Black Canyon Rock Climbing

The reputation of Black Canyon rock climbing is of long, difficult, and committing routes. However, there is climbing here for every level of ability and experience! Let us put the rope up on the classics or show you the lesser known moderate climbing. You’ll climb with a guide who knows the canyon and shares your passion for climbing.

Mountain Trip will now be handling booking for climbing in the Black Canyon! Please call 970-369-1153 to book.

  • climbers at the belay on maiden voyage in the black canyon
  • sweeping clean granite checkerboard wall black canyon of the gunnison
  • rock climber following in the black canyon
  • belay transition on maiden voyage in the black canyon
  • multi-pitch trad climbing granite crack climbing

Colorado’s Longest Rock Climbs

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”.

Challenge Accepted… The Black Canyon

It’s true there are no “easy” climbs here by most standards. However, we’re stoked that such a place exists because, well, the phrase “challenge accepted” is at the core of who we are as climbers.

For more content like this subscribe to Peak Mountain Guides on YouTube.

Part of the Ultimate Rock Pass

The Black Canyon is part of our Ultimate Rock Pass. The Ultimate Rock Pass is a punch pass style offering that marries the benefits of 1 on 1 instruction and guidance of a guide with the cost savings of a group enrollment program. This pass is good anywhere we offer rock climbing “day trips”.

Black Canyon Classic Routes

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.

climbing maiden voyage in the black canyon of the gunnison rock climbing

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.

scenic cruise rock climb in the black canyon

Comic Relief 5.10-

“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.

comic relief rock climb in the black canyon approach photo

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!

russian arete in the black canyon crack climbing

Blackjack 5.10-

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!

south rim of the black canyon rock climbing gaze

Program Details

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.

Equipment List

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

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.

Group Size

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.

Refund Policy

You may cancel and receive a refund of a Program for events out of your control such as an injury or family emergency. This refund will be less credit card fees. Transfers (or change of date) are allowed at no cost pending availability. You may not receive a refund if do not to show up to a Program without notice.

Get in Touch, We’ll Help You Sort This Out!

Really, just call or text! We specialize in getting to know you and planning the best trip possible with our partner, you.

Contact Us

Mountain Trip

135 W Colorado Ave 2A | Telluride, C0 81435

Authorized Permittee

Peak Mountain Guides is an authorized permittee of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison National Forest; San Juan National Forest; Bureau of Land Management Monticello, Moab, Gunnison, and Glennallen Field Offices; Eldorado Canyon State Park; Ouray Ice Park, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks; and National Parks including Mt. Rainier, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Colorado National Monument. Peak Mountain Guides is an equal opportunity service provider.