The Boulder Canyon Bouldering Blog

Visit this site for continuously updated information on the bouldering available in Boulder Canyon. Use the links to the right to locate problems in given areas. I will be reworking the format of the site and am always open to updates and news. Contact me via this blog,, or Facebook if you have problems you want included. Happy Bouldering!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Castle Rock Area Bouldering

Castle Rock Area

A plethora of bouldering opportunities await in the vicinity of Castle Rock. This area has been transformed into one of the centers of hard bouldering on the Front Range with problems such as Midnight Express and Cage Free and its ease of access makes it a natural place to visit.

Drive west up the canyon roughly 12 miles from Boulder to an obvious 200'+ formation on the left. Turn left (be careful!) onto a dirt road that circles back east. Park on the west end to access Hardboiled and further east for the Citadel and other problems. The bridge just below Country Club Crack is a useful landmark.

The Egg

The Egg area. Nintendo is the short arete at the top, Hardboiled is just below on the smooth slab.

The starting holds for Hardboiled are the two lowest chalked ones in the photo. Not my tick marks...

This boulder is small but desirable, holding a very difficult but doable V9/11. This curious grade is due to the use of kneebarring on the lower half of the problem. To locate it, head west along the road about 200 yards from Castle Rock and look for low water that allows a stream crossing. The log jam has been cleared away. If the water is very low, you can cross at the parking area but this may be trespassing and should be avoided. From the log crossing, move up the slope and trend west across talus beneath several popular ice climbs. Just west of the talus is the Egg, invisible until you go around and see it from the west. Though not very tall, the landing area is very rocky--bring as many pads as you can. It starts coming into the sun at about 9:30.

1. Hardboiled V9/11
A Boulder Canyon classic though dismissed by some as scrunchy and weird. Start low in the obvious cave at a fin feature for the left hand and gun for the lip. A potentially heartbreaking slab section awaits. To bring the grade down considerably, strap a kneepad on your right leg and work the two or three kneebars that are available. Do not claim V11 for this method.
FA Daniel Woods

2. Softboiled V7/8
Start with your right hand on the edge just above the lip and your left hand on the good edge below it. Finish as for HB. Starting on the right, stepping off the slab to do the end is probably V3/4.

3. Replacement Killers V10/11 Start as for Hardboiled but move left up the arete. Heelhook action and slopers. The good left sidepull is history as of May 2010. The same kneebarring possibilities for Hardboiled reduce this problem to V10. See video for this problem.
FA Chris Schulte

4. Southwest Arete VB
From the obvious incut ledge, do a surprisingly tricky mantle to the top.

4. The South Face V3
Start just right of the arete on two small holds on the South Face. Reach right to a sharp crimp and make a dicey reach to a poor crimp up and left. Only two moves but miserable feet.

5. Nintendo V4
This climbs the striking but short double arete on the boulder above the Egg. Sitstart. Watch a fall to the left as it could be very dangerous. Mantling direct would be harder and scary, otherwise traverse off right.

6. The North Slab V0
Climb the nice edges on the slab just north of the Egg. Tree branches make topping out difficult.

There is a sick-looking project on the boulder just north/below of the Egg. Also the TR seam with chalk-marks just south of the egg on the main cliff looks desperate.

The Citadel Boulder

A view of the boulder from the bridge below Country Club Crack.

This is the obvious large boulder on the north bank of the creek, just east of the bridge below Country Club Crack. It holds a number of difficult testpieces including the namesake V8, Surface Tension V10, and Cage Free V13.

It can be approached from just east of Castle Rock, just before the guardrail starts, by heading down a steep slope to the creek. During low water, the creek can be easily crossed as well from the road just past Country Club Crack.

Standard Bulge V5
Though the history and name of this problem are unknown, its committing moves and quality rock make it an instant classic. On the side opposite from the stream, start on sidepull/undercling crimpers at chest level, pull to more crimps in the bulge and slap oppositional slopers before a committing toss to the good sloper lip. The disconcerting rock in the landing pads up well.
(Justin J's description from FRB)

There is a sit-start to this as well, coming in from the Citadel that is V7

The Citadel V8

From a low start, climb the NW arete on crimpy slopers . Technical and slippery.
FA Will Lemaire

Free Range V13
Sit-start low on a pinch just right of the arete, move to a crimp with the right hand and traverse right into Cage Free. Very technical, powerful.
FA Chris Schulte
Carlo Traversi on Free Range

Cage Free V11
Just right of the tree, find a terrible sidepull for the left hand. Pull on a bit down and to the right on an OK undercling, reach left for the sidepull and throw for the flat lip with the right hand. One move but it's a long one.
FA Johnny Goicoechea after significant hold breakage, Wade David previous FA

Surface Tension V10
Start low on the SE arete, over the creek, on an obvious flake. Move up to the arete (heelhook on the left) and finish. Best to wait for low water on this one.
FA Wade David, named Excite Bike, rechristened by Chris Schulte and the name stuck. Funny how that works...

Hit Hard Tactics V7

FA: Justin Jaeger, 2004. This is the stand version of Surface Tension.

The Citadel Project V13+
Start on the crimps of Surface Tension and head left to join Cage Free. Word is that the moves all go. This winter?

The Midnight Express Boulder

This is a large boulder/outcropping just south of Castle, Rock uphill from the bridge. Midnight Express (V14) starts low on the right and goes out the obvious flake. The crack to the left is Trainspotting (V12)

Midnight Express V14
FA Tyler Landman November 2007. Midnight Express offers very powerful climbing low and bold moves at the top. Start low on a flake LH and a poor pinch RH. Do a powerful cross to a sharp undercling LH. Reach right along the flake to an OK pinch, catch a thin crimp LH and go very big LH to the shelf. From here the problem gets much easier but a huge drop presents itself as you approach the lip.

A toprope anchor is in place to ease working this out.  Otherwise bring many pads and spotters.

Video from


sock hands said...

thanks for embracing stand starts to sit start problems... as is my case for the validity of 'no more greener grasses' from the matched good crimp.

regardless: for additional info, check my boulder canyon update on FRB that is illogically located under the "what's new" link on the main page.

chuffer said...

There is alternative, albeit limited, parking for The Citadel Boulder out on Boulder Canyon road that is just ABOVE the boulder. 30 yard approach, no water crossing.

wade david said...

Peter, hi how are you. the Surface Tension Problem I made the first ascent a year before chris did and I named it Excite Bike, but it's more know by the name Chris gave it. I also did the first ascent of cage free, but it was much easyer when there was the big tufa looking flake out left to grab, it was yarded off by Johnney before he did the first ascent of the Jump version. Thanks and I hope you will correct surface tension.

chuffer said...

FA for stand start to Surface Tension ...

Hit Hard Tactics V7, FA: JJ, 2004.


Peter Beal said...

Thanks Wade and Chip. I will update ASAP

Matt Battaglia said...

Yo Peter,
I spent a couple days on Replacement Killers over my winter break and ended up playing on some other problems that didnt have any chalk or signs of life. One was about V7, an arete, and just up the hill from Hard Boilded, a bit scary, I was calling it Separation Anxiety. The other is v10ish and super quality steep climbin, I couldnt finish this one. I'll put a post up on Littlephotonthatcouldnt soon. Let me know if ya want photos to add to the site. I'm curious if anyone else has tried the 10ish problem.

Peter Beal said...

Hi Matt,
Sorry I missed your comment. Sure, send me an email or look me up on Facebook.