Sophia Dibiase, left, keeps cool on the rock while Talia Ram positions a crash pad at the Monkey Traverse, on Flagstaff Mountain.
Sophia Dibiase, left, keeps cool on the rock while Talia Ram positions a crash pad at the Monkey Traverse, on Flagstaff Mountain. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )
Rent a pad

Fitting a crash pad into your college life can be tough. There's not enough room in your dorm room. There's not enough room in the tiny place you rented on the Hill. There's not enough room in your budget. But Neptune Mountaineering has a solution for all of those problems -- they'll rent you a crash pad. It's $15 the first day, $5 for every day after that. Learn more at

Bouldering on the Front Range is blowing up.

From Horsetooth to Wolverineland, there are more bouldering hotspots nearby than we can shake a chalk pot at.

So we're not going to list them all. But you can start scratching the surface (OK, don't scratch the rock) with some of these nearby bouldering haunts.

Satellite Boulders

All-day shade


The Satellite Boulders are nestled in shady forest at the foot of the Second Flatiron, and if there's a cool breeze coming down from the mountains, it's, well, sublime. The area has a variety of problems -- from crimpy to overhung to slappy, with plenty of warm-ups (many 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.

Chaos Canyon

At altitude -- cool temps, sun and shade

Rocky Mountain National Park

When heading to Chaos, you'll suddenly emerge from the forest into a vast, exposed field of Boulders.

Why yes, it's possible you have arrived at rock heaven.

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. The hike in takes about 45 minutes from the Bear Lake parking lot.

By climbing at altitude, you'll escape the Front-Range heat. But don't just check it out because of the cooler temperatures. Go to Chaos because it's a prime bouldering destination.

And rejoice that you now have an excellent guidebook, by local author Jamie Emerson: "Bouldering Rocky Mountain National Park and Mount Evans." The Chaos pioneers of, like, five and 10 years ago didn't have that.


Sun or shade

Up Flagstaff Road

For some, Flagstaff is much bagged upon for its painful crimpers and its, um, painful crimpers. And its lack of seriously difficult climbing.

If you're climbing hard enough to worry about those really hard problems, OK, Flagstaff probably isn't the place for you. But for the rest of us, Flag offers up some fun problems and quite a few classics. Just start Googling John Gill and you'll see what we mean.

Meanwhile, make some friends at the Monkey Traverse or the Y, cruise down to the Dark Side on a warm day for some shady sending, and don't forget to enjoy just how close to campus all of this is.

So close you could run or bike up the hill with your crash pad.

Now that will be a workout.

Boulder Canyon

Sun or shade, cooler higher up the canyon

Between Boulder and Nederland

Craving some granite but don't want to head all the way to the park, or Mount Evans? Boulder Canyon is peppered with bouldering spots, near and between the taller crags.

In the fall, the upper reaches of the canyon can get breezy and cool, even though it's warmer in Boulder, or even at the Dome/Elephant Buttresses.