Hike up to Boulder's Flatirons and watch the first ascent of the latest hard sport route, or catch a climber on a speed record solo mission. Step into one of five world-class training facilities and find a shirtless crew of climbing's top talent shredding tips on the bouldering wall. Take a short drive up Clear Creek Canyon to claim your spot on one of hundreds of moderate sport climbs.
Here in the Boulder-Denver area, we have no shortage of terrain on which to play, train, and get psyched up or beaten down. The diversity of climbing opportunities, styles and rock types, let alone the quantity and quality available, is reason alone for the sport to thrive].
Sport climbers, boulderers and trad hardmen will all find a welcome home in our playground of rock. In fact, for the ambitious, it's not entirely unreasonable to spend the wee hours of the morning tackling the historic 1,000-foot rockface known as the Diamond, head down to Rocky Mountain national park for a midday bouldering session before the thunderstorms hit, and be back in Boulder in time for an evening gym session.
And rest assured, your calorific expenditure will be well-rewarded at one of hundreds of world-class restaurants on Pearl Street that night. Whether you're a protein-crazed meat lover, a staunch vegan, or a chocolate soufflé connoisseur, we take our food seriously after a hard day's exercise.
But lots of places in the world have good rocks and great food. Why do climbers make the pilgrimage to the heart of Colorado? Could be that 300 days of sunshine a year and a dry climate means there's not need to think about "climbing season", because in Boulder you can climb all year round.
I've spent cold winter mornings slogging through snow and ice on the one-hour approach to the Industrial Wall near Eldorado Canyon, only to find myself comfortably basking in a sun trap at the base of the crag, wearing just a T-shirt. But beware, even in winter the rays are strong and the price most outdoor enthusiasts pay is well-weathered skin – we like to think of those wrinkles as a logbook of life's extracurricular activity.
But what truly makes the Front Range the epicentre of rock climbing is the community. Never again will you have to search for a partner who shares your goals for the day. Never again will you spend a lonely evening in the gym trying to motivate yourself with just an iPod. And never again will you wish for a crew to jaw with over a few beers about that epic day you blew your shoulder out on the crux move of your bouldering project.
And if your 'ceps are starting to feel a little overdeveloped and you are starting to adopt that characteristic climber hunchback, there are numerous other athletic communities you can join. Pick up a mountain bike, train for a marathon, navigate rapids in a kayak – Colorado's got it all, and we can quickly help you balance out those muscle groups.
Paige Claassen, nickname Ragin' Pagin'), professional climber from Boulder
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