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Estes Park Mountain Climbing

Updated on July 26, 2010

Located just an hour from Boulder, Colorado and slightly further from Denver, the Rocky Mountain National Park attracts visitors from around the world to its spectacular pristine natural wonders. The Trail Ridge Road in the area is one of America's great scenic drives, as it straddles the Great Continental Divide.

When it comes to Mountain Climbing, the park offers a wide spectrum of activities to suit any enthusiast, from ski mountaineering tours to bouldering, ice climbs, alpine routes and sport climbs. The favorite mountain for climbers is usually Longs Peak, standing head and shoulders above the surrounding mountains at 14,255 feet. Over 20,000 people make the arduous trip to the peak of this spectacular mountain every year. Most of the climbs occur in August when conditions are most favorable and through the Keyhole Route.

The Stettner's Ledges on the East Face is a far more challenging climb, rated Grade III 5.8. Another popular climb is The Diamond which lies completely above 13,000 feet and yields some very serious free climbs and nailing routes. There are many challenges to confront the climber in Fourteener Country, so named since the peaks exceed 14,000 feet above sea level. Pikes Peak and Mount Evans offer a variety of routes to the top. Some are fairly standard and reasonable, while others are far more technical and difficult with ratings of Class 4, Class 5 and Steep Snow.

It is important to always keep in mind that Mountain Climbing is an inherently dangerous sport and climbers are hurt and killed every year in the area. Take your time to size up the mountain and the conditions before charging ahead. If you find that the conditions are not favorable, do not try to forge through it. Retreat and try again another day when the conditions are better for the climb. Estes Park is a paradise for climbing, especially if you are interested in multi pitch traditional crags, toprope areas, boulders, slabs and sport areas.

Some of the more famous climbs close to Estes Park include Sandbeach Rocks, Big Thompson Canyon, Monastery, Palisades, Piz Badille, Deville Rocks, Fall River Road Crags, Cedar Park Slab, Combat Rock, Spur 66 Crags, Deer Ridge Buttress, MacGregor Slab, Glen Haven Picnic Area, Ironclads, Alligator Rock, Cow Creek Canyon, Crags, Jurassic Park, Kinnikinnik Crags, Prospect Mountain, and more. Note that one of the more popular climbs was Eagle Rock, but that is now under private ownership and off limits. Some of the amazing visitor attractions you have to experience when you're in the Estes Park area include:

  • The Wynbrier Wildlife Gallery
    120 E Elkhorn Ave
  • Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests
    2150 Centre Ave., Building E, Fort Collins
  • DMS Fine Art Gallery
    132 West Elkhorn Avenue
  • Earthwood Artisans
    145 E Elkhorn Avenue
  • Ride-A-Kart Family Amusement Park
    2250 Big Thompson Hwy
  • Estes Park Aquatic Center
    660 Community Drive
  • Estes Park Museum
    200 Fourth Street
  • Glassworks Studio & Gallery
    323 W Elkhorn Ave
  • Michael Ricker Pewter Casting Studio and Museum
    2050 Big Thompson Ave.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
    1000 Highway 36
  • Roosevelt National Forest
    2150 Centre Avenue, Building E, Fort Collins
  • Snowfire Gallery
    351 Moraine Ave
  • Stanley Hotel
    333 Wonderview
  • Wands Gallery
    165 Virginia Dr
  • Estes Park Aerial Tramway
    420 East Riverside Drive


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    • David Stone profile image

      David Stone 

      8 years ago from New York City

      To the point and informative. Would really help me, if I traveled there.


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