After months of negotiation, Clear Creek County successfully acquired the 76-acre Oxbow Parcel that contains the Cat Slab cliff. While the cliff line is protected, the area is now officially open to the public. The County is working on developing and implementing a site plan to provide safe, off-road parking, which may include shifting the guard rail and gate to provide more parking as a short-term solution.
Cat Slab was a popular crag before it was closed to the public in 2006 due to liability concerns. The County purchased the land using $725,000 in lottery funds, awarded by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). The County was supported by numerous recreational groups, including the Access Fund, Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Whitewater, Trout Unlimited, International Mountain Bicycling Association, and Rafting Outfitters on Clear Creek.
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
The Catslab is about 11 miles up the canyon. Take a left at the intersection for Blackhawk and going to Idaho Springs (go towards Idaho Springs). Go through the first tunnel, over the river, then immediately park, if possible, on the south side of the road. Walk back across the bridge, and then proceed about 1/4 mile south along a solid if slightly airy trail, to the slabby, south-facing face.
MacCavity is located on the far right side of the Catslab, 2nd route from the right side of the bottom section of the slab. This is an enjoyable long pitch (120 feet) with great climbing throughout. The line goes through the right side of a little roof. (Left side of roof is Gumby Cat.) Climb past 8 more bolts with perhaps a move of 9+/10 climbing. A splendid line, which will be enjoyed by all. ...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
This comment is in response to Richard Wright's comment on Skimbleshanks in the Catslab. I thought it might be appropriate to place this nature of a comment on the area pages. I confer with RW. Be carefull when climbing at the Catslab, Dog House, Primo Wall, and especially the Armory. Some people seem to enjoy shooting their guns in this area. Last summer two of my friend's tires were shot out with a 22 pistol while parked across from the Primo Wall. This 'attack' was unprovoked and was reported to the police. Be carefull, and perhaps us climbers should consider getting law enforcement to actually do something about this situation.
That's the right spot and yes, people do shoot at your car. It seems climbers are unwanted here. The sign has since been removed and is open to climbing, but I'm not so sure you even want to risk climbing there. BE CAREFUL.
Remember, this is private property. Although no-one sould be shooting close to the road, there are certainly safe places to shoot on this land. I often hear shooting, but have never experienced problems at this crag.
I took a beginner here on an October Sunday, and at one point there were 24 people and 2 dogs at the crag! The stone is very good, but I would not recommend going here on a weekend due to the popularity of the place - it is a zoo.
Nice place for beginners - in spite of the crowding, all parties seemed to be having lots of fun - good job by Richard Wright and ABS!
In mid-June Rob Copolillo, Dale Haas and I added 5/16" quick links and 3/8" chain links to the anchors on Old Deuteronomy, Mungajerry, Rumple Teaser, Mr. Mistoffeles, Jellicle Cats, Gumby Cat and MacCavity.The existing 3/8" cold shut anchors were showing signs of wear most likely due to the unfavorable practice of lowering and belaying directly through the anchors.
This work is part of the American Safe Climbing Organization's (ASCA - www.safeclimbing.org) Clean Anchor Campaign. They would appreciate your support!
By Stich From: Colorado Springs, Colorado Jun 14, 2004
It's official CAT SLAB IS CLOSED at the request of the landowner. They are building a house on the property. Pass the word along.
We tried to climb at Cat Slab on Saturday, May 13. We were greeted by the land owner's son that CAT SLAB IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED!! It is on private property, the land owner is disgusted by the trash and the dog poop that is left by climbers and they do not want to be liable for accidents that happen at this crag. There are NO TRESPASSING signs posted. Not sure there is much we can do at this point?!?
Talked with the son of the landowner a few days ago, while he was putting up the no trespassing sign. Catslab is indeed closed. Apparently there was a climbing accident at Catslab sometime ago. The victim sued the landowner. The hiker accident near tunnel 1 has nothing to do with it. Neither does the dog poop or trash.
Therefore, he was fed up with liability issues. Done and done. It was always a privilege for the many climbers to be there day in and day out.
Another example of one person's stupidity (greed?) ruining it for everybody else. Hope he/she (or parents of!?) is proud of themselves and their lawsuit. Now, how the hell is the landowner responsible for some climber hurting themselves? Heaven forbid they take responsibility for their own actions.
I wouldn't be surprised if all the bolts get removed to make it a permanent closure.
I will still include Catslab in the new book for completeness/historical sake, but I will be very clear on this new closure status. I am sure there is probably more to the story.
Pretty unfortunate. Lets just hope JeffCo OS doesn't follow suit....
Please don't assume that the 'person' sued the landowner. That is actually not so likely. What is likely is that the person's insurance company sued that landowner. As I understand it, since they pay the bills, they are the 'injured party' and have a 'legal right' to pursue recovery. They have lawyers and accountants sitting around on payroll, so they use them to do things like this. Keep that in mind when ever you get hurt. I have been injured a few times, mostly minor. At the hospital you fill out all those darn forms, and then on top of it, your insurance still won't pay until they have a lot of details like: Was it in a auto accident? Was it at work? (Rough translation of all of these: "Can we make someone else pay?")
I wonder if our insurance companies would find it odd that the only place we seem to hurt ourselves is in our own houses? You know, twist your ankle on your porch step, dislocate a finger doing yardwork, etc...
Perhaps we should be asking the Access Fund for some intervention?
Met up with climbing partners today at the parking area for Cat Slabs. Unfortunately, big sign blocking the approach path says no climbing and no trespassing. Bummer this was such a nice place to climb.
This was a note I received in reply to my request for more info from the regional Access Fund rep:
It is indeed our understanding that Cat Slab, a privately owned crag, is currently closed to public access. The CMC and the Access Fund are jointly working to see what might be able to be done regarding this unfortunate closure. Sometime in the next next month or two we hope to have a better idea what the long term picture for restoring public access will look like. In the mean time we encourage climbers to respect the wishes of the landowner by obeying the No Trespassing signs that are currently posted.
Please don't hesitate to contact me should have further questions.
best regards, Rick Thompson Front Range Regional Coordinator The Access Fund
The thing that makes me sick about this situation is the fact that we all pay the expensive premiums for health care and when something does actually happen, insurance companies still don't want to foot the bill. This would be a totally different situation if someone were actually responsible for the injury. But you can't blame the landowner for owning land that contains rock that has been around before man walked the earth. This is clearly an accident. Insurance companies are degrading the quality of life for others.
I may be preaching to the choir, but we should all realize the implications of this type of litigation. Many of the climbing areas in the Front Range are on private property. I don't want to see this happen again. Hopefully the access fund can find a way to re-open this area.
I saw someone climbing at Catslab as I drove by on Sunday. It looks like the yellow tape and the no climbing sign have disappeared. There is, however, a new chain link fence up on the west side of the creek.
I climbed at the Cat Slab today and didn't see any NO TRESPASSING signs on the access trail, BUT about midday a couple of guys on the opposite side of the river showed up, pointed pistols at us and started firing in our direction. I'm sure this was a move to intimidate us and get us to leave, and it certainly was unnerving. Nobody was hurt, including my vehicle, but this place is clearly a little sketchy in the access rights department and the hillbillies with guns department. Otherwise fun climbing, slabby and overgraded but fun. But maybe not worth getting shot at for.
My climbing group figures this slab is open, though the path on the opposite side of the creek is closed. Catslab side has a For Sale sign on the wire fence, but there is no indication that you cannot climb at the slab. Anybody want to buy it though?
That said, a great place to take beginner climbers. Four routes under 5.10 makes for a nice day for the inexperienced. Make sure you do take someone who can lead belay though cause there is no approach to the top. Check your rope lengths as well, not all the climbs can be lowered back to the bottom. There's also a 5.4 that's great to teach leading classes. Bring lots of water though as it's mainly in the sun all day.
I went to CatSlab on Saturday and it appears to be open. If we are trespassing, nobody cares... there were a lot of climbers there, probably 5 groups of 2 or more. We seen no signs regarding no trespassing. I guess I would recommend using extreme caution at Cat Slab if you're willing to take the risk of getting busted for trespassing, however small the risk appears to be.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A 70 METER ROPE ON GRIZABELLA. I brought a 60m and the route is 107ft. Ended up taking about a 20 footer to the deck on the way down. Broken bones and lost conciousness are no fun!!!!!
Everyone. Catslab is officially closed! It doesn't matter whether there is a sign or not. It is private property. There is an effort underway to get it re-opened so don't screw it up by getting the landowner pissed off at climbers. Patience.
I attempted to lead trad and self-belayed the corner to the roof between Skimbleshanks and Old Deuteronomy. There was no gear to the base of the corner (big cams might work). Good gear can be arranged at the base of the corner out right and a few feet higher in the corner. Another few feet higher I got a small RP sideways on the left wall. My feet were a few feet above this when I bailed, with hands a couple of feet below the ceiling on the right wall. The climbing was easy, maybe 5.8?, palming and stemming, but I didn't want to go further with no clear gear in sight. Downclimbing the stemming was exciting. There was no belayer to take in slack as I downclimbed. I was able to bail from the base of the corner by rappelling use my partners' rope on Deuteronomy. Lacking that, I would have clipped a bolt on Deuteronomy and used that to get down safely.
This could be TR'd from Skimbleshanks, and most likely has been, since it's such an obvious line.
I have been representing the climbing community over the past year at the Clear Creek County Open Space reviews regarding the master plan for the area. This plan includes the long term vision of the green belt trail that will come all the way up the canyon linking Golden to Loveland Pass. Therefore, there are many user groups interested in the area, climbers, bikers, hikers, fishermen, rafters, etc. Climbers are a simple user group, we seek access and basic parking. Also, we are currently the largest user of that area of the canyon. The stakeholders and especially the Clear Creek County Open Space members have been very supportive to ensure climbers are incorporated in this master plan. We are in the final stages of the master plan concept and expect to present this to Clear Creek this summer for financial budgeting. After this point, we will have more information as to when it may officially open.
Clear Creek County Open Space Committee continues to be very supportive of climbers and their access, this is excellent and very much appreciated. Please remember to support the businesses in Idaho Springs (Clear Creek County) after climbing (can anyone say Tommy Knockers?). At the same time, please remember it is a privilege we have access to much of our climbing and respect the land, each other, and other users and we will continue build this access.
I climbed here today, my buddy and I went up the 5.6 "Grizabella" but then decided to do what seemed to be the second pitch above it that goes out on the roof and up. Does anyone know what this route may be called or rated? I found it to be pretty solid, still some loose rock but fun route.
In early October, Dale Haas and I replaced the worn anchor hardware (chain, chain links or quicklinks) with new hardware on Skimbleshanks, Old Deuteronomy, Mungajerry, Rumple Teaser, Mr. Mistoffeles, and Grizabella. Thanks to the American Safe Climbing Association (www.safeclimbing.org) for the hardware. They appreciate your support.
Dale Haas and I finally got around to replacing the anchors on top of Skimbleshanks, Old Deuteronomy, Mungajerry, Rumple Teaser, Mr. Mistoffeles, Gumby Cat, Jellicle Cats, and Grizabella with 1/2" stainless steel(SS) Powers 5-piece bolts and SS Petzl hangers. We added 3/8" SS quick links and SS rappel rings to all the anchors. We also added 3/8" SS quick links and SS rappel rings to the anchor on MacCavity which was recently replaced.
This work was sponsored by the American Safe Climbing Association (www.safeclimbing.org). They appreciate your support.