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Monitor Rock

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Below Monitor Rock 
Bird's Nest, The 
Boulder Wall 
Butt Wall 
East Face aka Clairabell Mine Wall 
Endless Wall 
F.Y. (Forever Young) Wall 
Iron Side Wall 
Iron Stone Wall 
Space Your Face Wall 
Summit Dome 
Trailhead Wall 
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Monitor Rock  

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Location: 39.0726, -106.4513 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 129,449
Administrators: Alvaro Arnal, Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Jan 31, 2002
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
Partly Cloudy
57° | 31°
54° | 32°
Chance of Rain
49° | 28°
Snow Showers
40° | 18°
Partly Cloudy
38° | 15°
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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A sunny view of the Monitor from the west.


Monitor is nice granite rock with virtually no approach and a good West face where most of the climbing can be found. Certainly by now there are close to 60 routes to choose from, sport and trad. Many are one pitch, some are several. While situated in an alpine setting, the granite is still excellent and the climbing interesting. Worth a day shot if you are heading to Independence Pass for several days. Importantly, since Monitor Rock is at lower elevation than Independence Pass, it is possible to extend the climbing season by a month or so. To keep things organized, the numbering of routes will start on the right and proceed uphill with increasing number. By this scheme, where the approach trail meets the rock, the sport route "Rad Lad" will be # 31. Presently, the only published data that I have found is Lance Hadfield's mini-guide in R&I (#74, August 1996, pp 102-105), and I will follow his numbering as much as possible allowing for new routes where this seems obvious. You will find routes from 5.7 trad to moderate 5.12 sport with numerous 5.10 and 5.11 to be had. The sun exposure is usually excellent.

Getting There 

From most points East you will be taking Colo 82 (off US 24 and between Leadville and Buena Vista) West past Twin Lakes and the reservoir. Several miles further you will come the Mount Elbert Lodge and B&B which can offer great lodgings for those in need and with the foresight to reserve a room. Monitor Rock is several hundred feet West of the lodge and on the right. Parking is just off the shoulder. For those in need, there is a great German restaurant in Twin Lakes that serves loads of imported German beers and terrific bratwurst.

More Info 

Eds. In addition to Lance Hadfield's Rock & Ice mini-guide (#74, August 1996, pp 102-105), there is a guidebook, Independence Pass Rock II $32.99, on the Aspen area climbs by Tom Perkins which includes Monitor Rock. It is available in the bookstore in Leadville. There was a paper guide published through the Aspen Climibing Guides. Aspenclimbingguides.com may also provide more information.


Eds. If you are coming from the Leadville side & need coffee, bakery goods, or wireless internet, the Provin' Grounds Coffee Shop (508 Main St.) may have what you need.

The bookstore just north has guidebooks to the area & the Arkansas Valley.

Climbing Season

Weather station 7.2 miles from here

69 Total Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',30],['2 Stars',30],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Monitor Rock:
The Nose   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 5 pitches, 700'   Butt Wall
Little Flatulence   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch   Butt Wall
Trooper Traverse   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   Trailhead Wall
Prospector   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Iron Side Wall
Grave Line   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Boulder Wall
Squid Kid   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Trailhead Wall
Master Blaster   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   East Face aka Clairabell Mi...
Twin Flakes   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Iron Side Wall
Mother Lode   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 350'   Trailhead Wall
Pirate Mode   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 275'   Trailhead Wall
Slip...Not!   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   Boulder Wall
Brother Toad   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Trailhead Wall
Dazed and Confused   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 2 pitches, 225'   Space Your Face Wall
The Other Road   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 300'   Trailhead Wall
Red Dawn   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Iron Side Wall
Last Chance   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 125'   Iron Side Wall
Rad Lad   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   Trailhead Wall
Molly Brown   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Iron Side Wall
Transformation   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 4 pitches, 450'   Endless Wall
Glory Hole   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Iron Side Wall
Browse More Classics in Monitor Rock

Featured Route For Monitor Rock
Mark Miner on Seams Like Lightning.

Seams Like Lightning 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  CO : Independence Pass : ... : Summit Dome
Start with gear up the left-facing corner. Then 3 bolts lead up to the Seams above (crux). 2 more bolts up the smeary dome to the anchors. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Monitor Rock Slideshow Add Photo
BETA PHOTO: Monitor.
We saw this deer dying the week before, next time ...
We saw this deer dying the week before, next time ...
Monitor Rock at sunset.
Monitor Rock at sunset.
We made it to the top.
We made it to the top.
Bear posting up on the approach.
Bear posting up on the approach.
Rasta Ledge.
Rasta Ledge.
This is an attempt at giving general locations for...
BETA PHOTO: This is an attempt at giving general locations for...
Taken from the West parking area
BETA PHOTO: Taken from the West parking area
Rasta Ledge.
Rasta Ledge.

Comments on Monitor Rock Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 29, 2014
By Edward Jenner
Apr 8, 2002
IMHO a worthy rock for sport climbing. The rock is solid and finger friendly. Aspen Climbing Guides LLC publishes a 1-page guide which has all the current routes listed.
By Wendie
Jul 1, 2002
Great area, with something for everyone - sport, trad, beginners, etc. Don't forget to do the Butt Wall (no routes described here) - around the right prow. There are great warm-ups there or routes for beginning leaders. Most of them have a 2nd trad pitch, though the first pitches are all sport. Easy to get to & all routes are well bolted!
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
May 3, 2006
Spotted a few mountain goats on the southeast face a couple weeks ago showing the humans how it's done.
By John Peterson
Jul 11, 2007
Found: watch at the base of the Nose. Drop me an email if it's yours. jpeterson@western.edu
By 1Eric Rhicard
Jun 30, 2009
Cool cliff with a ton of sport climbing! Wish the rain hadn't been so persistent and the fishing so good. I would have liked to do more climbs. Love the rock texture and the easy approach.
By Brandon Schirm
From: colorado springs, co
Jun 27, 2010
What are the routes on the overhanging wall? About 500 ft to the left of Squid Kid. A lot of chalk and a bulge at the top?
By Rob Davies UK
From: Cheshire, UK
Oct 16, 2010
The new edition of the Stewart Green Colorado guide includes Monitor Rock.
By Drew Spaulding
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 12, 2012
With the help of multiple friends, since 2006, we've established 32 new pitches on MONITOR ROCK so far. Notably, six new 3-pitch routes have been added to the already plethora of climbs. Nearly all new pitches require some natural gear placements... I will soon be posting some of the latest works.... on The FY Wall!
By BJ Sbarra
From: Carbondale, CO
Sep 12, 2012
Thanks for all the hard work, great to see so many new climbs!
By Hearne
Apr 28, 2014
New route info: Rimpelstiltskin is the bolted face route located on the large, left-facing dihedral between Iron Side Wall and Endless Wall; left of Climax and right of Dihedral Crack. FA: Nicole Rimpel, Chris Martinez, Dean Morgan. 11a/b if you stay on the face. 13 bolts, chain anchors, 105 feet.
By Don Nguyen
From: Ellensburg, WA
Sep 8, 2014
Lost a pair of glacier goggles and all my cards on a fall over the Trooper Traverse. If you see anything, please turn it into Leadville Outdoors shop. Thanks.
By Michael Arriola
Sep 26, 2014
Any camping options nearby?
By Michael Schneiter
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Sep 29, 2014
Yes, there are a few USFS campgrounds close by. Twin Peaks and Parry Peak are east of Monitor and within a few miles.
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