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Unaweep Canyon

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Cactus Park 
Gateway Vicinity aka The West End 
Main Canyon: Unaweep Granite 
Nine Mile Hill 

Unaweep Canyon  

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Location: 38.818, -108.6012 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Jesse Zacher, Jared LaVacque, Bradley Mark Edwards, Nick Reecy, Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bryson Slothower on Nov 25, 2001
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This area has excellent traditional crack climbing and great bouldering on the metamorphic granite/gniess canyon walls and large Dakota sandstone blocks of Unaweep Canyon half an hour from Grand Junction. The routes ascend canyon walls via cracks of all sizes and difficulties for up to nine pitches. Lines are clean and sustained; thousands of interesting options exist.

The potential for new routes seems limitless and many of the the existing routes feel like first ascents due to low traffic and the large absence of fixed gear. Bouldering is even more vast and varied. Roadside blocks of solid Dakota sandstone offer a lifetime of challenges on very interesting rock in a quiet setting. There are over 30 established cliffs in the canyon but many are on private property. Great care must be taken not to offend the residents and locals of Unaweep Canyon as much of the climbing access lies at their mercy.

The Sunday Wall and Hidden Valley Wall offer excellent routes and are located on Acess Fund property. The Mother Buttresses offer some of the best and longest climbs in the canyon and are also very deserving of a visit. Climbs can be selected for their exposure, so climbing in Unaweep is possible on almost any dry day.

This area is rich in climbing being close to The Black Canyon, Ouray, Colorado Monument, Redstone, etc.

There are a few bolted sport climbs in the area concentrated mostly on Sunday Wall, but for the most park, expect sustained crack climbing with the occasional run out. The cracks range from splitter hand cracks through steep faces to gaping offwidths, to desperate face moves so bring a good selection of traditional gear with a few extras depending on the climb. Long runners, RPs, and often times an offwidth piece are critical. Many routes have difficult route finding due to the numerous options. The rock can take a little getting used to. Many descents entail very involved walk-offs and down climbs. Don't expect much fixed gear, but some do have bolted rappel stations.

This is a beautiful and undisturbed part of Colorado and needs to be treated with the upmost respect. Do not leave trash, park on private property, chip anything, or be overly stupid. The Canyon is also an interesting geolocial formation because it has rivers flowing out of both sides. Unaweep means "canyon with two mounths" in Ute. Here one can feel the beauty of climbing.

Eds. Note, this large area has been reorganized since it covers 40 miles of terrain.

Getting There 

Western Colorado, South of Grand Junction between Whitewater and Gateway along CO Hwy 141. From Boulder take I-70 West to Hwy 50 in Grand Junction towards Ouray (Delta, Montrose). Turn right on 141 and follow it into the Canyon. Bouldering is found on the hundreds of sandstone blocks visible from CO 141 on your way into the canyon. Sunday Wall and Hidden Valley are located on Access Fund property 2 miles West of Divide Road. Camping can be found on BLM land along Divide Road as well as along CO 141, Divide Road is cleaner and quieter but there is excellent bouldering along CO 141. Bring water.

Climbing Season

Weather station 17.2 miles from here

1,139 Total Routes

['4 Stars',76],['3 Stars',440],['2 Stars',511],['1 Star',98],['Bomb',4]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Unaweep Canyon:
Crack Cave   V3 6A     Boulder   Nine Mile Hill : Crack Hole
Full Torque   V4 6B     Boulder, 10'   Other Side Of Road Area : Stronger Than Water Boulder
Chinese Algebra   V5 6C     Boulder   Mecca Area : Mecca Boulder
Route 2   V5 6C     Boulder   Bone Park : Plethora Boulder (Right Gon...
Rockshop Traverse   V7 7A+     Boulder, 200'   Nine Mile Hill : East Creek Day Use Area
Dreamscape   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 345'   Mother's Buttress : Middle Mother's
Dovercourt   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Main Canyon: Unaweep Granit... : Sun Towers
True Grit   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   Nine Mile Hill : Grit Wall
Sun Dancer   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 160'   The Access Fund Trailhead : Sunday Wall
Obe Won Canobe   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   The Access Fund Trailhead : Hidden Valley Wall
Sweet Sunday Serenade   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   The Access Fund Trailhead : Sunday Wall
Pocket Reference   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Nine Mile Hill : Four Blocks Crag
Red Orkan   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 105'   Mother's Buttress : The Outback
Unknown Pillar   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   The Access Fund Trailhead : Sunday Wall
Large, Purple and Violent   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   Mother's Buttress : The Outback
Questions and Answers   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   Mother's Buttress : Upper Mother's Buttress
Jagged Edge   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Mother's Buttress : Middle Mother's
Iron Maiden   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   Mother's Buttress : Middle Mother's
Rubarama   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   The Access Fund Trailhead : Television Wall
Bridge of Air   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 135'   The Access Fund Trailhead : Sunday Wall
Browse More Classics in Unaweep Canyon

Featured Route For Unaweep Canyon
The Black Mama.

The Black Mama 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c  CO : Grand Junction Area : ... : The Palisade
The Black Mama climbs an impressive crack system on the west side of the Palisade.The climb is named after a nearby uranium mine that operated throughout the 1960s.P1: Climb 5.10 hands.P2: Go up a difficult, thin hands splitter through a roof (5.12) to a roof. Punch in some small gear, then traverse left out the roof (5.11+), and then go up a left-facing corner to the belay.P3: Climb the impressive overhanging finger and thin hands splitter. Save some #3 Camalots for a section before the...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Unaweep Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
A spring waterfall in Unaweep.
A spring waterfall in Unaweep.
Unaweep bouldering.
Unaweep bouldering.
A beautifully striped face in the Late Bloomer Are...
A beautifully striped face in the Late Bloomer Are...
This is the view looking out the west end of the c...
BETA PHOTO: This is the view looking out the west end of the c...
Unaweep projects.
Unaweep projects.
Unaweeps Hidden Valley and Fortress Wall.
Unaweeps Hidden Valley and Fortress Wall.
The land of 1,000,000 boulders.
The land of 1,000,000 boulders.

Comments on Unaweep Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
By Rogerlarock
From: Nedsterdam, Colorado
Apr 7, 2009
Anyone out there got some dope on the Unaweep wall route? Thanks
By kclimbs
From: Vail
Nov 27, 2009
I just moved to GJ and have been putting up new boulders in Unaweep lately. Takes a little searching but have found some really good rock and good problems up to V9 and hopefully harder soon. Just need some people with pads to go climbing with me some time.
From: Chicago/Colorado
Aug 10, 2010
There is only one established route up it in the guide. There may be more now. It is like 10+ with some clean aid. Right up the gut. You can see the crack system it goes up. Never done it but looks good.
Like all routes in the canyon in the 10+ range, it will be thought provoking. There is potential there for new routes there I'm sure.
By Britney
Jun 1, 2012
  • *LOST CAMERA** On 5/30/12 My camera fell from the top of the 2nd pitch on Sweet Sunday Serenade, Looked like it went into the left side of the pillar off to the right when looking down. It's a digital Nikon in a small black hardcase. REWARD IF FOUND! Please contact Britney at (208)-353-6548 or 505 W. Dogwood St., Boise ID 83705. Thank you and have a great day!
By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Jun 19, 2014
Are there any shady walls worth climbing at this time of year?
By Jesse Zacher
From: Grand Junction, Co
Jun 20, 2014
Steven, Upper Mighty Mouse/ Space Balls wall stays in the shade until mid to late afternoon. Quarry Wall is usually good until about 1pm depending where along the cliff you are. Mothers and Sunday Wall go into the shade in the later afternoon.
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