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Cactus Cliff

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Affluenza S 
Afterburner S 
Agave S 
Alexi's Climb S 
Alignment, The S 
Almost French S 
Almost Gothic S 
Amiga S 
Are You Experiential? S 
Awesome Offwidthin' T,TR 
Axis of Evil S 
Banana Split S 
Barbed Wire Love S 
Beach Ball S 
Beef Cake Formula S 
Bionic Minnow S 
Black Slabbeth S 
Blackman's Burden S 
Blade Runner S 
Blarney Stone, The S 
Blond Princes S 
Bombodido S 
Book of Dude-Aronomy, The S 
Bur-Har-Bur S 
Cactus Cliff Addict S 
Candy for Big Kids S 
Carnage (aka "Wild Virus") S 
Cellulite District T,TR 
Centurion Enigma S 
Cheeseburger In Paradise S 
Child's Play S 
Chompin' at the Cholla S 
Christmas Tree S 
Chunky Monkey S 
Cobra S 
Commitment S 
Crimpin' and Pimpin' S 
Crimpson Candy S 
Critic's Choice S 
Cro-Magnum S 
Crynoid Corner S 
Cure For The Common Crimp S 
Da Fly S 
Dances with Cholla S 
Dereliction Affliction S 
Dihedrus S 
Divinity School S 
Don't Be Messin' With Ma Moves S 
Early Bird S 
Escalando S 
Et Tu, Brutus S 
Fantasia S 
Fast Food Nation S 
Fishisms T 
Flight of the Phoenix S 
French Are Here, The S 
Fully Equipped S 
Funkdemental S 
Gabby S 
Glass Babies S 
Glue Slippage S 
Good Red Road, The S 
Gravitations S 
Great Expectations S 
Hair Trigger S 
Half Breed S 
Hero Driver S 
Hey Pueblo Gringo, Got a Hanger? S 
High Heeled Tittty Twister S 
Hot Beach S 
Hurricane Hinzi S 
I Claudius S 
I Lean S 
I'm Having A Vision S 
Ian's Climb S 
Illegal Smile S 
Impulsive Hands S 
Institutional Meat S 
Jamuary S 
Joy of Cholla, The S 
Jumpin' the Gun S 
Just Thesenga It S 
Kalahari Sidewinder S 
Killer Toupee, The T,S 
King Louie's Traverse S 
Kodachrome S 
La Temperatura de Shelf S 
LaCholla Jackson S 
Lats Don't Have Feelings S 
Legend on the Fall S 
Leisure Class S 
Manly Bulges S 
Midget Toss S 
Misalignment S 
Morning Joe S 
Muscle Beach S 
New Ethics S 
New World Order S 
Ol' 47 S 
Oscar de la Cholla S 
Out There Take Anything S 
Paleolithic Tool Traditions S 
Part Muffalo S 
Pick Pocket S 
Politically Incorrect S 
Poquito Mas S 
Puff Daddy S 
Purple Corner T 
Quarterback S 
Quasi Quasar S 
Raven, The S 
Reach Around, The S 
Red Eclipse S 
Red Giant T 
Redman's Burden S 
Relampago S 
Richard Simmons' Tanktop S 
Risky Business S 
Shelf Pride S 
Short Man's Burden S 
Six More Bottles of Basco S 
Six Pack O' Whoop-Ass S 
Slicer S 
Solar Eclipse S 
Spray Lord S 
Squeeze the Moment S 
Stand, The S 
Super Suka S 
Third Stage S 
Three-Quarter Ton S 
Thumbs Up S 
Tits Up S 
Too Much Beef and Not Enough Meat S 
Total Recount S 
Totally Blonde S 
Turkey's Bleak T 
Two For One S 
Under A Blood Red Wall S 
Unknown S 
Usual Suspects, The S 
Utter To A Scream S 
Wadsworth Boulevard S 
White Punks on Pockets S 
Whiteman's Burden S 
Working Man S 
World Peace S 
You Show Me Your Heavy Weapon, I'll Show You Mine S 

Cactus Cliff  


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 6,721'
Location: 38.6323, -105.224 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 202,247
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Nov 30, 1999
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Cactus Cliff viewed from Bank Campground after a w...

Description 

Situated directly above the hairpin is one of the most obvious cliff bands at Shelf Road. Cactus Cliff faces South-Southwest, gets great sun, and can be climbed most of the year. The rock is typical of Shelf Road in general and reminds me of The Gallery. Cactus Cliff is home to several fine lines, although the trend in difficulty is a bit less than at The Gymnasium. Development, which has slowed to a tectonic crawl in recent years. However, in the winter months, Shelf Road can be the only option available, short of Mexico, so it is still worth keeping in mind and Cactus Cliff is always worth a mid-winter romp.

Cactus cliff is now hands-down the most well-rounded sport crag in Colorado, including at least one route of every grade from 5.7 to 5.14a.

Getting There 

Please park in the newly expanded parking area at The Bank.

There is a new trail leading to Cactus Cliffs from The Bank. This is now the fastest, most convenient way to approach the area. The trail was built in August by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute with the help of AmeriCorps volunteers and a grant from the Access Fund. It is approximately 1.5 miles long.

PLEASE DO NOT PARK ALONG SHELF ROAD.
For more information contact BLM at 719-269-8500 Thank you for your cooperation.

APPROACH DESCRIPTION: From the new parking area by The Bank Camground, follow the road NW towards The Bank for ~100yds. Pickup the trail on the right side of the road that descends into the canyon. Follow this trail for ~5 minutes, crossing the canyon bottom, and passing below the 2150 Wall, to a terminus at the road that heads up above Cactus Cliff (this road was the former approach to Cactus). Turn left and follow the road uphill towards Cactus. Continue along the road as it banks hard right, passing the new toilet. Where the trail banks left, continue east, passing signage, along a well maintained trail that traverses Cactus Cliff.

Climbing Season



Weather station 7.0 miles from here

147 Total Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',42],['2 Stars',78],['1 Star',22],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',1],['5.7',3],['5.8',5],['5.9',18],['5.10',59],['5.11',31],['5.12',25],['5.13',4],['>=5.14',1],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Cactus Cliff:
Crynoid Corner   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
LaCholla Jackson   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Oscar de la Cholla   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
The Raven   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Dihedrus   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Three-Quarter Ton   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Blackman's Burden   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Wadsworth Boulevard   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Politically Incorrect   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
I Lean   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Muscle Beach   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Funkdemental   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   
I Claudius   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Illegal Smile   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Lats Don't Have Feelings   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Gravitations   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Tits Up   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Hot Beach   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
The French Are Here   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Flight of the Phoenix   5.14a/b 8c 33 X+ 33 E9 7b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Browse More Classics in Cactus Cliff

Featured Route For Cactus Cliff
Travis turning on the afterburners toward the top ...

Afterburner 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b  CO : Shelf Road : Cactus Cliff
Starts between Tits Up and Muscle Beach. First bolt is quite high, so stick clipping the first bolt is wise (requires a long stick). The climb opens with a punchy duo of pockety and crimpy boulder problems up to very welcome deep pockets as it veers up and left to cross Muscle Beach. After a good and nearly no-hands rest, it accelerates up and slightly left through a thought provoking face with decent edges and pockets (once you find them). The afterburning...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Cactus Cliff Slideshow Add Photo
Yummy limestone on Cactus Cliffs.
Yummy limestone on Cactus Cliffs.
Cactus Cliff - Right (2).
BETA PHOTO: Cactus Cliff - Right (2).
Sunset over Sangres, seen from Cactus Cliffs.
Sunset over Sangres, seen from Cactus Cliffs.
South End of Cactus Cliff and Spiney Ridge as seen...
South End of Cactus Cliff and Spiney Ridge as seen...
Cactus Cliff.
Cactus Cliff.
Moon over Fantasia anchors.
Moon over Fantasia anchors.
Cactus Cliff - Left (2).  Errata: Route 31 is Tits...
BETA PHOTO: Cactus Cliff - Left (2). Errata: Route 31 is Tits...
April gearing up to lead at Cactus Cliff.
April gearing up to lead at Cactus Cliff.
Don sends a route on Cactus Cliff in summer 2004.
Don sends a route on Cactus Cliff in summer 2004.
Fire and Ice - Cactus Cliff in wintertime.  Tracy ...
Fire and Ice - Cactus Cliff in wintertime. Tracy ...
A perfect morning at Cactus Cliff - Nov.9'06
BETA PHOTO: A perfect morning at Cactus Cliff - Nov.9'06
Nice new trail to Cactus Cliff
BETA PHOTO: Nice new trail to Cactus Cliff
Cactus Cliff sunset.
Cactus Cliff sunset.
Right side of Cliffs, May.07
Right side of Cliffs, May.07
Hangin' out on a beautiful Winter's day.
Hangin' out on a beautiful Winter's day.
Cactus Cliff - Left (1)  Man-tasia is now named Pi...
BETA PHOTO: Cactus Cliff - Left (1) Man-tasia is now named Pi...
Leading an unknown route.  Photo credit: Sam Lange...
Leading an unknown route. Photo credit: Sam Lange...
BETA PHOTO
Cactus Cliff at moonrise, April, 2011.
Cactus Cliff at moonrise, April, 2011.
Cactus Cliff from The Banks campsite.
Cactus Cliff from The Banks campsite.
Sunset, looking west from Cactus Cliff.
Sunset, looking west from Cactus Cliff.
Cactus Cliff - Right (1).  The Price is Right is n...
BETA PHOTO: Cactus Cliff - Right (1). The Price is Right is n...
Warm winter day at Cactus Cliff
BETA PHOTO: Warm winter day at Cactus Cliff
3 climbers on 3 routes.
3 climbers on 3 routes.

Show All 25 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Cactus Cliff Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 15, 2012
By Brad Short
From: Saudia Aurora, CO
Nov 14, 2002
IMO, Cactus seems to have more loose rocks on routes and ledges than some of the other Shelf areas. Be careful and wear a helmet -- both leader and belayer.
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 8, 2004
A bunch of parking citations got handed out on Sunday afternoon for parking on the road. It was the first time in ten years of climbing there that we've had that happen, after multiple times parking on the big pullout on the bend below the Spiny Ridge/Gym junction. Best topark at the Bank I suppose but that lot's a little too small these days.
By ac
Mar 9, 2004
Were the ticketed cars in the pullout or on the road? I've always assumed that the cars in the pullout were legit while the other cars who parked on the road were breaking the rules.
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 22, 2004
There is a shiny new road sign just past the turnoff to the campgrounds: "do not leave cars unattended, next 4 miles". I assume that means you can't park along the road, nor in the pullouts adjacent to the road.
By Anonymous Coward
Dec 27, 2004
3 weekends in a row has been enough to convince me that Cactus Cliff is the LOUDEST crag in the state. From wife beaters to screaming kids to spray lords, I've never been surrounded by such rude LOUD climbers in my life. No more than 8 cars were in the lot this past weekend but when we were near any party, they were loud. I climb with my kids and teach them to be respectful of the other climbers around them yet the adults in the area can't do the same.
By Scott Miller
From: Denver, CO
May 29, 2006
I agree with BR The road to Cactus should be closed for sure. Are people that lazy they won't take the nice hike from the campground. This crag plays host to some of the most gapertastic climbers I've ever had the displeasure to climb around. If your visiting from out of state DON'T follow the crowds, poke around and you WILL find good climbing. I could have sworn there is a little more rock to climb at Shelf, other than Cactus Cliff.
By Chris Zeller
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 24, 2007
As of 9/21/07, the road to Cactus Cliff is closed. Don't follow the directions in the guidebook. The access is much easier now from "The Bank" campground. From the campground walk to the parking area then 50 yards or so down the right fork of the road. Turn right onto a nice trail that leads onto the old Cactus Cliff road and then up to the cliff. About 1 mile. The whole trail is extremely well made and marked. There are signs everywhere to the crags. Great job and a definite improvement from what I can see.
By Jason Halladay
Administrator
From: Los Alamos, NM
Sep 25, 2007
Thanks for mentioning the road closure and new access trail, Chris. More information regarding this change is on the accessfund.org website. It reads:

Shelf Road: Cactus Cliffs Road Closure, CO (11/14/2006)

Liz Nichol, Outreach Coordinator, Rocky Mountain Field Institute
Beginning November 2006 the road leading to the Cactus Cliffs climbing area from Shelf Road will be closed. The BLM has decided to close this steep, un-maintained road due to liability issues and the requests of private property owners along the road.

Cactus Cliffs, Spiney Ridge, and The Gymnasium are still open to climbing.

There is a new trail leading to Cactus Cliffs from The Bank. This is now the fastest, most convenient way to approach the area. The trail was built in August by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute with the help of AmeriCorps volunteers and a grant from the Access Fund. It is approximately 1.5 miles long.

Please park in the newly expanded parking area at The Bank.

PLEASE DO NOT PARK ALONG SHELF ROAD.
For more information contact BLM at 719-269-8500 Thank you for your cooperation.
By James Cox
From: Cotopaxi, Colorado
May 15, 2012
Excellent climbing, but it used to be nice to be able to drive right up to the routes, although the new trail is nice. Did 5 different routes today, and I gotta say there is some excellent limestone up there. A lot of anchors, so if you are new to leading, you won't fall far.