Sailing Hawks is the centerpiece of the Durango bouldering experience. The sandstone boulders can be climbed all year; in fact, some of the best sending conditions are in winter.
Located 10 minutes from downtown Durango, there are an abundance of boulders, and a few obscure roped climbs. The parking lot is easy to find, and the Warm Up boulder is a good starting point, about a 15-minute hike from the parking lot.
There’s plenty of problems from V0 to V12 though the quality really starts to get good at V5. After some time is spent getting to know the area a stellar circuit can be developed. The Euro boulder is not to be missed, with a long traverse and some brave and eloquent highballs.
The guide Durango Bouldering by Ian Alison is an excellent book that covers most of the bouldering in the greater Durango area. (www.durangobouldering.com)
What Makes It Great
Sailing Hawks is the bouldering area everyone wants in their backyard. It’s nestled in a forest of pine trees, and the climbing season is basically year round. The sandstone climbs incredibly well, especially when sending temps exist. It’s never too crowded, and if your favorite problem is already taken, the locals are usually friendly enough to share pads for a session.
The ultra classic problems make this an area that never gets old. The Euro boulder alone is enough for a super solid workout as it offers a 70-foot traverse on one side that can pump out even the strongest boulderer during an afterwork session.
Since the boulders are erratically placed all over the forest, there’s a certain charm and process to discovering each and every area. It’s like a rabbit hole, when you start to get impressed by one area, you find another and another. The possibilities here are virtually limitless, and certainly not a place that is easily or ever “climbed out”.
Who is Going to Love It
Sailing Hawks beautifully caters to both ends of the bouldering experience: having some solitude in the forest for a nice solo session or going out with your best crew with tons of pads to work on your project. There’s so many boulders and areas that the user can easily have whatever experience they would like.
Those who enjoy overhanging problems and highballs will really love Sailing Hawks. When the friction is good, this place is magical. The climbs with slopers, pinches, gastons, and crimps, all become a little more accessible and doable when the temps drop.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
This area is really easy to get to. From downtown head on Main Ave. then turn left on 25th St., which eventually turns into Junction Creek. Just past Birket St. on your right there is a parking lot, which fits around 20 vehicles. There’s a permanently closed gate that leads to a dirt road that you hike up. When that road curves significantly right, take a single track trail up a hill. You’ll meet the dirt road again and take another single track trail up a hill that eventually leads to the Warm Up boulder, a good starting point of reference.