After months of snow and cold, nothing feels better than warm spring sunlight on your skin and stone in your hands. But if the Gallatin is muddy, Practice Rock is leaking snowmelt, and Scorched Earth is a war zone of falling rock, what’s your best option for getting that rock fix? Head south on Highway 89 into Paradise Valley and enjoy one of the finest early-season crags around: Allenspur. This big band of bullet-hard Bighorn Dolomite catches the warm spring sun around 2pm and stays toasty for hours.
If you haven’t pulled down since last fall, it’ll show in a hurry: out of roughly 50 routes, most center around 5.10—and the routes’ quality usually goes up as their difficulty increases. Classic routes include the photogenic jug-haul Flake Fest (10b) and the something-for-everyone Rancho Deluxe (11b). With a little ingenuity, you can rig multiple lines off the same set of anchors, and if you’re really feeling adventurous, some of the routes take gear surprisingly well—bring that trad rack and show the kids how the hardened vets used to rock climb.
Access has been a prickly issue as of late, so please don’t screw it up for everyone. Gracious new landowners have allowed climbers to cross their property to reach the crags that sit on BLM land, so respect their generosity. As the massive bright-red sign on the fence-crossing indicates: don’t bring your dog, don’t pick up or drop off your friends on the highway, and don’t make a mess or a lot of noise. In short, don’t be an idiot. Please. Allenspur has been closed before, so don’t think it can’t happen again.
For more beta, check out Rock Climbs of Southwest Montana or Allenspur Rock Climbs, both available at Northern Lights.