Summit County rock climbing: The Montezuma Boulders
Special to the Daily
Signature Problem: Anything on the “Pimp’n Ain’t Easy” boulder
Distance from trailhead: 15 minute hike
Season: Late June to October
Climber Jordan Lynch of Breckenridge groaned, transferring all of his weight to his fingers before lifting his body off the ground to begin climbing an unnamed boulder problem at the Montezuma Boulders just outside of Keystone.
A sit-start is something every novice climber must learn and then perfect as they become more practiced. Like the name implies, a sit-start is when a climber begins a problem from a sitting position. This is common for problems that start at waist height or lower on the boulder.
After a few technical moves, Jordan had topped out and was standing on top of the boulder, comically named “Pimp’n Ain’t Easy,” with his hands on his hips, checking out the view. The crisp fall air was slightly warm, even with the occasional cool breeze, both modest reminders of the changing seasons. Processing the summer behind and the snow ahead is a reminder to Summit County locals that every season fulfills its purpose in its own time. Fortunately, it is still warm enough to climb in Summit County, as long as you bring a few extra layers for the late-afternoon climbing sessions.
The variety of climbs offered in the Montezuma area is nearly endless. From sport climbing and the occasional traditional route (aka trad route, or climbing with cams and other anchors) to an infinite amount of bouldering problems, the area attracts diverse climbers. Although the Summit County Guidebook identifies many bouldering problems, I have found myself aimlessly flipping through the pages several times, only to find that there are hundreds of problems unlisted.
So if you’re looking for an adventure, the Montezuma Boulders offer just that. Of the problems that are listed, the area treats climbers with anything from a V0 warm-up to an aggressive V7 engraved in the “Pimp’n Ain’t Easy” boulder.
The Montezuma area is most notorious for the infamous Haus Rock and Alpenglow Wall, while also offering well-protected campsites with a view. To access the trailhead, exit Interstate 70 at Silverthorne and drive east on U.S. Highway 6 toward Keystone Resort. Continue past Keystone and the main parking lot (Montezuma Lot), then take a slight left onto Montezuma Road. The trailhead is a small dirt lot about a mile up the road on your left.
The trail begins at the left side of the lot. This is where you begin your uphill approach. About 10 minutes into the approach, a newly installed sign directs climbers to Haus Rock (left) or Alpenglow Wall (right). For the Montezuma Boulders and other climbing areas, bear right toward Alpenglow Wall. Follow the rock cairns along the path to reach the boulders in a few minutes.
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