Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

Climbing At Colorado National Monument


To ascend Independence Monument, park custodian John Otto carved steps and established a network of primitive ladders in the early 1900s, driving pieces of iron pipe and steel rod into sandstone. Today?s climbers pioneer routes and employ techniques that subscribe to a cleaner ethic. Rather than setting permanent fixtures that deface natural rock surfaces, they use all manner of wedges, cams, and other removable devices to provide temporary anchors in cracks and crevices. Many of Otto?s rickety old pipe ladders still exist, but their upper and lower reaches have been removed to discourage casual public use.


No new permanent climbing hardware may be installed in any fixed location. If an existing bolt or other hardware item is unsafe, it may be replaced following consultation with park staff. This will limit all climbing to existing routes or new routes not requiring placement of fixed anchors.
The use of power tools to facilitate the installation of rock climbing hardware or for any other purpose is prohibited.
Climbing anchors and/or protection points may not be placed with the use of a hammer except to replace belay and rappel anchors and bolts on existing routes, or for emergency self-rescue.
The use of permanent anchor fixtures and hardware shall be installed or used for the protection of climbers on established climbing routes only, and only where such hardware devices now exist.
Software (webbing, accessory cord, etc.) that is left in place must match the rock surface in color.
The installation or use of permanent anchor fixtures and hardware must be brown or black.
Fixed ropes should not be left in place for more than 24 hours. Fixed ropes left in place longer than 24 hours shall be considered ?abandoned property? and removed.
The physical altering of rock faces such as chiseling new holds is prohibited.
The intentional removal of lichen or plants from rock is prohibited.
Camping on the summit of Independence Monument is prohibited.
Chalk used for climbing must be of a color that blends in with the native rock.
The following areas and exposures are closed to recreational rock climbing:

Any exposure above any tunnel portal, aboriginal rock-art site, the Balanced Rock in Fruita Canyon, and Mushroom Rock below the northwestern rim of Monument Mesa near the mouth of Monument Canyon
Any area which has the potential to disturb naturally occurring wildlife activity, such as, but not limited to, feeding, mating, or nesting activities
Any climbing activity in an area which has the potential to damage an archeological site, historic structure, or paleontological resource is prohibited


Colorado National Monument
Fruita, CO 81521-0001

Visitor Information
970-858-3617 ext 360