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Big Elk Meadows: main area
Big Elk Meadows Overview
MouseOver then click on the map to jump to the rocks
Then click the << to jump back to top of the page

The Big Elk Meadows is between Lyons and Estes Park off Highway 36. The boulders follow along a stream on the south side of Kenny Mountain. The problems range form short and powerful to high and thin. The area has potential for many more boulder problems and some Trad routes.

Getting There:
Take Highway 36 northwest from Lyons towards Estes Park for approximately 10 miles. Once through Pinewood Springs ( about 1 mile) turn left onto County Road #47 (Big Elk Meadows). Follow the newly paved CR #47 west for about 2.2 miles to a comparatively small dirt pullout on the right side of the road. The main area of Big Elk Meadows is found after a 15 to 20 minute hike along Deer Creek and on the south side of Kenny Mountain.

Two boulders can be seen from the parking area (east side of the road), these are the Warm Up Boulders. The Big Elk Meadows trail heads downhill from the parking lot west to a gully. Follow a pleasant trail up and over a small hill into a small creek bed. The trail continues along the creek for a few minutes. Cross the creekbed at a cairn where a re-bar sticks out of a rock in the creek. Find the trail on the other side and continue on for about 100 yards pass the cairn turn off for the Dragon's Den. Follow along Deer Creek for a minute and the first rock you come to is The Inflatable Woman.

The Climbing
The boulders are of varied quality granite with slopers, crimps and incuts that for the most part are surprisingly solid. The holds can be sharp with big coarse crystals and fractured quartzite. The area is very new so some of problems can be a little dirty and fragile. Most of the problems have only seen a few accents, so be careful and enjoy.






















Warm-Up Blocks   <<
Warm-Up Blocks: North side
Warm-Up Block: North side
Warm-Up Blocks: SouthEast side
Warm-Up Blocks: SouthEast side
Kevin Murphy on Middle V3
Kevin Murphy on Middle V3, North side

The Warm-Up Blocks are on the south side of the road across from the parking for the Dragon's Den and The Sanctuary trailhead. The Warm-Ups are some of the first blocks discovered at Big Elk Meadows. On the SouthEast side you'll find two Ben Scott testpieces rated V-Hard. Colin Lantz has a project to the right that may or may not be done.

North side

  1. Apron V?:
  2. Left Side V2:
  3. Middle V3:
  4. Right Side V3:

SouthEast side

  1. Lip Traverse V5:
  2. Bulge V2/3:
  3. Left Side V5?:
  4. Middle V-Hard:
  5. Right Side V-Hard:

Inflatable Woman    <<
Inflatable Woman topo
The Inflatable Woman topo

The Inflatable Woman Block and the Crack House are the first boulders you run into after the Dragon's Den turnoff. All the problems at the Crack House are undone, probably because the landing is bad.

  1. The Inflatable Woman V4: * Start on slab then up and out roof with horn. Finish on slopers.

Bell Boulder   <<
Bell Boulder topo
Bell Boulder topo
Scott Rennak on Bell Ringer V5
Scott Rennak on Bell Ringer V5
Pat Wild on a f.a. and Bart on Ma Bell V7
Pat Wild on a f.a.of #1 & Bart on
Ma Bell V7

The Bell Boulder is a fine block that can be seen from the trail below. Look for cairn along sanctuary trail. Many other excellent problems have been done in this area so look for chalk.

  1. UnNamed V2/3: f.a.by Pat Wild
  2. BellRinger V3/5, sds or stand: Start on slopey ramp, then up slab. Sds on #3 & finish up #2.
  3. Ma Bell V7?, sds: Up arete, go left to finish.
  4. Project:
  5. Bats in The Belfry V4: Start off block. Underclings to slopes & crimps. bad fall!
  6. UnNamed V1: Up slab.
  7. UnNamed V0: Low start, pull over lip and up scoop.
  8. Belladonna V7, sds: Traverse along lip & into #9 to finish.
  9. BellFlower V5, sds: Start matched on edge. Out to arete then throw out right to top & over.
  10. BellBoy V3, sds: Climb the crack in the dihedral, up to slopers to topout.
  11. Arete V4/5, sds: On jug, up arete on crimps. Dirty!
  12. UnDone: Up face.
Stoner Block
 1. Lip Traverse V2/3: Traverse slopers      along lip.
 2. UnNamed V2: Start at jug, throw to lip
     and mantle to finish.

30 Minute Wall topo
30 Minute Wall topo

30 Minute Wall
Adam on #5, 30 Minute Wall

30 Minute Wall   <<
An excellent little crag right off the trail. The rock is good and basically faces east so it's good in the morning. For a good pump try to send the whole crag within 30 minutes.

  1. Crack variation V2:
  2. Classic Crack V0: Up cool crack to mantle.
  3. UnNamed V2: Lunge to jug, then right to finish by upper block.
  4. UnNamed V3, sds: Up to ramp then up.
  5. UnNamed V4: Same start as #4, but go right & finish #6.
  6. UnNamed V3/4: Low start, finish arete.
  7. UnNamed V5: Start matched on crimps, traverse left & up #4 or #6.
  8. UnNamed V2, sds: Up & left on slopes.
  9. Project: Little finger thing.
  10. Project: Cool arete.
  11. HighBall V3: Up slopers to horizontal crack hold, over top on good holds.
  12. Project: Up face.
  13. Project: Up arete.

Traverse Wall topo
Traverse Wall topo

Adam Frederick on Arete V2, Traverse Wall
Adam on Arete V2, Traverse Wall

Traverse Wall   <<
Another really cool spot to hang. An excellent traverse can be done V5/6, as well as a few good straight-ups. The lower rock along the traverse seems to be pretty solid, but the upper sections are questionable. So be careful!

  1. UnDone: Arete
  2. UnDone: Face, dyno.
  3. UnDone: V?
  4. Arete V2-4: Many variations.
  5. Face Problem V2: Straight up to scary cube thing.
  6. Traverse V5/6: Left-right entire length of wall, then up slab right of #9.
  7. Jug Haul V0: Obvious HighBall on jugs.
  8. Sketch V1: Scary breaky thing.
  9. UnNamed V4,sds: Up to sidepull crimp. A little scary!
  10. UnDone:
  11. UnDone:
  12. UnDone:
  13. UnDone:
  14. Militant One V5: Low start to pinch. Straight up on more crimps. Painful!
  15. Skillenstad V1: Up arete & over.

   Cedar Block & Overhang   <<
The Overhang Wall and the Cedar Block offer good easy problems to warm up on, and are good additions to The Sanctuary.

Cedar Block

  1. UnNamed V0: Low start up jugs.
  2. UnNamed V0: Up face to crystals.
  3. UnNamed V3: Low Start up to crimp, undercling, then to top.
  4. Lip Traverse V3, sds: In overhang, traverse right along lip to finish #5.
  5. No Name V1: Up cool face.
  6. UnNamed V0: Just left of arete are goods holds. Finish left of dead tree.
  7. UnNamed V0: Use arete & face holds, escape right or left of the tree.
  8. Slab V2: Climb narrow slab avoid any good holds.

Overhang Wall

  10. Unnamed V4, sds: Undercling,
        pop to good hold then to rail &
        sloper top out
  11. Project: low start to crimps.
  12. Project: Cool features & long          reaches.
  13. UnNamed V5, sds: From laybacks
         pop to edge, then layback slopers
         to top
  14. UnNamed V4: Same start as #13
         but go right up face
  15. UnDone: Up face.
  16. Solstice V4/5: Start low, angle left
         up gully
  17. UnNamed V?: Start under roof.
        Climb out & drop off
  18. Traverse problem. UnDone.

Cedar Block & Overhang Wall topo
Cedar Block and Overhang Wall topo
Slab V2, Cedar Block
Adam on Slab V2, Cedar Block
Adam on Unnamed V4, Overhang Wall
Adam on # 10, Overhang Wall
Adam on #13, Overhang Wall
Adam on #13, Overhang Wall

The Sanctuary   <<
The Sanctuary Rock topo
The Sanctuary Rock topo

Lars sends Rhino Dyno V7/8
Lars sends Rhino Dyno V7/8
Sargie on Feel The Wetness V4/5
Sargie on Feel The Wetness V4/5
The Kev on Threat Condition Delta V6
Kev on Threat Condition Delta V6

* An Excellent traverse can be done starting at #10. Move right to left and finishes either # 16, 17, 18 to vary the grade.

The Sanctuary has some of the best rock at Big Elk Meadows. But, of course it's also has the longest approach. Almost all the problems are 5-Star with fine cracks and good landings.

  1. UnNamed V0: * Off jugs up to ledge.
  2. LayBack Crack V1: * Layback crack up to ledge.
  3. White Rhino V6: *** Must Do! Jump start. Up face on crimps & slopes.
    Rhino Dyno V7/8: Low start on crimps, finish up White Rhino. A direct start has been done involving an undercling & a long reach.
  4. Warm Up V0: Up Chimney. Not so good.
  5. UnNamed V2: *** Up awesome layback rail to horizontal crack. escape off left to topout #7 or continue straight up to a more exciting finish. Beware of suspicious ChickenHead!
  6. Devil's Face V5: *** Up thin crimps on blank wall. Excellent!
  7. Dihedral Crack V1: *** Layback crack up to jugs. Then over to jugs on #8. Or continue up to finish #6.
  8. Mountain Magic V5: *** Use crimps & layback, move to cool pinch & cool topout.
  9. The Groove V1: ** Gaston & layback groove. Good warm up!
  10. Arete V3, sds: *** Up arete on crimps, pinches & long reaches. Many variations exist.
  11. UnNamed V2: *** Layback crack to crimps & over to jugs.
  12. Threat Condition Delta V6: ** Layback up crack to slopes & crimps.
  13. Sinister Minister V3?: *** Up on 3 crimps to jugs & over. Stay right of crack.
  14. Feel The Wetness V4/5: ** Use both cracks to crack undercling. Then long reach to good edge.
  15. Crime & Punishment V9: * Crimps, slopes & gastons.
  16. The Elevator V3: *** Low start. Straight up with a couple long reaches & mantle-like finish.
  17. Zot V4/5 * Up crimps.
  18. Pez V2/3: *

This area was first discovered by Jason Beausoleil and others in 2001. After a 15 to 20 minute hike in the Roosevelt National Forest along a flat, interesting trail next to a quiet stream you'll find multiple problems with mostly good landings. With hillsides of new stone nearby. This area is surprisingly climbable in winter some years. Close to the Lion's Den and Estes Park.
This area is very new so some of the holds are loose and flaky with lichen still on them and the topouts can be dirty. There aren't any super hard test pieces. Most of the established problems are in the V1 to V5 range. Even though the area is at 8000 feet elevation it can be hot in the summer and weather moves in fast off the Continental Divide. The lightning can be intense. People can shoot guns in the Roosevelt Forest and it can be nerve-racking. The rock is harsh on the finger tips. Some of the problems are high and dangerous, don't forget to bring pads and spotters.

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30 Minute Wall Traverse Wall and Fountain Block Overhang and Cedar Rock Bell Boulder The Inflatable Woman Dragon's Den Warm-Up Blocks The Sanctuary 30 Minute Wall