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St. Vrain Canyons

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Middle Fork of St. Vrain Canyon 
North Fork of the St. Vrain River 
South Fork of St. Vrain Canyon 

St. Vrain Canyons  


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Location: 40.15996, -105.36613 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Leo Paik on Oct 13, 2012
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Bob Horan on Escape from Alcatraz.

Description 

This is a set of 3 canyons that are the drainages of the South, Middle, and North forks of the St. Vrain River. The greatest bulk of the climbing to date is in the South Fork. The rock is granitic and at times on the coarser side. There are a variety of routes here, some traditional, some sport, even some ice/mixed. Most of the routes are shorter here, maybe up to 5 pitches in length. There is still a decent amount of rock to explore here. While there is some friable rock in places, the bulk is good quality. Poison ivy does tend to flourish in spots here, so the sensitive should be aware.

Getting There 

Most will drive up US 36 or CO 66 west to Lyons. From there, the forks diverge. The South and Middle Forks are accessed off of CO 7. The North Fork is accessed off of US 36.

Overview 

With the help and prompting of John Marsella, we'll list these crags going uphill from CO 7 & US 36.

SouthSt. Vrain
Mile 3.1 North: Scout Rock | Scout Slab
Mile 3.5 South: Guard House | Guardian Rock
Mile 3.6 North: Dance Hall of the Dead | Turd World Country | The Shrine of Vanity | Atoll, The | Deadman's Gulch | Deadman's Gulch Boulder
Mile 3.8 South: Mushroom Massif
Mile 3.9 South: Area 51 | Desdimona
Mile 4.2 North: Kids' Wall
Mile 4.3 North: Backstage Wall | December Wall
Mile 4.4 South: The Cliffs of Insanity
Mile 4.4 North: P. Mosh Wall
Mile 4.5 North: The Thinker
Mile 4.5 South: The Sentinel
Mile 4.6 North: Roadside Rock
Mile 4.9 South: Sweat Loaf aka Big Dogs
Mile 5.0 South: The Throne
Mile 5.1 North: Observatory Rock | Upper Infirmary Slabs | Lower Infirmary Slabs | Left Infirmary Slab
Mile 5.3 North: North Narrows Slabs
Mile 5.5 North: Vrain Dead
Mile 5.5 South: Mechanical Man | Swift Rock
Mile 5.6 South: Rapids Rock
Mile 6.0 South: The Spire
Mile 6.5 North: The Monkey Skull
Mile 7.0 South: The Acrophile | Mystery Rock
Mile 7.0 North: The Hobo Car
Mile 7.2 South: Trojan Bunny Buttress
Mile 7.7 South: Arch of Titus | The Coliseum
Mile 8.1 North: ?Drill Affair?, 5.8
Mile 9.1 South: The Fang
Mile 10.4 South: The Watchtower

Middle Fork of St. Vrain - off of CO 72 going south from CO 7
Mile ~14 south on CO 72: Piz Cengalo
Mile 14.4, south on CO 72 -> "a few miles" East: Piz Badille


North St. Vrain off of US 36

Lyons Area
Longmont Reservoir Area (aka Buttonrock)
Tomato Rock

Pinewood Area
Pinewood Boulders
Button Rock (aka Pinewood Rock)

Big Meadows Area
Raven's Roost
Coulson Gulch - 2.9 mile hike from Johnny Park off CO 66.
Pierson Point - approached from CO 7.

Climbing Season



Weather station 10.6 miles from here

403 Total Routes

['4 Stars',17],['3 Stars',92],['2 Stars',181],['1 Star',106],['Bomb',5]
['<=5.6',30],['5.7',35],['5.8',48],['5.9',83],['5.10',101],['5.11',46],['5.12',20],['5.13',7],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',6],['V2-3',14],['V4-5',7],['V6-7',3],['V8-9',2],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',3],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for St. Vrain Canyons:
Get Over It   V10 7C+     Boulder   Big Elk Meadows - Boulders : The Double Trouble Boulder
Community Service (formerly Little Flatiron Left aka West Buttress)   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : Upper Infirmary Slabs
Handcrack-a-rete   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : The Coliseum
Hollow Man   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 195'   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : The Coliseum
Casual Corner   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : The Monkey Skull
KeeMoSabe   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : Scout Rock
Crooked Cross   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : The Sentinel
Panic in the Gray Room   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : Upper Infirmary Slabs
Sunshine Dihedral   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : The Monkey Skull
Lost in Time   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 170'   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : The Coliseum
Upside The Cranium   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : The Monkey Skull
Introducing Meteor Dad   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Life After James   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 3 pitches, 220'   South Fork of St. Vrain Can... : December Wall
Pocket Hercules   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Neurosurgeon   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Redneck Hero   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
New Horizon   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Old Yellar   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : Old Yellar Dome
Brother From Another Planet   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Le Diamant E'ternal   5.13b/c 8a+ 29 X- 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Browse More Classics in St. Vrain Canyons

Featured Route For St. Vrain Canyons
A shot of me after finishing the easier lower section of SD. Taken by my wife Jody.

Sunshine Dihedral 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  CO : Lyons : ... : The Monkey Skull
This is the beautiful, large, right-facing dihedral to climber's left of Upside The Cranium. The Hubbell guidebook lists this climb as 5.10a/b. We clipped the first two bolts of UTC to protect the start. The majority of the start and lower portion of the dihedral is 5.8/9 climbing easily protected with small / medium gear. Over the last 25-30 feet the dihedral arcs dramatically to the right across a steepening face. This makes for a fairly strenuous jamming / stemming /...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

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