Category: Colorado
Elev: 6000-7000 ft
Rock Type: Foundation Arkosic Sandstone
2014, 2018


Located mere minutes south of Boulder, Eldorado Canyon ("Eldo") is a world-class climbing area. Thousands of routes ascend the beautiful sandstone cliffs, which rise up to 700 feet in height. The sandstone at Eldo is hard, more reminiscent of granite than sandstone in other areas. The climbing is predominantly trad, yet there is relatively little crack climbing; instead, the style of the climbing is delicate face moves, steep juggy roofs, and highly technical sequences on featured rock separated by decent rests. The steepness, committing nature of the climbing, and tricky pro can make climbing at Eldo pretty game on. It is an awesome place.


The first time I climbed at Eldo was in August 2014, for three days during a brief stop on a climbing road trip. Four years later, in Summer 2018 on a month-long climbing roadtrip to Colorado, I squeezed in a few more days at Eldo. At the time, I was considering CU Boulder as a potential graduate school option; by the end of my month in Colorado, I had decided CU Boulder was the only place I cared to go. I applied and was accepted into the PhD program in Applied Mathematics, to begin in Fall 2019. Soon, Eldo will become my local crag.

Since Eldo is to become my local crag, I just keep a list of the climbs I've done there (on this page). Below the list, I've also included my original trip reports from my August 2014 and 2018 trips to the area.


List of climbs I've done at Eldo
2014 trip report (1st trip to Eldo: 3 days: Naked Edge + cragging)

TR #: 174
2018 trip report (2nd trip to Eldo: 3 days: more cragging)
6-7 & 26

    TR #: 292

List of climbs I've done in Eldorado Canyon

(Alphabetical order)

   =The Bastille
   =Rincon Wall
   =Shirt Tail Peak
   =The West Ridge
   =Wind Tower

Bastille Crack (Pitches 1 & 2)  P1: 5.7+, P2: 5.6 (combined with Outer Space as P3 & P4) The Bastille N Face Patrik Larsson & Eric Schweitzer Aug 11, 2014
Blind Faith P1: 5.10a, P2: 5.9 (linked P1+P1) The Bastille W Face Alex Haeger July 6, 2018
Cave Pitch  P1: 5.8 Redgarden Tower 2 Eric Schweitzer Aug 12, 2014
C'est La Vie (Pitches 1 & 2) P1: 5.9+, P2: 5.11b Redgarden S Buttress Stuart Gillespie Aug 10, 2014
Chance of Rain P1: 5.11a? The Bastille W Face Zach Durbin July 26, 2018
Chockstone + Chock Suey variation for P3  P1: 5.10a, P2: 5.10a, P3: 5.10c (Tony linked P1+P2+P3 into one massive lead)  The West Ridge Tony Bubb July 7, 2018
Darkness 'Til Dawn (Pitch 1) P1: 5.10a Redgarden Patrik Larsson Aug 11, 2014
Diffraction P1: 5.10- (combined with The Metamorphosis as P2) Wind Tower Zach Durbin July 26, 2018
Gambit P1: 5.5, P2: 5.8, P3: 5.7, P4: 5.6 (linked P3+P4) Shirt Tail Peak Alex Haeger July 6, 2018
Genesis (Pitch 1) P1: 5.11a Redgarden S Buttress  Stuart Gillespie Aug 10, 2014 
Green Spur P1: 5.5, P2: 5.9 (combined with Rewritten + Rebuffat's Arete as P3-P5) Redgarden Patrik Larsson Aug 11, 2014
Hair City (Pitch 1) P1: 5.9 The Bastille W Face Zach Durbin July 26, 2018
Handcracker Direct P1: 5.9-, P2: 5.9, P3: 5.8, P4: 5.10a, P5: 5.4 (linked P2+P3 & P4+P5) The West Ridge Alex Haeger July 6, 2018
March of Dimes (Pitch 3) P3: 5.10c The Bastille N Face Stuart Gillespie Aug 10, 2014
Metamorphosis, The P2: 5.10- (combined with Diffraction as P1) Wind Tower Zach Durbin July 26, 2018
Naked Edge, The  5.11b, 6 pitches Redgarden Tower 2 Eric Schweitzer Aug 12, 2014
NW Corner (Pitch 1) P1: 5.8 The Bastille N Face Stuart Gillespie Aug 10, 2014
Outer Space P3: 5.10b, P4: 5.10b (combined with Bastille Crack as P1 & P2) The Bastille N Face Patrik Larsson & Eric Schweitzer Aug 11, 2014
Over the Hill  P1: 5.10b, P2: 5.9 (Tony linked P1+P2 into one massive lead) Rincon Wall Tony Bubb July 7, 2018
Positively 4th Street P1: 5.9 The West Ridge Alex Haeger July 6, 2018
Rewritten (Pitches 3 & 4) + Rebuffat's Arête P3: 5.9; P4: 5.7; P5: 5.6 (combined with Green Spur as P1 & P2) Redgarden Patrik Larsson Aug 11, 2014
Rincon P1: 5.9+, P2: 5.9-, P3: 5.11a (linked P2+P2) Rincon Wall Tony Bubb July 7, 2018
Tagger P1: 5.9, P2: 5.10c Wind Tower SW Face Stuart Gillespie Aug 10, 2014
Touch and Go P1: 5.8, P2: 5.9- Redgarden Tower 2 Eric Schweitzer Aug 12, 2014
Werk Supp P1: 5.8, P2: 5.9+ The Bastille N Face Stuart Gillespie Aug 10, 2014
West Buttress Direct (Pitch 1) P1: 5.10 The Bastille W Face Zach Durbin July 26, 2018

Original trip reports for 1st and 2nd visits to Eldo....

August 2014 Trip Report to Eldorado Canyon
1st trip to Eldo: 3 Days: Naked Edge + cragging

Dates: Aug 10-12, 2014
Partners: Stuart Gillespie / Patrik Larsson / Eric Schweitzer

<-- Map of summer 2014
     (click to enlarge)


I had spent the first week of August climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park, and was now headed back north for a second trip to the Cirque of the Towers to climb some routes I had not climbed on my first trip that summer. I had a few extra days between trips, so I decided to stop by Eldorado Canyon. Just south of Boulder, Eldorado Canyon is one of the world's finest and most famous climbing areas. It consists of steep, beautiful conglomerate sandstone walls of up to 700 feet high, in brilliant shades of gold and red. The rock quality is reminiscent of granite rather than the soft sandstone found throughout much of Utah and Arizona.

Eric (who I had climbed with for the previous couple of weeks) was interested in climbing The Naked Edge, a premier route of the Canyon (perhaps THE premier route of the Canyon) which ascends a spectacular 500' tall arête. But he was in the process of buying a Sprinter van and couldn't climb for a couple of days. So, following the partner-finding trend of the summer, I posted on MountainProject.com to see if I could find a partner (or partners) to climb for a couple of days while Eric dealt with the Sprinter. My problem quickly went from having no partner to having to choose between a dozen potential partners. Guess there are a lot of climbers in Boulder, huh.

 Jump to photos from:
(5.11b, 6 pitches)
I climbed for three days in Eldorado Canyon, the first two days with climbers from Boulder (Stuart and Patrik) and the third day with Eric. I really loved the technical nature of the climbing, plus the variety of cracks, face, corners, jugs, roofs, etc. The rock is quite grippy and for the most part solid. I had told my partners to "show me the best" so many of the routes we did were 3- or 4-star Canyon classics. 

 DAY 1  : The first day, a 40% thundershower day, Stuart and I climbed several 1-2 pitch 5.8-5.11b routes. 

 DAY 2  : The second day, under a more stable forecast, Patrik and I climbed a couple of longer (4-5 pitch) routes. Eric also joined us for the morning. 

 DAY 3  : The third day, with the most stable (and hotter) forecast of the trip, Eric and I climbed the spectacular arête of The Naked Edge (5.11b, 6 pitches). Although all the routes I climbed in Eldorado Canyon were great, this was probably the prize of the trip.

Below are some photos and a list of the routes I did during my three-day introduction to Eldorado Canyon. Thanks Stuart, Patrik, and Eric for the fun days of climbing in the Canyon. I'll be back for sure.

Climbs / Photos

 DAY 1 - Aug 10 
(Partner: Stuart Gillespie)

1. C'est La Vie (Pitches 1 & 2), Redgarden S Buttress; P1: 5.9+, P2: 5.11b **** 
2. Genesis (Pitch 1), Redgarden S Buttress; P1: 5.11a **** 
3. Tagger, Wind Tower SW Face; P1: 5.9, P2: 5.10c *** 
4. NW Corner (Pitch 1), The Bastille N Face; P1: 5.8 **** (climbed first pitch before bailing due to too many parties ahead) 
5. Werk Supp, The Bastille N Face; P1: 5.8, P2: 5.9+ *** 
6. March of Dimes (Pitch 3), The Bastille N Face; P3: 5.10c ***

Photo descriptions:
a. The entrance to Eldorado Canyon. Ahh...warm sunny rock ahead!
b. Stuart leading the second pitch of C'est La Vie, which goes up a huge dihedral. The 5.11c crux is only about 10 feet above the belay.
c. Taken at the top of the second pitch of C'est La Vie.
d. The towering Bastille. We wanted to climb the NW Corner route but had to bail when there were too many parties ahead. Eldorado Canyon is is a popular weekend destination, and The Bastille is perhaps the most popular crag in the Canyon.
e. Fun 10c climbing on the crux left-leaning crack near the top of March of Dimes. We tacked this short pitch onto the last pitch of Werk Supp.
f. Looking up the Naked Edge on Redgarden Wall, perhaps THE route of the Canyon. Eric and I climbed this route a couple of days later. 
g. Looking down at the parking lot at the entrance of Eldorado Canyon. It's a popular place, and rightly so.

 DAY 2 - Aug 11 
(Partners: Patrik Larsson (all day) and Eric Schweitzer (morning))

1. Bastille Crack - Outer Space link up, The Bastille N Face; P1: 5.7+, P2: 5.6, P3: 5.10b, P4: 5.10b ****
2. Green Spur + Rebuffat's Arête via Rewritten, Redgarden; P1: 5.5, P2: 5.9, P3: 5.9; P4: 5.7; P5: 5.6 ***
3. Darkness 'Til Dawn (Pitch 1), Redgarden; P1: 5.10a ****

Photo descriptions:
a. Looking up Bastille Crack, perhaps the most popular climb in the Canyon. It is really fun 5.6-5.8 climbing. When we saw no other parties on it we decided it would make a great warm-up and allow us to get up to the two-pitch Outer Space route (10b), another Canyon classic I'd had my eye on.
b. The 10b corner on the first pitch of Outer Space. You know a route is popular/great when you can see the chalk marks from the ground.
c. Eric leading the second pitch of Outer Space. This starts with a wonderfully-exposed 10b traverse.
d. Looking over at the Naked Edge 
on Redgarden Wall.
e. Another photo of the Naked Edge. Eric and I were psyched to climb it the next day. It would be a challenge for sure.
f. There are some cables on top of the Bastille. These cables were actually installed in 1907, when high wire daredevil Ivy Baldwin strung a cable across the mouth of the canyon, stabilizing it with 32 ropes. It was 582 feet in height and 632 feet across. On June 7, 1907, he made his first walk across the canyon. He thrilled the crowds with his high-wire walks 88 times. He also walked the cable backwards on several occasions. His last trip across the canyon was on his 82nd birthday, July 31, 1948. (Reference)
g. When nature calls, keep nature clean!
h. Looking up the 5.9 crux pitch of Green Spur. The climbing on this pitch is sustained and technical.
i. Looking up Darkness 'Til Dawn. Despite the hot sun on the route, we ended the day by climbing this 4-star route. The climbing was sustained 10a and interesting the whole way up. Great route.
j. Another photo of the Naked Edge as we passed it on the way back to the parking lot. Tomorrow....

 DAY 3 - Aug 12 
(Partner: Eric Schweitzer)

1. Touch and Go, Redgarden Tower 2; P1: 5.8, P2: 5.9- ****  
2. Cave Pitch, Redgarden Tower 2; P1: 5.8
3. The Naked Edge, Redgarden Tower 2, 5.11b ****  

Photo descriptions:
a. The usual way to get to the base of Naked Edge is to climb Touch and Go up to the Lower Ramp and then from the Lower Ramp climb the Cave Pitch, an interesting 5.8 overhang, and reach a three-bolt belay at the base of the first pitch. This photo is taken looking up Touch and Go, which I led as one long pitch instead of two (just use slings wisely to avoid rope drag).
b. Looking up at Naked Edge from the top of Touch and Go. There are climbers "cragging" on the first pitch. Soon after I took this photo, a couple of climbers ran by us on the Lower Ramp, and proceeded to run up the Naked Edge. By the time Eric got to the base of the Naked Edge via the Cave Pitch, the guys were at the top. Apparently they were on their second lap. Amazing.
c. To get to the start of the route from the Lower Ramp, climb the Cave Pitch, an interesting 5.8 overhang, and reach a three-bolt belay at the base of the first pitch.
d. Eric starting up Pitch 1: "Climb the finger crack, with a crux up high, to a two-bolt anchor at a stance on a slab. (5.11a, 70')" This is a really cool pitch as you are just right of the sharp arête.
e. Eric starting up Pitch 2: "Climb the elegant slab right of the exposed arête (5.8), turn a corner to the left, then make thin moves up a short wall to a two-bolt anchor at a stance. (5.10b, 90')" Great exposure and a cool step around the Edge.
f. Another photo of Eric higher on Pitch 2, just before stepping left around the Edge.
g. Looking up Pitch 3: "Follow the arête to a small alcove, step right, then mantel and continue to a sloping ramp at the base of a flared, overhanging chimney. (5.8+, 110')" The climbing on this pitch was slightly less than spectacular but still interesting and a bit spicy.
h. A loose rock on Pitch 3.
i. A piton on Pitch 3. There are a fair number of pitons on the route..
j. Eric starting up Pitch 4: "Climb a short corner, then pull past a flake (fixed pin) and make difficult moves into the chimney. At its top, work out right along a small roof to a dramatically exposed semi-sling belay at bolts. (5.11b, 60')" As Eric exited the chimney and went over the roof (the crux of the pitch we thought), the carabiner on the sling from his last piece caught in his figure-eight knot and pulled him off. Frustrating, since he had pulled the crux move at this point! 
k. Looking up the start of Pitch 5: "Layback an awkward steep corner, then step right around the corner and jam an overhanging hand-fist crack. At the top of the crack, step left and belay. (5.11b, 90')" This pith has the most crack-climbing feel of any pitch on the route. I need to get better at fist jams. Even though this was a strenuous crux pitch late in the route, Eric flew up and finished before I finished my PowerBar.
l. On Pitch 6: "Follow easier rock to the top. (5.6, 50')"
m. The standard descent is via the East Slabs (3rd/4th). We somehow could not find the East Slabs descent, so we just made our way down and left (where we knew the descent went), making a couple of rappels along the way.
n. The second rappel. We found a path down soon after.
o. Eric enjoying some shade by his truck after the climb. It had been a tad hot on the route, but we had a nice breeze that made it tolerable. Great climb!

July 2018 Trip Report to Eldorado Canyon
2nd trip to Eldo: 3 Days: more cragging

Dates: July 6-7 & 26, 2018
Partners: Alex Haeger / Tony Bubb / Zack Durbin

<-- Map of summer 2018
     (click to enlarge)


In July 2018, I climbed in Colorado for just over three weeks. During this time I climbed for three days at Eldorado Canyon. The first two of these days were near the beginning of my trip. I had a few days between climbing adventures in the Black Canyon and Mt. Evans, and Tony Bubb (who I had climbed with in the Black Canyon for a couple of days) had generously offered to let me stay at his house during this time, so this was a great opportunity to crag for a day or two in Eldorado Canyon. The first day I climbed with local Alex Haeger, who had responded to my mountainproject post for a partner. The second day I climbed with Tony; this was a real treat, since Tony has climbed probably over a thousand routes at Eldo and has put up numerous first ascents in the canyon. Over the course of these two days, I was reminded of how awesome (as well as humbling) the climbing is at Eldo. Then, a few weeks later, at the very end of my climbing trip to Colorado, I managed to squeeze in one more morning at Eldo, this time with a local named Zack, who saw my last-minute mountainproject post for a partner. I had actually met Zack a few years earlier at the Elephant's Perch in Idaho and it was cool to finally get to take him up on his offer to "climb together if I was ever passing by the Boulder area."

 DAY 4  : The first day, Alex and I climbed several 4-star moderate routes, most featuring steep and juggy cracks so typical of Eldo. And so fun to climb! By the time it got too hot to climb around 2pm, our total pitch count was 12 (but 8 with linking). Thanks Alex for showing me some of the classics!

 DAY 5  : The second day, Tony introduced me to three "best of" Eldo routes: Rincon, Over the Hill, and Chockstone. After being humbled by my lead of the first pitch of Rincon, I was happy to let Tony take the sharp end for the day while I enjoyed attempting to tronsite each route. Each of the routes we climbed is 2-3 pitches long according to the guidebook, but Tony-the-king-of-long-pitches had brought his 80m rope, and essentially led each route as one epic pitch (Rincon he broke into 2 pitches, but has climbed it as one in the past). Thanks Tony for rope-gunning some awesome Eldo routes!

 DAY 6  : The third day, Zack introduced me to some steep trad yet not crack-climbing classics like The Metamorphosis and Hair City. I loved the techy movement on these routes. Great job leading The Metamorphosis, Zack, that's a super heady lead!

Climbs / Photos

 DAY 4 - July 6 
(Partner: Alex Haeger)

1. Gambit, Shirt Tail Peak; P1: 5.5, P2: 5.8, P3: 5.7, P4: 5.6 (we linked P3+P4)  **** 
2. Handcracker Direct, The West Ridge; P1: 5.9-, P2: 5.9, P3: 5.8, P4: 5.10a, P5: 5.4 (we linked P2+P3 & P4+P5)  ****  
3. Positively 4th Street, The West Ridge; P1: 5.9  ***
4. Blind Faith, The Bastille W Face; P1: 5.10a, P2: 5.9 (we linked P1+P1) **** 

Photo descriptions:
a. Eldo is a super climbing-friendy place.
b. Entertaining climbing on Pitch 3 or 4 or Gambit.
c. The best reason to climb Gambit is that it brings you to the top of Shirt Tail Peak, the highest summit in the canyon. The view is great. 
d. Pitch 4 of Handcracker Direct. This is the crux (10a) pitch up steep and juggy crack.
e. Positively 4th Street - climb the crack or climb the face!
f. Blind Faith, a steep and long 10a hand crack with a couple of roofs. This was my favorite route of the day. Climbing it in the direct sun made it a grade harder.
g. Penny, Alex's shepherd-huskey mix, and the world's best crag dog. Penny enjoyed the day out as much as we did.

 DAY 5 - July 7 
(Partner: Tony Bubb)

1. Rincon, Rincon Wall; P1: 5.9+, P2: 5.9-, P3: 5.11a (we linked P2+P2) **** 
2. Over the Hill, Rincon Wall; P1: 5.10b, P2: 5.9 (Tony linked P1+P2 into one massive lead) **** 
3. Chockstone + Chock Suey variation for P3, The West Ridge; P1: 5.10a, P2: 5.10a, P3: 5.10c (Tony linked P1+P2+P3 into one massive lead) *** 

Photo descriptions:
a. Looking down Pitch 2 of Rincon.
b. Tony starting up Pitch 3 of Rincon (crux pitch).
c. Cool patterns from pine beetles. Doesn't quite make up for the destruction of the poor pine tree though.
d. Looking up Pitch 1 of Over the Hill, a nice open book style corner where you really have to trust your feet as you stem up.
e. Pitch 2 of Over the Hill, an awesome fingercrack splitting the steep face.
f. Thunderheads developing....do we have time for one more route....?
g. ...we decided to climb one more route. Looking down Pitch 1 of Chockstone. Fun stuff.
h. Pitch 2 of Chockstone. Techy.
i. Chock Suey variation to Pitch 3 of Chockstone.
j. Pretty purple flowers in the route Purple Haze.

 DAY 6 - July 26 
(Partner: Zach Durbin)

1. Diffraction to The Metamorphosis, Wind Tower; P1: 5.10-, P2: 5.10- (we linked P1+P2)
2. Hair City (Pitch 1)The Bastille W FaceP1: 5.9
3. West Buttress Direct (Pitch 1)The Bastille W FaceP1: 5.10
4. Chance of Rain, The Bastille W FaceP1: 5.11a?

Photo descriptions:
b. The Metamorphosis.  
c. Don't think I've ever come across this sort of pin/bolt before. On Diffraction.
d. Nut placement.
e. West Buttress (Direct) Pitch 1. 
f. Toproping Chance of Rain. An appropriate route to finish with, given the afternoon rain clouds that were developing above....