Rawah Wilderness

Rawah Wilderness

Posted on 29. Aug, 2011 by in News

This weekend, looking to reconnect with my old friend Ben Scott, I made my way to the Rawah Wilderness with Justin Jaeger to check out some new boulders. Ben has been calling this area the Canal Boulders, and the cluster was discovered by Ft. Collins local Jeremy Medley. For those who don’t know, Ben has been at the forefront of bouldering and route-climbing development in northern Colorado for the past 10 years and his ever present motivation and positivity at the cliff make him a great climbing partner. I have often written about the lack of motivation from many climbers in Colorado to develop new problems, but Ben is one of the few in the state who has demonstrated a real and admirable commitment to progressing the sport.

The boulders here are set far back from the road, yet Ben’s ingenuity has led to an interesting method of approach. We left the campground on mountain bikes, riding a few hundred yards to the trail head. From there we hiked our bikes steeply up hill for about a mile to an old road near the aforementioned canal. At the junction, there is are old mining buildings, which add an air of remoteness to area.


From there, we biked around 3 flat miles into the mountains.

IMG_3111 Jaeger on the approach with dogs in tow

What Ben took us to was a small cluster of excellent boulders. There are a number of hard projects there, including one arete I think could be V15. It is of outstanding quality. We climbed on it for an hour. It is rare to come across a problem of such outstanding quality, of such a high difficulty that will so obviously be climbed one day.

IMG_3128 Project

298333_10150310412653609_571253608_7739759_2945544_n-1 Trying the project, Ben Scott spotting

We also climbed on some easier things, including a beautiful V8 slab put up by Ben just last week. It took me a few hours, but I made the second ascent as things cooled off in the evening. I would give this one 3 if not 4 stars. An amazing and unique technical testpiece.

IMG_3162Ann attempts the new slab.

We also tried a stellar arete on the same boulder, one that could be potentially V11 or V12. It was warm and I look forward to returning in the fall when things cool off to put some effort into that one. While this is a small area, several of the projects are of excellent quality. It’s hard to believe there are still so many amazing problems out there, hiding, in the woods and it would be shortsighted to think that the development of new problems and areas in the Front Range is slowing.

8 Responses to “Rawah Wilderness”

  1. Davin

    29. Aug, 2011

    Good, good things up there! Great to hear you guys made it in and Ben has been developing there now. Really exited to see it here this morning.

    A few of us from Laramie have been covertly bouldering there for three previous seasons. Finding some old chalk and a wire brush, we kept it secret. Strongly feeling the boulders were discovered by someone else, so not to give their area away, only pictures were shown.

    Would be very happy to share what we finished and named up there. Will drop you an email with a quick topo when I get some time. Some real classics indeed!

  2. Beaudering

    29. Aug, 2011

    looks sick! can’t wait to check it out!

  3. localyokel

    29. Aug, 2011

    No bikes in designated wilderness areas.

    Hopefully if you were actually in the Rawah Wilderness you’ll have enough sense to take this down and stop spraying on the internet.

  4. Blake

    29. Aug, 2011

    The slab was climbed by Jeremy a few years ago. I dont think it was named.

  5. B3

    30. Aug, 2011

    The trail hugs the eastern edge of the Rawah Wilderness, just outside of the boundary of the actual Wilderness Area and is thusly perfectly legal. Thanks for your concern.

  6. Anon

    01. Sep, 2011

    In response to localyokel, I think they’re talking about approximate area when saying Rawah Wilderness. The presence of a mining area and the associated access road seem to violate the original legislation’s qualifying standards:

    (c) A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

    So, my guess would be, as long as the biking is not occurring anywhere other than the road, no laws are being broken…

  7. big poppachosscrush

    02. Sep, 2011

    i must come clean. i rode off the road for a few feet to bust a sick jump over 5 of the 10 miner’s barracks, but removed at least 5 invasive species of plants with my face when i ate it on the landing.

  8. cardboard_dog

    15. Sep, 2011

    here’s to hoping the definition of, and the protection of Wilderness areas never changes. EVER.

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