ANNUAL RAPTOR CLOSURES
Every year a variety of local crags are closed to protect nesting raptors. As climbers we should see it as a privilege that we can share these few crags with our winged friends, and an honor to let them have solitude to reproduce. It is only for half of the year, on a small fraction of the available nearby climbing terrain.
Please help spread the word: do not climb on these formations during the closure period! As the season progresses and it is known which nesting sites are active, some of these formations are re-opened to climbing before the deadline.
Below are more details about seasonal local raptor closures.
- The Bear Canyon Trail west of Mesa Trail is closed 24 hours a day through November for Xcel to work on the transmission lines.
- East face of Der Zerkle is closed April 1 through September 1 for bat roosting (full details here)
- East face of The Hand, standard route on Finger Flatiron, and all of Shark’s Fin are closed April 1 through October 1 for bat roosting (full details here)
- BOULDER FALLS IS NOW OPEN!!!
RAPTOR CLOSURE DETAILS
SEASONAL RAPTOR CLOSURES ARE OVER FOR THE 2018 SEASON!
AREAS LISTED BELOW IN MORE DETAIL:
- City of Boulder OSMP
- Eldorado Canyon SP
- Boulder Canyon USFS
- Jeffco Open Space
- Rocky Mountain NP (Lumpy Ridge)
- Staunton SP
Climbing areas on City of Boulder OSMP land that are closed seasonally February 1 until July 31 (full details here):
- Lefthand Canyon Palisades, at the intersection of Lefthand Canyon Drive and Olde Stage Road (Buckingham Picnic area remains open)
- Mount Sanitas Summit, south of the Mt. Sanitas East Ridge Trail, east of Mt. Sanitas Trail (both trails remain open)
- Flagstaff Mountain, the north side of Flagstaff Mountain will be closed (the Boy Scout Trail will remain open)
- Third Flatiron including the Queen Anne’s Head, W.C Fields Pinnacle, 1911 Gully and the Ghetto, the East Bench & West Bench, the East & West Ironing Boards, The Fin, Green Thumb and Jaws
- The Back Porch and The Box
- Skunk Canyon
- Der Freischutz including Frankenstein’s Castle, The Bubble, and both Southern and Northern Dinosaur Egg
- Bear Creek Spire
- Fern Canyon, north of the Fern Canyon Trail, including the Nebel Horn Ridge, East Ridge, the Goose and the Goose Eggs (the designated Fern Canyon hiking trail will remain open)
- Shadow Canyon, the Matron, Sphinx and the Wings (the Maiden will remain open and accessible from the east; Shadow Canyon Trail will remain open)
- The entire Mickey Mouse wall, including South Tower, North Tower, Central Tower, Ship’s Prow, Wall of Shiva’s Dance, The Gargoyle, the East Face and Cryptic Crag
Climbing areas in Eldorado Canyon State Park that are closed seasonally February 1 until July 15 (full details here):
- Shirttail Peak
- Millennium Crag
- Rattlesnake Gulch Trail upper loop
Climbing areas in Boulder Canyon on US Forest Service land that are closed seasonally February 1 until July 31 (full details here):
- Eagle Rock
- Blob Rock
- Bitty Buttress
- Security Risk
- Note: Happy Hour, Bihedral and Riviera will remain open as long as visitors stay out of the closed areas.
Climbing areas on Jefferson County Open Space land including crags in Clear Creek Canyon are closed seasonally February 1 until July 31 (full details here):
- Stumbling Block
- Bumbling Stock
- Skinny Legs/Blonde Formation
- Fault Caves
- Ghost Crag
- Highlander Crag
- Tetanus Garden
- Cathedral Spires in South Platte (begins March 1)
Climbing areas in Lumpy Ridge on National Park Service land that are closed seasonally March 1 until July 31 (full details here):
- Twin Owls
- Rock One
- Batman Rock
- Batman Pinnacle
- Checkerboard Rock
- Alligator Rock
- Lightning Rock
- Thunder Buttress
- The Parish
- Sundance Buttress
- Sheep Rock
Climbing areas in Staunton State Park that are closed in 2016 from February 1 until August 1 (for current conditions contact the park at 303-816-0912):
- Lion’s Head
- The Ranch Hand
- The Park View Dome
- The Sawmill Crags
- Rough Neck Wall
- Black Creek Wall
Each year from February 1 to July 31 some climbing crags are closed to protect nesting raptors. The closures help protect long-established raptor nesting territory, including vital alternate nest sites. Undisturbed access to multiple nest sites is important for birds of prey, especially early in the nesting season, to give them a chance to visit multiple nests during courtship and to select a site for the season, free of human influence.
“As part of a small team of volunteer climber-biologists, we install trail cameras on the cliffs before the nesting season and make observations to determine when and where the eagles choose to nest. Once nesting is confirmed by observations of incubation behavior and/or an egg, the USFS opens the other areas. Ongoing observations are used to keep track of the number of eagles fledged and sources of mortality. Once fledging is confirmed, the nest cliff is opened again to climbing. This is a collaborative effort built on trust and shared interest between the climbing community, biologists, and USFS, so please get the word out. (Knuckleheads who violate the closures to climb anyway, selfishly violate that trust, put the eagles at risk of nest failure, and face a hefty fine.)
Climbers played essential roles in the research and recovery of peregrine falcons and Sierra bighorn sheep, and brought the California condor back from the brink of extinction. It is our time to do our part again, and respect the closures when they are in effect, as golden eagles face an uncertain future because of threats from wind turbines, lead contamination, electrocutions, and habitat loss.”
Rob Roy Ramey II, Ph.D.