After climbing in Boulder for almost twenty years, it is great to be able to visit new crags just ten minutes away. Unlike some of the newly developed Boulder Canyon crags (one-visit-wonders like Bowling Alley or Cornerstone) I'm still psyched to return to Avalon after a handful of visits. Avalon is one of the many, mostly-bolted crags in the narrows of Boulder Canyon. The rock seems really nice, typical of the higher quality Boulder Canyon stuff, cleaner and more pleasant than the stuff on Vampire Rock, (maybe because of the sunnier aspect) and the crag, nestled in a steep west-facing gully, has less of the road noise/roadside-feel than many others. It is shady in the mornings, but expect some afternoon sun.
Avalon is home to many moderate (5.8 to 5.10) sport routes, and has become popular in recent years. It can get busy on summer weekends.
Most of the routes are fully bolted, but several require a few pieces of trad gear. Be sure to check the route description before you head up with just a rack of quickdraws. Bring a rack of nuts and cams to 2" if you're going to do any of the "mixed" routes; otherwise, 12 quickdraws are enough for the longest route. A few routes could use one or two longer runners to keep down rope drag. Bring a 60m rope; some of the routes require it to lower or rappel.
Richard Rossiter's website, Boulder Climbs, has descriptions of most Avalon routes, as does Mark Rolofson's new guidebook "Boulder Canyon Sport & Adventure Climber's Guide Volume II: The Upper Canyon". Rossiter's current Boulder Canyon guidebook lists very few of the Avalon routes.
The Third Tier is the most remote and is visited by few climbers. Many routes up here have some moss and lichen, since the rock faces more to the north than down below, and the routes have seen little traffic. Come here to get away from the crowds. Visit the Wall of the Goddess for some trad crack-climbing practice. Climb on the remote Crack Land or Wall of the Dragon to experience "adventure sport climbing". Climb Ancient Light (10a) to Ancient Fright (10c) to Resurrection (9) to visit the true summit of Avalon, a magical place! The Art Of War (10c) is an excellent new sport route in Crack Land.
In 2006, Richard Rossiter and Pebby Johns aded a number of new crack climbs in Crack Land; bring your trad rack and have some fun!
There are two places to park:
In a small paved pullout on the right side of the road, 8.2 miles up the canyon, just across from the crag. This is 0.1 miles past Practice Rock, just past a right-hand bend in the road. Cross the road and spot the talus field below Avalon.
Warning: As of 6/20/07, this area has been posted as a no-parking zone. Evidently people are being ticketed for parking here. It's possible to park a bit downstream, just before the start of the no-parking zone. The no-parking sign is NOT visible at the usual parking pullout.
In a pullout on the left side of the road, 8.4 miles up the canyon, across from The Boulderado and Animal World. This is just past a concrete guard rail on the left. From here, walk 0.2 miles downstream, past Black Widow, Vampire Rock, and the Watermark, to the talus field below Avalon.
Crossing the creek:
There is a tyrolean traverse (currently 3 ropes) below the talus field; use this if the water level is too high to wade.
If the water level is low enough, you can wade downstream of the talus field.
If the water level is really low, you can hop rocks to get across.
Specific access directions for each tier will be listed in those sections.
Please stay on trails when wandering about at this crag. The popularity of this crag has led to erosion of unforseen magnitude. Hard work on the part of concerned climbers has helped mitigate this. Thanks!
The third bolted line from the left on Tarot Wall. Start 15' right of the Devil at a face leading to an alcove.Climb up the face to an alcove. Exit left and continue up a steep face. Work left and climb a slabby corner to the top.An interesting variety of climbing. A long sustained line with several cruxes requiring very different techniques to succeed....[more]Browse More Classics in CO
From Boulder access Avalon just past Boulder Falls. Guardrail at Boulder Falls ends, then another starts in about _ mile. There is a parking area at the end of that guardrail on the left. Park there and hike back down on the creek side of the guardrail. If you look toward the creek, you'll see several ropes crossing a significant rapid about 20 feet over the creek. That's not it. Keep going till you see a green rope close to the creek in a bushy slow moving section a little way farther. Wade across the creek there. Head straight up through the trees veering left as you go up. You should be able to make out a trail. You'll come to some rocks with some bolted routes. That's Watermark. Turn left (downhill) and wind around the underside of Watermark veering right. Pass a big tree and enter a boulder field. Head straight up that. This is Avalon. The First Tier is directly to your left as you head up. The Second Tier is just beyond the top of the boulder field.
There's a new Tyrolean directly below the talus gully on the upstream edge of Avalon (the most direct approach to the Lower Tier, Tarot Wall, Clipboard, Middle Wall, etc.) Today, thanks to TB's rigging skills, the old, trashed ropes in the Tyrolean below Solaris were replaced for safer access to Solaris, Avalon (via the trail from Solaris to the Tarot Wall), and the south side of Bell Buttress.
Bruce Pech and I replaced the rotting tyrolean traverse at Avalon last week. The new version is very simple, two strands cross the creek, both strands are tied with figure eight knots at both ends to two separate bolts on each side (four total). The two lines are kept together by an overhand knot on the road side, this side has very little extra rope involved. The other side of the creek (cliff side)has more rope involved,in a series of fisherman's knots. As this line is used and abused, left out in the sun and rain and snow... The line will eventually sag. If you must tighten the line or jury-rig something to make things work, it should be easiest from the cliff side. We used two ascenders, rigged a z-pulley setup, tensioned the #@%& out of both lines and tied them off directly to the links on the bolts. Good Luck.
P.S. The water is low enough that it is pretty easy to cross. Take your chances.
SAFETY NOTE. As of 15 September 2005 myself and Joan Johns have been clearing some very large loose blocks from the Northeast Face of the Third Tier of Avalon. This was essential and has gone quite well. However, if you plan to climb routes such as, Ancient Fright or Ancient Light bring a small broom to clean off the holds. A great deal of dirt and rock fragments were deposited on the holds and ledges of these routes. Routes farther to the west such as Mystery Ship, Charon's Boat and Dragon Slayer should not have been affected.
The Avalon tyrolean is three ropes attached to two huge boulders. Getting off at the far end is easy; coming back is a little harder, but still far easier than the Cob Rock tyrolean.
I haven't been up there in a while, so I don't know if the water is low enough to wade. The usual wading spot is about 100' downstream from the tyrolean, just left of a steep rock wall on the far side.
Many thanks for the beautiful work done on the tyrolean at Avalon. Thank you Ron, Bruno and Matt. The job was well planned out and the "ride" feels very safe. The addition of the new rope is awesome. Thank you again for a job well done. Pebby Johns
Thanks Tony! That is exactly what I was talking about. Worth doing? I kind of want to hop on it just b/c it's bizarre to me...doesn't seem like it should even be a bolted line...with enough pads and spotters it could go as a highball. But it'd be cool/funny to do a 2 bolt .11d.