1. Eldorado Canyon State Park
TOP CHOICE FOR ADVENTUROUS CLIMBERS
Infamous, celebrated, intimidating, and overall awesome, “Eldo” demands a full toolbox of skills from climbers. Fixed anchors exist, but not everywhere. Some of the rock is bulletproof, while small sections are loose and unpredictable. Some locals swear by specialist gear like RP’s and Tricams, but everyone agrees a cool head and steady technique help keep the stress levels under control.
Once the home to Mountain Utes and then a marquee luxury resort where Dwight and Mimi Eisenhower honeymooned, Eldo today is a world-class destination for traditional climbing. Even the moderates can be surprisingly spicy, so heads up when tying in…even for an “easy” climb!
Steve Levin’s excellent guidebook Eldorado Canyon, is a must-have for its accurate information and crisp color photography, but also for its authoritative history of the canyon. Expect phenomenal climbing interspersed with shattered ledges, unobvious route-finding, and antique, fixed gear.
Hiring a guide for a day can help you get a sense of the area and strategies for managing the complexities. Whatever your psych level, Eldo delivers a rewarding day of climbing, hard won on the towering cliffs.
Climbing in Eldorado Canyon is like taking a journey through the history of modern North American rock climbing. Eldo maintains a reputation as a challenging and “heady” climbing area, where the full arsenal of trad climbing skills are required.
by Steve Levin, AMGA Certified Rock Guide at Colorado Mountain School