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Shelf Road Rock Climbing in Colorado

A climbing paradise in Colorado

Shelf Road Rock Climbing
Shelf Road Rock Climbing
Shelf Road Rock Climbing
Shelf Road Rock Climbing
Shelf Road Rock Climbing

Shelf Road stretches from Cañon City to Cripple Creek, not far from Boulder, Colorado. The road goes along an old stagecoach route on the southwest side of Pikes Peak. It features picturesque limestone cliffs and dry canyons forming about 1,000 routes with exciting edges, jugs, and cracks. Most routes have permanent bolted anchors for clip-and-go climbing. Climbers are recommended to wear protection, have quickdraws, and a rope. Six major climbing areas are called The Bank, The Gym, Cactus Cliff and Spiney Ridge, The Dark Side, The Gallery, and Sand Gulch.

Shelf Road can be reached by US 50. Take the exit for Cañon City, and once you get to town, go north on Raynolds Avenue. Then turn left on Pear Street and drive to Fields Avenue. Turn right on Fields and head north for 13 mi (21 km). Shelf Road climbing is the best in the fall, winter, and spring. In the summer it's too hot here, yet climbing is possible on the north-facing cliffs or early in the morning.

Many climbers stay at Sand Gulch Campground, a scenic spot within walking distance to climbing routes.

Practical info

When is the best time to go rock climbing at Shelf Road?

The recommended season for rock climbing at Shelf Road is from September to May, excluding summer, which tends to be too hot, causing inconvenience during outdoor activities especially for climbing. The winter season, on the other hand, presents an additional challenge for climbers due to the cold weather, although it’s the off-peak season so there are fewer crowds around. Show more

Where are the major climbing areas in Shelf Road?

Shelf Road is home to six major climbing areas consisting of roughly 1000 routes - Sand Gulch, The Bank, The Dark Side, The Gym, The Gallery, and Cactus Cliff and Spiney Ridge. Each area has its own unique climbing characteristics, including the variety of routes and difficulty level. Climbers are encouraged to note down their selected climbing routes in specific locations to allow for proper preparedness. Show more

What type of rock is common in the climbing in Shelf Road?

In Shelf Road, limestone is the most commonly used type of rock for climbing. The limestone rocks are characterized by the presence of numerous edges, jugs, and cracks, which make it an enjoyable climbing experience for climbers of all expertise levels. Limestone cliffs have become an increasingly popular destination for rock climbers due to their unique structure and durability regarding climbing. It is recommended that climbers wear appropriate gear during climbing, including ropes and quickdraws. Show more

Are there any climbing classes offered in the area?

Undoubtedly, climbing classes are offered in the area by professional instructors with different programs provided, from beginner courses to advanced programs involving multi-pitch climbs. These courses vary in expense and duration, and participants can learn the fundamentals of rock climbing or enhance their current skills. The courses are available in various locations around Colorado, including the Shelf Road area. Show more

What other outdoor activities can be done near Shelf Road besides rock climbing?

In addition to rock climbing, Shelf Road features other outdoor activities that visitors can enjoy, including hiking, camping, and horseback riding. Rattlesnake Arches and the iconic Garden of the Gods hikes are other must-do activities in the region. Away from Shelf Road, visitors can enjoy more outdoor recreational opportunities, such as the Pueblo Reservoir and Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, just a short drive away. The area presents itself as a top outdoor adventure destination, offering a perfect spot for anyone seeking a bit of outdoor fun. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva