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The Dark Side

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Arrowhead Arete Area 
Caves, The 
Cube Area, The 
Dasani Area 
MoSo Area 
Rock Staircase Area 
Schoolyard Area 
Squirming Coil Area  
Tofurkey Area 
Unsorted Problems 
Warm-up Traverse Area 

The Dark Side Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 39.651, -105.18801 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 81,038
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Leo Paik on Feb 17, 2002  with updates from jmapping


77° | 53°

83° | 55°

76° | 47°

65° | 43°

56° | 41°
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Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Wiley Evans is the "Squirming Coil."


Across from the road from the standard Morrison bouldering area is a hill side of beautiful boulders that draws the eye as you repeat the same old standard Morrison problems. This area gained some recent attention from the video, Who Got the Props? The ultra-classic, Breashear's Crack II, draws plenty of attention. Shady lines for summer bouldering abound in this newly (?) explored area. Perhaps you can find a Holloway or Gill problem here.... First ascent lines await your eyes and touch.

Prompted from a suggestion from jmapping, we are reorganizing this into these subareas:

Arrowhead Arete Area
The Caves
The Cube Area
Rockstaircase Area
Rupture Area
The Schoolyard Area
Squirming Coil Area
Warm-up Traverse Area (Behind the Cube)

Obviously, some of these problems are yet to be sorted, and some may be missorted. Any help with the reorganization is appreciated.

Getting There 

Go to Morrison, look south of the road. This hill side is covered with various shady boulders.

Climbing Season

Weather station 6.0 miles from here

92 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',36],['2 Stars',41],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Dark Side

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Dark Side:
Gypsy Devil   V1 5     Boulder, 10'   Warm-up Traverse Area
Unknown -Warm up (The Jake)    V1 5 PG13     Boulder, 10'   Squirming Coil Area
In the Beginning   V1 5     Boulder, 13'   The Cube Area
Tofurkey   V1 5     Boulder, 15'   Tofurkey Area
Part of A Warmup Traverse   V1+ 5     Boulder   Warm-up Traverse Area
Free Hang   V1+ 5     Boulder, 12'   Dasani Area
Bearded Lady (aka Hand Crack)   V1-2 5     Boulder, 10'   Squirming Coil Area
Breashear's Crack II   V3 6A     Boulder, 19'   The Cube Area
MoSo Roof   V3+ 6A+     Boulder   MoSo Area
High Gravity aka Slots   V4 6B     Boulder, 10'   Warm-up Traverse Area
Contrivance   V4 6B     Boulder, 10'   Squirming Coil Area
Right of Gypsy Devil   V4 6B     Boulder, 15'   Warm-up Traverse Area
Southeast Arete   V4 6B     Boulder, 10'   The Cube Area
Double Arete   V4-5 6B+     Boulder, 16'   Squirming Coil Area
Squirming Coil   V5 6C     Boulder, 15'   Squirming Coil Area
Cling Free   V5 6C     Boulder, 15'   Dasani Area
Dasani   V5-6 6C+     Boulder, 10'   Dasani Area
Rupture   V6-7 7A+ R     Boulder, 10'   The Caves : Rupture Cave
Arrowhead Arete Low   V8 7B     Boulder   Arrowhead Arete Area
Arrowhead Arete (SDS)   V10 7C+     Boulder, 14'   Arrowhead Arete Area
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Dark Side

Featured Route For The Dark Side
Rock Climbing Photo: Beta photo.

Rupture V6-7 7A+ Colorado : Morrison/Evergreen : ... : Rupture Cave
It is a little tough to find, but it is worth it once you do. Start from the main area (Breashears' Crack), and head west up the trail. You will have to mount 3 large boulders while heading west. Once you reach the farthest west boulder (large and short), head south straight up the hill. You will see one arete that is pretty cool. Directly behind this is a large problem that has an A-shape. You start on underclings and head up a rail of perfect slopers. Then you either jump o...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of The Dark Side Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The Dark Side:  1 Arrowhead Arete Area 2 The Caves...
BETA PHOTO: The Dark Side: 1 Arrowhead Arete Area 2 The Caves...
Rock Climbing Photo: Luke Childers gets his repeat of the beloved "...
Luke Childers gets his repeat of the beloved "...
Rock Climbing Photo: Wiley Evans feels no "Rupture."
Wiley Evans feels no "Rupture."
Rock Climbing Photo: Rough map of the Dark Side.
BETA PHOTO: Rough map of the Dark Side.
Rock Climbing Photo: Wiley Evans feels no "Rupture."
Wiley Evans feels no "Rupture."
Rock Climbing Photo: Wiley Evans is the "Squirming Coil."
Wiley Evans is the "Squirming Coil."
Rock Climbing Photo: My friend in the cave.
My friend in the cave.
Rock Climbing Photo: Wiley Evans feels no "Rupture."
Wiley Evans feels no "Rupture."
Rock Climbing Photo: Wiley Evans is the "Squirming Coil."
Wiley Evans is the "Squirming Coil."
Rock Climbing Photo: Wiley Evans is the "Squirming Coil."
Wiley Evans is the "Squirming Coil."
Rock Climbing Photo: Wiley enjoying a nice warm up at Morrison.
Wiley enjoying a nice warm up at Morrison.
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview locations of most of the problems.
BETA PHOTO: Overview locations of most of the problems.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the MoSo ridge line.
Looking up the MoSo ridge line.

Comments on The Dark Side Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 5, 2015
By Chris Dawson
From: Denver, CO
Feb 21, 2002
It should be said that this is predominantly a summer destination. In the winter months it is cold, shady and wet, as the sun doesn't touch most of the hillside all day long.
By chris deulen
From: Castle Rock
May 24, 2006
The winter months do bring some great temps for sending. The best way to get here when heading West on Morrison Road is to take your first left after C-470 and park on the right after crossing the bridge in the dirt pullout. Walk to the end of the lot (South) and cross a concrete bridge over the canal. Take the steep trail straight up the dirt. When a fork in the trail comes, go left (up) rather than right (straight and flat). This good trail dips down, then continues up, around trees, and along rock. When you come to the first boulders (which may have notable chalk on them) squeeze between a rock and a tree with your pad. this will lead to, yet another, steep dirt path that will bring you to a nice "cave area." Up another steep hill, and to the right will lead you to the main area, with the Cube.
By Jay Samuelson
From: Denver CO
Oct 13, 2007
If anyone knows the names of any of the recent problems I've put up here on the site (since I don't), please let me know and I'll change them. Thanks.
By Jay Samuelson
From: Denver CO
Jul 17, 2008
Just wanted to thank whoever put in the time, money and effort into making the staircase on the approach trail for this area, it's greatly appreciated
By cstorms
From: North Bend, OR
Aug 5, 2008
I agree, the staircase makes the hike up about twice as easy. Nice work.
By Mike Morin
From: North Conway, NH
Aug 5, 2008
Thank the Jefferson County Open Space Trail Crew.
By Chris Chaney
From: Stanton, Kentucky
Oct 4, 2008
The name of the hogback is Mount Glennon and this area is mostly within Jefferson County Open Space.
By Josh Cook
Feb 19, 2009
I have just added some very classic MoSo climbs to the database. The names I have chosen are names that myself and other locals of the area have used for the past 8+ years and have started to become the de facto names of the problems. I realize that we are most likely not the first ascentionists of many of the lines (if not all) and therefore do not have the right to replace names of ones that may or may not exist. I merely hope to give recognition to really good problems and provide a means of reference so that finding problems is easier. MoSo is a great Front Range area and I hope people can visit without having to decipher beta like "Go past Unknown V3, up to Unknown V8, and then start right of Unknown V6". It is for that reason I have added with our given names and will happily change any info if you are 100% sure you did the F.A. and it was called x,y,z.

If you have changes to make to submissions by me (Josh Cook) please comment or email me at

Good Climbing.
By half-pad-mini-jug
From: crauschville
Mar 21, 2009
I have also added some routes recently and if anyone knows any info on these, I would be more than happy to make corrections. I agree that it would be nice to have names to reference climbs rather than 'arete 1' etc... Also, I'm bad at grading things, so some consensus would be nice too. This is an awesome area, way better than across the road, you can actually top things out.
By Andrew Vojslavek
May 16, 2009
There are plenty of lines still to be done here, go big or go home, seriously folks, proud ascents await!

Cheers and happy findings.
By John McNamee
From: Littleton, CO
Aug 2, 2010
Nice darkside vid.
By Sean Wolf
From: Denver, CO
Aug 30, 2010
Anyone have information about the cave problem at the very top of the hogback with the glue'd hold on it?
By Kelham Stephenson
Sep 28, 2010
Does anyone know what the V1-V2 climbs are that are located in the cave to the right of Dasani? In that area on the left of the cave there are two V1-V2 type climbs, the left one that you can top out, almost onto a flat sheet with some ledges on it. Steep dropoff downhill. The other climb starts on the right side of the left wall and goes straight up w/ no topout. On the right side of the cave is a super awkward, probably V5/V7, overhanging problem that stems a crack?
Couldn't find them on here and thought they would be a good addition for beginning climbers or decent warmups. There's plenty of chalk on the holds, but landings are definitely 2-4 pads and a spotter.
By Anson Roberts
Jun 19, 2012
There are a handful of lines that I have seen/climbed on the Dark Side that are not listed here. It would be great to get some of these named/graded and listed. There are two that I may not have been the first to climb, but they sure did take some cleaning. Has anyone climbed or know anyone whose climb the right pockety face of Moso Roof (V3-V4)? Also, the far right face of High Gravity? Right next to the arete on the right side, has small crimpy ledges all the way up (V4-V5)?

And a problem directly right of warm-up traverse (seemed to already have some chalk on it). It has a sit start to a couple of two-fingered pockets and then up to the ledge (V2?)?

By Jon Sauls
From: Denver, Colorado
Jul 5, 2012
Can anyone tell me what problem this is and its rating? I have scoured the internet looking for it with no luck. It is the 1st problem in this video:
By Adam Keifenheim
Jul 24, 2013
Does anybody know the problem that starts in a bit of a mini-cave with no feet, follows a crack system out a roof to the prow of an overhanging arete, and then tops out around the prow? It's just downhill from squirming coil and maybe behind Dasani? In the Colorado Bouldering Front Range book, their map has its area titled as "The Tunnel" and the problem is incorrectly called Dasani.

Just opposite this mini-cave is a more vertical block with some fun problems as well with weird, slab topouts.

It felt in the V4-V8 range, but I couldn't do the first move of the sit start back in the cave and can't say for sure. Beautiful movements though.

I think I'm referring to the same area as Kelham Stephenson.
By Matt W.
From: Edmond, OK
Jan 29, 2015
What are conditions like in this area right now and during the first part of February? Too wet and snowy to climb?
By doug rouse
From: Denver, CO.
Oct 5, 2015
Huge shout out to those who came up on Sunday to clean graffiti at the Dark Side in Morrison. I spoke briefly with Chris S. who advised it was all part of a mentoring program for younger climbers. Your efforts are appreciated, and we are all very thankful for the time all of you put in!

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