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The Narrows

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Front Porch, The 
Gash, The 
Industrial Wall, The 
Narrows Proper 
School Yard, The 
Watchtower, The 

The Narrows 


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Location: 39.23226, -107.22854 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Jason Smith, Alvaro Arnal, Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Pinklebear on Dec 4, 2003
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Description 

The Narrows is a loose, scruffy area close to Carbondale, Colorado, that, for us Rifle burn-outs, has become a sort of sanctuary. Though your overall impression of the stone whilst whipping past at 70 mph on your way to the Redstone boulders will be less than stellar, the climbing itself is good, and takes place on walls invisible from the highway.

The rock is a fractured sort of granite, grey-green in hue, with black streaks coursing down the slabbier walls. The cliffs themselves are not unlike a multi-faceted sea wall holding back an ocean of scree. Ironically, however, the scree is produced by the decomposing sea wall itself. It is prone, in certain "high-danger" spots, to sloughing off great chunks, daggers and grey-green cobble-eggs that could certainly deflower even the sturdiest of climbing helmets, and the contents therein. Fortunately, for us, we need only walk under these heinous sectors of wall to reach the good, water-polished stone that has yielded all of this year's new routes.

That said, however, there is some great after-work-type climbing here: one-pitch sport and trad routes from 5.8+ to 5.13c. It is also a great area in the summer, as it's very shady and always breezy, especially in the depths of the Narrows Proper.


Getting There 

From Carbondale, drive south on CO Highway 133 as if you were driving toward Marble, McClure Pass, etc. CO 133 is the only highway through Carbonale ... it's not hard to miss. If you're coming from other parts on CO Highway 82, take a left (or right) at the stoplight at the junctions of CO Highways 82 and 133. Now proceed south on CO Highway 133.

I don't have exact mileage, but the deal is this: If you get to Redstone (15 miles from Carbondale?), you've gone too far. The beta is this: Driving south on CO 133, you'll first pass through an area of red rocks and sand, big ol' Mount Sopris looming high on your left. After a bit, however, the canyon begins to narrow, and you'll see a band of shattered whitish rock coming up fast, limning the two sides of the canyon. This is the Narrows, basically knows as such because it's also the narrowest point in the canyon. Drive slowly past the rocks and, just before the cliffs on your right peter out, locate a HUGE, I mean HUGE, parking lot on the left. This is the parking lot for the free hot springs. I've never been down in the springs, but there's them that have. Not for me. I just park and get my climbing stuff and get gone.

Walk back down-canyon (north), hugging the guard rail or, for safety, walking in the bushes behind it, for roughly 50 yards, until the roadcut to your left (esentially the west side of the highway) goes from vertical to the slabby and you spot a cairned, convenient ingress. The trail here is a bit raw, but basically follows the "old game track" up the hill as it switches-back, bringing you ever closer to the rocks, which will be on your right. After about 20 minutes of this, you'll reach a fork, hard at the toe of an appealing red-and-brown buttres. Head up and left to reach BJ's area (5.8 sport, 5.10+ sport, 5.11 sport). Otherwise head right to reach the Narrows Proper, a deep, shadowy slot offering bouldering traverses, sport routes (5.11a, 5.13b) and trad pitches (5.8+, 5.10a, 5.10+, 5.13c) on nearly bomber water-polished rock.


48 Total Routes


['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',17],['2 Stars',21],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',2]
['<=5.6',3],['5.7',2],['5.8',7],['5.9',6],['5.10',17],['5.11',8],['5.12',1],['5.13',4],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['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 The Narrows:
Super Fresh Arete   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   The Industrial Wall
Night School   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Watchtower
People's Crack   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Narrows Proper
Been Caught Stealin'   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   The School Yard
Bomb the World   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Industrial Wall
Choss Warfare   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   The Front Porch
Jenga Buttress Crack aka 10a Crack   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Narrows Proper
Riot Act   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Industrial Wall
The Art of Breaking   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Narrows Proper
Party At Your Mama's House   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   The Front Porch
Snap, Crackle, Pop   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Narrows Proper
Slice and Dice   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   The Front Porch
El Guapo   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Watchtower
Here Comes Tomorrow   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 85'   The Industrial Wall
Cleanup Hitter   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Front Porch
The Village Idiot   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   Narrows Proper
Back From The Dead   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Front Porch
Red Faction   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Narrows Proper
Browse More Classics in The Narrows

Featured Route For The Narrows
Been Caught Stealin'.

Been Caught Stealin' 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c  CO : Carbondale Area : ... : The School Yard
Follow a couple bolts up the corner, then move onto the face and climb the crack (gear) up to the small roof. Several more bolts will get you to the anchor. Fantastic climbing the whole way....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Comments on The Narrows Add Comment
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By B.J. Sbarra
Dec 10, 2003

A word of caution to those that would venture here without one of the locals. Please be careful if others are climbing, it's still very much a work-in-progress, and it would be pretty easy to get messed up by some flying choss. That being said, if you want to check it out, let us know and we'll show you the goods.

By scott e. tarrant
From: Fort Collins
May 22, 2007

For more topos and beta go to www.splitterchoss.com. BJ Sbarra & Co have put a lot of energy into creating a great area! If you live in the valley and have not been, I really encourage you to. If you are passing thru, I would also encourage you to stop. You will not be disappointed! I truly admire those involved for the vision, hard work, cost and time they have devoted to exposing some great climbing that has been right under our noses! Thanks!

By boonecounty
From: Basalt, CO
Sep 7, 2012

Found rope inside a bag at the Front Porch crag. Call me, Ryan in Basalt, 314 304 3074 if you lost your rope and I will get it back to you.

By JMo
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 28, 2013

Really nice little crag, actually. If you don't climb 12, you might just have more fun here than Rifle. I know, I know, crazy talk, but Carbondale rocks!