BETA PHOTO: Map of the bouldering areas in Alderfer/Three Sist...
The Alderfer/ Three Sisters Park is part of Jefferson County Open Space and is home to some quality bouldering in a very beautiful setting. The area is situated in a well-covered pine forest and is home to a lot of wildlife that like to stroll through the area. Besides having some excellent granite quartz blocks to work on, the park also has some great hiking, mountain biking, and sightseeing opportunities. While the ease of access makes it prime for bouldering, it does bring out a lot of crowds to the trails; however, as far as bouldering goes it remains a relatively quite area. It is helpful to pick-up a map at the trailheads as the area is overrun with numerous trails and can be confusing if not paying close attention.
Hopefully many more areas and obscure problems will be added to these pages as the development opportunities seem to be great.
Colorado Bouldering 2 by Philip Benningfield and Bouldering Colorado by Bob Horan are a good starting place, however only offer a minimal amount of information compared to what has been uploaded to Mountain Project.
NOTE: Climbing of any sort is not allowed in the neighboring Dedisse Denver Mountain Park located NW of Three Sisters.
From Denver Area: take the city of Morrison exit (off of C-470) and follow CO Highway 74 until the city of Evergreen. Once you reach the downtown district in Evergreen look for a stoplight at the end of the shopping strip and take a slight left onto CO Highway 73. Take CO Hwy 73 for a little less then a half-mile then take a right at another stoplight at Buffalo Park Road, take this (heading more west) onto the weird turnoff. Follow this road pass a school and you will come across the Park.
The first parking lot on the right accesses several areas including the Eggs, Energy Crag, Work and Play Area, Brother's Wall, and others. However the first parking lot is most likely full on busy weekends and hiking from the other lot will take about 10-15 mins extra.
The second lot is much larger and is in the open field. Park here for all areas around Gilligan's island, Pirate Cove, and several other smaller areas.
Note that it is only a 10 minute hike from parking lot to parking lot and that you can access any area in the park relatively easy from either lot if you just hike a few extra minutes (usually on flat trails).
Drive time is 20-25 minutes from Morrison.
Suggestions for New Visitors
Three Sisters is essentially broken into two areas which are the East Section and the West Section. It may appear on a map that these areas are spread-out, however everything is much closer to each other then you realize.
The East section you would park in the first small lot. Parking fills up quick on weekends (hiker's MTB's). Most boulders are in a shady pine forest. First time visitors would want to check out: --- The Eggs (very easy to find, mix of easy to hard problems) --- Work and Play Area (great mix of moderates) --- Brother's Lookout (for more HB and harder climbs) --- Energy Crag and the Pass are really good but much harder to locate. Other Areas offer variety but the above three are the gems.
The West section you would park in the large lot in the open field. Much better landscape views from here and a number of boulders tend to be in direct sunlight. First time visitors will want to check out: --- Gilligan's Island is the large rock mass in the middle of the field and has quality easy and moderate problems around the base --- Pirate's Cove right next to Gilligan's is a great overhung piece of rock --- Tortuga houses several hard classics and variety across a much larger area.
Video's of Three Sisters
Here are a couple of video's highlighting a few of the park's gems:
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Alderfer/Three Sisters Park:
A great problem. Powerful crimp and technical sloper climbing to the right and around the corner of the Elephant's Trunk problem. Starting down low in a scoop with a sloping crimp rail move up and left towards the Elephant's Trunk. When the rail runs out to the last small right hand crimp you must toss left to a poor sloper with a ripple of texture. Next heel hook on the sloping rail with your right foot and pull your body in tight as you move up with your right han...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
I am going to be near Three Sisters Park, and I would like to do some bouldering in there. If any one knows anything about bouldering or a guidebook that includes Three Sisters Park, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
Hi Henry, I helped develop several areas around Alderfer/Three Sisters approx. 5 to 10 years ago. Colorado Bouldering II does a poor job of covering this area. I suggest a great left to right traverse on the back (north) side of the third sister. It is called THC and it is perhaps V4 The Energy Crag has several high quality lines.
Myself and many others help add to the development of this wonderful place and feel that it is getting very poor coverage in the recent bouldering guidebooks. The best lines and boulders are not really even in these books. The stuff show is just the most easy to find. This place is cramped with great stuff. It's just to bad the area is getting the short stick at the moment.
I've been trying to do my part (with the documentation). I lack motivation though as I don't really like bouldering very much except from time to time. I have more pics to post up, I just haven't cared enough to get around to it.
The area has become more popular and I have run into more people recently then in the past but I don't mind. I figure if it gets bad enough we will just have to start exploring. Thus developing the area to its potential.
Hey Luke, not to be a jerk. But if you really feel the way you say you do, then maybe you should help me out with the documentation here online at least. I would be down to shoot the pics, if you're down to show me the goods.
Hey Darth, I'm working on getting all my info with photo's posted. And as for the west side of the park, the answer is yes!!!! Loads of problems and some very nice ones at that. I would love to meet up and do some climbing with you or any one that wants to see more of the area. So far, not even half or maybe even less of all the lines known to me have been posted or shown on Mountain Project. There is much more and I would love to share it with those who seek it as I once did. Thanks.
Hey everyone, I just added some new route info about a new undisclosed wall. It's hard to find but I have done my best.
It's call "The Subterranean Wall." This wall is mostly super high ball climbing but there are a few really nice lines that will be worth your time. I reported six new lines. I know of a few more on this wall that I will post at a latter date when I have better info on them.
Thought I would let everyone know. I just posted a new area called Gilligan's Island. I still have five more problems to post and a load of photo beta to download, but you can go check them out now!! I think I have got 16 new lines posted. They range from V0 to V9. Let me know what you guys think. If you have any questions just contact me though email. Thanks..
I haven't been up there for several years now. I used to climb at Alderfers/Three Sisters very regularly when I lived in Morrison. I'm glad the place is finally getting the attention and appreciation I've always thought it deserved.
Hey Tom, It's cool to see the Sisters start to come to life as a bouldering destination. I have always had a deep love for this area. When I first started climbing at the Sisters back in 1999 I hardly went any where else for the next 3-4 years.
I just love the landscape and the joy of always finding new problems and new boulders. It's crazy, but after the intense amount of time I have spent working the Sisters over the years I still know where new lines lay in wait. This place seems to be endless sometimes and that is what I love about it.
If you have any info that I don't get around to covering or any F.A.'s that were already done etc. or really any thing at all just let me know. If you ever want to go climbing at the Sisters some time it would be my honor to boulder with another that shares my passion for this wonderful park. Take care and I hope to hear from you soon.
Luke, thanks for all the work, this really is a surprisingly amazing and beautiful place. I'm surprised at the amount of solitude you get, even when the parking lot is full. There are some really nice problems here, too.
Something that probably should have been posted for this area a while ago. I thought about it, but never really gave it much an effort at passing the info along although some of the rangers probably could have done a better job of it. This is with respect to sport climbs.
Fixed pro in this area is outside of the permissible uses for the mgt plan for this park, which this PMP is probably still being a working draft. There are some small crags that have a few TR anchors, but these are basically considered grandfathered mostly so the kiddies can also come and enjoy some climbs.
As far as trying to develop some short sporty climbs here, just forgo the idea and keep it with trad gear/clean natural anchors.
I would agree, this is predominantly a bouldering area, and there really isn't anything quality or tall enough to warrant establishing any fixed protection anyway.... Leave the gear at home and bring the pads.
If there's no need for bolts on the wisdom wall, there's no need for bolts anywhere in the park, just bring pads and your high-ball balls!!!
I agree with many others. This is a bouldering destination. Yes there are some route potential, but it very limited and not worth the park getting closed to climbing because of a bunch of drills going off. Stick to (TR's) of clean gear routes. Keep the impact low and let's all try to remember to clean our tick marks off our beloved boulders when we are done with our day session.
I put out as much info as I did not to make the area get over killed but to let others enjoy what I have gotten to enjoy over the past 11 years. So, let's all enjoy the area... lightly.... Thanks.
Buff's post is rather timely as we just removed 29 hangers from a rock off of Evergreen Mountain East Trail. Unfortunately only 6 of the bolts were removable Rawl bolts. The rest are still in the rock, though not visible from the trail. I have a handful of projects on my plate coming into the slower fall and winter season; one of those being an update of the Jefferson County Climbing Management Guidelines. I plan to add Alderfer to the packet so that information pertaining to this park is more accessible.
-Mike Morin, Park Ranger, Jefferson County Open Space
I heard that there were a lot of bull dozers in the area and heavy equipment, what's up with that? If there was a lot of heavy construction, it would seem to be incongruent with so much concern over climbing activity.
Hey thanks Bob, It's nice to be appreciated for the work and effort that one puts into his work. As you well know... finding, cleaning, documenting and all around exploring can be crazy biz at times. So, thanks for your kind words.
By the way... some of the new stuff you have been finding and posting over in Boulder Canyon looks so good man. We should get out some time Bob. A day with you would be supper cool man. Let me know if you ever want to go bouldering or do some roped climbing... whatever... we should meet in person and do some climbing together some day.
After a miserable attempt to find The Energy Crag in the beginning of the day, the second attempt was fruitful but still a but troublesome. So it's either A) The Energy Crag is that hard to find or B) I'm a dumb ass. In either case to help fellow climbers who are as retarded as I; I added a few cairns on the way up to help point in the general direction. Just find one of them next to the Sister's Trail about 100 yards before you hit the Fawn/Sisters fork follow up the ravine and keep heading up the mountain to the right when you see them. Hope this helps out any other "confused" climbers....
The Energy Crag is extremely hard to find for the first time. It is nowhere near any trails and the trail leading to it is not very recognizable. Take the Sisters Trail from the east lot, and about 500' before the intersection of the Sisters Trail and the Dedisse Trail, turn left and head uphill left of the rock formation. I know this description is vague, but its hard to explain....
I really have to discourage the placing of cairns to mark trails to bouldering areas. The best thing we can do when approaching different areas is not take the same route over and over. The development of "social trails" is definitely a concern at this park.
I'm not for or against cairns, but wouldn't it be better and less impact for people to pack down one social trail rather than a free for all up the hill? Seems better to funnel traffic and keep the rest of the land untouched, but I could be very un-educated in trail maintenance. Regardless, I'm sure Jeffco is keeping a close eye on climbers' impact. We are lucky to be able to boulder in such a beautiful setting, please help minimize impact and please brush off your tick marks. No hiker wants to see your sick proj, bra.
By Monomaniac Administrator From: Morrison, CO Jun 8, 2010
While I personally agree with Monty, I believe Mike is a JeffCo Open Space Ranger, so I recommend that we follow his advice.
At this point, I don't believe these areas are getting so much traffic that the lack of a designated trail will result in multiple social trails.
The idea behind dispersed use is that you won't get the soil compaction and vegetation trampling that leads to evident trails. To be a successful strategy folks need to pick different lines when they approach an area. As use increases and if impacts are noticed a different strategy may be in order, but at present time this is what I would suggest. Not to mention once you establish a trail you'll have all sorts of folks wandering up to hidden places like the Energy Crag, which to me would diminish its charm a bit.
FWIW, my view is that "dispersed use" is not going to work with just about any reasonably accessible climbing area on the Front Range these days. Braided social trails and erosion due to damaged vegetation are going to be the result. Settle on the lowest impact approach, mark it and encourage people to stay on it.
Damn... I didn't think me setting up cairns was such a big deal and would of sparked such a debate. My logic is right in line with Monty's. I would of figured one social trail is better than everyone free for alling it up the mountain side. Also, for the fact that The Energy Crag is hard to find the first time, the people who are persistent are going to free for all it multiple times up the mountain till they find it so instead they have a general path/direction to follow to find it. IMHO also I don't believe The Energy Crag is a hidden place... if it was it wouldn't of been posted on MP in the first place with directions to get there.... In any case, if my cairns offended anyone... I apologize... just trying to help out a little bit....
Hey, I left my watch at the cave that's just past The Pearl. It's not real fancy, but I'd love it back, I don't know the next time I'm gonna be up there. If you see it please let me know, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Much obliged. Also I'm trying to work the crack going out the roof on the left side, wondering if anyone has done it/knows anything about it?