Camp Dick and Camp Peaceful Valley sit up a beautiful, sub-alpine, glacial drainage surrounded by the scenic Indian Peaks Wilderness. Pristine granite boulders sit along the valley that stretches West from the end of Camp Dick for several miles along the Middle Saint Vrain River until the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary. Technically the vast majority of the climbing sits up-road from the actual Camp Dick. The area is also popular with a wide range of day hikers, off-road enthusiasts, car-campers, hikers, fishers, mountain bikers, and backpackers. Spending a weekend of camping and climbing here will not disappoint.
The bouldering is spread-out over three miles along the 4x4 road and the hiking trail. A good concentration of climbing is right at the beginning of Camp Dick with some of the more quality problems located deep in the woods, several miles from the the trailhead. There is a good mix of difficulty with a number of problems at nearly every boulder.
If you are on foot, it is a must to note that there is a major difference between the boulders along the 4x4 road and the boulders that are along the actual hiking trail. Each boulder description should provide you insight into this difference as crossing the river outside of the trail bridges is not always feasible and trying to climb at different areas may require more hiking then you realize. Additionally hiking the 4x4 road is not the best option as the road is very uneven and full of ankle-twisting rocks; I highly recommend planning your route to be on the hiker's trail as much as possible.
The area begins a little over 1 mile from the turn-off to Camp Peaceful Valley/Camp Dick in a decent sized round-about parking lot. This is the suggested area of parking for all vehicles that are not high-clearance as the road is designed for more serious off-roaders. The trail splits not far from the trailhead with the 4x4 road heading to your left and the hiker's trail to your right.
List of the some of the major Boulders:
Along the 4x4 Road: These boulders are for the most part very close to the trailhead parking lot and can be reached by foot or by high-clearance vehicle. Fingerbanger boulder is only about 20 mins of hiking to reach with the others much less then that.
- Trailside Boulders/Warm-up Area/Bolt Boulder: Easiest boulders to get to. There are several boulders right along the road after you start up the 4x4 which are called the Bolt Boulders; will be down and right from the road. For the Warm-up Area, take the hiker's trail for a several hundred yards and you should see these problems right along the trail. Mostly easy to moderate problems with several problems above V5. - Pyramid Boulder: Follow the 4x4 road for a little less then 1/2 mile. The boulder is uphill to your left (South) in the forest about 100 yards from the road. With a little bushwhacking you should be able to find quickly. Several easy problems with a couple classics such as Mr. Clean and a highball crack call Treetop Flyer in the V5-V7 range.
- Fingerbanger Boulder: Follow the 4x4 road for just over 1/2 mile (there is a mileage sign). The boulder is 10 yards off of the road on your left (South) and is easily visible from the road. Has several hard problems and a couple moderates. (Note: good camping is all around here).
Along the Buchanan Pass Trail: The below listed boulders are located along the Hiking Trail. You can reach these either by the hiking trail or along the 4x4 road. If you parked at the parking lot and are on foot, it is recommended to take the hiking trail; if you have a high-clearance vehicle, you can drive in to the end of the 4x4 road where a foot-bridge connects the 4x4 trail to the hiking trail at ~3.5 miles from the trailhead (once over the bridge take the trail that heads is on your right (East)). This parking spot lot is the end of the 4x4 road just past the Coney Cutoff Road. Also, note there are no mileage signs along either trail beyond the 1/2 mile marker and there should be a 3 mile marker on the actual Buchanan Pass Trail.
- Omniglobe Boulder: This is the centerpiece boulder of the area with numerous quality lines. Other boulders are all near this one. About 3 miles from the start of the hiking trail this boulder is located just uphill (right/North) of the trail. Near the Omniglode boulder is the Scenic boulder and several other high quality blocks.
- Alpenglow Boulder: One of the furthest boulders from the trailhead. If you took the 4x4 road to the bridge this will be the first boulder you encounter. It sits right on the trail in an open field and cannot be missed. Some of the best views of the mountain range are at this boulder. Numerous easy to V3/4 problems wrap around it.
There are numerous other boulders and problems not listed above. Hopefully this area grows over time.
Refer to Colorado Bouldering 2 by Philip Benningfield or Bouldering Colorado by Bob Horan for maps of the area and a good starting place.
Camp Dick is located along the Peak to Peak highway (also know as CO Hwy 72) about 18 miles North of Nederland and 4 miles South of CO Hwy 7. It takes about 25 minutes to get there from Lyons, about 45 minutes from Boulder, about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Denver, and about 40 minutes from Estes Park.
From Lyons: Take CO Hwy 7 West along the St. Vrain Canyon for about 12 miles. Turn South on CO Hwy 72 and take that for 4 miles. At 4 miles there is a major switchback in the road and the turn-off for Camp Peaceful Valley/Camp Dick will be on your right on the West side of the road. Go through the campgrounds for 1 mile until you come to the trailhead parking lot. There is running water at the trailhead parking lot as well as some outhouses.
Yes! Summer camping at Camp Dick is great. If you hike in 1/2 mile along the 4x4 road or hiker's trail, you can set-up camp for free. There are many options with most of them being right next to the river in beautiful locations. I highly recommended that you make it into a camping/climbing trip. I would avoid all camping within the actual Camp Dick/Peaceful Valley group campgrounds unless hanging out with large groups of RVs and paying for camping is your thing.
The area is located at ~8,800 feet, so snow early in the season and wild rain-storms throughout the summer are common just like any alpine-type area.
Low start on crimpy sidepulls on the arete on the left side of the boulder. Work your way up the arete on sharp crimps to a long move to a sloper, and then you get to mantle.... Twice!...[more]Browse More Classics in CO