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Staunton State Park

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Staunton State Park  


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Elevation: 8,000'
Location: 39.5072, -105.3918 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 93,675
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Mike Morin on Oct 12, 2012
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Falcon Closures MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Sitting in the foothills S.W. of Denver, Staunton State Park provides those looking for a little bit of adventure with great climbing opportunities on interesting, featured rock. The majority of the lines at Staunton are either purely trad or mixed, with a handful of fun bolt protected lines in the 5.10 to 5.12 range rounding out the mix.

The traditional and mixed lines are different than many traditional areas along the Front Range, with incipient cracks and interesting features making up the majority of the protection opportunities. A keen eye is important when venturing up many of the lines, with the lack of obvious pro often times adding to the excitement of the lines here.

Getting There 

From Denver, travel south on US Hwy. 285 to Shaffer's Crossing and exit onto Elk Creek Rd.. Head north on Elk Creek Rd. until you come to the park entrance on the right.

Per mmk: beware of speed traps: Morrison drops the speed limit to 45 on US Hwy 285 then lines up squad cars to issue tickets.

Fixed Hardware Restrictions 

Due to Staunton being a State Park, there are fixed hardware restrictions in place.

Route developers wishing to install fixed hardware will be required to submit an application to a fixed hardware review committee made up of local volunteers.

Online Fixed Hardware Application

Please respect this process. New routes are going to be a welcome addition at Staunton, but skirting this requirement will only erode the positive relationship that has been established between the climbing community and park management.

Background 

Much of the land that makes up Staunton State Park was giving to the State of Colorado in 1986 by Francis Staunton. In subsequent years, the State of Colorado purchased two other parcels to complete what is now slated to be Colorado's 42nd State Park, opening in May 2013.

In November 2011, volunteers were brought in to assess the climbing potential at the park and assist with developing climbing management plans. In June 2011, park management asked for help assembling a group of route developers to establish lines in the area known as Staunton Rocks. These volunteers worked to establish fun and interesting climbing routes on six formations in the Staunton Rocks area. Even with many routes already established across this area, great opportunities exist for exploration and establishment of new lines at Staunton Rocks and throughout the park.

Check out the parks website here: Staunton State Park

Online Printable Guidebook 

The good folks at Fixed Pin Publishing put an online guidebook together free of charge.

Download it here:
Rock Climbing Staunton State Park

Park hours 

Per Staunton Park Ranger: In short, our goal is to protect the park from the people and the people from the park. In order to do this, we have set daily hours unlike other parks, and when people do not make it out of the park on time, we have to determine whether we are dealing with a possible emergency. Daily hours are posted on the main entry gate and on the pass booth; the park is closed to the public at all other times.

Leaving after closing time will get you a $50/person fine here...and a misdemeanor for your record.

Falcon Nesting Closures 

There are falcon nesting closures in the park. These are set from February 1 to August 1 for specific crags. See the access issues above.

Climbing Season



Weather station 8.9 miles from here

56 Total Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',30],['1 Star',8],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',8],['5.7',7],['5.8',8],['5.9',5],['5.10',13],['5.11',7],['5.12',6],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',1],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Staunton State Park:
Maybe the Marmot Ate Your Baby   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Staunton Rocks : Marmot Tower
Chicken Dance   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 2 pitches, 270'   Staunton Rocks : Park View Dome
The Voodoo That You Do   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   Meadow Dome : The Labyrinth
Coleman Direct   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 55'   Meadow Dome : The Cascades Wall
Harvey   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Meadow Dome : Permission Wall
Solar Ridge   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 335'   Meadow Dome : The Cascades Wall
Ginger Snap   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
Reef On It!   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
Elwood P. Dowd   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   Meadow Dome : Permission Wall
The Uncertainty Principle    5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Staunton Rocks : The Dungeon
80 Grit   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
No Rain   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
The Babe With Power   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   Meadow Dome : The Labyrinth
Black and Tan   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
No Opportunity Missed   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
The Opportunist   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
Ddong Chim!   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
New Beginnings    5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Staunton Rocks : The Dungeon
Muricuh   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
Welcome to Staunton   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Meadow Dome : Tan Corridor
Browse More Classics in Staunton State Park

Featured Route For Staunton State Park
On the FA of "Reef On It!"

Reef On It! 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  CO : South Platte : ... : Tan Corridor
Begin at a block that doesn't appear to be very attached to the wall. Don't be afraid to reef on it though, the block has proven to be quite solid. Make bouldery moves up to a good jug, and get your first clip. Some may appreciate a stick clip, but the route has been climbed numerous times without one. Continue up slightly slabby terrain for two more clips then tackle the gently overhanging headwall. Move through the crux pulling on good jugs until the angle lessens once again and you find yours...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Staunton State Park Slideshow Add Photo
Marmot.
Marmot.
Elk Falls.
Elk Falls.
Black Mountain Crags, Staunton Rocks, and Sawmill Crags. <br /> <br />Photo by A. Peterson.
Black Mountain Crags, Staunton Rocks, and Sawmill ...
Lion's Head.
Lion's Head.
More rock.
More rock.
Some trail stewardship heading into the Tan Corridor.
Some trail stewardship heading into the Tan Corrid...
Beware the marmots.
BETA PHOTO: Beware the marmots.
Elk bits.
Elk bits.
Brian on The Opportunist, 5.11, in Tan Corridor.
Brian on The Opportunist, 5.11, in Tan Corridor.
Elk Creek Falls and surrounding rock.
Elk Creek Falls and surrounding rock.
Me working a short cruxy top rope problem (probably 11+) just left of Reef on It, in Tan Corridor.
Me working a short cruxy top rope problem (probabl...
Short rock near Elk Pond.
Short rock near Elk Pond.
Solar Ridge, Cascades Wall, Meadow Dome. <br /> <br />Photo by D. Montgomery.
Solar Ridge, Cascades Wall, Meadow Dome. Photo by...
Map of 2014 Raptor Closures <br />Feb. 1- Aug. 1 <br /> <br />- Lion's Head <br />- Park View Dome <br />- Ranch Hand Dome <br />- Sawmill Area <br /> <br />Map courtesy of Bing Maps. <br /> <br />Note: The Ranch Hand and Park View Dome Closure has been lifted as of 5/8/14.
BETA PHOTO: Map of 2014 Raptor Closures Feb. 1- Aug. 1 - Lion...
Fox and her kits.
Fox and her kits.

Comments on Staunton State Park Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 8, 2014
By JCM
From: Seattle, WA
Jan 13, 2013
PDF guide for Staunton now available at Fixed Pin: fixedpin.com/Free_Downloads.ht...
By david goldstein
Jan 16, 2013
Staunton State Park is not open to the public yet and prominently signed to that effect. It would be hard to sneak in as there are work crews and no neighborhood parking.

The current estimate for when the park will open is "May or June".
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
Jan 28, 2013
As D.G. indicated, Staunton SP is currently closed to public use. Nonetheless, we have the current cognoscenti slamming in new routes, climbing, clicking the pics, and laying claim to one of the largest of our State Parks. How exactly does this work? Closed but for us? Sounds like your tax dollars at work again.
By Mike Morin
From: On the Road
Jan 28, 2013
Hi Richard,

Here's the back story, all I ask is that you consider it.

I've worked in the parks field in Colorado for several years now. In that time, I have been engaged in recreation management with a great deal of focus and attention put towards management of recreational climbing on public lands. With this interest and a resume of past work, I was approached by the Park Manager at Staunton State Park to assist in a site assessment of the climbing potential at the park, this was in November of 2011.

I volunteered my time along with my wife, hiking around the park and identifying areas of good rock that would be of interest to climbers when the park opened. I also worked with management to come up with a climbing management plan that had to be built within specific parameters set forth by the state.

In June 2012, park management approached me about bringing together a group of route developers to develop a specific area in the park for climbers to visit once the park opened. That area was Staunton Rocks, and there was no way around it, some people were going to be upset, I knew that going in.

I did my best to pull together a group that had a diverse background to develop this resource for recreating climbers. The development work was very much a group process and required a smaller core group of developers to achieve the results desired by the park.

I'd encourage you to be psyched that a state park took such a progressive approach, as to develop an area specifically for climbers before the park even opens. The park is committed to offering a quality climbing resource for us to play in, with good trails and thoughtful route development, and is embracing our presence. Which seems like a good thing to me.

Thanks for reading.
By kevin murphy
From: Lafayette, Colorado
Jan 29, 2013
Thanks, Mike, for all the effort. I agree with your stance on the park having a forward thinking approach. With a positive outcome, let's hope more land is opened up for legal, outdoor fun, Ralston....
By Chris Beh
Jan 29, 2013
Thanks for explaining what has been going on in Staunton. There is a good view of Black Mountain heading up Crow Hill, just east of Bailey on 285. There is a lot of rock up there, and I started investigating access last year and then soon realized it was in Staunton and closed. Glad to see the new park will allow climbing. What will be the rules regarding new routes and bolts...Eldo style or open range?
By Glenn Schuler
From: Monument, Co.
Jan 29, 2013
Hey Chris, the Fixed Pin pdf guide linked up top says any new routes requiring fixed hardware have to go through a review commitee to get a permit.
Thank you, Mike and all the route developers, it's always a great thing to have a new area to check out so close to home. Can't wait to go climbing up there.
By Mike Morin
From: On the Road
May 2, 2013
With 16 days until opening, please remember if you wish to install fixed hardware anywhere at Staunton State Park, you must go through a fixed hardware review process and receive a permit from the park. Details can be found on the Staunton Fixed Hardware Review Committee's wordpress site.

sspfhrg.wordpress.com

Opening day is May 18th.
By Paavo Thabit
May 20, 2013
Me and my friends Luke, Kenny, and Brian went to Staunton State Park on May 18th (opening day) and hiked out to the Tan Corridor and checked out a bunch of the bolted lines there. They were all worthwhile from good to exceptional! Perhaps the best line was No Rain, rated 5.10+, followed by The Opportunist, rated 5.11- but probably 5.11c. 80 Grit, 5.10 (more like 5.10+), was another really fun route!. Haven't worked any of the 5.12s yet but looking forward to it. Hats off to all involved in putting up routes, as well as all those who did such an excellent job trail-building along the cliff face!

A word of caution, though: there are still some pieces of rock that will be breaking off as the routes are climbed more frequently, and I strongly recommend that at least the belayer wears a helmet for his or her own safety for the foreseeable future. An 8-inch-by-4-inch piece broke off and missed Luke by just a few inches while Brian was climbing Reef on It (5.10-)!
By Mike Morin
From: On the Road
May 20, 2013
Damn, Paavo! Glad everyone was OK. Good advice for sure. We really worked hard to clean up the routes, especially in the Tan Corridor. But, as with any new area these routes will go through some "natural" cleaning as people get on them. Thanks for coming out on opening day. Cheers!
By mmk
From: Golden, CO
Jul 2, 2013
Beware - if commuting to Staunton via US Hwy 285, Morrison has developed a notorious reputation over the last 2 years as the speed trap capital of Colorado. Morrison drops the speed limit to 45 on Hwy 285 then lines up squad cars to issue tickets. They have increased their personnel 6 fold since starting this practice, but it's for safety only, of course. Too bad, we used to enjoy dining and eating ice cream in Morrison - no more....

denver.cbslocal.com/2012/11/20...
By Chick on Crack
From: Golden, CO
Jul 14, 2013
Virgin rock. And just like the first time, a bunch of fumbling and grunting, but 30 minutes later, I was left wanting more!

One can only hope this place remains peaceful and sharp. Props to the crew who bolted routes and created "stairs" to the crag!

$7 park entrance fee and the day we went, there was limited parking. Lots of volunteers still out maintaining trails and vegetation, quite a few mntn bikers and hikers, and us climbers were treated like moose. As one ranger remarked to tourist, "Look! A herd of climbers. They are an elusive bunch, easily spooked and ready to charge, cams in hand, if they feel threatened. Otherwise, a peaceful breed." Ok, he didn't say all that, but he definitely excitedly pointed us out to the tourists. That said, Staunton really seems to support climbers...so let's keep the crags and trails clean...and I mean YOU, Starbucks cup leaver.

The routes were incredible and varied. We had a difficult time identifying the routes based on the free guide (but greatly appreciate the guide, nonetheless). We were in the Tan Corridor, and as mentioned in a previous post, rocks are still loose...one climber broke a hold off the run-out 10 (?) around the second bolt. Climbers questioned whether we can set TR up from the back, like at Table?
By Mike Morin
From: On the Road
Jul 31, 2013
Hey Golden Girl, glad you had a good time. Setting up a TR would be challenging. You would need to hike around figure out where you are at on the top of the dome and in most cases rap in off of a tree to reach the bolted anchors for the desired climb.
By Chick on Crack
From: Golden, CO
Jul 31, 2013
Thanks, Mike! We scoped out the top to drop TR and agree it's too sketchy. Plus, why ruin the fun of the lead?
By DesertDan
Sep 3, 2013
Hello,
I just moved to Colorado and would love to put up some routes on Lion's Head. Does anyone have any existing route info or has anyone else begun any projects up there? I don't want to step on any toes. Also, do any locals know of any ethical concerns for the area not covered in the info provided on Mountain Project, Fixed Pin or the Park website? If anyone else is interested in new routes on Lion's Head, I'd love to collaborate.

Thanks, Dan
By Monty
From: Golden, CO
Sep 5, 2013
Hey Dan,

There are some routes on Lion's Head, but we have had a very hard time learning about their history. I'd say it is safe to assume that all the "major" weaknesses have been climbed. I haven't heard of any new routes on Lions Head yet, but I think the approach alone is keeping most climbers away. Lion's Head is completely open to trad climbing from Aug. 1st - Feb. 1st, but all proposed fixed hardware must be submitted to a committee for approval before being installed. Unfortunately this creates a lot more work for the developer, but this is the parks compromise to a ban on all fixed hardware.

Good luck and enjoy the adventure!
-Dave
By abc
Sep 5, 2013
Is there any good and free camping near by?
By Alex A
Sep 9, 2013
Fixed pins are legal to use, according to Mike Morin, but they're saying no fixed hardware. To me, pins are fixed hardware.
By Mike Morin
From: On the Road
Sep 15, 2013
Hi Alex,

The fixed pin exception was a compromise we brokered with the park management. The reasoning was that in cases like Lion's Head or other multi-pitch walls it would be very difficult to do anything except ground-up ascents. The fixed pin exception is meant to be an exception in the name of safety. The thinking is if you know fixed pins are legal and you are about to embark up unknown terrain where previous inspection isn't realistic you might bring along a quiver of knife blades for cases were you might find a seam but no other options for gear.

Also, there isn't a ban on bolts, you just need to obtain a permit before drilling and placing them.
By Brandon Quinn
Oct 7, 2013
Just a head's up: Eldo's flexibility on evening closing time does not apply at this State Park. I did not even think about it because the only other place I've ever climbed where those rules are taken seriously is Hueco.

Leaving after 7pm will get you a $50/person fine here. And to worsen the matter the ranger won't ask if everything is okay, he'll start yelling at you, accusing you of attempting to elude him, and telling you he's writing you a citation as soon as you meet him at the front gate.

Too bad the climbing management plan didn't include a way to emphasize this to climbers as they enter the park. Have trouble descending the Meadow Dome quickly because it's your first time here? You'll meet an unsympathetic ranger and a serious price increase on your State Parks Pass.
By tbol
Oct 13, 2013
What Brandon says is definitely true. I was up past Sawmill Crags last week top roping and trying to figure out some new route potential. A few friends and I have established 5 nice new top ropes in hopes of bolting them. They are great 30 meter face climbs. I will post beta if anyone is interested. Long story short we climbed all day and ended up hiking a long way out to see more of the park. Not thinking too much about it (because a few weeks ago it was light much later), we ended up at the car past dark. Here we were confronted with a VERY angry ranger. He told me how selfish I was and that foolish climbers had been negatively affecting the park (read recent accident). It was too bad because I felt guilty and like I got off on the wrong foot with the park when I wanted to approach them about new routes, park stewardship, volunteering, etc. I hope climbers can continue to have an open and amicable dialogue with rangers as things progress in the park.
By Staunton Park Ranger
Oct 31, 2013
Just a little insight from an employee of Staunton: In short, our goal is to protect the park from the people and the people from the park. In order to do this, we have set daily hours unlike other parks, and when people do not make it out of the park on time, we have to determine whether we are dealing with a possible emergency. Daily hours are posted on the main entry gate and on the pass booth; the park is closed to the public at all other times. Winter hours begin November 4th and will be 8am to 5pm daily. Please continue to enjoy the park safely.
By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Feb 4, 2014
From Monty:

Updated 2/5/14:

The 2014 seasonal falcon closures are:

- Lion's Head
- The Ranch Hand
- The Park View Dome
- The Sawmill Crags
- Rough Neck Wall
- Black Creek Wall

These are in effect from Feb. 1 - Aug. 1.
By Tyson Ferryman
From: Bailey, CO
Feb 15, 2014
Sweet! New State Park to climb in!

Wait! You mean the climbing's all but closed, almost all of the time? Nice. Got to protect them raptors. Meanwhile, ah, forget it. Climbers lose again.

Maybe sensible heads will prevail and these blanket closures will be lifted in favor of a reality based approach. Time will tell.

Signed,
A bird lover. Life-list keeper.
By Monty
From: Golden, CO
Feb 17, 2014
Hey Tyson,

The list of closures seems large, but the majority of developed climbs are unaffected and closures will generally be lifted by August 1st. The only full blanket closure is in the Sawmill Crags, and that is partly for the raptors but also for other sensitive resources such as Telesonix and Monkey Flower. A development plan is in the works for that area that aims to protect sensitive resources and allow climbing where possible.

Since Staunton is a young, understaffed park, blanket closures are the easiest way to ensure resources are protected. I believe that within the next five years, we will begin to see more precise closures as the park's revenue grows and they start to receive the staffing budget they deserve. Until then, volunteers are the key to the success of the park. If you or anyone else has any interest in volunteering your time to raptor monitoring or trail maintenance/ development, please contact me through MP. We're always looking for more help!

-Dave Montgomery
By Tyson Ferryman
From: Bailey, CO
May 11, 2014
Hip Hip Hooray! Thanks to the Staunton Park staff and others who may be involved for the lifting of some of the raptor closures. This, to me, is a HUGE step forward in terms of establishing Staunton as a true climber's park, with climbing interests a focus of the Parks management plan. It is also great that the bolting application process seems to be up and running smoothly; facilitating climber input on the decision making process is awesome!

My earlier, above comments were perhaps made a bit hastily, time will tell, but it is great to see the relationship between the Park and the climbing community growing.
By Mark Ferguson
May 20, 2014
With all due respect to the many talented individuals who put much time, money and effort into establishing these climbs, this place is a choss pile. I did a number of "4 star" routes the other day. Four stars is the highest rating on this site, reserved for such South Platte Classics as Wunch's Dihedral, Whimsical Dreams, and Mississippi Half Step. The rock here is no where near the quality of these routes and most other South Platte climbing areas. It's a one visit wonder... (if that).
By Brandon Quinn
May 28, 2014
If you're caught here after hours, it's not just a fine but a misdemeanor. Just found out when I had a background check done. Be careful climbing here. Don't make any mistakes or you might become a criminal. This is your warning...the ranger isn't likely to give you one.
By climberz
Oct 4, 2014
An opinion on the closing time at Staunton:

A misdemeanor for being out of the park late? This seems like an extremely aggressive solution to a problem. I don't want to lose my job or spoil the possibility of getting a job for being late getting back from a climbing area. Climbing takes time, and being late is an extremely common scenario.

Putting a time limit on doing something dangerous is a terrible idea. Getting down safely should be the priority of climbing parties. A punishment for being late causes stress and distraction from that goal.

I have gotten two tickets for being late leaving Red Rocks in Nevada. This was in the back of my mind as I was rappelling the route. Yes, I wanted and should have been out of the park earlier, but things happen, as any climber knows.

I understand that the park is understaffed and is being open to climbers, but climbing takes time and being home late is part of climbing as ALL climbers know. Ever had a stuck rope? A stuck piece? Took longer than expected to lead or follow? Of course you have! Now you can be a criminal for having that happen!

Red rocks in Nevada came up with a solution for that problem, so did Eldorado. I hope to see Staunton come up with a reasonable solution to this common problem.

Please don't make climbing more dangerous than it already is.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Oct 8, 2014
^^^
WHAT?!?!?!?

Brandon, can you PM me to discuss details?
I'll be having lunch with some of our state reps soon, and 'criminal justice issues' are what is on the table. I'd like to talk with them about this and preventing this bullshit in the future, but I need something substantial to go on.