The quality of the climbing here continues to blow me away. What a special slice of climbing heaven we have high in the beautiful mountains not all that far away from our basecamp in the Roaring Fork Valley and surrounding areas. At one time the zone was thought to be “one star climbing with a 5 star view.” I beg to differ. The word is out on the area. Lime Park is getting hammered on the weekends. As many as 30 vehicles (no all climbers) can be found in the zone on a weekend. Packs of domestic dogs roam like wolves and expect screaming children on weekends.
Most climbers concentrate in just a few zones with abundant moderate climbing. If you can climb 5.12 this place is a paradise because the routes will be wide open. Most of the harder routes get done infrequently so expect to have to dust of holds on the first go and pick off the winters exfoliation.
The Nuts and Bolts:
*Don’t under estimate the altitude. Most folks show up feeling well but the insidious altitude will catch up with them over the course of a night or two.
* Thunderstorms roll up fast in Lime Park, without forecasted at times. I’ve spent plenty a July weekend up here climbing in the rain with a reluctant partner. There are several routes that stay dry despite the rain.
* If it’s been raining for days think twice about heading up. The road can get insanely muddy with thick tire eating clay and unpassable.
*Most climbers concentrate in just a few zones with moderates. Hunt around. Several of the harder climbs are well worth the effort.
*Remember to bring your bug spray.
*Tread lightly on the delicate riparian zone. This zone is used by many users’ ranchers, hunters, people driving razors, fishers. Climbers are easy targets. Let’s be good stewards of the environment.
* Please pack out all your waste including excrement.
Traditionally, equalized clip and lower anchors are not the standard in Lime Park. Many anchors are unequaled bolts with a quick link. If you have the desire, motivation and means please help upgrade/maintain hardware. Thank you.
The Early Abbey Zone is not far off the beaten path and offers some very steep climbing. Expect to pull hard, drop a knee or two and heel hook. All the climbs are pretty fresh so wear a helmet and be careful where you climb. To get to the Zone hike up to the Prow then follow the base of the wall towards The Strategery Buttress.
1. Unknown 5.12
This climb is guarded by 8 foot tall prickly bushes and would take a little work to get back into commission. Several of the holes are filled with bird nests.
2. Unknown 5.12 20m
Great rock. FYI the anchor is a bolt with a quick link and a cold shut about 2 horizontal feet apart.
3. Funky Fresh 5.12d** 25m
Short, powerful and steep with much of the hard climbing down low. Recleaned in 2019 and the anchor moved up about 20 feet not just for some continued sweet climbing on the arête but also to reduce rope drag. The crux also had a bolt added to make it a little easier to work for folks. It’s highly recommended to stick clipping the first several bolts. It won’t hurt my feelings if you think this climbing is a little closer to 13a.
4. Thumb Sucker 5.12a*** bolts
This is the very obvious thumb/pillar appearing feature you can see from the parking area that looks detached. Climb the first few bolts of Cougars’ with Cookies and then move left for 2 bolts to an easy 5.0 ramp up to a belay below the obvious thumb. Follow the much steeper than it looks face of the thumb to the top of the formation. Your belayer is right below you so stay on route. I have not tried this from ground yet.
5. Teaspoon of Whiskey 5.11a*** 35m
Same start as for Thumb Sucker. Climb the easy wide crack between the main face and pillar. Careful at the base of the pillar for loose rocks. You can stop at the Thumb Sucker belay or do it as a mega 35m pitch. This thing is 35 m on the dot so tie a know in the end of your rope! The climbing in the wide corner is a mix of face climbing, wild stems and a chimney move here an there. Quite the experience.
6. Apocalyptic Party – Closed project 35m
Climb the first few bolts of Cougars’ with Cookies then move left and straight up into the massive milky bullet appearing overhanging bulge. The start of the bulge is over a ramp so it is pretty tightly bolted at first. Getting through the upper bulge is the lower crux 13+ish. The mid section of the climb is reasonable until the final vertical and thin headwall into the final overhang (13a ish.).
7. Cougars’ with Cookies 5.12c**** 35m
Climb and easy open book dihedral then do a steep very pumpy traverse left on generally big hand holds then straight up. After a high rest climb through a steep overhang. Some folks will have to make a dyno a few bolts from the top but it can be done static. The final moves to the chains are quit demanding but descent side pulls get you through.
8. Downton Abbey 5.12d **** 35 m
Start up a brown lichen slab with variable round holds for the first 6 bolts. The lower slab is much harder than it looks. Around the forth bolt there is a technical (shut down) 11+ move. You get a break at the top of the slab. There is a anchor at the top of the slap curtesy of who ever explored this zone in the early days, Thank You! After the lower slap stay just left of a corner with huge bush on steep stone. A serious of big moves to holes that can be transitioned to under clings will get you to a rest on a horizontal break. Next savor a rest at the horizontal break because the crux is yet to come in the gray blue bullet stone above. Putting the draws on from the bottom up makes it feel a little more 13-.
9. Early Abbey 5.11c**** 35m
Named after a little girl that climbed into this world several weeks early, this is a stellar piece of rock for Lime Creek. Climb about 30 feet on slightly less then vertical technical rock to first break. The direct route requires a slab move at the second to third bolt or pull a G.C. and step way left. Follow an easy steep bulge to a break. The next 35 feet are gently over hanging on incredibly good flow stone with pockets and holes. The steep crux is intimidating but pretty easy if you limb up to the right hand bucket. The anchor is another 20 feet after the crux and to the left.
10. Put Some Boogie in It 5.11a *** 35m
The climbing is very reasonable until just before the final bulge. There is a hard traverse slightly back left to good holds. Pulling over the bulge at the top will be the main challenge for most. This is the freshest climb in the zone so climb and belay with caution. This is a good warm up for the harder climbs to the left.
The Bumbler 5.10b* 5 bolts 15m
Located to the left of Weapons of Mass Deception. If you get to Nameless you’ve gone too far. Climb the right facing corner and slab onto the large ledge 15m above. There is a two bolt belay on the ledge. This climb is trickier than it looks but serves as great access to incredible pitches above. Stick clip the first couple bolts if you can.
Rumble in the Bumble**** 5.11c 16bolts 30m
Same start as The Bumbler but after the 5th bolt stay left instead of stepping right onto the large ledge. A couple more bolts lead to an incredible smooth grey limestone head wall split by an insanely good crack that is easily climbed via side pulls and face pockets. A few bolts from the top avoid the temptation to climb left into corner and stay right. You’ll be rewarded with a series of friendly pockets on the face. This climb is good for the area on excellent rock! Anchors are fixed with leaver binners. Please leave it this way.
Bumble On*** 5.10c bolts 35m
This is a fun two pitch climb. For pitch one climb The Bumbler and step right onto large ledge with a 2 bolt belay. Pitch 2 climbs above and slighty right of belay for 10 bolts though a shallow dihedral/crack system in fantastic solid grey lime stone. Climbing in two pitches allows for good visualization of the leader.
Super Bumble 5.10c ****15 bolts 35m
Climb The Bumbler and Bumble On in one monster incredible pitch.
Shield Maiden 5.12c*** 13 bolts 30m
This line climbs the striking arête just to the right of Strategery. In 2019 the start was rebolted so you can start just left of the obvious corner and stem making easy early clips before the business. After the first three bolts you are committed to the arête and the climb and angle do not let up. Climb into a slightly overhanging scope with cool pockets just right of arête and make powerful technical moves over the upper bulge. The climbing then eases up to the anchors. If Strategery (which I Love) gets four stars, Shield Maiden, now with the very straight forward start is easily three stars.