The Tabeguache Trail system is ripe with bouldering opportunities. Although not technically in the Colorado National Monument, this area is immediately adjacent to the park's east boundary and shares parking with the popular Dynamite Shacks area, thus its inclusion here within the Colorado National Monument page. If someone objects to this, I would happily reconsider.
This basin is also very close to the Holy Cross (or Arena) area but a little further north. You could probably access this area from the trailhead described there, but we have always approached these boulders from the Tabeguache Trail.
We have been curious about this basin for years. Every time we drove along Little Park Rd., we’d look down into this area and wonder. When we finally ventured in to explore, we were astounded by the sheer number of boulders of all sizes but were ultimately disappointed in the quality of most of them. Eventually, however, we found some pretty good boulders, and there is still a massive amount of area that we haven’t explored. I’m sure there are a few hidden classics yet to be discovered.
This is an area for the trailblazing type of climber. Expect a time-consuming approach and some disappointments in your search, but for me, half the fun is in the adventure and in the excitement of discovering and developing your own routes.
From downtown Grand Junction, take Grand Avenue west until it veers slightly south, turns into Broadway and crosses the Colorado River. One-quarter of a mile after crossing the river turn left onto Monument Road. Follow Monument road for 1.7 miles until you come to the Tabeguache/Lunch Loop trailhead on the left side of the road. As previously mentioned, this is the same parking area that you would use for the Dynamite Shacks.
To get to the boulders: turn your back on the high quality and easily accessible boulders at Dynamite Shacks and follow the Tabeguache Trail south for 0.5 mile, staying left at several trail intersections, until you come to a prominent Y. The right fork is clearly the more frequently used trail. Turn left and climb Bentonite Hill, your first obstacle. All of these trails are very popular with mountain bikes, so beware on blind corners and at the bottom of hills. Bentonite Hill would be a particularly bad spot for a close encounter with a bike. At the top of Bentonite Hill, go right at another fork. After 0.25 mile, stay left at yet another intersection (or maybe two) and follow Ali Alley Trail to the rim of a large basin to the south. Take a spur trail to the edge: you are now looking over the area. Descend down to the boulders through a notch in the cliffband (see beta photo). The approach to this point is just over a mile and should take about 20 minutes.
This is a dang challenging boulder problem. This blank arete seems at first to defy climbing, but there is a way. Crouch start with an undercling on your left hand and use creative holds to work up the arete. A sloped, one-finger pocket is a good hold for this problem! A successful ascent usually requires a fingertip gaston, a full-on rock hump, and a lot of cussing and head scratching....[more]Browse More Classics in CO