Carbondale is the gateway to climbing on the Western Slope and a great place to stay while exploring the surrounding cliffs. Within an easy drive are several nationally-known climbing areas, and many other small but excellent crags. Among the most popular are Rifle Mountain Park, Independence Pass, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The region offers bouldering, sport routes, and trad climbing on a variety of rock types including limestone, sandstone, granite, and quartzite.
Closer to town are several worthwhile spots, including the picturesque Redstone boulders, the Narrows, and the excellent Frying Pan crags. More information about these and other local climbing spots can be found on the website www.SplitterChoss.com.
In winter, ice climbing is plentiful in the Carbondale area. The Crystal River Valley, a mere 15 minutes away, is home to over fifty superb ice flows of all difficulties, including Marble Falls, the Redstone Pillar, and Avocado Gully. Rifle Mountain Park, north of Rifle and less than an hour from Carbondale, offers incredible steep ice that will challenge the most advanced ice climbers. And nearby Glenwood Canyon offers several multi-pitch routes that are some of the best in the state.
If the weather is keeping you inside, there are several state-of-the-art indoor walls in Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Valley. The Carbondale Recreation Center’s wall is 32 feet tall, features a variety of angles, lead climbing, auto-belays, and routes from 5.5 to 5.12. The Glenwood Springs Community Center also features a good indoor wall.
Carbondale itself is also home to Rock and Ice, a climbing magazine with international distribution. If you’re a rock climber looking to explore western Colorado, it would be hard to find a better base camp than Carbondale.