Bouldering in Grand JunctionGrand Junction is one of the climbing hubs of the western slope of Colorado. This album is a collection of some of my pictures from bouldering in the Grand Junction area. I should divulge that I am not an expert boulderer. I can't fathom a V10. Still, I have been getting more into bouldering and simply wanted to share some of my experiences from bouldering around my hometown. For photos of non-bouldering rock climbing in Grand Junction, check out my Grand Junction Rock Climbing album.
Bullet Hole Rock/Dynamite Shacks
This area has been a favorite of ours because it is right outside of town. These two areas are just before the east entrance of the Colorado National Monument across the street from the Tabeguache trailhead. There are a couple of good problems here on good Dakota Sandstone. The namesake Bullet Hole Rock is only V1 but a little high for us. You can top-rope off a glue-in bolt. Fun and challenging. Right next to Bullet Hole is another large, unnamed rock with a great V2 traverse and some fun, short, V1 overhung problems.
Dynamite Shacks is about an eighth of a mile down the road from Bullet Hole and includes some of the most classic and difficult problems in the immediate Grand Junction vicinity. A collection of good boulder problems offer everything from easy V0 traverses to challenging, blank overhangs up to V6 or so. Millennium Falcon, a tough and classic V1, sticks out in my memory, as does Spidey (V3) and Barn Door (V2). The Joe 97 boulder also has a pair of fun heel hook problems. We weren't able to send on all of them. The ridge above the main area at Dynamite Shacks has some of the toughest and most classic boulder problems in Grand Junction. Vodka Arete (V5-6) and Isosceles (V3 R) will test just about any boulderer. Out and Back (V2) is a classic heel-hook double traverse.
We explored this area a couple of times and I admit I haven't given it as much time as I should, but the boulder problems here didn't seem as good as the ones over by the Monument East Entrance.
We'd been looking at these boulders from the road for a long time and finally decided to make the hike in to check them out. Starting from the Tabeguache trailhead (Lunch Loop) we hiked south. Eventually we dropped into this large bowl-shaped valley which looked promising from above. When we got down there, however, we found that, despite the massive quantity of boulders, there just wasn't that many quality rocks. We did, however, find four large boulders that offered a variety of options.
This was a fun place to explore. This side canyon is in Debeque Canyon northwest of Grand Junction. We climbed this canyon in February and found the terrain difficult with short pitches of mixed ice and rock. In the summer this is an easy class 3 scramble. In these conditions, there were several class 5 pitches (I say "pitch" but I should add that they were all very short) including one icy, 18 footer next to a waterfall (5.4). We didn't rope up for any of it, though we did have gear. Besides this excellent 2 mile scramble, we found some fun, moderate boulders mostly near the trailhead. We explored the problems here and tried to put up a few of our own.
Unaweep has some of the best bouldering in the state. Here are my reasons for making this claim:
1) Quantity- Nine Mile Hill has thousands and thousands of boulders, many of which have a plethora of problems on them. There are quite a few developed "areas" where you can browse the classics but there are also miles and miles of largely uncharted rocks where you can design and put-up your own boulder problems.
2) Quality- Unaweep's boulders are big and they are classic. The rock is excellent. There is an unbelievable variety of boulder problems: highball, mediumball, low ball, overhung, crimpy, slopey, juggy, perfect landing, X-rated landing, traverses, etc, etc, etc.
3) Solitude/attitude- I put these together because I think they are related. I love the style that has been developed in Unaweep in general. There is a real raw and trailblazing feel for the whole area. There is not a lot of bolting in the Main Granite area. There isn't a huge concern with "ownership" of boulder problems and rock routes. The whole feel of it to me is rather laid back in that sense. As a result, when you climb there you feel like a pioneer.
4) Nearby Climbing- The bouldering in Unaweep is very close to some friggin amazing granite climbing in the main canyon. You can have an amazing day doing some beautiful trad climbs on Sunday Wall or Mother's Buttress in the morning and then bouldering on Nine Mile Hill in the afternoon.
Anyway, there is my sermon. Back to the photos.
Bone Park area:
Chinese Algebra Area:
External LinksIf anybody wants to read a little further about Grand Junction's bouldering, here are some links to Mountain Project pages that detail these bouldering areas:
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