Rock Climbing in Colorado

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Written by bike posted on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

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Colorado is a Mecca for climbers all over the country. Be one of many to fly or road trip in and stay for a while- there’s a lot to climb!

A rock climber challenges himself in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. (Colorado Tourism Office)

From the multi-pitch routes in the Flatiorns to alpine climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park to short sport-routes in the Garden of the Gods, any climber can find a challenge and their own perfect route here in Colorado. Alpine climbers have 53 peaks over 14,000 feet (the famous “fourteeners”) to choose from, plus another 300+ 13,000 footers!
Read below for a few ideas for places to climb.
Mount Bierstadt to Mount Evans
The trail is fairly easy up Mount Bierstadt itself. Crossing over Sawtooth Ridge is a fun scramble to the west ridge of Mount Evans. A bit more scrambling will get you to the top of Mount Evans. To get down, go back the same way down Mount Evans and then over Mount Spalding for easy off-trail walking back to camp. The total length is 9.9 miles. This class three route up an elevation gain of 4,650 feet usually takes people about 10 hours. The peak sits at 14,260 feet. The closest town is Silver Plume, Colorado.
Mount Meeker and Longs Peak
Challenge your inner route finder by taking the normal Meeker route in combination with Clark’s Arrow Route (instead of the standard Keyhole Route). The scramble up Clark’s is less traveled and a more beautiful experience. The trail is considered moderate- a class three skill level. The loop’s total length is 13.3 miles with a 6,300-foot elevation gain. It usually takes climbers 12 hours plus approach time. Meeker Park is the closest town.
Harvard to Colombia
This “fourteener” traverse along the Harvard-Colombia ridge is one of the longest in the high mountains. Execute the traverse by heading down the east side of the ridge a few hundred feet and walking along flat tundra, or scramble up at the top of the ridge. Choose your own difficulty level. A very technical route is by the famous “Rabbits.” The traverse can be climbed in a day, but if you want to, a good place to camp is in the Horn Fork Basin. Vicksburg is the closes town to this overall 14.6 mile loop. It is considered class 4 and should take people about 10 hours plus approach time. The total elevation gain is 5,700 feet.

The tools of the rock climbing trade. (Colorado Tourism Office)

Mount Sneffels Southwest Ridge
This classic climbing route gives you great views of the Yankee Boy Basin. The difficulty is rated as third class, but can seem harder if weather conditions are poor. Take a rope just in case. Also, don’t be intimidated by the pinnacles at the lower part of the ridge, a very reasonable route goes right by them. This loop in the San Juan National Forest is 5.3 miles long and gains 2,700 feet of elevation. Its considered an easy scramble and should take climbers about six hours.
Quandry Peak
This peak is usually people’s first “fourteener.” It is rated as hard, a lower class five. It should take about six hours (plus approach time), with a total of 5.5 total miles and 3,200 feet of elevation gain. The trailhead starts at 10,096 feet and tops off at 14,265 feet above sea level. The closest city is Blue River, Colorado. The climbing season for Quandry Peak runs from June to October.

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