Folks have been climbing on the more obscure crags in this area for years, often leaving little record of their ascents. There are also many crags that were previously dissed as too chossy or too blank. Thanks to sport climbing, these overlooked walls have been seen in a new light. Some are still “off the radar,” as the developers prefer it that way, in some cases due to sensitive access.
A word of caution, many of these areas haven’t seen a ton of traffic, which means holds still break and loose rock may be encountered. A helmet is usually a good idea, along with a healthy dose of common sense. Climb safe.
The Crystal River Valley has seen some recent development by the Carbondale crew looking for more convenient after work climbing. The focus has been on the Narrows and Coal Creek for sport climbing, and Coal Basin has also seen some bouldering development. New boulders have also been developed in Redstone.
Thompson Creek is a beautiful area in the hills to the west of town. A mellow hike along a gurgling stream takes you to the valley’s newest sport crag. Currently there are access issues with this crag.
Glenwood Canyon is host to a variety of crags. Unfortunately many have questionable access, but ask around and you can probably get some info. There are also the old stand-bys of the Puoux and No Name.
The Frying Pan Valley has got to be one of the most scenic in Colorado. The climbing here is greatly varied, from long granite slabs to steep limestone sport climbs.
Main Elk is a secluded spot outside the town of New Castle. The amount of untouched limestone in this area is staggering, as long as you aren’t afraid of a little walking. Home to the Fortress of Solitude, there is also cragging along Main Elk Creek and at the Pup Tent of Solitude.
The climbing around the town of Rifle is varied, from gentle sandstone slabs, to some of the steepest limestone in the country. Rifle Mountain Park is the well known destination of the area, but there are some other spots that warrant a visit as well if you are in the area.
There are some fun, mostly ephemeral, Ice Climbs in the area.
The Alpine climbing in this area is somewhat limited. There are some remote ice routes that are here one day and gone the next, along with fun snow climbs and great 4th class scrambles up some of the proudest 14er’s in the state.