Colorado and its landscape inspire people in some way or the other. For some, the landscape may urge them to go on a soul-searching quest. Colorado has always been a good place to find what you’re made of. – John Hickenlooper’s quote has been an example of this.
On the other hand, it may inspire me to go rock climbing. Poets and authors have written verses on the beauty of Colorado. That said, what is so breathtaking about Colorado? Plenty! Colorado has plenty of rocky mountains and ranges to climb and for every level of climber too. So, we have the Rocky Mountain National Park with an extensive range between Estes Park and Grand Lake. Close to Colorado Springs, you have the Garden of the Gods with hiking trails and natural rock formation with multiple routes.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose has been a challenging route and exciting.
The Rifle mountain park, ElDorado Canyon State Park, and the Castlewood Canyon State Park are the other breathtaking spots in Colorado that find climbers all the time.
These ranges are great for traditional climbing, sport climbing, and even bouldering. Clear Creek Canyon, El Dorado, and Independence Pass are some of these routes great for traditional and bouldering action. Now, to start your plan for the upcoming climbing, read on to do more like Crags, Belay, and boulder.
Best Gear to Have for the Rock Climbing in Colorado
- Shoes – The shoes are a mandatory accessory for rock climbing in Colorado. Most of the spots are ideal for crags and bouldering. This means you cannot ignore the significance of a pair of shoes. Their tips need to be pointed and flexible at the same time. While many prefer the lace-up options for the shoes, many find the Velcro closure options to be more practical. These Velcro shoes are easy to close or remove with a single hand. The lace-up options are great for conservative climbers.
Ditch your regular walking shoes and opt for these special pairs of shoes. We recommend the Evolv Supra because it is great for edging. It can help you to slide the feet inside the pocket of the rock’s surface. It can also give you a great rock climbing action.
- Harness – The next in importance is the harness with thigh loops. The harness from Mammut Ophir 3 Slide is a great option for traditional climbing but not for sport climbing. It can help you anchor yourself with ease. The other option you may check out is the Black Diamond Chaos. To check more options, have a look at the reviews from The Climbing Gear. The site offers in-depth gear reviews for you to check before making your decision.
- Ropes – Another essential gear for helping you whether you are going solo or with a partner is the rope. There are different qualities and grades of ropes available for this purpose. However, do not forget to check the safety ratings of the ropes before buying them. Maintenance of the ropes also plays a vital role.
- Chalk Bag – You will need to have a handy chalk bag for yourself. These come in various designs and patterns. But make sure the seams are secure and the bag can be either conical or tapered style to use. The chalk will be necessary when you climb up using any of the methods. The chalk will dry up the sweat from your palms and give you a better grip. The chalk dust is made of Magnesium Carbonate that is popular among weight lifters and gymnasts alike.
- Belay Device with Carabiners – The carabiner needs to be strong and it will connect with the loops in your harness. It could be made of plastic as well as iron. It should carry your weight and not break under your body’s weight. So, make sure to have the best belay device and carabiners.
More Gear – With every level of mountaineering, you will need to look for more equipment. This could include ice axe, helmets, and headlamps to name a few. It would be great if you are planning to climb up the rocks more swiftly. The quickdraws would also be a necessity to give your carabiner an extension. So, check these out as you go shopping for the same.
How to Embark on Your First Ascent up the Mountains in Colorado?
Assistance from the Guides
Rock climbing has its challenges and a professional guide is a must for hassle-free hike. These professionals have a zeal and commitment to shaping you with the routine of rock climbing. Colorado for its part has the American Mountain Guide Association as a chief body behind the certifications of these guides. There are numerous such firms boasting of top professional guides and services. Popular institutions like The Colorado Mountain School offers a 3-day course called Gym to Crag. This course is known to train and equip with all the basic and intermediate skills to summit the challenging rocks.
Hiring assistance from a professional guide is vital, especially in the initial few forays along the crags of the Front Range of the rocks. You may have a little experience of rock climbing in the past, but knowing the place from scratch and the complicated routes with the desired skillset is a hard task. The routes in Boulder Canyon are diverse and different, and have challenges concerning ascension and subject to travel hazards. A guide will not only help you summit the route but to redirect you correctly.
The biggest plus point in hiring a certified guide is like having a trusted commander in your squad. The person will carefully take care of all your trekking prerequisites and help you climb with ease. As the captain of your climbing and trekking expedition, a certified guide ensures you have the safety gear and equipment required. These are lifesaving and maneuver you out of possible trouble. Figure out a situation where you are trapped in a roadblock. A professional guide, in this case, will help you in suggesting an alternative route or may help you pull up using hand jams with precise technique. Some cases may require different techniques, which require learning on the spot. Overall, if you look back to the day, you would have learned many untold and unexpected experience on climbing.
Enroll in a Climbing School
High and rocky cliffs may look appealing from the television or in social media for some but may look like a big-time task when spoken about trying it out for real. This is a normal phenomenon among humans and the prospect of climbing these are indeed challenging. The training drills in climbing schools focus on the real-time experience of summiting tougher rocks in situations. Right from grabbing clamps and shrivel to sliding soft rocks and making progress; every single aspect to this regard requires practice. At these schools, you get to train all the possible challenges put ahead of you and make you prepared for the real-time challenge.
Practice Makes Perfect
Experience counts, especially in rock climbing and other trek-related activities. Some of the top mountaineering schools such as Neptune have a wide resource of books and data related to a particular trek. These journal books are written by veteran climbers who have summited these at different times and all the possible challenges faced en-route. These institutes have climbers who will recommend you with perfect gears, instead of overstuffing your rucksack. There is plenty of nitty-gritty in a climbing pursuit, which is only available on interacting in real time with them. After all, they vouch to make your experience worthwhile and safe.
Talking about routes, a long and multi-pitch are the routes starting from First Flatiron. An estimate of 17 different routes initiates with diverse difficulty points from 5.2 to a maximum of 5.8. On average, one route can be summited in an afternoon. Try not climbing this in summers, where the Celsius may soar high and dry.
If you are out for a fun noon climbing session, the best one should be the Castle Rock located in Boulder Canyon. The magnificent Boulder Creek view has a good amount of climbs that all climbers could give a try. For starters, this is among the best training spots in the whole of Colorado.
For a little more experienced, Eldorado Canyon possesses a tougher challenge to climb. Look out for the Bastille Crack, which is a mammoth 350 feet long and has 5 different pitches. The toughest one is the 5.7 point, which requires special skills to maneuver easily.
Popular Spots around Boulder
Colorado maintains its status of being a perfect rock climber state in the entire country. Boulder is a hub of most of the challenging treks, including a nearby town of Golden. This town ascends with interesting points.
If you are considering a fun day activity, the Bowling Alley area in the Main Crag of Boulder Canyon offers multiple types of climbs. The famous Mosquito Burrito and Bad Girls Get Spanked are set for good levels of difficulty and fun.
Eldorado Canyon is a well-famed name in the region of Boulder. This is a traditional route that offers challenging summit trails and climbing expeditions. A visit to the Wind Tower area is a wonderful idea to spend quality time adoring higher climbing skills. For a three-pitch climb, Tigger is a 5.6 rated and Tagger is a 2-pitch advent.
Coors Brewery has a scenic spot by the name of Golden Cliffs. Brown Cloud Arete is a route that is rated at 5.10 while the Golden Cliffs come at 5.9 and climbed either trad or sport.
A more popular route close to the Clear Creek Canyon is the famous Little Eiger zone. This is considered a “lesser-explored” spot that has over 40 routes ranging with different grades of difficulty. Among the list of tougher routes, Herbal Essence and First Impressions are rated at a challenging 5.9.
Amazing Points of Climbing in Colorado
Should we rephrase the heading here to why you would love ascending the peaks in Colorado? There are many to climb and you will find each equally breathtaking. The views from the ones in the State parks are going to make the climb up worthwhile.
More so, if you are interested in learning newer techniques in mountaineering, there is no better place than Boulder and the adjoining areas in Colorado. As much as you would be interacting with experts, you gather real-life experience in climbing a variety of points, to say the least. One after the other climbs and summits, which suits all climbers is the main USP of the region.
The region is blessed to have many such peaks in the 13000 feet range that make the climb eventful. There are as many as 584 such summits in the 13000′ height range.
The Fletcher Mountain is enjoyable and worth the effort. Most of the views you can get from this stretch are as good as the ones you can get from the 14000′.
In recent times, we are seeing a rise in the number of climbers up the 14000′ summits. Does that mean the peaks are easy to climb? No. But they are quite Insta-worthy. This said, the peaks have plenty of climbers and hence not much of serenity. As a nature lover, you may want to be as close to it, but you will not find this in crowded places.
Moreover, this brings us to a few points like the presence of some inexperienced and ill-mannered climbers. They would be littering and leaving behind wastes everywhere. You might not want to do that and damage the beautiful environment. Though there are plenty of signs everywhere discouraging people from littering, not many follow. So, being a responsible mountaineer is also a necessity.
Colorado presents a generous gift of the rugged landscape to climb. But when you ignore it, you are never going to enjoy it. Stay close to the mountaineering basics and you are sure to scale many summits in the future.