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Classic South Platte Climbing - Big Rock Candy Mou...
The South Platte, a vast granite playground to the south and west of Denver, is known for it's incredible crack climbs, strung out slabs and towering summits. It encompasses the entire area between Conifer, and Sedalia, and just about everything south to the Elevenmile Canyon west of Colorado Springs.
To climb successfully in the South Platte it helps to be the adventurous type and like exploring. Many of them are well hidden until you stumble upon them! The rock quality can vary widely from bullet proof fine grained granite to very coarse friable rock which can feel like climbing on ball bearings at times.
Bring a well-rounded rack of cams, some routes eat up double or triples in some sizes, and don't forget to bring a few big pieces. Tape gloves are a good idea at a lot of these spots too, otherwise your hands will get trashed.
Some of the most popular areas with easy access and good quality rock can be found at:
Cathedral Spires Area
The Cathedral Spires group is a crack climbers paradise with also the "slab masters" crag, The Dome as well. Approaches are usually 45 minutes to an hour.
Lots of three star routes, both trad and sport. Lots of recent development in the higher end grades. The rock is of exceptional quality.
Elevenmile Canyon has some of the best moderate grade multi-pitch climbs around, as well as recent sport route development. A popular destination for a couple of days of camping and climbing. Elevenmile Canyon is subject to a per day entrance fee.
Home of the famous Sphinx Crack. Fortunately there is a heap of more moderate routes as well. Sphinix Rock and Squat Rock are currently closed.
Got a trip to Yosemite coming up, then hit the cracks at Turkey rocks. Some of Colorado's best granite crack climbing.
Includes Sheep's Nose and smaller crags.
Please refer to the individual areas for detailed information on how to get there. Always bring a good map when traveling in the Platte!
The updated book "Climb" published by The Mountaineer's Books has one comprehensive chapter on the history of climbing in the south platte starting with Ellingworth's ascent of the Bishop in 1924 and covering historical first ascents of Sphinx Crack, The Prayer Book (Wunsch's) and Field of Dreams.
South Platte, The Climbers Guide. (Peter Hubbel)
Comprehensive coverage of the South Platte.
South Platte Rock, (Ken Trout)
A selection of the best routes the South Platte has to offer.
Rock Climbing Colorado, (Stewart M. Green)
A state wide guide book that covers several of the more popular areas. A great book if you are visiting the state for a few weeks and want an overall reference.
Please see the Colorado book listings for further details.
1,344 Total Routes
['4 Stars',143],['3 Stars',475],['2 Stars',520],['1 Star',192],['Bomb',7]
Browse More Classics in South Platte
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for South Platte:
Featured Route For South Platte
Dragonslayer 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a CO
: South Platte
: ... : Hole in the Wall
This is a long route that diagonals through three sections of hard climbing. Rain kept us off the third crux but also revealed a good way to do this route at 5.11c: after the second crux, climb the easy hand-size crack to the right and then reach right to the anchors on Holey Joe; this flows well and allows the 5.11 climber to climb the brilliant first 80 feet of the route. ...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
News and Events For South Platte
Latest Regional Forum Messages
|By Peter Spindloe|
From: North Vancouver, BC
Aug 30, 2002
Here is link from the Forest Circus that gives some fire closure information:www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/news/pike_opening.htmThe best I can extract from it is that the Pike National Forest is open for recreational uses except for the area indicated on the map, which seems to cover just about all of the climbing in the SPlatte. Some of the southernmost areas may still be open, but I'd have to do some checking to be sure of that.
|By Joe Keyser|
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Oct 15, 2002
We did Bishop Jaeggers on the Dome a couple weeks back, and my partner lead. It was all there, but, you wouldnt want to fall off some of those spicier runouts! Topographical Oceans looks nice as well. The bolts are older, and far enough apart to be concerning.One interesting thing was that the rock seems bigger than it looks as it is less than vertical, and keeps going... Staying on your toes seemed to be the key!
|By JD Mitch|
Jul 29, 2003
The platte rocks are outstanding. Despite the hayman fire and the idiodic bolt wars. I have climbed there over ten years. I have read many of the comments as to the guide book, and I suggest that if you have a problem finding areas and lack the paitence to seek them out, I suggest you head up to Eldo or Clear creek canyon for roadside climbs. Enjoy your time in the platte. My opinion is you deffinately have to stop at the Bucksnort for brews and big talk afterwords.
|By William McGehee|
From: Choctaw, OK
May 11, 2004
I just got off the phone with a Ranger from the South Platte District. Looks like no camping in the "nice" places at S.P. Most established campgrounds are still closed, save a few such as the Lone Rock and Platte River campgrounds. They're open, but likely to be busy on the weekends. They're pretty far from the fun rocks anyway, so who needs them??? She encouraged dispersed camping, which means anywhere you want. No fire restrictions, but watch out for rains. They COULD bring about floods due to the lack of vegitation right now. Camp high... Also, since Cathedral is closed until the end of July, Turkey seems to be the most viable option for climbing. To get there at this time, park at the intersection of 360 and 68. DO NOT PARK in the subdivisions down the road. You'll get in trouble. The Ranger said to bring a mountain bike and ride the last mile and a half in with your gear. That's what most people do apparently. Hope this helps! Any more questions, you call them yourself at 303-275-5610.~Wm
|By Anonymous Coward|
Oct 19, 2004
There are a couple more guidebooks for this area besides the 'Climbing Colorado'. South Platte guide written by Peter Hubbel (chockstone press) Includes much more rocks and routes. But bewares of Peter's obvious drug habit during the writing of this book. My partner and I have found many flaws in the info of this book during our south platte travels. All in all it's the most comprehensive guide to this great area.
ps. Many restrictions due to fires have been lifted but be carefull of flash floods during the spring!
|By Darren Mabe|
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 21, 2004
Dont be so presumptuous, coward, about the drug habit accusations. How about YOU try to put together a guide book of the entire South Platte, with no errors!? The splatte is still pretty wild, and sometimes tricky to get around. Good thing that there is plenty of beta on areas and climbs that Pete chose to leave out to keep bitchy climbers like yourself away.
|By Mike b.|
Oct 23, 2004
I was not registered at the time I left the previous comment about the south Platte guide book info. I apologize for the "drug habit" and I appreciate your view that some info should be omitted to keep "bitchy "climbers out of the Platte before it gets too populated. I feel the same way but, sometimes we have to ask ourselves which is better in a guide, wrong info or no info.There is no doubt in my mind that Peter has much more knowledge of the Platte and I don't dispute the fact that a guidebook is a huge undertaking and mistakes will be made. But when the maps to many climbs are blatantly wrong, it causes problems. There is also an older guidebook that Mr. Hubbel was also a part of that in a lot of cases has better info. The purpose of my message was to inform others of the existence of the guide and to warn them to be careful because there are flaws. With this said,just let me say that I would have never have been able to find some of the best rock I have ever pulled down on without this guide. Darren, lighten up man, it's just rock climbing! Sincerely, "The bitchy little coward" aka Mike b.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jun 19, 2005
Beware! The Colorado Rock Climbs guide book has a lot of bunk info about the South Platte area--very easy to get lost (while driving) in and around rampart road. Get the area specific guide book, or better yet, get a local with some knowledge. Also, there is a lot of crumbly/ loose rock in the area, so bring a helmet and some competence.
Jul 25, 2005
South Platte Climber's Guide error - On page 190 of this guide, which shows an overview of the Jackson Creek area (North Rampart Range Road) Road 502 (Jackson Creek Road) is closed on the SOUTH side at the junction of Road 503. In other words, to get to climbs 10-19 (Jackson Creek Dome, etc) approach from the NORTH side, (possibly via Road 507) NOT THE SOUTH as suggested in the book. The gate on the north side is permanent, however it is a lot closer than hiking from the south. On the other hand, to get to Devil's Head, Taj Mahal, Flat Top Dome, etc. it is easiest to approach from the south. - Daryl
|By Bob D|
Feb 18, 2006
Seem strange that a area (11 Mile Canyon) that has the South Platte River running through it...is not in the South Platte area.
|By John McNamee|
From: Littleton, CO
Feb 18, 2006
Elevenmile is now part of the South Platte region on this site.
|By John McNamee|
From: Littleton, CO
Feb 18, 2006
Elevenmile Res. is now also part of the South Platte region.
From: Lakewood, CO
Jul 25, 2008
I am looking for someone to climb with on July 29th and /or July 30th in the Elevenmile area. I am a safe climber that leads 5.9 bolted routes and dabbling in 5.7 trad. Will follow anything or at least try. I would love to do The Staircase as it has been a couple of years since I last did this route. I also am a knowledgable and safe belayer.
|By Jason Haas|
From: Broomfield, CO
May 22, 2012
The new comprehensive, color guidebook to the South Platte (including Devil's Head) is available in all the local shops and online at Fixed Pin's website (free shipping). Happy climbing!
From: Morrison, CO
May 22, 2012
The new guidebook is absolutely sick! Tons of inspiring photos and lots of new stuff I didn't know about; it's provided lots of great reading (even my wife, who never looks at guidebooks, has enjoyed leafing through it). An amazing effort by Jason & Co. It ships really fast too, I think I got mine the day after I ordered it. I'm sure if you order today you'll have yours in time for Memorial Day Weekend. With the recent lifting of much of the Cathedral Spires closure, the timing couldn't be better.
Can't wait for Volume 2!