Exploration

Exploration

Posted on 12. Jun, 2009 by in News

What does the future of Colorado bouldering hold? Of course many climbers in the Front Range have spent thousands of hours combing the hillsides for the next great area. Surprisingly, Mt. Evans was discovered around 2002, and most of Area A developed in 2003 and 2004, which was not that long ago. It seems that most of the potential, or perhaps the areas that are least explored are the remote areas in the mountains west of the Front Range. I have spent many hours my self tramping around the woods, and here is where I think there is potential for new bouldering…

Mt. of The Holy Cross
whjholycross

Four years ago I hiked into the basin underneath The Cross Couloir. Its about 3 miles, but up and over Half Moon Pass. The entire valley is filled with good rock, and in places it’s not unlike the gneiss in RMNP. Where as the bands in the Park are grey, white, black and blue, we saw some rock here that was streaked with red. Boulders lie below the cliff band near Lake Patricia, across the far side of Lake Patricia and increasing towards the 14er. This is one of the best places I have seen in Colorado, and it is simply waiting for someone to go start putting up new problems. The 3 hour drive and subsequent 1hour hike have kept me away so far.

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Google Image

Lone Eagle Peak, Indian Peaks Wilderness
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Three years ago I made a brutal hike with Angela, starting at Brainard Lake and making our way up and over Pawnee Pass, into the Lone Eagle Peak basin and back out. The trudge up Pawnee Pass from the west is one of the most brutal sections of trail I have ever hiked. Coming from Brainard we ticked almost 20 miles of hiking that day, but 13 miles into our hike we stumbled upon a huge talus field of high quality granite. As you are approaching the boulders the pile was on our left, about a half a mile from the Peak itself. The realistic approach is to come in from Monarch Lake, on the west side of the Divide. This cuts the hike to about 6 miles which, for a long weekend, would be fairly reasonable. This is one of the most beautiful mountain places I have ever been.
Lone Eagle Peak

Picketwire Canyonlands, Comanche National Grasslands
picketwire-canyon

Four years ago I had been scouring images on www.terraserver.microsoft.com, which was a precursor to Google Earth. Trying to think of a new way to think about where there might be bouldering in the state, I started looking east. To my amazement I found an enormous canyon about 60 miles east of Trinidad. There were small sections of public land and I made the 4.5 hour drive three weekends in a row. The Picketwire is a really special place. In October the Tarantulas come out and although I didn’t see any several people on the trail registry wrote that they had. There is also a bunch of rock art, and at the far end of the public access, dinosaur tracks. The rock that I saw in the National Grassland varied wildy in quality, from perfectly solid rock to total choss. Angela and put up several problems. There is a ton of rock in the area, unfortunately most of the best stuff is on private land, and I had a friend ran off by a rancher, and I never went back.

Picket Wire

The Box
n702813912_736165_2055 7 miles in

Last year Tommy Caldwell hiked into an obscure area in Wild Basin, RMNP and put up some very nice problems. The hike is 7 miles or three hours, and we made a day trip. This is an absolutely spectular and fragile area to which no established trails lead. It is a small area, but there are a handful of outstanding problems. Several hard projects remain to be climbed for the truly dedicated. Highlights include Spread Eagle V11 and Welcome to the Box V3. The Park is one of the rockiest places in all of Colorado and it is certain to hold more. I have hiked most of the trails on the east side of the Park and have seen boulders near Black Lake, The Gash, Lake Ypsilon, Glacier Gorge, the base of the Diamond, Tourmaline Lake, Sky Pond and several other places

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Welcome to the Box V3 RMNP

This is just the tip of the iceberg and this list is by no means comprehensive. Other potential exists near Winter Park and the Devil’s Thumb, the areas surrounding Newlin Creek, an area at the base of Buffalo Mtn. I hiked to in the Gore Range (which is steep and seems to have a ton of good rock), the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area, which was heavily glaciated, and many many others. i also saw some potential past Red Cliff up a 10 mile dirt road, a large talus field on the right, and the Indepedance Pass/Ruedi Reservoir seems ripe with good granite. Hopefully more and more people will be exploring and looking for new rock!

11 Responses to “Exploration”

  1. BigA

    12. Jun, 2009

    Nice post! It might be worth mentioning that not far from Box Lake is Thunder Lake, and around the back of the lake there are HUGE granite boulders, one in particular was nearly 40 feet. Not a ton, but the quality looked top notch

  2. B3

    12. Jun, 2009

    Salo, I have seen these boulders. There is one with a very hard roof perhaps? perfect rock as I recall but it has been a while. Also there is some stuff at the base of Mt. Alice.

  3. sock hands

    12. Jun, 2009

    i need to be put on plush unemployment so i can send all fo this. all. of. it. imagonnafreakout

  4. CPayne

    12. Jun, 2009

    Indian Peaks have nothing good – stay away

    Lee

  5. BigA

    13. Jun, 2009

    Yeah totally. Rock was amazing. If you hiked past Thunder headed to Boulder Grand Pass the boulders were just before the slope got steep. I personally have done a handful of random things at Pear Lake, two drainages south of Box; but it has been almost ten years now. Have also heard from Jim belcer of boulders at Lion Lakes.

  6. B3

    13. Jun, 2009

    I hiked to the Lion Lakes and found some big boulders but the rock was poor and I didn”t see much. If you come out this summer I would love to go back to The Box.

  7. Nietzsche

    14. Jun, 2009

    B3,
    I heard from Yuri that a plot of land is for sale in Lyons (?). On the way up to the park in the narrows there is a large plumber’s crack boulder on the left hand side of the road. Here, look across to the other side of the road. On the right are several house size boulders that go back, and back, and back, and… Heard that Gill and Sherman used to go bouldering back in the day and according to Yuri they said it was the best bouldering in Colorado (back then). Interested to see if you’ve heard of these boulders. Also wondering if this could be confirmed with Sherman or Gill. At any rate the red granite blocks are massively impressive and a stone’s throw from the road.

  8. BigA

    14. Jun, 2009

    would be WAY psyched on that! i will keep ya posted

  9. Peter J.

    14. Jun, 2009

    Nice post. The Holly Cross stuff is great, but watch out for the mosquitos… they are terrible in that valley. Other areas:

    You are right, good stuff in the Gore Range, but all very far in with little easy access….

    Really good stuff deep in the San Juans near Chicago Basin, again very far in…

    Western Slope? Unaweep still has tons, and past that into Paradox Canyon…

    Some solid stuff past Camp Dick all the way in at St. Vrain Glacier area…

    Just north of the Park on the northern flanks of the Mummy Range has potential…

    Still tons of untapped in the San Luis Valley…

    Way up in the Sangres at the base of the Crestones and Blanca Massives are some big blocks….

    Down from Pierson Park looks to hold some potential; no easy access….

    Evans was known about before 2002, but people were more into Guanella at the time, still some there…

    Minor roofs and talus fields in Keystone…

    Untapped stuff out of Dinosaur in northwest Colorado…

    Some more up past Winfield in the Collegiates…

    I think the stuff Nietzsche is referring to is still private. Really big stuff back there, but with few holds.

  10. B3

    14. Jun, 2009

    Tom, I know of these boulders, they are hard to miss on the way to the park. I think they are known mostly as Split Rocks. Gill def. bouldered there, there are several photos of him climbing there in Master of Rock. It would be nice if this area became accessible. although I think the land is about $600,000. Perhaps a bit pricey for a dozen granite eggs.

  11. […] Emerson has a pretty interesting post about some areas in Colorado that may hold untapped potential for new bouldering.  It sounds like […]

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