With a few days off to go explore back in February Robyn, Will and I made it down to Shelf Road for the first time. Shelf is a canyon lined with dolomite boasting over 2,000 routes and growing. Robyn has been eager to get down to this place since we got here so it was certainly exciting to get out of our bubble in Golden for a bit and go explore.
If you travel the regular way to Shelf it’s a straight forward two-and-a-half hour drive down Interstate 25 and around the bend to Canon City and back up into the hills north of town. Unfortunately for us, Google Maps was content sending us to the north end of Shelf Road only to find out that it is impassible in snowy months and sketchy at the very least in summer months. Instead we were now thoroughly in the middle of nowhere and directed to go down “Phantom Canyon” to get back to the south end of Shelf.
Phantom Canyon, although only 30 miles long took more than 2 hours to drive through… One of the windiest little dirt roads I have ever been on, it followed an old railroad grade twisting and turning its way down a 5,000 ft vertical decent. Fortunately for us however this was also one of the prettiest drives we have done in a long time.
Essentially Shelf is a great crag. We bumped into the guidebook author Bob D’Antonio and a really cool guy named Nate that lives up near Breckenridge. They were busy chatting about new lines and by the end of the weekend had established at least two new routes. We ended up camping and hanging with them that evening and had a great campfire. A highlight was Will’s campfire trick he learned from an Australian. I won’t spoil it because it’s worth experiencing first hand.. After his visit, Will was off to Indian Creek (his winter home) for the time being. He also let us know he landed a sweet gig with the Taos Hot Shots. Super excited for him. It was so great to get out and explore some of our new backyard here in Colorado. Robyn and I really do feel most at home in the canyons and beneath the crags of the countryside. We are hoping to get back to Shelf here again soon, but the end of the season is closing in and the crags closer to home are warming up.
Our next big adventure will be figuring out where we are going to sleep at night.. That’s another long story but essentially we will be in the bus for a while until we can find a nice place here in town with a more reliable landlord/lease agreement. For the time being you can catch us at our new (again) mailing address: PO BOX 426 Golden, CO 80402!