Rock Climbing in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
For advanced rock climbers, climbing the sheer cliffs of the Black Canyon is one of Colorado's premier big-wall challenges. Some routes can take several days to complete, with climbers sleeping on narrow ledges or "portaledges." Though there's no official guide to climbing in the park, reports from other climbers are kept on file at the South Rim Visitor Center. Nesting birds of prey may lead to wall closure at certain times of year.
Rock climbing in the park is for experts only, but if you want to get in some easier climbing, head for the Marmot Rocks bouldering area, about 100 feet south of South Rim Road between Painted Wall and Cedar Point overlooks (park at Painted Wall). Four boulder groupings offer a variety of routes rated from easy to very difficult; a pamphlet with a diagrammed map of the area is available at the South Rim Visitor Center.
Outfitters and Expeditions
Crested Butte Mountain Guides. Intermediate and expert climbers can take a full-day rock- or ice-climbing guided tour for $395. 218 Maroon Ave., Crested Butte, CO, 81224. 970/349–5430. www.crestedbutteguides.com.
Skyward Mountaineering. Intermediate and advanced climbers can take lessons and guided tours on the Black Canyon's fabled climbs with this internationally certified guide and outfitter. 2392 Ridgeway Ct., Grand Junction, CO. 970/209–2985. www.skywardmountaineering.com. Mar.–Nov.
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