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Timberline Lake Basin

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Tiger Cliff 

Timberline Lake Basin Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 9,800'
Location: 39.29807, -106.47532 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 6,086
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Christopher Barlow on Sep 23, 2014
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David Fay on the last of the three crux sections.


The Timberline Lake Basin offers a wide range of alpine climbing opportunities from pleasant bouldering traverses to adventurous mountain walls and ridges. While the area has been widely explored by a dedicated corps of local climbers, much of the area still remains mostly undeveloped as of fall of 2014. A few notable exceptions are the bouldering around the Sun Deck, a terrace of short walls on the north side of Timberline Lake, and the outstanding Tiger Cliff in the bowl to Timberline's west.

The rock is generally compact granite, much of which is of a very high quality. Many of the cliffs and boulders face east and south, offering a slightly longer season than other such alpine zones. Many of the climbs could be done whenever Turquoise Lake Road is open and there is not too much unconsolidated snow on the trail up to Timberline Lake.

Getting There 

From downtown Leadville, drive west on 6th Street until it deadends into County Road 4 (also McWethy Dr. here). Follow County Road 4 further west, staying straight toward Turquoise Lake. Drive around Turquoise Lake on the south side past its extreme west end to the Timberline Lake Trailhead parking lot on the left.

Hike the Timberline Lake Trail, west again, across a large bridge. The Colorado Trail departs to the left (south). Continue uphill past a large metal barrier. After a rather pleasant 2.5 miles, gaining about 400 vertical feet, one arrives at the quite aesthetic Timberline Lake. At a moderate pace, someone who is acclimated to 10,000 feet should be able to do this part of the hike in less than an hour.

Depending on where you intend to climb, the approaches vary from Timberline Lake.

Per Dougald MacDonald: it's 3.8 miles to the Tiger Cliff from the trailhead.

Climbing Season

For the Leadville area.

Weather station 6.6 miles from here

14 Total Climbing Routes

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

Classic Climbing Routes in Timberline Lake Basin

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Timberline Lake Basin:
Thistle Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 70'   Tiger Cliff : The Left Side
Blue Bells   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 70'   Tiger Cliff : The Left Side
Currant Arête    5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, Alpine, 1 pitch, 60'   Tiger Cliff : The Left Side
Paintbrush   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 70'   Tiger Cliff : The Left Side
The Gold Card Indirect   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 90'   Tiger Cliff : Main Wall
Columbine Calling   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 60'   Tiger Cliff : The Left Side
Burning Bright   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 60'   Tiger Cliff : Stripes Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Timberline Lake Basin

Featured Route For Timberline Lake Basin
Rock Climbing Photo: Partway up.

The Gold Card Indirect 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b  Colorado : Leadville : ... : Main Wall
The Gold Card Indirect takes a striking line up the center of the main wall for a full 30 meter pitch. Climb through golden, bulletproof granite using a mix of crack and face technique. At mid-height just before the dihedral, place a piece high, extend it, and traverse left along the sloping ramp. Make a few committing moves (5.9) to gain the crack system and continue to the top with great gear (fun 5.10). The anchors are in a great location to top rope The Gold Card on your way...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Comments on Timberline Lake Basin Add Comment
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By Dougald MacDonald
Jul 5, 2015
It's 3.8 miles to the Tiger Cliff from the trailhead. Took us Front Rangers 1.75 hours in and about 1.5 hours out. We had to wade a significant creek in early July...probably easy to cross without wading later in the season. Gorgeous area.

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