Eldorado Canyon State Park

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.

About the author

Rob Coppolillo

Rob Coppolillo

Certified AMGA/IFMGA rock, alpine, and ski guide. Rob is the owner of Vetta Mountain Guides

Rob Coppolillo is an AMGA and IFMGA mountain guide, and the owner of Vetta Mountain Guides. In fact, Rob’s one of the first 100 Americans to have earned international certification through the American Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA). Having lived in Boulder, Colorado, for 30 years, he now bases in Chamonix, France, with his wife and two sons. He’s a freelance writer who speaks English, Italian and French, and his most recent book, "The Ski Guide Manual," will be published by Falcon Guides in November 2020.

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