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Rattlers in Golden area
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By Josh S
Apr 8, 2014

How bad are the Rattlesnakes in the crags around Golden? When I check out the Table Mountain and CCC pages, I see a ton of complaints/warnings about rattler encounters.

Are they prevalent enough to discourage people from visiting those crags?

I live in the East, but job is relocating to the Denver area, and am considering Golden or Boulder area. I see a snakes here and there when climbing around Md and its not a big deal, but these posts have the neurotic jew in me thinking of reaching into a hold and grabbing a rattler.


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By Chris I
From Fresno, CA
Apr 8, 2014
First trad lead.

I've climbed Table Mountain North a bunch and never seen one, although the area seems snakey. Every time I do the approach or hike the base, I pay attention and am on the lookout, but like I said, I haven't seen one yet. I've seen one rattler in Clear Creek and when left alone it slithered away off of the trail. My buddies and I once cragged all day at the Red Slab in Clear Creek totally oblivious of its rattler reputation. We stomped through grass, hiked all over and had a great day and didn't see a single one. They're out there, but it's not overrun by any means and if you see one, just give it some space and they'll mind their own business.


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By Josh S
Apr 8, 2014

Yea, I have climbed in Clear Creek a bit and didn't see any. Funny, its never a concern when you're out climbing, but sitting at my desk bored, it's like OMG RATTLERS EVERYWHERE IM GON DIE.


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By Nick Venechuk
From Golden, CO
Apr 8, 2014

I lived in Golden for three years, climbed at the mesa and creek quite a bit, only once ever saw a rattler and that was on a trail run. They're around but I never felt the need to avoid an area because of them.


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By Andy Novak
From Golden, Co
Apr 8, 2014
Living the High Life.

Better save yourself the worry and move to Aurora instead, just to be safe.


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By John Byrnes
Administrator
From Fort Collins, CO
Apr 8, 2014

Josh S wrote:
How bad are the Rattlesnakes in the crags around Golden? ... I see a snakes here and there when climbing around Md and its not a big deal, but these posts have the neurotic jew in me thinking of reaching into a hold and grabbing a rattler.


Do you drive your car while talking on your cell phone? If so, then you're probably gonna git bit hiking to the crag.

But if you normally pay attention to where you are and what you're doing (as in where you're placing your feet), you'll be fine.

I've lost count of the number of rattler encounters I've had over the years at crags, parks and outside my house. But I've never seen a rattler on a shitty crimp, pinky-lock or heinous sloper. Climbing ain't Hollywood.


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By matt c.
Apr 8, 2014

yes they are there but not they don't want to eat you. I have run into a few in both clear creek and table. Most notably, i saw a baby rattler on a ledge 20 feet up while it was traversing. I almost peed my pants.

Just be careful and you will be fine. There are very very low rates of snake bite mortality in the US. Statistically speaking, I think you are more likely to die getting struck by lighting while sitting on the toilet.

oh, because of the snakes, i do keep my dog on a leash if i climb during sunny afternoons. so if you have dogs or kids, maybe leash them too


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Apr 8, 2014
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

I've been climbing regularly in CCC for five years or so and have only encountered one dead baby rattle snake, one angry (possibly rabid) bat, and dozens of rams and mule deer (from a distance).

Snakes are out there for sure, but the chances they'll be a problem for you are pretty slim in my experience.

Welcome to CO!


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By Robots and Dinosaurs
Apr 8, 2014

If you are worried about them, which would be understandable, bring a hiking pole and use it like a blind person. They will feel the percussion in the ground and avoid whatever is making it... or get a pet honey badger and just let him just run around being awesome


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By GLD
Apr 8, 2014

^This (honey badger)

I've been here in CO for 2 years now and have only seen 3 snakes and have been near a few others according to some of my MTB friends. I don't even really think about it except when stepping over logs and rocks but that is more from all the time I spent living in TX.


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By adampeters
From Golden, Colorado
Apr 8, 2014
<a href='http://lucasmarshall.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >lucasmarshall.com</a> <br /> <br />snakewrangler

Lived here 8 years. Climbed hundreds and hundreds of days in Clear Creek and 50 or so days at N. Table. I've seen one snake at N. Table, but that area is so well traveled that you typically won't have a problem with them. I did have quite an encounter at the Hipster Crag in Clear Creek when we were scoping it for the Sharp End guidebook. So, this was a brand new area with little to no trail at the time. My partners must have agitated a den or something because I came down about 300 yards behind them and I saw like 4 snakes that were pissed. I was pretty gripped, but luckily didn't get bit. Every once in a while you'll see a snake around a popular area, but mainly they avoid where people are.

I've also seen snakes in the Flatirons in Boulder.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 8, 2014
Stabby

It is a total myth. We glue baby rattles on bullsnake tails. The idea is to keep East coasters away.


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By Mike Pharris
From Longmont, CO
Apr 8, 2014
Climbing above Black Lake

I've seen at least one rattle snake in S. St Vrain Canyon each summer for the past few years.


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By Monty
From Golden, CO
Apr 8, 2014
Just a teaser

I had a close call walking to Creekside one day by my self while I was working on new routes over there. It was during high run off and I couldn't here the rattle. I wouldn't have even known there was a rattle snake around until I saw it coiled up right next to my foot. Scared the shit out of me!


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Apr 9, 2014

There are areas that get pretty snake-y at certain times of year, but you shouldn't find yourself running in to snakes, since "snake season" and climbing season generally don't overlap. Recall that snakes like hot weather (being cold blooded), and climbers (at least the sensible ones) hate hot weather. If it is hot enough for the snakes to be out and about, it is probably too hot to rock climb. The nice thing about Colorado is you rarely have to climb in bad conditions; you can just drive an extra 30 minutes uphill or downhill and you will find the temperatures you seek. For this reason, Front Rangers can be total ninnies about conditions.

Anyway, the point of this is that while places like North Table Mtn. have a reputation for snakes, this shouldn't affect you. The snakes are out in the summer, and you really don't want to be at North Table in the summer; you want to be higher, cooler, shadier... and there aren't many snakesup in those places. You go to somewhere like North Table in mid winter, when the temps are good for climbing there but bad for snakes. In short, don't worry too much about snakes.


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By rob bauer
From Golden, CO
Apr 9, 2014

Climbed at NTM 20+ years and haven't seen one yet. Climbed 30+ years at Morrison and saw one, but someone told me where to go to see it, and sure enough! Be aware but not discouraged. Slightly aware will get you through.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 9, 2014
Stabby

During the Summer they come out around dusk at Table, best to leave before the sun drops behind the horizon. One time I encountered a pretty fat one at the halfway point of the trail where it is flat with tall bushes. The fun part was that one slithered out onto the trail behind us there too. So we had to jump over the downhill one.
Anyway, snake awareness:

  • Summer daylight is too hot for them, they come out once it cools off and spend the day hiding in the shade or under rocks.
  • October is snake season as they will crawl out into the sun after a chilly night to warm up. And they are sluggish too, which is bad b/c they don't move.
  • In snake known areas take a stick clip or walking stick and tap it like a blind person; probe thick bushes and under boulders before stepping there.
  • They have personalities. Some are really passive; others will actually charge at you.
  • In my 30 years of climbing I've seen over a 100 at Castlewood, maybe 10 in Jefferson County. They're not all that bad, it's the shot of adrenaline you get when you first hear the buzz that sucks.
  • No one I know has ever seen one at Devils Head.


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By doug rouse
From Denver, CO.
Apr 9, 2014

I've climbed at North Table three times, and on each occaision I saw one on the path hiking to the crag. All of them rattled before we reached where they were, and we were able to avoid them easily. After 30 years climbing along he Front Range, I would recommend to avoid the place altogether, as it consists of basalt which has been highly polished from climbers over the last two decades. Clear Creek has alot of climber traffic, but is notably better climbing. If you have the option to move to Boulder, Do It!


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By Ryan Marsters
Apr 9, 2014

I've seen maybe 5 rattlers over the past few summers in the bushy section on the N Table approach. Mostly around 5-7pm after work. Not a big deal other than having to wait a bit for them to uncoil and slither off. At CCC, I've seen them a couple times at Highwire, again around 6-8pm. One was between the belayer and the wall, causing a bit of nervousness. The snake just slithered along doing snake things. They usually aren't aggressive and certainly not a concern enough to avoid the crags.


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By Hank Caylor
Administrator
From Golden, CO
Apr 9, 2014
Lone goat..

Our big assed yard sorta becomes a trailhead for South Table Mountain and we go trail running A LOT. Always seeing rattlers, usually in the morning or evening but very common for us. Big fuckers laying across the trail width wise?! Maybe NTM has a different sun/shade pattern? What most folks say here though, not a big deal, maybe a big deal, be careful.


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By slim
Administrator
Apr 9, 2014
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

one of my more memorable snake experiences was a monster bull snake striking at my wife as we hiked through a field in the south saint vrain. holy balls i have never seen someone jump so high (nor have i heard someone scream so loud....)

one thing i find really interesting - it seems like particular canyons either have rattlesnakes or they don't. i have run into them at shelf, clear creek, NTM, eldo, and a few other places. however, i have never heard of anyone running into one in boulder canyon(?). same with the south platte (although i have seen quite a few water/garter snakes there).


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Apr 9, 2014
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

adampeters wrote:
I did have quite an encounter at the Hipster Crag in Clear Creek when we were scoping it for the Sharp End guidebook. So, this was a brand new area with little to no trail at the time. My partners must have agitated a den or something because I came down about 300 yards behind them and I saw like 4 snakes that were pissed.


yeah, the dead baby rattler and the bat I saw were both at the hipster. The bat was protecting a flake/crack system on the 11a warm up to the right. The dead snake was on the trail.

JCM wrote:
There are areas that get pretty snake-y at certain times of year, but you shouldn't find yourself running in to snakes, since "snake season" and climbing season generally don't overlap. Recall that snakes like hot weather (being cold blooded), and climbers (at least the sensible ones) hate hot weather.


Yes. For some reason we thought it was a good idea to jump on Hipster in July. Don't do that. It is a winter crag.


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By Brandon English
Apr 9, 2014

Normally they're not a problem but last year I saw 5 rattlers while mountain biking at N. Table and Chimney Gulch. Never while climbing.


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By dan zika
From jax wy
Apr 10, 2014
tower fever <br />

Carry a stick & listen to snake awareness post. if you get bit it is gonna suck. Almost any lower elevations out west has rattlers. lotsa other hazards too deserts have clear bahr scorpions. Smaller the deadlier. I have seen rattlers,bull, & gopher snakes at table. Hit the bushes ahead of you & remember snakes can only strike half their body length ie a 4foot snake can only bite you from 2ft away. Baby rattlers are the most dangerous they cant control the venom they inject & no rattlers!!!


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By Buff Johnson
Apr 10, 2014
smiley face

Good thing this was asked before the move, YES, most snakes around here have a deadly neurotoxin that targets people that move from back east. We call it the Nor'easter venom, deadly as hell.


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By Josh S
Apr 10, 2014

Buff Johnson wrote:
Good thing this was asked before the move, YES, most snakes around here have a deadly neurotoxin that targets people that move from back east. We call it the Nor'easter venom, deadly as hell.

Thanks Buff. Ive heard about this nor'easter venom. Move cancelled.


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