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Horsetooth Rock - West Face
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Tourist Attraction  

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 300'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Ryan Nelson
Page Views: 2,114
Submitted By: Ryan Nelson on Jun 2, 2014

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (8)
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Hunter on pitch 1. This photo shows the first two ...


This route is spectacular and you need to climb all 300 feet of it.

Pitch 1 (35m, 5.8): climb up an easy slab with a lot of face holds up to a left-facing dihedral with 2 cracks (finger and flaring 0.75) running up the wall. Set gear as high as you can, and then bust out on to the ledge above (the gear on the upper dihedral can be tricky to see for newer leaders). Continue up a fist crack to chains. A single 70m just reaches to ground from these anchors. A 60 meter can be used, but one will have to downclimb the slab (5.5ish).

Pitch 2 (20m, 5.9): this pitch makes the hike to this route worth it.

Move up and left to the dihedral, past a tan bolt and up into a bulging finger crack, and continue up to chains.

Pitch 3 (35m, 5.4R): this is a great face climbing pitch with wandering gear and two tan bolts to supplement the longer run outs. This pitch requires one to build an anchor at the top.

Climb this to the top off the rock and prepared to get gawked at by all the tourists.

Descent: walk off the tooth to the north and back to the base of the climb.


It is on the West face of Horsetooth Rock.


Double rack to a #3 Camalot and a set of nuts.

Photos of Tourist Attraction Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the easier finish of pitch 2.
Pulling the easier finish of pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Kyle pulling the bulge on p2.
Kyle pulling the bulge on p2.

Comments on Tourist Attraction Add Comment
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By Kyle Kamrath
Jun 4, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Hard to believe there are routes this fun so close to town. The rock quality is great and the views are fantastic.

Like Ryan mentioned, the second pitch is the best, offering some good challenge and fun movement. Stemming!

Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan on pitch #2, wearing his crushing shirt.
Ryan on pitch #2, wearing his crushing shirt.
By NSmith
Dec 12, 2014

I heard a rumor that it is now illegal to climb the west face of Horsetooth....

Is this true, can anyone verify?
By Elijah Flenner
Dec 14, 2014

The official regulation is that you can only boulder or rock climb in designated areas, and Horsetooth Rock is not a designated area.

Link to Larimer Parks areas where rock climbing is allowed.

Note that the bouldering is Horsetooth Reservoir County Park and the rock is Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.

Link to policy.

Don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but officially it was never open. I believe the fine is $50, but the above link will verify.
By Ryan Nelson
From: Fort Collins, CO
Dec 14, 2014

Absolutely not illegal. I personally worked with Larimer County on access and climbing regulations for the west face of Horsetooth.

Please disregard Eljiah's comment.

The county was on board with my anchor replacement initiative I did on Horsetooth Rock and is 100% supportive of climbers utilizing Horsetooth Rock and Outerspace Rock for recreation.
By Carl Marvin
From: Boulder, Colorado
Jun 21, 2015

Definitely destined for classic status.

While the rock quality is good, it could use a bit more traffic to clean it up. It was definitely fun to top out with all the onlooking hikers!

Second pitch involved lots of stemming on bulging terrain with some fun exposure.
By Max Supertramp
Nov 9, 2015

I feel that the last pitch, with its three fat pro bolts and waaaay low-key climbing (minus the loose blocks here and there), is a bit out of character with the rest of the route.

Still, it is a great route, and I tip my hat to you, Mr. Nelson.
By Ryan Nelson
From: Fort Collins, CO
Mar 2, 2016

@MaxSupertramp: definitely out of place, but the climb wanders way, way too much if placing gear. It only has 2 bolts, btw. Climbed this on 2/27/16 as a warm-up. The rock has cleaned up a lot since the last time I was on it. Such a fun, little climb.

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