When one thinks of Steamboat Springs they often conjure up images of skiing knee deep powder in the aspen glades or a majestic valley blanketed in emerald and dotted with livestock and wildlife. Rock climbing is not a typical past-time in these parts, and that’s why I love it! Nothing is ever polished (besides possibly 9 crack at Butcher Knife), you never have to wait in line to send a route, or deal with Boulder size ego. A day at the crag in Steamboat is typically a day of peace and solitude, unlike a day on the mountain in mid- March (never a group of rambunctious spring breakers cragging!). Most people around here are friendly enough to lend a belay or give you the beta to the crux of a tough send.
While most people don’t think there is anywhere around Routt County to climb, I laugh. Just because it is not in some fancy guide book (Steamboat Rocks works just fine for me though!) or heavily trafficked, there is an abundance of rock throughout Routt. Most days climbing in or around Steamboat Springs can turn into multi-sport days and often mini-adventures. The approaches are long by climber’s standards, but that just keeps all the soft, belay from your car sport climbing wanabe prodigies away, keeping the negative energy and bad vibes to a minimum. Steamboat climbers are tough, a little choss or dirt won’t faze them, and some even revel in the filth.
I believe those who find a passion for climbing around Routt County can become hardy, solid climbers wherever they end up, from Joshua Tree to Seneca Rocks. A steamboat climber understands stout ratings and is often pleased when climbing outside the county.
I understand there are not many around, but they are out there. A group of individuals who live for climbing; rock, ice, alpine, you name it, they dig it! So next time you hike past a guy with a large pack and a rope, say “howdy,” because just like most everyone else in Steamboat, they can be might friendly.