A short drive north of Cañon City on County Road 9 will lead you to some of the best, most challenging rock climbing in Colorado. Head to the popular Shelf Road Climbing Area near Sand Gulch Campground where you’ll find hundreds of bolted routes. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to climb, but even in the heat of summer, there are routes that offer shade. A sport climber’s paradise, Shelf Road is a great location off the beaten path but close enough to town to enjoy a great meal and a cold drink at the end of the day.
There’s also great rock climbing at Oak Creek Grade. Two sections, Tanner Dome and Stultz, have hundreds of paths up the rock with established anchors. Many routes can be found in local guide books. Unlike Shelf Road, which is very popular, the Oak Creek Grade is more secluded in the wilderness.
For people who are just starting out or maybe even climbing for the first time, it’s important to have the correct equipment and know how to use it. Novices must learn how to tie the harness and wear it correctly, know how to communicate with their partners, have the proper shoes and helmets, and always do a safety check before beginning.
- Know the rules and regulations of an area
- Always use durable surfaces in climbing areas
- Dispose of human waste in 6-8″ catholes or pack it out
- Pack it in, pack it out
- Minimize the use of chalk and clean up spills.
- Learn about seasonal raptor closures
- Keep dogs under control and don’t monopolize a climb
- Minimize your impact and don’t jeopardize crag access
Learn more about the local climbing opportunities and outfitters. Come enjoy a rock climbing adventure for both beginners and intermediate climbers.