What do you want to get out of a climbing trip? There’s a lesser traveled corner of Colorado with some of the longest, cleanest stretches of granite in the state. The Black Canyon has world class rock climbing yet has remained under the radar for decades. This is a climbing venue where the ethic is still strongly one of adventure, rooted in the purity of climbing in a place with very little development or infrastructure. A trip in the Black won’t resemble any other climbing trip you’ve been on!
The Introductory Classics
Climbing in The Black gets going around the 5.8 mark making it less than ideal if you’ve never tied into a rope before. Maiden Voyage 5.9 is by far the most common introduction to the canyon. It’s shorter (at 5 pitches) and has a short crux. Some of the best climbing to be had is on the Comic Relief Buttress. A couple of classics instantly come to mind: Comic Relief 5.10b and Escape Artist 5.10a. Both of these climbs would be classics anywhere and at 5.10- the climbing is very approachable. Climbs such as The Casual Route 5.8 and Leisure Climb 5.9 are other moderate classics that serve as a great introduction to rock climbing in the Black Canyon.
The Stoke Account is in The Black
If you’ve heard of the Black Canyon you’d likely know it has a reputation for long, committing routes. You’ve heard of parties being benighted in the canyon, but that’s why you’re here looking for a guide, right? Our guides are exceptionally talented climbers and are psyched to take you up some of the longer or more difficult classics such as the Russian Arete 5.10- or The Scenic Cruise 5.10+. With few exceptions we want to have climbed with you before attempting longer routes so be prepared for the office to ask you about your experience if inquiring about what Peak considers “grade IV”.
This is a private program, no one else will be paired with your party. If your group is larger than 2, we apply a group discount and additional guides are added to keep the guest to guide ratio at 2:1 or lower.
Time and Place
This is a custom program. Meeting time and place are organized directly with your guide. There are two very distinct sides to the Park. Most trips will meet on the North Rim. However, sometimes South Rim routes are climbed which requires a completely different approach. Again, you’ll talk with the guide ahead of your trip to work out where is best to meet and at what time of day.
Getting to The Black Canyon
Here is a Google Maps link for the North Rim Ranger Station. Each party climbing on the North Rim is be required to obtain a wilderness permit at this office.
Here is a Google Maps link for the South Rim Visitors Center. Again, this is where parties obtain the required wilderness permit for routes on the South rim.
Here is a detailed tutorial on how to pack in the Black Canyon:
All the technical climbing equipment required for this outing is included.
View Equipment List as a PDF
Selected Routes (There are too many to list here!)
Maiden Voyage 5.9
It is unlikely a route exists in The Black that has seen more ascents than Maiden Voyage. With only a short, well protected 5.9 crux this route serves as a great introduction to the feeling of climbing in such a spectacular location. Depending on how the pitches are broken up, there are 5 to 7 pitches on this route. Often the route King Me is linked with Maiden Voyage to provide a few additional pitches of climbing and take climbers all the way to the top of the rim.
Scenic Cruise 5.10+
The Scenic Cruise is absolutely one of Colorado’s most sought after climbs. With 13+ pitches of stellar climbing up the cleanest stretch of North Chasm View Wall this route deserves it’s status as a classic. The route starts at the river and tops out at the campground.
Comic Relief 5.10b
“If a better 5.10- granite crack climb exists in the world, I’ve never climbed it!” – Everyone who has climbed Comic Relief.
It’s true, much of the climbing in The Black requires at least one pitch of 5.10 climbing. Comic Relief is one of the best introductions to 5.10 climbing here. The crux is well protected and every pitch a true gem.
Russian Arete 5.10a
The Russian Arete is notable for the moderate nature of the pitches and it’s length. Some references describe the climb as 6 pitches. However, this omits the climbing needed to top out which could be soloed by a strong party. After hiking all the way down to the river (an experience worthwhile in its own right!) the climb takes a striking line following crack systems onto the arete. Many will describe the rock as loose, but it is worth noting this route has cleaned up exceptionally well with traffic! A classic moderate climb starting from the river with well protected cruxes and really good crack climbing!
There are fewer known routes on the South Rim of the Black Canyon, but don’t be fooled. The shady walls extend the season into the summer and host many amazing climbs!