Critical Information on the hazards of WET ROCK!!!
The PPCA is committed to the preservation of our local resources. Much of our close-in climbing is on
fragile sandstone, which becomes considerably weaker when wet. Especially during our monsoon season
when afternoon storms are common, it is important to use caution and adopt a conservative attitude when
making a decision whether or not to climb. There are plenty of alternatives to climbing on wet sandstone-
please protect our local climbing for future generations.
GEOLOGY FACTS: Because it is porous, sandstone acts as a sponge, and the interior can be moist even
with a dry surface. Water dissolves the salt between sand grains, causing sub-surface mush. Wet rock
can lose up to two thirds of its strength. Because the bone dry surface many be hiding moisture less than
a millimeter below, the rock’s fragility is hard to read.
SIGNS YOU SHOULD NOT CLIMB:
- Saturated ground and/or puddles in the parking lot or trails means the rock is likely too wet to climb.
- Even one wet area on a route is a warning that it should not be climbed.
- 48 hours or more may be needed to dry after rain or snowmelt.
- Look behind flakes and the tops of ledges that collect sand. Is the rock darkened or damp in these
areas? Is the sand damp when you dig into it? If yes, this route needs more time to dry.
ALTERNATIVES: A rock gym, North Cheyenne Canyon, 11 Mile Canyon, Castlewood Canyon State
Park, and Shelf Road.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT DRYING:
- A very light rain lasting hours will saturate the rock more than a 20-minute downpour.
- High humidity
- Lack of wind
- Overcast skies
Questions related to climbing gear, history, technique, geology, or anything of the sort? Email
, we’d love to hear from you! Have some information you’d like to
share with the climbing community? Express your interest in joining the Education Committee today- it’s a
great, low-commitment way to get involved!