– As you may know, Steamboat is not the climbing mecca of Colorado. We have no major crag full of 3 and 4 star routes. There are no towering climbs with easy approaches, and many routes and areas go untouched for weeks to years at a time. What we do have are several crags, each with its own distinctive character and at least one gem of quality climbing in each of those areas.
What most people do not realize is how much un-roped climbing exists within the Yampa Valley. I’m not talking Mountaineering on 4th class slopes high in the alpine, or the infamous and extremely dangerous free soloing on high angle rock; on the contrary, there is a load of world class, short, intense climbing on tough boulder problems.
Many will turn up there noses at the climbing in the Boat. One would assume they have a too high of standards for climbing, are too lazy to make the approaches or have no clue as to where there is good climbing. I often tell people, there is not a lack of climbing, but rather a lack of information about the rocks, where to go and what to climb, this is especially true for Bouldering around Routt County, considering there is a cornucopia of easy access to these boulders on public land.
Recently, I’ve been spending more time south of town, mostly wondering around the hillside at the Silver Creek Trailhead and Simpson Mountain. One quick jaunt down to this spectacular trail and any climber will realize the immense amount of climbing that exists near this gateway to the Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area. Take my advice, go down and check it out, and tell me there are no quality stones to tug on.
In the past several years there has been some development on Rabbit Ears Pass around Muddy Creek. A mixture of sport and traditional climbs have been rediscovered and established by dedicated locals. Little did some know, just a furlong down the road, tremendous Bouldering potential existed tucked away in the dense Coniferous landscape of the Routt National Forest.
Most Routt locals often find themselves escaping the Yampa Valley in substitute for the lush Elk River Valley that surrounds Clark, Colorado. Seedhouse Road is a recreational enthusiast paradise; Hiking, Biking, Climbing, Horespacking, Kayaking, Fishing and Hunting, one can get their jollies just about any way they please. Climbers often gravitate towards Seedhouse Crag, Box Canyon and Cougar Rock; but how many of them have heard of Birthday Boulder? Just another one of Steamboats lesser known rocks ready for sending.
Moreover, the Slavonia Trailhead serves as a portal into the Zirkle Wilderness with endless trails for your next pack adventure. Are you aware of the plethora of Granite boulders that exist within the boundaries of this untainted ecosystem? For the lazy adventurer, you can use Google Earth to check out these hunks of Granite worth any climbers time and love. For those who have a little J.W. Powell in their spirit, just go exploring and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Yes, this is a wilderness area with limited access thus exploration is made a little more difficult; one would be well suited to pack in crash pads, a load of gear and spend several days exploring this vast protected area. This sounds extreme to some climbers, but to others a welcomed adventure into the unknown.
As I have eluded, there is a lack of information on the climbing in Steamboat Springs. If you’re struggling to find where to go, or want a new “proj” for the Summer, stop on into the Ski Haus and our friendly local climbers will be happy to get you on your way to a new and exciting hunk of granite for your sending needs.