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Rock Climbing: Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, CO


After finally making it back to Colorado we wanted to try and get in some outdoor activities before winter gets under way. We purchased a couple climbing books focusing on Colorado - one strictly toprope oriented - which is good for us since we just started climbing. In that toprope book, Front Range Topropes by Fred Knapp, it details a few crags at Horsetooth Reservior. It seemed about our speed so we decided to check it out.

There have been people climbing here since the 1950's, particularly at Duncan's Ridge. I guess they used to use this area as a trad climbing and soloing training area. We met a few climbers that had climbed there back in the 70's and 80's who shared some stories with us. As it stands today it is a fantastic climbing area for beginners to practice via toprope or traditional gear placement. What you will not find here are 80 foot topropes or multipitch routes of any kind. I'd guestimate the lines to be around 40 feet give or take 10 foot here and there.

We have been to two of the crags out there; Rotary Park Bolt Wall and Duncan's Ridge. Both offer easy to moderate routes, however Duncan's Ridge has the taller sections of rock with more bolt anchors. There are also couple other crags at the reservior that we haven't checked out yet. These are great areas for newbs like us and anyone looking for a climb without having to drive/hike for hours before getting to the rock.

GPS File: HorsetoothClimbing.gpx

Rotary Park Bolt Wall

Rock: metamorphic sandstone
Approach: < 0.5 miles - 1st class
Difficulty Range: 5.5 - 5.10d

Only two routes have bolt and chain anchors, the rest of the routes require anchoring to boulders topside. In order to use the boulders as anchors make sure to bring some long slings around 10-20 feet depending on which route you want to do and which rocks you want to anchor to.

Duncan's Ridge

Rock: metamorphic sandstone
Approach: < 0.5 miles - 3rd class
Difficulty Range: 5.2 - 5.10

The routes here are supposed to be the tallest in the reservior. There are a few bolt/chain anchors at the top with the option of some far away boulders and trees to anchor the other routes. The boulders and trees are quite far away from the edge so bring a good amount of extra accessory rope.

September 18th, 2015

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