking about the anchors at the top of Cig-Arete... the bolted arete climb.
By phil broscovak
Jul 31, 2010
Does anyone know the status of the land for sale that abuts the 1st buttress? Is it still available?
By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Aug 19, 2010
I was taken aback by the drilled anchors just above the lip of the roof on my last visit. Not really sure why one would bother with the effort to drill them. Plus they are really big, shinny, but mostly ugly. We never needed them, why do you?
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Aug 19, 2010
I'm with Allen, this area has a great tradition of minimal rock defacement. Respect the area and the history.

Allen, what all did you "get on" your last trip there? Inquiring minds want to know :-)
By pedropeacock
Apr 16, 2011
The anchors are great (minus guanos dias)! They should be painted, but respect the present and the fact that people circuit these routes now. There is no lack of respect up in Taylor for history or the future!
By phil broscovak
Jul 29, 2011
A trip report:
By Hunter 12345
Nov 20, 2011
Drilling new bolts in a VERY established cliff with a long tradition of bold climbing is Extremely disrespectful to the rock and the first ascentionist.
By Jamie Estep
From: Crested Butte, CO
Nov 20, 2011
Don't want to fuel the fire too much here, but what got bolted? I personally think the re-bolting of the left hand anchors was completely horrendous about 10 year ago, not in that they needed to be replaced, but the location was for the Tony's toproping tours and not anyone who'd actually climb it. Did some line actually get bolted?
By Scott Krankkala
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 19, 2012
Found a dog leash attached to a cam on the first buttress today, no owner in sight. Private message to identify and get it back.
By ItsHisSong
Jun 27, 2013
Found a pair of shoes in between Tony's Tango and Left Hand Crack yesterday. PM me to verify they're yours!
By Denis Udall
May 9, 2017
I climbed and guided in Taylor Canyon a great deal from 1975 to 1977 with Prescott College. My friends and I made many, many first ascents over this period of time. Please drop me a line if you have any interest in knowing details.

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