Climbing in Estes Park +
the Rocky Mountain National Park Area
With few places in the United States able to surpass Estes Park in rock climbing, it is no wonder the area attracts world-class climbers and thrill seekers alike. We are extremely lucky to live and work in an area famous for top-notch rock climbing, and can give you tips on the best areas to climb for all skill levels.
Cracks, crags, edges, slabs and boulders galore - we've got you covered with a collection of our favorite routes and problems all of which are varying in difficulty.
the best in local beta
The following routes are all located on Lumpy Ridge
WHITE WHALE 5.7
A quality moderate route in the Park. This is a three pitch route but you can skip the third and walk off to the left after the second. Look for the tree, this will be your first belay station. The route is on the Left Book accessed from the Lumpy Ridge Trail.
KOR’S FLAKE 5.7+
A route of this length and quality is difficult to find - hard, sustained, and exposed for the grade. This is a five pitch route that starts in a small chimney, goes to a left leaning ramp, and finally going left at the roof. The route is on Sundance, so it is a little hike to get there, accessed from the Lumpy Ridge Trail.
THE J-CRACK 5.9-5.11c
Possibly the most climbed route on Lumpy Ridge. This obvious, left facing J can be seen from the trail as you turn-up and approach The Book. Start 100 feet up, on the Femp ledge. Step left to gain the beginning of the “J”. 150 feet of steep, continues crack climbing takes you to the first belay. From here you can continue through the steep headwall (5.11c) or traverse right, below the headwall (5.10a). This traverse cannot be protected, and a fall at the crux (the end of the traverse) results in an exciting pendulum that has seen few injuries. This route isn’t over yet, as climbers have many choices on how to summit from the end of the second pitch.
FAT CITY 5.10C
Fat City is one of the classic 5.10’s at Lumpy Ridge. This is a three pitch route that starts with the left leaning crack to a two bolt belay, from there work your way into the left corner, then to the roof (crux), and finish off with a right leaning layback crack. The route is on the Book accessed from the Lumpy Ridge Trail.
THE NOSE 5.10b R
The Nose, like its sister route, Idiot Wind, ascends the southeast edge of Sundance’s Turnkorner Buttress via fun cracks and exciting face climbing. This seven pitch classic follows a line up the right edge of the buttress. Pitch three takes you to the edge of the huge roof that cuts Sundance in half. Continue climbing to the left and make exciting face moves to a small, exposed belay stance.
World class granite sport climbing is just a twenty minute drive from Estes Park. These granite spires are home to over one hundred bolt protected, sport climbs, ranging in difficulty from 5.6 to 5.14. Local climbing legend and General Manager of the Estes Park Mountain Shop, Dave Watosky was instrumental in the early development of this climbing area. Because of its remote location, the Monastery remains one of the best kept secrets of the western United States.
Head up above Lily Lake for a collection of slabby, moderate sport climbs with great views of The Diamond and Estes Valley. Soak up the sunshine on the west facing rock and make sure to send the area classic: Edge of Time - you'll recognize it from the front of Gillett's Estes Valley climbing guide!
Located high in the mountains of the Rocky Mountain National Park, Chaos Canyon has seen an explosion of development in the past few years. Lake Haiyaha, just 2.1 miles from the Bear Lake parking lot is surrounded by boulders of all shapes and sizes, with almost limitless bouldering possibilities. Beware, many of the top-outs are considered high-ball by even the most experienced climbers, and the landings can be sketchy. Bring plenty of bouldering pads and attentive spotters!
A destination for boulders since John Gill first started seeking out this collection of rounded granite boulders in the 1960’s. To this day local climbers can be found searching for another undiscovered gem! Test-pieces include such classics as Sap (V10), Angry Man (V7 or V10), and Hungry Man (V4). Not always easy to find, stop by the Estes Park Mountain Shop and get the latest info and directions!