Boulder Rock Climbing

Overview

Boulder, Colorado is one of the most iconic and historic venues in American rock climbing. Just 40 miles from the Denver International Airport, Boulder can boast of some of the most diverse climbing of any destination in North America. 

Boulder Colorado Flatirons

The First, Second, and Third Flatirons (from right to left) overlooking Boulder, Colorado. Zach Lovell

Within the space of just a few miles, the massive geologic uplift of the Front Range exposes layers of sandstone, metamorphic rocks like gneiss and quartzite, and ancient granite bedrock, producing an astonishing variety of landforms and offering climbers a smorgasbord of technical challenges on routes ranging from short sport climbs to thousand-foot big-walls. For this reason, many people – not just locals – argue that Boulder, together with nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, is the single most desirable all-around rock climbing destination in the United States, and certainly one that rivals the most sought-after international rock destinations.

Whether you are a seasoned rock climber or a beginner trying the sport for the first time, the Boulder area offers routes that will challenge you, develop your skills, and reward you with views of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the American West.

Most of the best climbing in the immediate Boulder area lies in two areas:  The Flatirons, the iconic red sandstone slabs that rise above town, which can be seen for miles around; and Eldorado Canyon, a narrow rift of soaring cliffs and towers just west of the historic spa village of Eldorado Springs. A third area, Boulder Canyon, sports hundreds of routes on smaller granite crags up and down the Boulder Creek valley, some of them just minutes from Boulder's famous Pearl Street, with its shops, eateries, and street performers.

An hour further north and west, the climbing in Rocky Mountain NP ranges from long alpine rock climbs and the highest summit in northern Colorado, 14,000-foot Longs Peak, to the classic granite domes of Lumpy Ridge.

Climbing Season

We offer climbing in the Boulder area, year-round, with the prime seasons being spring, summer, and fall - approximately late March through mid-November. Private trips can be arranged year-round.

Boulder Rock Climbing

Eldorado Canyon

Climber on Icarus, Eldorado Canyon 2

Cheesin' on the upper pitches of Icarus in Eldorado Canyon. Zach Lovell

The scene of major developments in American rock-climbing technique, Eldorado – "Eldo" to initiates – offers climbers hundreds of routes on a mouth-watering variety of faces, cracks, and corners. The high-quality conglomerate sandstone that forms most of the climbing routes comes in shades of pink, purple, and ochre, and together with a bright green lichen, makes for picturesque settings.  Below is a sampling of some of the most popular and aesthetic routes.

Calypso  (3 pitches, 5.6)

Calpyso is as good as it gets for a short and moderate multipitch. A delicate face directs climbers into fun corners and cracks up the popular Wind Tower formation. Many other routes of similar difficulty are nearby and can be added together to make a fulfilling day of rock climbing.  The climb tops out at the summit of Wind Tower, with expansive views of the mountains and plains, and the skyline of Denver in the distance.

Bastille Crack (5 Pitches, 5.7+)

The Bastille, so named because it guards the south side of the canyon entrance like a fortress, is one of the first cliffs visible as one approaches the park. The Bastille Crack was first climbed in the 1950s by two Army soldiers utilizing aid techniques up the route’s impeccable splitter cracks. Since then this stunning climb has appropriately become one of the most popular routes in Colorado, offering stellar positioning and interesting moves up this striking  formation.

Rewritten (6 Pitches, 5.7)

Climber Eldorado Canyon

A climber negotiates the final pitch of Rewritten (II, 5.7), one of Eldorado Canyon's most classic and quality lines.  Zach Lovell

A spectacular climb up Eldorado Canyon’s famed Redgarden Wall. This route is among the best moderates in the region, featuring exciting exposure amongst traverses, arêtes, and varied cracks.

Ruper  (6 Pitches, 5.8+)

Ruper is many 5.8 climbers' most memorable route in the Boulder area. This incredible line has two distinct 3 pitch segments, lower Ruper and upper Ruper. Both sections will provide challenges as well as rewards through sustained and quality climbing for an incredible day in Eldorado Canyon.

Yellow Spur (5.10a, 6 Pitches)

The Yellow Spur is a coveted classic up Tower One of the Redgarden Wall. First climbed by legendary pioneer- Layton Kor- the Yellow Spur is steep, impeccable, and gifts climbers with a heroic arête to reach the top.

Over the Hill (5.10a)

Over the Hill ascends perhaps the finest, cleanest dihedral you will ever stem across, and every single move along the slender crack of the final wall is exquisite!

Boulder Rock Climbing

The Flatirons

Formed by the uplift of the Dakota Sandstone formation that underlies much of the Great Plains, the Flatirons offer climbers a variety of enjoyable climbs, many of which top out on spectacular summits inaccessible to hikers, with commanding views of Boulder.

First Flatiron, Direct East Face (8 pitches, 5.6)

The Direct East Face has it all – stunning views, exposure, fun climbing, and is among the longest moderates in the Boulder region. Eight pitches lead climbers up the longest part of the iconic first flatiron utilizing slab climbing techniques that are accessible to any aspiring climber.

First Flatiron, North Arete (5 pitches, 5.4)

Two Climbers Eldorado Canyon

Two AAI climbers make their way up the North Arete (II, 5.4) of the first flatiron with the city of Boulder far below.  Zach Lovell

A beautiful and popular moderate route that is a bit shorter than some of the alternatives, but has outstanding exposure and views, and makes for a great beginner outing.

Third Flatiron, Standard East Face (8 pitches, 5.4)

Similar to the First Flatiron, the Standard East Face is an accessible and fun route for any aspiring outdoors enthusiast. These 8 slab pitches are some of the best for beginner climbers looking for a longer route and an adventure. Guidebook author Richard Rossiter calls this route "the best beginner climb in the solar system."

Boulder Rock Climbing

Pricing & Details

Guided climbing on a private basis can be arranged throughout the season by calling or emailing the AAI office. Group size may range from 1 to 6 people per guide, depending on the nature of the climb or course.

Prices are per person/per day.

Climber on Shirttail Peak, Eldorado Canyon

A climber finishing up the final pitch of Gambit (5.8) on Shirttail Peak, the highest point in Eldorado Canyon and one of the best moderate climbs in the area.  Zach Lovell

Full Day:
1:1 $350
2:1 $245
3:1 $195
4:1 $180
5:1 $155
6:1 $140
 
Half Day:
1:1 $300
2:1 $195
3:1 $150
4:1 $135
5:1 $120
6:1 $110

Boulder Rock Climbing

Courses & Dates

We offer set dates for some of our popular climbs and programs.

1st Flatiron Ascent – Group Climb

$160/person for a minimum of three climbers

  • June 17, 2017
  • July 1, 2017
  • August 19, 2017
  • September 9, 2017 

 

Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing and Intro to Lead Climbing - Group Courses

Climber on Swanson Arete

A climber ascends the final pitch of Swanson Arete (5.5), one of the most spectacular intros into multi-pitch rock climbing.  Zach Lovell

The following group rock courses are taught in the Boulder area as well as in our other rock climbing locations.  Please visit the links to learn more about the curriculum, price, and other details of these courses:

INTRO TO OUTDOOR ROCK CLIMBINGLearn or review basic techniques and advanced systems in this four-day program.

INTRO TO LEAD CLIMBINGAn introduction to traditional rock leadership, designed for those who have done some outdoor climbing and are ready to take the next step.

Scroll down for course dates. 

Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing

Eldorado Canyon, CO

  • April 21 - 24, 2017
  • May 22 - 25, 2017
  • June 1 - 4, 2017
  • June 10 - 13, 2017
  • June 10 - 11, 2017 (2-day option)
  • June 15 - 18, 2017
  • July 15 - 16, 2017 (2-day option)
  • June 23 - 26, 2017
  • June 30 - July 3, 2017
  • July 7 - 10, 2017
  • July 14 - 17, 2017
  • July 21 - 24, 2017
  • July 28 - 31, 2017
  • August 5 - 8, 2017
  • August 5 - 6, 2017 (2-day option)
  • August 11 - 14, 2017
  • August 18 - 21, 2017
  • August 25 - 28, 2017
  • September 2 - 5, 2017 (Labor Day Weekend)
  • September 2 - 3, 2017 (2-day option)
  • September 8 - 11, 2017
  • September 15 - 18, 2017
  • September 22 - 25, 2017

More dates available on a private basis. Call for details.

Intro to Lead Climbing

Eldorado Canyon, CO

  • April 25 - 28, 2017
  • May 26 - 29, 2017 (Memorial Day Weekend)
  • June 5 - 8, 2017
  • June 14 - 17, 2017
  • June 19 - 22, 2017
  • July 4 - 7, 2017 
  • July 11 - 14, 2017
  • August 15 - 18, 2017
  • September 6 - 9, 2017
  • September 12 - 15, 2017

More dates available on a private basis. Call for details.

Boulder Rock Climbing

Related Courses

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