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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This route went in ground up and is one of my favorite lines at Staunton. It's a little spicy and definitely heads up from the beginning through the crux. Before climbing it, I thought it might need a bolt or two, but it turned out to go completely on gear! Climb the steep face using the two seams for gear. Step right and climb slightly overhanging, fun moves to a left-angling hand crack (crux). Follow the crack system up to a short slab, pull a small bulge, head right, and pull a final bulge to...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
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.
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, 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....
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?
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.
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.
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-)!
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!