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Gilpin Amphitheatre

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Gilpin Amphitheatre 


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Elevation: 10,500'
Page Views: 1,797
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: amerotrash on Apr 2, 2009
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K. Leaman on Gilpin Wall (Amphitheater) FA ca 1973...

Description 

This is a north-facing, alpine crag stacked with splitters, a few roof cracks, and one mixed face climb as of now. Only climbable during a short summer season, as it is too cold to climb there any other time. Best time to climb is from late June-September. The first pitch is 180+ feet to a large ledge, and then another 75-100 ft pitch of climbing above that.

Lots of FA potential, as I am the only one I know of who has climbed here, and it has a pretty long approach by most climbers' standards. 4 miles.

If you go bring a big rack, (doubles +), and two ropes, (for the rappel). The routes are long and there are no fixed anchors except on the mixed climb. The splitters are beautiful! A few will most certainly go at 11+. Also, because of the wilderness setting there are currently no rap stations and no easy walk off, so, you will need to bring twin ropes or two ropes to make the rappel from the ledge.

IF YOU GO REMEMBER YOU ARE IN A WILDERNESS AREA!!! TREAT THE LAND WITH RESPECT!!! FOLLOW A STRICT TRAD ETHIC. FOLLOW LEAVE NO TRACE! NO FIRES! MANY PEOPLE COME HERE JUST TO BE HERE, DON'T RUIN IT FOR THEM AND US CLIMBERS BY BEING STUPID!!!


Getting There 

Park at Slavonia trailhead at the end of Seedhouse Road. Hike 4 miles to Gilpin Lake, you will see the crag to the south when you get to the lake, can't miss it. Hike around the lake following the existing trail. When the trail reaches a col you will see a rock feature on your right. Begin traversing off the trail and follow the base of the rock formation and gain elevation. You will be at the edge of a talus field. Travers further right across the talus (west) and you will find a nice flat rock with a cairn which is a good place to stay the night and is (I believe) 1/4 mile from the lake. Doesn't matter, no one can see the camping spot from the lake anyway, and there is no vegetation to disturb, just follow LNT. You will have a good view of the cliff from there.


1 Total Routes


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


Featured Route For Gilpin Amphitheatre
The green line is a rough desciption of where the climb is. The x's represent the anchors. Although hard to see in the photo the line is roughly 180+ ft.

Rumors and Lies 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  CO : Steamboat Springs : ... : Gilpin Amphitheatre
There is no clearly defined crux. The climb starts with about 30ft of traditionally protected 5.8 crack climbing until the first bolt, where the natural protection ends and the climb continues through 12 bolts and excellent face climbing on great features until the anchors. The anchors are ring anchors and are good for rapping. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Gilpin Amphitheatre Slideshow Add Photo
We climbed the center of the face to the right of the large tapering pillar in '73. Moderate 5th but some loose and mossy parts! In the tradition of the emerging trend of the times-all nuts, no pitons or bolts. Also did the sunlit face on the left margin of the photo and some TR on the upper section.
BETA PHOTO: We climbed the center of the face to the right of ...
View of the crag from the trail as you get to the lake.
BETA PHOTO: View of the crag from the trail as you get to the ...
View from camping spot of cliff.
View from camping spot of cliff.
Perry Mansfield climbers at the base of Gilpin 1975.  We did a few trad routes here in the late '60s and early '70s.  I'll try digging up more photos.
Perry Mansfield climbers at the base of Gilpin 197...
Looking across into the perpetually wet chimney/corner of the tapered pillar. We turned back part way up the steep wet off width.
BETA PHOTO: Looking across into the perpetually wet chimney/co...
Comments on Gilpin Amphitheatre Add Comment
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By dmckee
Apr 5, 2009

It is important to follow the ethics in wilderness, national monuments and national parks. This keeps the areas rad and pristine. I am almost positive that this route was not equipped with that ethic... 12 bolts after 30 feet of mellow climbing is a sport climb by most standards(ie. The New River Gorge WV., The Needles SD. or Tuolumne Meadows CA.) especially when it is drilled with a bosch on rappel. "A strict Trad. ethic"??? Doesn't this mean gear, either passive or active or drilled by hand on lead hanging off some sketchy hook manuvs or dicey stance?!? I am way stoked on seeing new routes go up all over the map, if they are done properly with real ethics of the area. Practice what you preach!! Yes swinging a hammer for an hour per bolt is hard work, but that is what keeps it real. Otherwise there would be 3000 foot bolt ladders on rocks like el cap, that would be sooo sick bro all you would need is like draws then. enough ethics rant, you know who you are and the style that route was but up with. climb on and have fun!!!

By amerotrash
Apr 6, 2009

dmckee, we both know who we are. My reasoning for putting the wilderness ethic in there was to inform people not familar with the area of the wilderness ethic. If you think it through a little more you might decide including that notice on an internet forum was warranted.

As far as the route being a sport route, you probably won't need to place gear, so for you that is true, but for many other people it might not be, and they might want to bring gear. As far as I know, a sport route that requires trad gear in a few spots is called a mixed climb. I decided not to bolt the opening because it follows a crack.

As far as being bolted on rappel, it was. I believe climbing a face on TR and then discussing fixed gear placements with my partners yeilds better routes. I admire those who climb from the ground up, but that is not my style. The trad ethic I am refering to means not placing fixed gear where natural protection can be placed. I detest bolting cracks. But you are correct, bolting from the ground up is a more admirable ethic. As far as using a bosch I never break the law.

I offered this area to you before I posted it. As I am leaving Steamboat in a month this is my gift to the climbing scene round here. My disclamer was not to be holier than though or be hypocritical, and rather to encourage responsible use of the area. I'll be gone all summer but will have August free, if you want to go up there and check it out together, let's go! Oh, and my trad rack is growing again!

You got my number, holla in person, no need to piss on my stoke on mountain project. As far a bolt ladder goes, this route is anything but. Why not climb it first before you knock it man....

By Dustin B
From: Steamboat
Apr 8, 2009

"As far as using the Bosch, I never break the law."

Wow, 14 bolts by hand, lots of work.

By amerotrash
Apr 8, 2009

It was a lot of work. Would you guys just make it up there and climb the route and tick off a few of the splitters, and then if you think the route isn't up to your standards? You can do some work yourself by removing the triplex's. I'll even show you how. Or, you could be real self rightious trad climbers and chop the removable bolts, leaving useless metal scars.

I'm wondering who and how the bolts back at the domes were placed, as I seem to remember seeing one of you clipping them. And if they spent 10 dollars a placement to use stainless removable bolts. However they go in, wedge bolts don't come out, and can't be maintained. So, I guess if I climb ground up with a hand drill I can put wedge bolts where ever I want... that doesn't seem right either. I mean, you can put up a bolt ladder from the ground up.

It really does bother me that I put in 5 weekends to get the route up, and before anyone has even seen it or climbed it, I get all this shit for how I did it. Was the damn route bolted ground up? And when I wanted to go trad climbing with you guys my first day at Indian Creek you brought me to the Walls of Insanity in like November. It was cold and miserable. I mean do you guys think I'm so far removed from the climbing scene in Colorado not to know when people are just trying to show how cool they are instead of finding an area with routes everyone can lead. I was with Nicole that day. I couldn't lead any of the routes, and there wasn't anything for her to climb. She and Corey refused to climb with you guys the next day. The next day I climbed with some people I knew from Rifle that made you guys look like posers, and they recomended some awesome routes for me to climb, that I could lead, and learn the style.

The point is, I respect and admire you guys. I respect trad climbing. I would never bolt a crack, or a trad line. I'm from the Adirondacks for god sake, not that that means anything to you. I don't climb trad, or sport for that matter, as hard as either of you. My trad rack was stolen out of the back of my car, and because of it I got into bouldering and then sport climbing. I still love trad, and yes, in a lot of ways I see it as superior to sport. I just bought a set of Camalots to start tradding again.

But when we become so self absorbed and intolerant that we cannot appreciate any other perspective as our own we become fascists. If you think I just went up there and grid bolted that line you are wrong. I spent a lot of time and thought and money into putting up a line that was quality, and also something a bunch of people can climb. I could have found a 5.11/12 line and put that up for myself, but that wasn't what this was all about for me. It was about putting in a moderate route at an awesome location more than just a few elite climbers can climb. You guys might loathe me, my ethic, and this climb, but I guarantee there will be more people who will love it. And that's what will make this worthwhile for me. To see some people who don't climb super hard have a great weekend up there hanging out by a lake climbing a long moderate climb.

By dmckee
Apr 10, 2009

The name "rumors and lies" is well suited for your climb that was drilled with a power drill in the wilderness. You told me this face to face. Nobody will ever schlogg four whole miles for that. As for the domes, I believe those bolts were put in by some gnar folks long before the wilderness restriction was put into place... just the same way you used to be able to go downhill mountain biking up by Silver Creek. Your actions were quite chumply, but nice work at not bolting the crack at the bottom.

By mag
Apr 11, 2009

So, you've put up a new route, heh. I've been climbing around Routt County for many years and I love it. Why? Cause the ethics have been preserved here more than anywhere I know. All the bolts at the Domes were placed on lead by hand perhaps with the exception of a few new routes on the slabs. Also, they were placed pre Clinton wilderness designation. Yet, still placed with the utmost style.

Your "route" may be new. Hard to say. These cliffs have been climbed by some very seriously talented climbers that actually know what "leave no trace" means. It actually means leave no trace. Steamboat has had many talented climbers grace its presence including Kor, Covington, Rusk, Dawson, Gilmore, Varco, and many more. Some of these guys are still crushing it today.

I plan to check out this route. I hope this was done without power tools and with style. If not, I will pursue your real name and ensure prosecution. Routt County doesn't hesitate to prosecute snowmobilers for breeching these areas. Power tools will be treated the same. I'm sure it won't be hard to find the FAs "Matt Hoffer, Pete Skully, Nathan". Leave no trace encompasses how you treat the trail, the rock, the vegetation, the other people around you as well as how your dog (looks like you have one from the photos) treats the area and others. You sound like a temporary resident. I hope you left us with a gift and not a turd.

By matt j hartman
From: lander, wy
May 22, 2009

Wow, Routt County hasn't seen this type of action in a long time! As to whether or not the route was bolted with a power drill, that is up to the ethics of those who put it up. If you did use a drill, then I hope you get caught and fined and banned from the area. If you didn't, then it is your choice how to put up routes. That area, and I have probably spent more time up there than most, is one of the wildest areas in the lower 48. I have spent months up there and seen only one or two people. If you want to put bolts in the alpine crag at Gilpin, go for it. If you get caught with a power drill you put a lot of people under a microscope, namely Rocky Mountain Ventures (who as a sometimes employee of would never condone that and run into permit issues if anyone even thought they did it, which they never ever, ever would). If you head into the peaks and alpine routes (not crags) to the north, then keep your drill at home. If you can't climb it without bolts, bail, climb something else, or get better at climbing and do it when you are ready. Climbers need routes to aspire to do, not just move over and clip bolts. That area has more wild energy and requires competence and judgment, not bolts. To get off the peaks, figure it out like the people who climbed them first (and yes they have all been climbed by people much older and tougher than all of us), who did not use bolts. This place is a gem. It is a wild, dirty, chossy, heads up, pee your pants gem. I think it should stay that way. -matt hartman.

By matt j hartman
From: lander, wy
May 22, 2009

On another note Hoffer, calling Doug and Dustin possers is absurd. Doug has climbed El Cap twice, onsighted 5.12- (trad), and put up some of the best bouldering problems in Steamboat. Dustin is quietly one of the most competent climbers I know, and I have climbed long, hard, chossy routes with him. On the sharp end, he is more solid than most could ever hope to be. They both work for a living, too. Their commitment to climbing and vision for the area are fantastic. You can say what you want about me, I just have fun and go climbing. That can't be as cool as some dudes from Rifle!

By It's Just Life
Aug 1, 2010

Wow! All this drama over something so minor. Reminds me of my hardcore days when I would look down on myself for skipping bolts to redpoint a 5.13, or get bummed out when a knee bar was found and a climb down graded, or when I would tell a beginner they didn't get the 5.8 because they used the crack 3 feet to their right, etc, etc, etc. I'm a Steamboat resident and feel like I have a right to join in the bashing. Climbing is about adventure and fun. If someone wasted their money bolting a crack, then don't clip the bolts. It's pretty simple. If bolts become an eye-sore, then they can be painted. If climbers are hanging off every cliff, then we will get limited at some point. Steamboat does need more climbing and is seriously lacking for a good, all around, climbing environment. The season is already short and made shorter by limited to no areas in low elevation and warm areas. Thanks to everyone who spent their hard earned money bolting, and thanks to those who leave no trace because that should be the ultimate goal as technology improves. Oh ya and thanks to those for which stories of aiding off drilled holes for 200ft is the worldest greatest accomplishment. That used to be my dumb thoughts too. At least my old obsessive nature and narrow vision wasn't a demon shared only by mself. Don't forget it's about having fun!!! PS: Bolt ladders in Europe...never tried one...sounds like a fun vacation.