Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Although Hogwarts is on state land, the access road is on an easement owned by the nearby ranch.  Please be respectful while climbing here.

View from Hogwarts.
Muggles beware!  A force has been building near Rifle.  A new crag with great rock, rope stretching lines, and short approaches.  A place where the magic of a drill and some hard work has transformed an ordinary piece of rock into a great new climbing area.

Small tufas at the start of Horny for Hermione- 13b.
Well, Leah and I had been hearing about this place since last Summer and we finally decided to check it out.  It was hard to escape the magical spell of Rifle on Sunday morning, but the promise of a new wall was enough to ignore the slightly guilty feeling I had as we left the canyon.

Hogwarts lives down East Elk Creek Road, a road I have rushed by a million times on my way to Rifle.  A short drive up this beautiful valley reveals vibrant red cliffs, a wild river, and a hidden canyon with huge limestone walls that stretch beyond sight.  Luckily, Hogwarts and the Distillery flank the parking area at the mouth of the gorge.

The Distillery
A ten minute approach brings you across a river, and up a calm hillside to the left end of Hogwarts.  The rock has a similar hue to Rifle, but the features are less 3-dimensional.  Most of the routes are 25+ meters and follow features such as flakes, cracks, and pods up slightly overhanging terrain until the wall slabs out and features change to whipped spines and scalloped pinches.  For those who hate the buttery texture found at Rifle, Hogwarts offers a chance to play on new routes before they get greased up.
The Daily Prophet- 12a.
There are a few good 10's and 11's to warmup but most of the routes are between 12a and 13a.  Although we didn't see the entire cliff, it seemed to be extensivly developed.  Expect some loose rock on these routes since they have probably only been climbed a few times each.  I might be a good idea to bring a helmet.

Leah anticipating some choss.
Another nice thing about this cliff was the fresh feel of the crag.  There is still grass and flowers at the base.  We saw snakes, butterflies, and lizards all day.  You can hear the river rushing below.  Everything is calm and quiet which is a nice change from the rush and buzz of Rifle.

Top of the Distillery.
We ended the day by trying Imperio Direct- 13a.  It follows edges, flakes and a bonus tufa up a pretty white face to a thin crux and then moves up the slab using grooves, pods and pockets.

Imperio Direct- 13a.
Imperio Direct climbs just left of the large scoop, and ends just below the bushes to the top.
So, if you are tired of trying to find parking in Rifle, or looking for a quiet wall with great routes and nice scenery, check out Hogwarts.  Thanks to Dave Pegg, Josh Gross, and everyone else who helped develop this crag.


1 comment:

splitter choss said...

Very cool that you checked it out. Just one of many new crags on the Western Slope.

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