Adloise Athlete Scott Bennett shares some valuable betas for a mountaineering trip to Eldorado Canyon, CO.
On the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, just before the massive Cordillera gave way to endless terrain, a small stream south of the Boulder Creek has spent the last 70 million years cutting ancient sand and mud. Through layers of red, orange, yellow, and purple, it sculpts a small steady stream of prominent walls and pedestals, so narrow that its handicrafts are almost hidden from the eastern plains. As soon as you enter the El Dorado Valley, you will appreciate all those hard years.
Eldo, as it is known all over the world, is a natural wonder that attracts tourists and picnics from all over the country. However, in the hearts of us climbers, those who explore the vertical corners of this multi-faceted playground have a special place.
Located in Boulder, Colorado, Aldo has been the historic mountaineering center of the United States for decades and has seen the sport progress from helping to climb free and from the countryside to the mainstream. You will feel that date as soon as you take the handles, which are polished by countless hands and feet. You can also feel that date as you look up and look for that next protector: Aldo is not a sport mountaineering spot. While many curves are scattered around the valley, almost every route requires traditional protection, tracking skills, and good judgment.
This is a quick guide that will whet your appetite for visiting Eldorado Canyon and guide you in the right direction. Not comprehensive at all, but I hope it makes you explore my favorite crusher.
Local guide / beta:
The definitive guide to “Eldorado Canyon: A Climbing Guide” is the old local Steve Levine. In its second edition, the book sets a new standard for comprehensive and useful information, as well as beautiful photographs and humorous descriptions.
Because protecting Eldo trails is complex and difficult, I recommend reading the description and comments at MountainProject.com. Originally ClimbingBoulder.com, this website hosts an almost comprehensive database of almost endless routes and topics that discuss the exact degree of each route … a bit tedious, but useful if you want with your limitations Confront.
The boulder is home to many climbers, but due to the lack of proper tents, it is not really a bag of dirt in the road travel circuit. Boulder Adventure Lodge (a-lodge.com), located two miles west of Boulder Canyon, about 20 minutes from Aldo, offers accommodation and plans to open several camps in the near future (Summer 2016). Slowly Otherwise, you can cross the Nederland about 20 miles ahead of the Boulder Canyon and find scattered camps in the national forest.
Beyond camping, you may be lucky with Couchsurfing.com in Boulder or at least AirBnB.
Food and ribs:
There are no shops or cafes in El Dorado Springs, a city outside the state park, so you have to drive to Boulder. Here you can find a wide range of foods to suit any sensitive diet. Climbers like to stop for fatty burgers and strong beer at the South Pub tail pub. If you wait 45 minutes, stop near the Neptune Mountaineering to buy plaster and see the museum of their small climbs with lots of interesting photos and artifacts.
In the center of Boulder, Sherpa Restaurant is another favorite dish of hungry climbers. The program is run by Pemba Sherpa, a former Everest guide, and you can read her while sitting at the mountaineering guide bar.
You can find a lot of information and tips about CLASSICS at Mountain Project, but unfortunately on weekends you may find a lot of people in them. So, if you have a problem with Yellow Spur or Bastille Crack, go in the middle of the week or get ready with a backup program. So, here are some (relatively) hidden classics that may make a good backup of your backups.
- Psuedo Sidetrack, 5.4
- Icarus, 5.6
- EL 100, 5.8-
- Body vibration, 5.8 R
- Anthill Direct, 5.9 R
- C’est la Morte, 5.9
- Alozar, 5.9
- Greenspore, 5.9
- The Metamorphasis, 5.10-
- Captain Beyond, 5.10
- Snake, 5.10
- Psychosis – Psycho Pigeon, 5.11-
- Dub Griffith, 5.11
- Wisdom, 5.11+
- After accelerating gold, 5.12-
- Book of Numbers, 5.12+
Approaches and descents:
Aldo is a very small valley, but very prominent cliffs and decades of intense exploration have allowed it to be densely filled with amazing lines. Bastille offers a hillside road and most trails are 10 to 20 minutes from the car park. Several areas, such as Rincon and Shirttail, are located at the foot of the hill and require brisk 30-30 minute walks, but give them a sense of remoteness and spectacular views to the west to the continental snow.
Landings vary, but almost every long route (and some short routes) requires complexity and complex navigation. The descent of East Slabs, one of the options after disembarking from many long routes in Redgarden, is surprisingly difficult and steep. Consult the manual, headlights and a few lightweight shoes.
It is possible to climb Aldo in all 12 months of the year, but autumn is probably the safest season to travel here. Spring has great temperatures and long days, but this is the wettest season. Summer mornings are always good, even on hot days, but afternoon thunderstorms often occur in the Rocky Mountains. Winter days can be sunny and wonderful, but sometimes very windy. Whenever you go, pay attention to the forecast and be prepared for rapid change.
The cliffs of Redgarden Wall and Shirttail Peak are home to Peregrine falcons, and selected areas are sometimes closed to protect nests. In previous years, the holidays were from February 1 to August 1, although they are always open under close supervision and if possible. There were no closures at Redgarden in 2015 and 2016, and so far in 2016 there has been no Shirttail. Check out BoulderClimbers.org for a current shutdown.
Eldorado Canyon is a Colorado state park that costs $ 8 per vehicle. An annual, good passport is available in all CO state parks for $ 70. Anyone with hiking experience will appreciate the amazingly sloping, well-built trails at Eldo, and our user fees will help support the park’s active maintenance staff.
Any bolts in the valley must be approved by the gardeners who are responsible for approving the replacement and upgrade of the bolt. New routes that require bolts should be considered through a community voting process facilitated by the Adueldo Action Committee (ACEeldo.org).
Colorado’s frontier is home to a variety of crabs, so if you travel there, be sure to check out the granite cracks and scary plates of South Platte and Lumpy Ridge, the fun intricate lines of Boulder Canyon and Clear Creek, and the Alpine Wonderland. From Rocky Mountain National Park and Mount Evans. Closest to Aldo, the Flatirons have the same bulletproof sandstone, but are often wrapped in long screw plates, creating the best 5.4-5.6 long routes anywhere.
Good luck and be safe there!
Scott Bennett Collection Photos.