The Mass Production Wall of Calico Tanks

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program once again…

Located high above Red Rocks’ popular Calico Tanks trail, the hike into this crag was my favourite part of the day. Part scrambling and route-finding, it takes you up a dry stream bed, along sandstone ledges, over water-sculpted mounds, past little “tank” oases (shallow rain catchment pools in the sandstone), over white and gold and red and pink sandstone streaking, and then it has a steep push up a rampart to get to the climbing crag. Once up there, there were two caves to explore and a wide, open area from which to watch the climbing… no neck craning necessary to get route beta!

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The hike in was one of my favourite parts of the day. Park walk, park scramble, it takes you along the main Calico Tanks trail for a bit. There were lots of people exploring in there.
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Taken on our way out, this shot shows how high you need to climb up, lugging your gear to the base of the crag. The sandstone steps make it somewhat easier.
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The crag is located high above the Calico Tanks area, up a steep, rocky gully.
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There are some great routes there for all.
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There are challenging spots, for those who are awesomely inspiring!
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Chris makes it look easy! His foot is there, perched on the tiniest of flakes while he chalks up his hands.

There, I climbed “Parts is Parts” (5.8), “Battery Powered” (5.9) and “Hit and Run” (a wonderfully long 5.9). This wall was in the shade all day and had spectacular views over all of Red Rocks park with Wilson Mountain off in the distance. Above us rose Turtlehead Peak, a mountain we hiked up during our visit. And we had spectacular views into the Calico Tanks and the people, far below.

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There’s lots of space to spread out up there and relax between climbs.
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This photo is a bit distorted, but it shows you the cliff face, with its big patch of varnish, that the routes are on.
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The view down the approach to the crag is incredible.
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In between climbs, you rest & relax & watch the others climb.
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We were high enough up here that the only onlookers we had were in the form of annoying drones.
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Here Bill works his way up a route while his belayer is in the gully in the shadows below.
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He approaches that bit of tricky varnish…

Climbing is slow moving, thought filled, and takes time to watch. I’ve sped Bill up here a bit.

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It was a great challenge!

If You Go…


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Greg and Chris

Not all of the photos in my Red Rocks climbing posts are mine. Some of the credit goes to Chris Schell, an amazing rope runner and inspirational, very experienced trad climber  … and to Greg Funk, a most determined climber who can power up walls like nobody’s business with skill and an impressive amount of sheer force of will and determination! It was an honour to climb with, and be inspired by you both! Thanks for letting me share your pics!

2 Comments on “The Mass Production Wall of Calico Tanks

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