Climb Grand County
June 30, 2016
Grand County may not be the climbing mecca of Colorado, and we certainly aren’t known as “Climbing Capital USA,” but if you look hard enough there are some crags that can satisfy your vertical needs. If you are like me, days off from whitewater or mountain biking are often spent climbing, but driving to the Front Range is both time consuming and crowded. Being able to stay in the county and climb is great, thanks to some people who put in a lot of effort and, most likely, their own money to develop. Jim Shaw wrote a guidebook, Fraser Valley Climbs, that is the best description of climbing in Grand County. The book can be purchased at Icebox Mountain Sports in Fraser.
Hurd Creek Crag is a great spot to spend a day climbing and it offers spectacular views of the Fraser Valley. The approach is roughly half a mile, but the most challenging part is the road to get there. A hard-to-find road (see guidebook) leads you off County Road 84, and as of Thursday morning it was quite washed out. Four-wheel drive may be necessary to pass two sections of this road. If you can get past the rough sections the rest is fairly easy. Hurd Creek offers at least 31 climbs that are listed in the book, and potential for more. Many of these climbs are bolted which makes the crag ideal for sport climbers, though there is plenty of potential for trad routes as well. Difficulty ranges from 5.6-5.12. Many routes here have easy top-access making top roping easy.
Nine more climbs can be found at a nearby area called Trail Creek Crag. According to mountainproject.com, there in another sport climbing area called Hurd Creek Basin located a bit past the Hurd Creek Crag parking area. It offers at least six sport routes that are great for beginners or children.
For Alpine style climbing, the Indian Peaks Wilderness area has many Alpine routes. Many of these routes have 5th class climbing, and are 1,000 feet or more in length.
Reminder: Climbing routes in Grand County may not be maintained as often as areas in other parts of the state, so remember to check bolts, hangers, and rappel chains thoroughly before using (which you should always do anyway).