Climbing the Creek


Rob & I broke camp at Shelf Road. We have completed our southern tour of the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies and are getting excited to climb at classic areas like Clear Creek Canyon, Eldorado Canyon, Flatirons, and Rock Mountain National Park. When we abandoned the hot sands and scrub of Cañon City we looked forward to the cooler days and nights of Boulder and Golden.


As most climbers understand, somewhere near the halfway mark of most climbing trips, money gets thin. We were disgusted that the RV parks and State Parks were charging forty dollars a night for a tent site. We just needed a place to sleep, not a place to live! Rob sent out a post on Facebook to drum up some aid for us. We waited a few moments and realized we couldn’t do much while waiting for a response. We decided to climb at Clear Creek Canyon.


Clear Creek Canyon is scarred by a high volume river bouncing down steep sandstone walls into Golden. In Golden, this river supplies water to aquifers which are primarily owned by the Coors Brewing Company. The canyon walls are fit for climbing. The only downside to this area is the roar of the river and the squeal of traffic which flow at nearly the same pace and with similar aggression. Clear Creek Canyon is definitely not a wilderness locality. Most know it as highway 58.

We climbed a few moderate climbs with our friend from Smith Rock, Kevin O’Connell.  Just as Rob headed up the rock wall we noticed Lynn Hill, the most famous woman professional climber. She is well known for her free ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. She is a pioneer for woman in the often machismo sport of rock climbing. We were inspired to be standing next to her climbing the same rock! We spoke briefly with her and snapped a group picture.


Rob & I started up on our project climb for the day. I climbed to the top, after a few tries, without falling. The climb was surely enjoyable with great body positioning, technique, and hand holds. To spice up the climb, already a classic, I decided to attempt to get to the top without rubber shoes, completely barefoot. Barefoot climbing is a goofy thing and an extremely small percentage of climbers ever get into it. With some grace of balance and toe grip I somehow made it through the toughest part of the climb with toes curled in tension.


We left Clear Creek after rush hour – evidenced by the increased flow of traffic a hundred feet below us. Rob & I made a connection with a cyclist in Golden, Justin Cameron, and were allowed to camp in his backyard (coincidentally the backyard of a first floor dentist’s office).  We felt so comfortable with Justin and the local climbing that we decided to stay here until the end of our trip! For the sake of a great story Rob & I have made bivouac at a Dentist’s office.

About Clint Valentine

Clint is currently enrolled in two undergraduate degrees in Biology & Environmental Science at Northeastern University. He enjoys pursuits of endurance and distance which have included summiting many peaks in New England during winter alpine ascents, sailing the Atlantic in a vintage gaff-rigged schooner, rock climbing in five states including Oregon, and cycling 5,000 miles across North America. He has goals of pushing the envelope of his limits and combining his many outdoors interests into one big trip. He has a passion for photography and hopes to one day produce a documentary for a round-the-world tour.
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