Sunday, January 18, 2009

Colorado Alpine Bouldering: Alternatives to RMNP and Evans

Let's talk secret bouldering areas for a second. After word got out back in the 90s about Rocky Mountain National Park bouldering - Chaos Canyon, Upper Chaos, Moraine Park boulders, the boulders at the bottom of the Diamond and down valley, Upper Thunder Basin, Emerald Lake boulders, and others - traffic in the Park really started to pick up. Now, if you go up there on a weekend, you might as well just go to the gym as there are on average 50+ people climbing in the Chaos Canyon area alone.

Groups of industrious boulderers began to hunt out other high alpine bouldering areas in the hopes of finding more gems, classic lines, and a break from the crowds and hot summer temps. Evans - although already known - became another Front Range favorite as it has more moderate problems and landings then the Park. Guanella Pass also got a second or third look. Swissco was found and developed, although the long 4x4 road has kept it fairly quiet despite it having some major undone roof problems. A couple other places were also found and developed: the Eldora walls, Empire boulders, Cameron Pass, and the Keystone boulders.

The Keystone boulders are one of those gems that seems to be holding out from massive amounts of Front Range traffic. Situated at 10,000 feet, they offer a unique opportunity to boulder in a forested slope and fairly cool environment for those hot summer days. Many lines remain undone, some have already been sent, and a few still need to be found. So, although they are buried under a few feet of snow right now, here are a few pictures from last summer to entice you...
Alpine Colorado bouldering in Keystone, Summit County

Summit County Colorado bouldering

Keystone bouldering in Colorado Summit County