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The Tan Buttresses

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Anniversary Route T 
Astro Goat T 
Black and Tan Towers, The T 
Damn it Feels Good to be a Hamsta T 
Dog Fight T 
Fallen Angel T 
Gimp Route, The T 
Goat Food T 
Hard to Say T 
Hoag-Fisher T 
Lazy Sunday Route T 
MOAC Memorial Route T 
Musafar's Home Cookin' T 
Noth'N But a Good Time T 
Pin Route T 
Space Miser T 
Work-Life Balance T 

The Tan Buttresses Rock Climbing 

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Location: 39.60649, -105.65362 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 11,803
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: J. Thompson on Aug 10, 2008

49° | 34°

50° | 33°

44° | 29°

39° | 26°

34° | 23°

35° | 23°
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Tan Buttresses from the start of the descent trail...


This is the rock formation(s) that make up the north side of The Black Wall (Chicago Lakes) cirque. The Tan Buttresses are very obvious from any point in the cirque. The granite can rival anything in RMNP. This formation makes up the south side of Gray Wolf Peak.

Getting There 

Start by parking at summit lake and hiking the climbers trail up Spaulding, as for The Black Wall. Traverse the top of The Black Wall and hike up a short distance until a ramp/ledge system appears on the right. Leave your packs at the top of the ramp.

Hike and scramble down the ramp/ledges, leading to the base of the Buttresses.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.9 miles from here

17 Total Climbing Routes

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

Classic Climbing Routes in The Tan Buttresses

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Tan Buttresses:
Lazy Sunday Route   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 550'   
Hard to Say   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 600'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Tan Buttresses

Featured Route For The Tan Buttresses
Rock Climbing Photo: The route.

Anniversary Route 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a  Colorado : Alpine Rock : ... : The Tan Buttresses
This route starts with the fun part of the Gimp Route and then climbs some more pleasant pitches in a nice position.Start with the first two (fun) pitches of the Gimp Route, but belay on the far left of the grassy ledge atop the 2nd pitch.3) Step left around the arete onto the front side of the buttress and climb easy ground and grassy steps up for a little over a 100 feet to a really nice grassy ledge. Walk left 25 feet or so from the arete to belay below a flake syste...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of The Tan Buttresses Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Gentianodes algida
Gentianodes algida
Rock Climbing Photo: I think this guy was scoping out a route on the Ta...
I think this guy was scoping out a route on the Ta...
Rock Climbing Photo: alpine spring beauty, Claytonia megarhiza
alpine spring beauty, Claytonia megarhiza
Rock Climbing Photo: parting shot of the buttress
parting shot of the buttress
Rock Climbing Photo: Like clockwork at noon the t-storms roll in.
Like clockwork at noon the t-storms roll in.
Rock Climbing Photo: Indian paintbrush (Castilleja occidentalis)
Indian paintbrush (Castilleja occidentalis)
Rock Climbing Photo: morning light on Tan Buttress
morning light on Tan Buttress
Rock Climbing Photo: alpine thistle (Cirsium scopulorum)
alpine thistle (Cirsium scopulorum)
Rock Climbing Photo: the buttress from the approach ramp
the buttress from the approach ramp
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing great terrain on the Tan Buttress. Everyt...
Climbing great terrain on the Tan Buttress. Everyt...
Rock Climbing Photo: Trundling a death block. Photo by Dan Gambino.
Trundling a death block. Photo by Dan Gambino.
Rock Climbing Photo: General photo of the Tan butt's. The white dots sh...
BETA PHOTO: General photo of the Tan butt's. The white dots sh...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Tan Buttresses are visible to the right of the...
BETA PHOTO: The Tan Buttresses are visible to the right of the...

Comments on The Tan Buttresses Add Comment
Show which comments
From: Wherever we park!
Sep 20, 2010
Fun wall, short approach, much easier and less committing than the Black Wall, and decent rock. However, it certainly doesn't rival any rock found in the park. Any route on Hallett, for instance, is of significantly higher quality.
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Sep 21, 2010
Perhaps climbing more than 1 route would be recomended before making statements about the entire formation?

By Jordan Moore
From: Berthoud, CO
Jul 10, 2013
Additional approach beta:
Hike out of Summit Lake parking lot following Mt. Evans trail, then veer off this trail as it starts to take you uphill and away from the Black Wall rim, follow the rim past the Black Wall. Now to find the ramp that drops you off at the routes continue following the rim past the largest gully. After you pass this gully and the rim starts to turn north, you will find the ramp on the other side of the next buttress/ prow feature.
By trisgo
From: Omaha, NE (at the moment)
Mar 8, 2016
I was interested in practicing some big wall skills here. What class is the approach ramp? Would going down the ramp with a heavy haul bag on your back be difficult or dangerous?
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Mar 9, 2016
This would be a truly horrible place to practice hauling a bag/ big wall stuff.
While the ramp is generally no big deal, mostly 3rd maybe a little 4th class, everything is loose. It's an Alpine environment, the freeze/thaw cycles and lack of root systems just don't allow things to set up in a non-loose way.
Additionally, even the cleanest section on the Tan Butts have plenty of loose rock. You'd be knocking off lots of stuff, your bags would get stuck (a lot!), and the granite is pretty sharp, so you'd do an awful lot of damage to your bags/ropes. If you were looking for true aid climbing, very few if any of these routes would be good, as there are few continuous crack systems.

Sorry to burst your bubble, there are plenty of spots that are much better for this kind of stuff.

My favorite was always Country Club Crack in Boulder Canyon.

Best of luck!


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