Rock Climbing in Eldorado Canyon State Park
1. CHARACTER OF THE CLIMBING
Eldorado Canyon is noted for multi-pitch, traditionally protected, sandstone rock climbs on cliffs up to seven hundred feet high. Routes typically involve intricate and devious face climbing, interspersed with dihedrals and discontinuous, irregular cracks, where traditional removable gear placement skills are mandatory. A standard rack consists of an array of nuts and cams, from small RP’s up to about four inch cams, along with a dozen or more quick draws and longer slings.
Only a few bolted sport routes (starting at 5.11d) can be found in the canyon. Top roping opportunities exist but are somewhat limited and generally require gear to rig. Supremacy rock has the most accessible top roping and a few of the routes (5.0 – 5.5) have bolted anchors.
2. CLIMBING SAFETY
Warning - Rock Climbing is Dangerous!
Substantial risk of serious injury or death exists. Risks include, but are not limited to, falling, falling rock and other objects, equipment failure, human error, adverse weather, slippery surfaces, and negligence of other users. Colorado Parks and Wildlife does NOT maintain fixed anchors or other aspects of climbing routes. Loose rock, unreliable fixed anchors, and other hazards can exist on any route. Climb at your own risk. Your safety is your responsibility.
The Park and The Action Committee for Eldorado make no representations or warranties regarding the safety, reliability, or suitability for use of any fixed anchors or other hardware currently existing or installed in the future.
Climbers, Reading this Could Save Your Life:
Always have someone tied-in to each end of the rope or tie a knot in the free end of the rope. Serious falls have occurred while top-roping or lowering a climber when the free-end of the rope pulled through the belay device.
Always double-check yourself and your partner (harness buckle double-backed, tie-in knot, belay rigging and technique, and rappel set-up).
Always formulate a plan of action that everyone in the climbing party understands. For example, after leading a pitch, will the leader lower, rappel, or belay from above?
Always inform someone of your climbing plans.
Don’t rappel off the ends of your rope. Always make sure the ends are even with knots tied at each end.
Beware of loose rock. Avoid standing or climbing beneath others. Check your holds. Warn others if you dislodge rocks.
Fixed gear may be unreliable. Use fixed gear at your own risk and back it up when possible.
Eldorado is a traditional climbing area, not a sport climbing area. Fundamental gear placement skills are mandatory.
Never have only one piece of protection between you and a catastrophic fall.
The roaring creek and high winds can make communication difficult. Be prepared.
The sun sets sooner than you think. Allow adequate time for your climb and descent. Bring a headlamp, extra clothes, etc. Be prepared.
The weather can change in an instant. Severe thunderstorms, high winds, freezing temperatures, and snowstorms can sweep in without notice. Be prepared.
A helmet can save your life.
Get professional instruction.
In case of emergency, call 911.
REMEMBER, YOU ALONE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SAFETY.
3. CLIMBING ROUTE CONDITION REPORTS
Eldorado Canyon State Park (ECSP) will post notice when informed of new and potentially more dangerous conditions along climbing routes. To understand the nuance of this policy, it first must be understood that rock climbing is dangerous. Loose rock, suspect/difficult protection placements, and many other objective and subjective hazards have historically been part of the rock climbing experience. Although this policy provides a mechanism for climbers to report and be informed of potentially hazardous conditions along climbing routes, it is primarily intended to help document and inform climbers about conditions along a rock climbing route that have changed since the first ascent or from ascents in recent years. This could include flakes and blocks of rock that have loosened over time, dying trees that serve as rappel anchors, fixed hardware that is outdated or deteriorating, etc. Such conditions that are reported to the Park will be posted at trailheads.
4. KEY REGULATIONS AFFECTING CLIMBERS
- The placement or removal of fixed climbing hardware requires a permit.
- Chipping, gluing, manufacturing holds, and removal of vegetation is prohibited.
- Be aware of and abide by all posted seasonal raptor closures.
- The Park closes at dusk. Plan accordingly.
- Pets must be leashed and under control at all times everywhere in the park, including along access to climbing areas and at climbing staging areas. Pets can’t be left leashed and unattended at the base of climbs. If one climber is belaying from the ground with a leashed dog nearby, the dog may be considered under control. If both climbers have left the ground or immediate area, the dog will not be considered under control. Pets can’t be left unattended in vehicles.
- Commercial use (photography, filming, climbing instruction/guiding, etc.) requires a permit.
5. LOW IMPACT CLIMBING ETHICS
- Use care to stay on hiking and climbing access trails to minimize erosion. Do not short-cut trail switchbacks.
- Use toilet facilities provided. If this is not possible, it is your responsibility to be prepared with WAG bags to pack out human waste or bury human waste and pack out toilet paper.
- If slings must be left in place to facilitate a rappel, use slings with earth toned colors.
- Use chalk sparingly. Brush it off when possible.
- Climbing routes are available on a first come first served basis.
- Make a conscious decision to minimize your impact every time you climb.
- Bring a plastic bag. Pack out all trash- yours and others’.
- Be prepared to pick up and dispose of pet waste promptly (don’t leave waste-bags trailside). This is required by regulation at developed areas such as picnic areas.
6. FIXED HARDWARE PROCESS
Climbers wanting to replace bolts with bolts in the same or close to the same location can contact the Park directly (303-494-3943) to inquire about obtaining a permit.
Climbers wanting to remove fixed hardware, replace pitons with either pitons or bolts, relocate bolts or pitons, or place new bolts must first apply with The Action Committee for Eldorado (ACE). ACE is a nonprofit group that assists Eldorado Canyon State Park management with rock climbing management. Go to www.aceeldo.org to apply. ACE reviews applications and makes recommendations to park management to approve or deny the applications.