Bouldering on the Front Range is blowing up.
To get in on the game -- not The Game, the V16 Boulder Canyon problem local Daniel Woods sent last winter -- in late summer, you just need to know where to go to escape the blazing sun until winter brings better bouldering weather.
Don't have room for a crash pad in your own pad? Boulder's Neptune Mountaineering rents them for $15 for the first day, plus $5 for each day after that. Check it out: neptunemountaineering.com .
(Oh, and despite the dry climate, at this time of the year, you'll also need a lot of chalk.)
Here are five bouldering haunts where you can beat the heat now:
Most of the bouldering on Sanitas faces west, off the steep trail that heads straight up the mountain -- perfect for a morning sesh. It's also not a bad intro bouldering spot: the climbing trends easier, and the rock is less abusive (read: less fingertip shredding) than some of the other bouldering crags nearby.
2 The Dark Side
V0 to V4 to V8-10
The Dark Side -- a collection of boulders downhill from Cloud Shadow -- stays true to its name, thanks to the dense evergreen forest overhead. An added summer-bouldering benefit: Many of the problems are north facing.
The problems here offer something for everyone, but those who boulder harder might find more to entertain in the long run.
It's a quick walk to this area from Capstan Rock.
3 Morrison South
Morrison is a love-hate bouldering destination on the Front Range -- as in, some love to hate on it.
For a love-fest experience instead, find a bouldering buddy who knows the area and can eliminate the route-finding frustration that might cause a lousy first impression.
The main bouldering area at Morrison is popular in the winter since it catches tons of sun. But across the road is a collection of shady routes from V1 to V8 that are less well-used (polished) than the main area.
4 Satellite Boulders
The Satellite Boulders are nestled in shady forest at the foot of the Second Flatiron. The area has a variety of problems -- plenty of warm-ups (with safe landings for the chicken-hearted), and plenty of harder problems to work on through the fall.
The hike from Chautauqua is about 30 minutes.
5 Chaos Canyon
At altitude -- cool temps
Rocky Mountain National Park
Chaos isn't necessarily shady, but by climbing at altitude, you definitely get to escape the Front-Range heat.
But more than just checking it out because of the cooler temperatures, go to Chaos because it's a premiere bouldering destination.
Climbing season in RMNP is short, so go now -- the weather will probably only cooperate into October. Late summer can bring daily afternoon storms, so go early, too.