Drive up Mill Creek Rd, from Dumont. The National Forest boundary is well marked. Look for a big rock outcrop on your right high above the road. There are some trails that lead to the first wall, which is parallel with the road. All the way to the right side is a deep corner with two routes.
This is a secluded area with few climbers. I have put up four routes. There are chains at the top. They are trad routes, running from 5.7 to 10a. They are an easy 60m rope length.
There are 4 main routes from left to right, in order, Freeway, then by the dihedral, Honey Pot, Jug Haul, and Roof Rack. There is a bolt on "Jug Haul" to protect the first placement. If you miss the placement (flaired crack), it's a groundfall, so the clip is for safe keeping.
Since 2011, 20 new routes have been added. Most recent in 2013 October, Deflator-Mouse, 5.11b.
Drive west on I-70 to the Dumont exit (exit 235 off westbound I-70), about 2.5 miles. If you come from the west, you must use exit 234, Downieville. Take a right before the post office, Mill Creek Road. up about 2.5 miles. This has easy climbing for introducing new climbers to the sport. It is South-facing and warm on sunny days. Approach time to the base of the climbs is ~5 minutes and 10-15 minutes to the top for TRs.
Begin just right of the fully trad route called Roof Rack, which is the roof and corner system. Scantily Trad should be obvious with its five bolts leading to a headwall crack. The rock on ST is excellent. Hard and continuously devious climbing begins at clip two and remains complex and powerful until halfway through the crack above. While there are hard sequences at each bolt but # 1, getting to and past bolts 3 and 4 sets up a long and complex crux. Having the draws in place...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
This is good rock, fairly clean as well. I think Diana and I are the only ones climbing here. If more people climb it, the routes will get really nice and clean. There is some lichen in places, but no real rock falling off or that drops when you climb. I didn't bolt the routes, because I like to have a real trad area around here that is moderate. If you want total peace of mind, top rope the routes.
These are red point ratings, so if you are not a regular 5.10 trad leader, be prepared for some spice, especially on the Jug Wall.
By Leo Paik Administrator From: Westminster, Colorado Oct 4, 2011
This crag is easier to spot going downhill than going uphill for a first timer. It is not this crag at the top of the ridge:
Another crag, Mill Creek Dome, above and accessed from downhill of Mill Creek Crag.
Mill Creek Crag is close enough you could hit it throwing a rock. The creek is nice for a cool down/rinse off after climbing.
I had the opportunity to check out most of MCC routes this last weekend. While I recognize Harald's request for a bolt free area, I ran a TR through the overhanging crack and corner system 20 ft right of the Freeway route, the main dihedral on the West-facing wall. This would make fine, difficult route (5.11+ give or take a bit), but it would require at least partial bolt protection. I won't put it in with bolts if that is the consensus; however, it could be a really good addition.
RE: Drew Spalding "This is an area I climbed at many years ago in the early nineties. I first toproped this line "Roof Rack" in probably 1992 and within that next year I came back to lead it also. I remember thinking it was 5.9+/10.a and certainly remember that distinct roof crack! I never did give it a name, because I was surely convinced that someone had climbed this obvious line before I did (probably in the '60s, '70s, and '80s). Good to see there is more lines to climb up there now."
Interesting comment. I have been expecting to find evidence that others had climbed here as well. However, on neither the Mill Creek Crag nor the Mill Creek Dome has anything turned up. While I would not anticipate the trad lines showing any evidence of prior climbing, I have not found evidence of rap stations, fixed pins, pitons, slings, etc, etc. That has always seemed surprising. Harald mentioned climbing the Dome on its west side some years back. It would be useful to know if other things had been climbed and where these lines might be. Thanks Drew for letting us know of at least one prior ascent.