Bouldering in Morrison, Colorado

by Tom Markiewicz on December 16, 2008

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to check out the bouldering at Morrison in Colorado. It was an unusually gray and cloudy day, so I didn’t get many pictures, but I did want to write up my mini summary of the area.

First off, Morrison is the kind of bouldering area where you will definitely need beta from the locals. I had a really hard time deciphering problems using the guidebooks (Colorado Bouldering and Bouldering Colorado).


Photo: Ryan Wanger warming up on the Tree Slab

As a frequently climbed area outside of Denver, the problems at Morrison appeared to be beta intensive as there were many variations and eliminates.

One of the more interesting problems I tried wasn’t even in the guidebooks. A local boulderer gave me beta on a problem they call the “Grand Traverse”. Basically you start as far right of the cliff line as possible (just below the Black Hole) and traverse left as far as possible. Not sure what grade this comes in at because of the many variations you could use to complete the traverse, but it’s a great workout nonetheless.

The problems in The Black Hole appeared to be the best quality with the most interesting moves. There were a few problems that I didn’t get to try that I look forward to working on next time I visit.


Photo: South side of Morrison

Additionally, there are intriguing boulders on the south side of the road that yield some good problems according to the guides.

Overall, I wasn’t too thrilled with the place. In addition to the beta issues, problems were on the polished side. Obviously, this is understandable due to the high traffic the place receives. I was there on a cold early afternoon day, mid-week and there were a bunch of climbers there. I can’t imagine what Morrison is like after work during the summer. I also prefer actual boulders with normal top outs and you don’t really have this at Morrison as it’s more of a short cliff line.

If anyone is familiar with Morrison bouldering and thinks I’ve misjudged the area, please let me know what I missed!

  • Brendan

    You pretty much nailed it, although I’ve never been to the boulders on the south side. I don’t think it’s too crowded in the summer because of the heat, but I’ve never been alone up there. Best thing about Morrison is as long as it’s dry, it’s pretty much climbable year round — not awesome, but a nice place to go if you want to climb outside.

  • The Adventure Channel

    Looks really nice out there, think I’m gonne check it out next season.

  • Eric

    I am new to denver and am looking for the trailhead to these spots any advice ?

  • Tom Markiewicz

    Eric, the Morrison bouldering is very easy to find. Mountain Project has directions here:

    You’ll see the short cliff line from the road above the town.

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