Skull Cave

  • Grade context: US
  • Ascents: 17




The "Skull Cave" is the massive cave on the East side of the canyon a bit downstream from Feline. This is a true cave, and all of the routes are completely sheltered from the rain, making this a popular hang in wet weather. However, despite the fact that no rain drop has ever touched these walls, most of the routes are often wet until mid-summer due to seepage. These lines have a rather nasty appearance, with corroded bolts, and covered in dirt and moss. Several of the once-classic lines have changed substantially over the years as the water has finally torn the choss loose.

There are a couple of worthwhile lines that are generally dry, and make for decent warmups. These lines are on the outer edges of the cave. Most of the routes going out the center of the cave are steep and hard (5.13).

Access issues inherited from Rifle Mountain Park

Drive west to Glenwood Springs on I-70. Ten miles further west take the Newcastle exit. Turn right off the freeway and come to a stop sign. Continue straight (north) on a four-lane road that then bends west through Castle Valley, a housing development just outside of town. After a couple of miles this road dead ends at Grass Valley Road.

Follow Grass Valley Road west, passing the turn-offs for East Elk Canyon, Main Elk Canyon (home of the Fortress of Solitude), West Elk Canyon, and Harvey Gap. After about 6-8 miles Grass Valley Road comes to a T-intersection. Turn right and follow this paved road up up up past the fish hatchery, where it turns to dirt. You're now in Rifle Mountain Park.

Ethic inherited from Rifle Mountain Park

Pay your entrance fee, don't park where you're not supposed to, and keep a low, friendly profile. The climbing here is excellent, and there's more than enough routes to go around.


Add route(s) Add topo Reorder Bulk edit Convert grades
Grade Route

'Pile Driver' extension.

Start on "Cracked Open Sky", then at the kneebar branch left.

FA: Joe Kinder

Set: Joe Kinder

FFA: Joe Kinder, 26 Sep 2021

FA: Kurt Smith

Did you know?

Did you know that you can create an account to record, track and share your climbing ascents? Thousands of climbers are already doing this.

Share this


Check out what is happening in Skull Cave.

Deutsch English Español Français Italiano 한국어 Português 中文