OverviewHartman Rocks is a compact climbing area with lots of bolted routes and a few cracks on small granite cliffs. It is located in west-central Colorado, southwest of Gunnison (about 1 hr drive from my home).
The area is covered with small granite outcrops that form a fun and intimate climbing area with a great selection of climbs. Many compare the rock here to the rock of Joshua Tree.
Hartman Rocks Recreation Area, jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the City and County of Gunnison, encompasses over 8,000 acres of rolling, sagebrush covered hills. Hartman is a multiuse, multisport area, offers not only fun rock climbing, but also miles of mountain bike trails and free camping among the crags.
Hartman Rocks is most famous for its mountain biking trails. It touts some of the best singletrack in Gunnison Country and on the western slope of Colorado. I have seen a lot more mountain bikers here compared to climbers.
Rock climbing has a long tradition here, but the first climbers bouldered most of climbs with a few trad leads. Jeff Lowe put up a sport route in the early 80s on Quintessential Pinnacle, and since then many sport routes have been added.
Many of the bolted routes used to be highball bouldering problems for many locals. As a result, some of the first ascent information in this guide may be upsetting to many local climbers who may have bouldered a climb that is now a moderate sport route.
Rock climbing area would be a lot more crowded in a more populated place. For many Front Range climbers, this is just a stopping point on their way to Black Canyon, the Utah desert, or all the way to Yosemite.
The ethics of climbing for Hartman Rocks is critical to review. There are routes in this guide with a single protection bolt and an anchor. Is it really appropriate to place one bolt and an anchor on such a short route or should it be left alone?
“Please use discretion when bolting new routes by ensuring that they are quality routes that are worthy of bolting and are designed to be safe for any climbers venturing on to them” states the Gunnison Rock book.
Please note that there are many climbs at Hartman Rocks that need traditional gear placements between bolts on the route.
Routes range from 5.5 to 5.12. Lots of fine bouldering opportunities are found on many blocks and small faces.
The Yosemity Decimal System (YDS) is used to rate climbs at Hartman rocks.
Hartman Rocks is a giant playground for outdoor enthusiasts located just outside Gunnison and offers something for everyone. It beckons climbers, hikers and mountain bikers. per Colorado Getaways
Getting ThereDrive west from Gunnison on U.S. Highway 50 towards Montrose. Just out of town, look for a sign for Hartman Rocks before a bridge. Turn left and drive south, passing KOA campground. After a couple of miles, the park entrance is on the right just past a small subdivision. Turn right and pass a large parking area with restrooms and many mountain bikers. Drive the dirt park road up a steep hill (4WD preferable) to the west side of the rocks. You will be passing many developed climbing crags and parking is available within a couple minute walk to the cliffs.
It is about 4 miles from the downtown of Gunnison.
Red TapeThe area is managed by the BLM. There is a potential for conflict between user groups. The BLM recommends to drive slowly, keep noise down, pick up trash, don't trespass on nearby private land, stay on existing roads and trails, practice no-trace/no-impact camping, and keep pets under control.
There is no entry fee.
KOA: Located 0.5 miles south on County Road 38 south of Gunnison on the way to the Hartman Rocks climbing area.
Dispersed camping is available throughout the Hartman Rocks area. Please use established sites; do not create new ones. Camping is free. I found many beautiful and very private spots between the crags (much preferable to KOA unless you really require a shower and and flushing toilet:).
CragsThere are more than 200 routes at Hartman Rocks located on many different crags. I have climbed only on Tiger Wall, Beginner Slabs, and Quintessential Pinnacle, and am hoping to try some other crags as well.
|Kill Pass Rock||Kill Pass Rock is a small area just south of Kill Pas, with faces and cracks on very abrasive rock. It is the most prominent feature just south of the cattle guard that is located near the top of Kill Pass. Kill Pass is clearly visible from the base parking lot of Hartman Rocks.||There are 3 described routes here: Kill Crack 5.10, Tinkerbell 5.6, and Peter Pan 5.4.|
|Shark's Fin||Follow the main road up over Kill Pass summit. Stay on the main road and turn off on the second road that turns left at mile 0.7. At mile 1.0 the Shark's Fin will be visible on the left.||There are 4 climbs here: Power Shark 5.10d, Shear Shark Attack 5.11c, Dorsal Fin 5.10b, and Shark Crack 5.10a.|
|Buddha's Belly Wall||This crag was used well before any real anchor or bolt setting was done in the area. It is the most widely used crag at Hartman Rocks. The parking lot is conveniently located right next to this wall. It is a great place to get a feel for the area, you can also set up topropes.||The book describes 8 routes: Unknown 5.8, 5.6+, and 5.8, Laughing Buddha 5.11, 2 more Unnamed 5.8 climbs, Rumayana 5.11, and the classic route Buddha's Belly 5.9+.|
|Buddha's Crack||This is just south of Buddha's Belly. This is a small short crag with a nice crack that can be walked off easily.||The Gunnison Rock describes only one route here: Buddha's Crack 5.10. This is one of the routes on which you should bring some gear. 2 bolts, cams to 4", no anchor - walk off, 30 feet|
|Buddha's Slab||You can easily combined this area with Buddha's Belly and get plenty of climbing done. Buddha's Slab is the obvious slab of rock just south of Buddha's Belly.||Routes here are mostly 5.10 range: Vulcan Death Grip 5.10-, Lichen It 5.10b, Unnamed Crack 5.10b, Friction Pump 5.10d, and Son of Buddha 5.11a.|
|Television Wall||This crag is just up from Buddha's Belly turn-off on the left (east).||The established routes here are: The Walk 5.9+, The Walk of Fame 5.11, Kill Your Television 5.11b, and The Antenna 5.10|
|Rock'n'Roll Wall||This lies immediately right of Television Wall. Expect extremely steep and thin climbing here, often on edges crimpy edges. Rock'n'Roll Wall is named after the climbing shop in Gunnison.||There are 4 established routes, and some projects are still being developed. Watching in Silence 5.9 is the first left (north) route, then The Gift of Trad 5.12a, Dave Moe Direct 5.12+, and Project|
|The Slot||This area consists of many great moderate routes, usually very uncrowded.||The Gunnison Rock book describes at least 9 climbs here, mostly 5.10 range, one 5.9, and one 5.8.|
|Best Wall||Named after the climb called "Best Crack". Located just across from Tiger Wall, use the same parking area.||The Gunnison Rock book describes 3 climbs here: Chimcrack 5.7, Best Crack 5.10a, and Joe Cocker's Toe Jam 5.11.|
|The Tiger Wall||One of the better known and recognized climbing spots in the Hartman area. Very easy to identify from the road due to its stripes.||There are seven climbs here: Pussy Foot 5.9, Feline Grace 5.11, Kitty Cat Kicked my Ass 5.12a, Tiger Shark 5.12b/c, Statement in You 5.12a, Crystal Ship 5.12a, and Feline Grace Abandoned 5.12c|
|The Corridor||The Corridor does not see a lot of traffic. It can create a bit of a wind tunnel on some afternoons. It is right next to the Tiger Wall.||There are 4 climbs here: Breakdance 5.10, Shake&Bake 5.10, The Worm Hole 5.7, and Teen Spirit 5.7.|
|The Resistance Wall||Located just a little bit past The Corridor.||There are 4 established climbs here: Crack on Prow 5.10d/5.11a, Mystery Flake 5.9+, Resistance is Futile 5.8, and Comic Debris 5.9+|
|Beginner Slabs||This area makes a great training for begginers as the name says. The names of climbs come from the Star Trek adventure series.||The Gunnison Rock book describes 5 routes, but there are several more projects, mostly top rope, and even an easy 5.6/5.7 crack here. Toprope, Bajorn 5.7, Ferringy 5.7, Cardasian 5.9+, and Alfa Quadrant 5.10d.|
|The Auto Mart||This area has some short difficult boulder problems that can be toproped. Most are about 20 to 25 feet hight.||Four routes are described here: Cherry Bomb 5.10, Varnish Love 5.11c, Crankshaft 5.13, and Hot Rod 5.11+.|
|Quintessential Pinnacle A.K.A. Penis Rock||This is a Hartman classic and should not be missed. First climbed by Jeff Lowe with a drilled pin and one bolt.||There are 2 routes: South Face 5.10c/d and West Face 5.12c, which is a toprope problem|
|Pinnacle Gully||Another great spot for a beginner, or practice your leading skills. Slab of no return is a separate formation 5 min walk down Pinnacle Gully.||Valley Girl 5.6 on Slab of no Return, then 4 routes on Pinnacle Gully: Disco Boy 5.8, Pajama People 5.8, Wowie Zowie 5.8, and Chunga's Revenge 5.7.|
|Groove Rock||Groove Rock is only 200 feet further up the road from Pinnacle Gully. You can park right next to it.||There are 4 established routes here: Dancing Fool 5.9+, In the Groove 5.11a, Neutral Zone 5.10a, and Rules of Acqusision 5.10.|
|Super Slab||Located about 300 feet up the road from Groove Rock. Again parking is available right next to the crag.||The Gunnison Rock book describes 8 climbs here: Unknown 5.8, Mammoristick Tendencies 5.11+, Unknown 5.10R, The Pink Nipple 5.11a, Shape Shifter 5.10a, The Joker 5.9, The Riddler 5.9, and Temporal Anomaly 5.10b.|
|Teenage Wasteland||The name was derived from the number of spots in the area that are used for parties. You have to hike about 200 feet down the slickrock gully to get to the base of this crag.||There are 10 established routes here: Pre-teen Wasteland 5.6, Random Wasteland 5.11+, Primal Instinct 5.10d, Back in Black 5.10c, Crosstown Traffic Left 5.8, Crosstown Traffic Right 5.10-, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds 5.9, Magic Bus 5.9, When the Whip Comes Down 5.10a, Spanish Castle Magic 5.10b.|
|Bambi Trail Butress||This area is further up the road and sees a lot less traffic compared to the main Hartman Rock area.||The Gunnison Rock describes four routes here, 5.10s and 5.11.|
External LinksOn line introduction to Hartman Rocks sport and mixed climbing
Climbing weather Gunnison
Hartman Rocks on Mountain Project