Overviewdistance: 6 miles roundtrip (to bridge)
elevation gained: 1,600 feet
The Jess Weaver Trail follows No Name Creek and is one of the best hikes in Glenwood Canyon. No Name Creek is perennial and its flow is supplemented by a diversion that brings water from the larger Grizzly Creek drainage into the No Name basin to supply the City of Glenwood Springs with water. In fact, the intake pipes for the water supply are just upstream from the Jess Weaver trailhead.
The Jess Weaver trail is well-defined and maintained but can be strenuous at times. Between the three main side canyons in Glenwood Canyon (No Name, Grizzly, and Hanging Lake), No Name is the least traveled. As a result, this is a good place to get a fun workout without having to deal with the same summertime crowds of those other spots. That isn't to say, however, that the Jess Weaver trail has escaped the burdens of population; on the busiest summer days solitude is unlikely and even finding a place to park can be a challenge.
The Jess Weaver trail is also notable as one of the more popular climbing destinations in the Glenwood Springs area, particularly for trad climbers. The first half mile of this route passes several large granite cliffs on both sides of the creek (and trail). There is a concentration of good routes in this area, with everything from 5.1 top ropes to difficult 5.12 trad. There is a potential, also, for future development.
Getting ThereFrom Interstate 70 exit 119 turn north onto CR 129 and follow No Name Creek .4 mile until you come to a gate and a small pull-off on the left. There is a house here but access around the gate along the road is perfectly legal.
Route DescriptionThe Jess Weaver Trail is a little shorter and a little steeper than the Grizzly Creek trail. The three-mile route starts at a small parking lot on the north side of I-70 and follows No Name Creek past a diversion intake for the town water supply (mile .4) and up a long, moderately steep trail for three miles to a bridge. The trail is good the entire way, though at peak runoff you might have to circumnavigate creekwater in a couple of locations.
There are wooden posts that mark the miles along this trail, and though they aren’t exact, they are close enough to provide a good measure of your progress. The section from the parking area to the first milepost is the most popular part of the trail. In this first mile you hike up the road past the water-intake (mile .4) to where the actual trail begins and then into the forest. You will cross a small log plank at mile .7. Not far after the first mile-marker the trail switchbacks up the hill away from the creek to avoid a mini-gorge (mile 1.2) and then traverses along a hillside past a small waterfall on a side creek (mile 1.5) that is icy in the winter. Cross another creek at mile 1.8 not far after the trail rejoins the creek. The trail gets steeper after the second milepost.
Climb steeply up somewhat loose talus (the trail is still well-defined) before rejoining the creek for one last push. When you pass the third milepost it isn’t far to the bridge. At the bridge the trail crosses to the east side of the creek and turns right (downstream) before quickly petering out. Continuing farther requires patience, route-finding skills, and possibly a machete to clear dense scrub-oak and wild rose thickets.
Per Cheeseburglar: "Past the 3 mile bridge the trail goes up then peters out, but never dies. There are some down trees, a bunch of stinging nettles between ~miles 4-5, a colony of very fat marmots, and the bridge is out at mile 5."
Note: The mileposts are actually a little off: it is 2.9 miles to the bridge. The route gains about 1,600 feet.
WildlifeIn the many years I have been hiking this route, I have seen a wide variety of living creatures. Everything from squirrels and swarms of butterflies to bull snakes. One animal, however, that I have seen more of up here than any other place in the Roaring Fork Valley area is black bears. We have had some VERY close encounters on this trail, particularly when the raspberries are in full season. It seems like almost every time I have gone to the top of this route I have at least some sign of bear activity, be it scat or paw prints or claw marks on trees. The second milepost in particular looks like it has been ravaged by something, this size of the scratch marks led me to believe it was bear. Enjoy the wildlife! But be cautious that you dont stumble upon a mother black bear and her cubs.
ClimbingThere is good, traditional climbing in No Name Canyon that is accessed off the Jess Weaver route. While not as expansive or quality as say Eldo or Unaweep, having this little trad climbing area within five minutes of my house has been a huge blessing. The rock is very good and the gear challenging enough to provide ample training for more challenging and committing climbs elsewhere. Although mostly moderate, No Name offers a fair selection of routes in the 5.10-5.12 range that will challenge experienced climbers. The established walls are accessed between mile .1 and .4 mostly on the east side of the trail, but there is some on the west as well. The routes are mostly traditional though there is some top-rope potential as well. Routes have been established now in most every difficulty between 5.6 and 5.12, making this a good place to climb for both beginning and expert trad climbers alike.
The climbing at No Name can be divided between 4 separate walls, the Beginner Slabs, the CMC Wall, the Creekside Buttress, and the Posion Ivy Wall.
The Beginner Slabs
An easy place to climb with some cake top-rope at the high 4th class to 5.0 range and a handful of short moderates. The moderates here, however, tend to be dirty and under-climbed.
|Super Easy Slab||TR||5.0||A good one to put young kids and rank beginners on. Scramble up to the somewhat hidden anhcors for high 4th and low 5th clas top roping!|
|Tree Slab||TR||5.6||Another easy route a small step up from the one to the right.|
|Wide Crack||trad||5.8||A wide crack up a short wall. May have some dirt and shrubbery.|
|Center Face||trad||5.10a||Short, challenging, and seldom climbed. Pin and bolt anchor.|
|Left Crack||trad||5.9||Left of the arete following a thin crack to a two-bolt anchor.|
The CMC Wall
This is the heart of the No Name climbing experience, and easily the most popular wall. This set of medium-sized granite cliffs is sub-divided into three walls, the Gray Face, the Pink Face, and the Lone Pine Tree Wall. This is some of the best climbing on stellar rock.
|Jungle Book||trad||5.7||A popular climb, often used as a first trad lead. A low crux leads to a fun book corner with a variety of gear options. To access this climb, find a small trail on the right about 50 yards before the shed and bridge. Use a fixed rope for stablility to scramble up the the base. The bottom of this climb is just right of where the rope ends.|
|Ironing Board||trad||5.9||A thin climb with somewhat tricky gear and fun movement. Some variations and options at the top. The low crux has tricky protection with small gear. After about 40 feet you reach a good rest and a choice. Follow the right-trending OW (5.8) to a ledge and either do an exposed traverse to the anchors on a ledge, or scramble right to the anchors for Jungle Book. You can also continue up an short, second pitch (5.9+) to the Diving Board, and rappel down with two ropes.|
|Thin Crack Variation||trad||5.10b||Follow Ironging Board 2/3rds of the way to a good rest. Instead of veering right into the OW, head straight for the anchors on a thin crack. You will need small gear like nuts and TCUs for this tricky section.|
|Left Side||trad||5.10R||A thin, difficult climb that is best toproped due to dangerous runnouts. Face-climb up the round arete ten to fifteen feet left of Ironing Board. This is a bold and dangerous lead or solo.|
|Second Dihedral||trad||5.6||An excellent first lead with perfect gear. Access by a 4th class scramble left from base of Jungle Book. Scramble up to a belay ledge and lead a short step to aledge. Follow the slabby, parallel cracks to a two-bolt anchor. Easy and takes a variety of perfect gear placements. You can use this climb to access the anchors for the Pink Face for top-roping.|
|Pink Face (Center)||trad||5.10d||Sustained, long, and difficult. This is one of No Name's best climbs. Access the same as Second Dihedral. The Pink Face follows a series of thin, continuously overhanging fingercracks. Pumpy and tricky. I have heard very good climbers suggest 5.11 for this climb. If top-roping, scramble or climb up to a ledge at the base of the crack. This short section is 5.4 and is the first part of Second Dihedral. Or lead and rappel/lower with two 60m ropes as this pitch 110 feet.|
|Pink Face (Left)||trad||5.10+||A right-trending crack on the left side of the Pink Face. Varies in width and mildly overhanging. Not as frequently climbed as the direct, center route.|
|Thin Seam||trad||5.11a R||This climb is poorly protected, and would be a very bold lead/solo. It is usually top-roped. This climb is on the right side of Lone Tree Wall, which is down and to the left of the Pink Face. There is a short, 5.easy step to get to the base of the climb but usually the leader ties in below. You can also scramble up to the anchor (tree) for top-roping.|
|Lone Pine Tree Direct||trad||5.10b||A thin crack that leads directly up the center of the face to the pine tree anchor.|
|Lone Pine Tree Left||trad||5.9||Easy, junky base leads to a ledge and good crack. Opens to OW 2/3rds of the way up.|
The Creekside Buttress
The jumble of cliffs right at the location where the trail crosses the creek holds two climbs: the popular Electric Butterfly (5.9), and the rarely-climbed Lost Dog (5.12-) perhaps No Name's most difficult route.
|Electric Butterfly||trad||5.9||A fun route directly off the trail. Start near a shed just before the trail crosses the creek. Boulder up to a horizontal crack and traverse right to a flake. Layback the flake to an awkward OW. An easier move leads to 2 bolt & chain anchor.|
|Lost Dog||trad||5.12-||A difficult, mixed route with three bolts to support gear. Slightly overhanging and tricky in spots, one of the hardest climbs at No Name. Cross the creek (only at low water) to a small belay spot with a bolt to help keep you out of the water. There is a low and high crux, the lower one being a bit more challenging.|
Poison Ivy Wall
On the west side of the creek, these cliffs have an array of moderate to dfficult lines. Being slightly off the trail, this wall gets a little less traffic. Good rock but the gear is thin in places. To get to the wall, follow the trail passed the other No Name climbing routes, cross the creek and the major bridge. Turn left just past the bridge and follow a level grade. You will see a distinct climber's trail and the cliffs are obvious above you. Watch for poison ivy here, hence the name.
|Sumac||trad||5.9||Around the corner from the main Poison Ivy Wall, starts left of an arete and follows a steady crack system. Possible short, second pitch goes at .10a.|
|Garden Salad (a.k.a Poison Ivy)||trad||5.9||On the left side of the Poison Ivy Wall, this thin crack takes very small gear and is moderately difficult to protect. A stout climb at the grade.|
|Railroad Cracks||trad||5.8+||climb two parallel cracks. Usually, climbers favor the right crack as the left is thinner and harder to protect. Jam and use face holds to work up right crack. Listed at 5.8 but stout at grade. Left crack is a bit runnout and more difficult (5.9).|
|The Sickle||trad||5.10c||A difficult, right-trending crack with some difficult protection. Fingers and face holds for traverse.|
|Lightning Bolt Crack||trad||5.10b||Another thin, challenging and short crack just right of the Sickle. Climb a thin crack system with challenging gear placements.|
Essential GearGood hiking shoes, water, sunscreen
Climbing: standard granite rack. Bolted anchors on most climbs. I usually bring a double set of BD camalots #.5 to #3, 1 #.4 camalot, 1 #4 camalot, some aliens or C3s or equivalent come in handy for some of the climbs, a set of hexes, a set of nuts, 6-8 shoulder length slings, 1-2 double length slings, and an assortment of locking and regular caribiners. This is more than enough for any climb at No Name.
External LinksMountain Project page on No Name climbing area
Rifle Mountain Park and Western Colorado Climbs is an excellent guidebook not only to the world-famous crags of Rifle and the adventurous rock here in Main Elk but to the entire Roaring Fork Valley and lower Valley area. It is a must for anyone who wants to visit the area to climb. Purchase the book at local climbing shops in the area such as Summit Canyon Mountaineering or online at Wolverine Publishing’s website.