Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Black Canyon Rock Climbing

Classic Climbs in an Unbelievable Setting

Rock Climbing

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of Colorado’s finest multi-pitch adventure climbing destinations. Located between the towns of Montrose and Gunnison, Colorado, no other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and humbling depths found in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Simply stated, the Black is one of the most awe-inspiring climbing destinations in the world.

It also happens to be blessed with a fine selection of classic climbs at accessible grades, and offers climbers the unique experience of descending into the canyon, prior to climbing one of it’s routes. Commitment, therefore, is an essential ingredient in a successful day of climbing at the Black.

Expert, Certified Guides

We offer guiding and instruction with excluslively AMGA Certified Rock Guides in the Black Canyon insuring you receive the most thorough and competent guiding available.  Our guides have climbed and guided in the Black Canyon more than any other guide service in Colorado and our expert knowledge of the canyon and it’s routes is unmatched.

In a nut shell Bill is a valuable Demon of a climbing guide with a naturally gifted approach to guiding.  I’m looking forward to returning in July for two more days in the Black! – J. Edmonds

Call 800.642.5389 to Reserve

Register Now Online

Black Canyon of the Gunnison Season & Routes

Black Canyon

The best seasons to climb in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison are September/October and May/June.  July and August can also offer great climbing conditions and weather, though we try to get earlier starts on the climbs during this time to avoid afternoon thunderstorms and the higher temperatures which typify the season at that time of year.  

Select Routes

Below are just a few of the routes that we recommend in the Black Canyon.  Many other options exist and don’t hesitate to contact our office to discuss which routes are best for you.

  • Comic Relief (III, 5.10)
  • Escape Artist (III, 5.10-)
  • The Russian Arete (IV, 5.9)
  • Maiden Voyage (II, 5.9)
  • Lauren’s Arete (III, 5.8)
  • Casually Off-Route (II, 5.9)
  • Journey Home (IV, 5.10)
  • The Scenic Cruise (IV, 5.10+) requires add’l fees

Black Canyon Equipment List

  • Backpack
  • Appropriate clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Food & snacks
  • Rain jacket
  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Belay Device 
  • Locking Carabiners (2)
  • Climbing Shoes

Training & Follow Up Programs

As always, being in good physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great program.

1Before Your Trip

Black Canyon

2Follow Up Programs

  • Moab & Castle Valley
  • Red Rocks, Nevada
  • Indian Creek
  • Ouray Ice Climbing Courses

If and when I decide to tackle the big mountains I will call you guys for sure. I was very impressed with the guides and the service on my last class. Thanks again! – Chris N.

Crawford, Colorado: Getting There

The best access to the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is through Crawford, Colorado.  Many of our trip participants either meet us in Crawford, at the North Rim Campground, or carpool from the Ouray area.  Contact our office to determine how you would like to arrange transportation to the Black.  Additional fees may apply.

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Flights: For those who would like to fly to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the closest airport is the Montrose, CO airport.  Alternatively, you may fly into Denver, rent a car, and drive to Crawford.

Driving: Below are some approximate driving times if you’d like to drive to Crawford, CO.  Only a front wheel drive car is required and you need not worry about a high clearance vehicle either as the road into the North Rim is paved and transitions to graded dirt.

  • Denver, CO: 5 hours
  • Ouray, CO: 3 hours

Hotels: For trips to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison where an overnight is required, we recommend camping at the North Rim Campground.  A truly breathtaking campground with excellent viewing areas of the entire canyon are just minutes away from the campground.


Additional Information

Black Canyon

  • Cost Includes:
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide
  • Group gear (ropes, trad gear, etc)

  • Not Included:

  • Transportation to the Black Canyon
  • Hotel costs before, during, or after the trips
  • 5% land use surcharge
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Food
  • Guide gratuity
  • Climbs such as the Scenic Cruise require additional fees
  • Transportation charges may apply for trips less than 2 days

  • Registration and Cancellation:
  • Advance Registration is required for this program. You have the option to either call our office and register via phone, fill out our pdf Registration Form and send it in via fax or email, or utilize our secure Online Reservation System.  All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.

Call 800.642.5389 to Reserve

Register Now Online

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