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Summary

Pocketed, mostly vertical limestone, short approaches, year round climbing in all orientations in a beautiful setting. It can get crowded on weekends but the area is big enough to find a quiet spot.

Description

The Shelf Road is a limestone sport climbing destination in southern Colorado offering mostly single pitch sport climbs. Most of the cliffs are vertical with pocketed limestone but you will find one or the other crack (and even some trad or mixed routes) in between. Shelf Road is close to Cañon City, Colorado Springs and even Denver, making it a popular weekend destination. The most popular cliff is Cactus Wall but many other cliffs offer high quality rock and might be a good choice on the weekends. You can climb all year at Shelf Road, chasing sun or shade depending on the season. The surroundings are beautiful and quiet and the camping is cheap (or free). Paths are well maintained and marked and it is easy to find your way around.

Approach

Find your way to Cañon City located at the Arkansas River. From the city take 15th Street north (or North Raynolds Ave if you come from the east) and then follow Garden Park Road (9) north until you see a turn off for either Sand Gulch Camping (on your left) or Bank (just before a sharp right turn on your left). For The Bank Camping and day parking follow the dirt road up, for the day parking for Cactus Cliff continue on Garden Park Road (which by now is called Shelf Road) until you see the parking.

Where to stay

There are 2 BLM campsites, Sand Gulch (a little further down) and The Banks (closer to the cliffs). There is also dispersed camping as the land is BLM land but not a lot of it is really flat.

Ethic

There are restrooms at the camp sites and in between The Vault and Cactus Cliff, please use them! Pack in what you pack out.

History

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Shelf Road was on of the first sport climbing areas in the USA. First routes were bolted here in the mid to late 1980's.

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