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The Coliseum

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Gladiator T 
Handcrack-a-rete T 
Hollow Man T,S 
Ionic Column T,S 
Lion's Face, The T 
Lost in Time T,S 
Planetary Pull T 
Unleash The Lions T 
Vrainavore T 
Wrinkle in Time T 
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The Coliseum  

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Submitted By: Matt Richardson on Mar 23, 2009
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BETA PHOTO: The Coliseum as seen from the approach.


The Coliseum lies in the midst of a collection of crags referred to as The Talus Fields in Bernard Gillett's new guide. Climbs on The Coliseum itself are north-facing and lay in the shade throughout most of the day making this an excellent summer crag. Established climbs on this feature range from about 5.7 to 5.11 and contain a mixture of traditional protection and bolts. Most routes top out at about 200' and have bolted belay stations.

Although this wall contains some quality climbs, the traffic appears to be limited. This may be due to the longer approach or because of quality walls located nearer to Lyons. Despite being only a 15 to 20 min hike from the road, this wall has a more wild feel - on any one climb, you may find loose rock, lichen and bushy vegetation. But, as Gillett points out, this is just the entry fee for all new routes (most of these routes were established around 2001 and 2002).

Getting There 

To get there, park at the pullout located approximately 7.9 miles from Lyons on the south side of the road. This pullout resides on a curve in the road and is 0.2 miles [up] the road from the Upper Rest Area (also located on the south side of the road). The Coliseum will not be visible from the pullout. According to Gillett, you should travel about 50 yards up the road and cross near some grey boulders, just above which will be located a cairn marking the start of a "well marked trail" that actually runs between another formation (The Arch of Titus) and The Coliseum. The well marked trail consists of downed branches forming a little path and some cairns (not entirely as obvious as the description would suggest as there are downed branches everywhere). About 200' up the trail, the trail will split - take the left branch toward the now obvious talus field across a ravine. I also found that, being a bumbler, one could also just kind of hack their way up the ravine itself after crossing the river toward the talus field. Either way, once at the base of the talus field the wall should be apparent and one can either traverse the talus itself or cross under the field to approach the wall. With the former option, keep your partners prone to trundling below you as the talus is loose and it is not unlikely that one could knock off fair size block if one is not careful.

Climbing Season

Weather station 8.9 miles from here

10 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',5],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Coliseum:
The Lion's Face   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Planetary Pull   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 170'   
Unleash The Lions   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   
Handcrack-a-rete   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   
Hollow Man   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 195'   
Vrainavore   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 170'   
Lost in Time   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 170'   
Ionic Column   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Gladiator   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 3 pitches   
Browse More Classics in The Coliseum

Featured Route For The Coliseum
Beginning the crack proper is difficult, and the g...

Vrainavore 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  CO : Lyons : ... : The Coliseum
Vrainavore is a sustained gnarly crack climb on the right side of the Hollow Man dihedral. There are several hard sections with no particular crux. The Gillett guide shows the crux at the overlap near the top, but that didn't seem any harder than below, and perhaps more straightforward. Gear is excellent with perhaps only a little funk near the bottom where you enter the crack. Halfway up you can move right to the Handcrack-a-rete anchors for a rest or belay, or a few f...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Comments on The Coliseum Add Comment
Show which comments
By Lew Strong
From: Loveland/Vail, CO
Jul 2, 2012
The Coliseum would be a good area for working on hand crack skills. Hollow Man, Handcrack-a-rete, Planetary Pull, and Galdiator (to the tree) all have excellent sections of 5.7/5.8 jamming for 50-70 foot stretches.
By Kevin Presley
From: Loveland
Jul 22, 2012
If you hit mile marker 25, heading up the canyon, you went a little too far.
By Kenan
Aug 6, 2012
Note that there is now a nicely cairned trail that skirts the right hand side of the talus field as you're going up to Coliseum. This seems much more solid than tackling the talus field head on.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Aug 5, 2013
Considering that so many people go here, I am surprised at the lack of attention/traffic at The Pantheon, the obvious 200' tall chunk of NW facing rock just uphill. Went there Sunday and had it to ourselves, linking pitches to do all the routes as single pitch trad and mixed lines. The place will clean up (lichen on a few lines) a little more with some traffic, but it is already good/worth doing. I'll put it on line over the next day or two.
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