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Cathedral Spires Area

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Angle Iron Slabs 
Bishop, The 
Block Tower 
Chicken Boulder 
Cynical Pinnacle 
Dome, The 
Hall of Mirrors 
Little Dome, The 
Miscellaneous Crags 
Poe Buttress 
Snake Buttress 
Sunshine Wall 

Cathedral Spires Area  


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Location: 39.413, -105.2673 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 601,508
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: John McNamee on Feb 17, 2006
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Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>

Description 

The Cathedral Spires are a majestic collection of several outstanding rock features, including Cynical Pinnacle, Sunshine Wall, The Bishop and The Dome.

If you like multipitch traditional crack climbing, then you will enjoy climbing here. There are many too many 3 star routes to list here. Center Route on Cynical Pinnacle perhaps the best 3 pitch 5.9 in the state.

Allow about an hour from the parking lot to reach the base of the climbs. Bring two ropes and lots of cams.

The Cathedral Spires are typically closed from March 1 to July 31 for raptor nesting. Please read Seasonal Raptor Closures above for more details.

Getting There 

Take Hampden Road (US 285), west of Denver past Conifer to Pine Junction, and turn left (South) at the traffic lights by a gas station. This is 126 Rd, and it leads to all the areas.

To get to Cathedral Spires, turn left off of 126 Rd at 96 Rd. There is an old school convenience store, keep driving until you see the Cynical Pinnacle which is probably the best landmark. You can't miss it. It can be seen from the interection at 96 Rd, and 126 Rd, and is a big spire that looks like a phallacy.

You can also turn South off US 285 on Foxton Rd, just W of Conifer/before & E of Pine Junction. Follow it until the T at Platte River Rd. Head W (right) until you are below the spires.

Park at the pullout directly beneath the spire, and hike straight up to the Spires for about 1200 feet. The track is generally pretty good although it's eroded in places.

Climbing Season



Weather station 5.3 miles from here

112 Total Routes

['4 Stars',16],['3 Stars',35],['2 Stars',41],['1 Star',20],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',1],['5.7',4],['5.8',6],['5.9',19],['5.10',43],['5.11',27],['5.12',12],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Cathedral Spires Area:
Ellingwood Chimney   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches   The Bishop
Bishop Jaggers   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 250'   The Dome
Turkey Foot Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad   Sunshine Wall
Center Route   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Cynical Pinnacle
Bolts to Somewhere   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   The Dome
Topographical Oceans   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 250'   The Dome
Equinox   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   Sunshine Wall
The Maelstrom   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   Poe Buttress
Standard Route   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c R     Trad, 5 pitches, 400'   Sunshine Wall
Turf Spreader   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   Cynical Pinnacle
Edge of Fright   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c R     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Poe Buttress
Wunsch's Dihedral   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 4 pitches   Cynical Pinnacle
Craftwork   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   The Bishop
Rising Crescendo   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a R     Trad, 2 pitches, 175'   Cynical Pinnacle
Mississippi Half-Step   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad   Poe Buttress
Arch Nemesis   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Sunshine Wall
Bad Ju-Ju Roof   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Miscellaneous Crags
Bishop Crack   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch   The Bishop
Far Reaches   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Sunshine Wall
Brothers in Arms   5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch   Poe Buttress
Browse More Classics in Cathedral Spires Area

Featured Route For Cathedral Spires Area
Shane Zentner on pitch one.

Bishop Jaggers 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  CO : South Platte : ... : The Dome
The Dome's historic ultra classic. There is mandatory excitement around the roof on the 2nd pitch (as described here) - no way to dog this one. Start near the center of the face at an obvious easy crack.P1: Climb the crack (5.5, gear) to its top [optional belay], then friction up to join Topographical Oceans for the first three bolts of its second pitch (5.9). Veer left, then climb up and right to a belay at an arch.P2: Climb right around the arch-roof (5.9) with courage, then follo...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Local Information for Cathedral Spires Area
Photos of Cathedral Spires Area Slideshow Add Photo
Nice day today was
Nice day today was
Foggy day on Cynical Pinnacle.
Foggy day on Cynical Pinnacle.
William Henry Jackson photo of Cathedral Spires ci...
William Henry Jackson photo of Cathedral Spires ci...
Cathedral Spires.
Cathedral Spires.
Cynical as seen from Block Tower.
Cynical as seen from Block Tower.
Cathedral Spires from the summit of Chair Rock.
Cathedral Spires from the summit of Chair Rock.
The Dome and Cathedral Spires from the saddle betw...
The Dome and Cathedral Spires from the saddle betw...
Cathedral Spires from the river.
Cathedral Spires from the river.
Cathedral Spires and Cynical Pinnacle from above t...
Cathedral Spires and Cynical Pinnacle from above t...
A beautiful place to climb.
A beautiful place to climb.
2012 updated Seasonal Raptor Closure information.
BETA PHOTO: 2012 updated Seasonal Raptor Closure information.
Poop Slabs, Cathedral Spires. Oct. 25, 2005.
BETA PHOTO: Poop Slabs, Cathedral Spires. Oct. 25, 2005.
Cathedral Spires Raptor Closure, as of May 14, 201...
BETA PHOTO: Cathedral Spires Raptor Closure, as of May 14, 201...
Close up view of Cynacle Pinnacle, Cathedral Spire...
BETA PHOTO: Close up view of Cynacle Pinnacle, Cathedral Spire...
Cynical Pinnacle area from the Dome.
Cynical Pinnacle area from the Dome.
Bad JUJU Formation Cathedral Spires Oct 25, 2005
BETA PHOTO: Bad JUJU Formation Cathedral Spires Oct 25, 2005
CYNICAL PINNACLE
CYNICAL PINNACLE
SPlatte Baby!!!  A great October day at the Spires...
SPlatte Baby!!! A great October day at the Spires...
Brian Dodek on the top of the Pinnacle.  Cathedral...
Brian Dodek on the top of the Pinnacle. Cathedral...
Cynical Pinnacle. Photo by Blitzo.
Cynical Pinnacle. Photo by Blitzo.
Looking toward Top of The World hiking down from S...
Looking toward Top of The World hiking down from S...
The Bishop, early morning light, June 1985.
The Bishop, early morning light, June 1985.

Comments on Cathedral Spires Area Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 7, 2013
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Mar 12, 2002
Please note that the Cathedral Spires close for Perigrine Falcons between March, and July....
By Ken Trout
From: Golden, CO
Dec 30, 2007
I've quit the Access Fund, because they won't lobby against this unusually large closure. This closure goes way beyond the immediate area of the nest. The justification for it is sci-fi, dreamed up by creeps who just plain hate climbers.

Bushies just love this crap, because it plays to their anti-conservation and ant-public-land fear mongering. How good is that for peregrines?
By Christopher Marks
From: okc
Dec 19, 2008
Can Cynical Pinnacle be accessed during winter or is there too much snow?
By Mike Morin
From: On the Road
Dec 19, 2008
With its south-facing aspect the approach to Cynical Pinnacle can generally be done year round with little snow.
By slim
Administrator
Dec 19, 2008
Minus the 6 months that it is closed for raptor nesting....
By Mike Morin
From: On the Road
Dec 20, 2008
Let's not get carried away. It's actually 5 months.
By slim
Administrator
Dec 22, 2008
Sorry, I can never remember if it closes at the end of January or the end of February. In any case, it's kind of a bummer.
By Christopher Marks
From: okc
Dec 22, 2008
Thanks guys. Hopefully we'll get a nice day in early January to go do the center route. Otherwise, we'll have to hit the slopes.
By Chris Perkins
From: Avon, Colorado
Nov 3, 2009
To Ken Trout:

Please do not climb at ANY area that the Access Fund has helped maintain access to or purchased to preserve climbing. Please let me know what area you have preserved and I will not climb there. I could go on about how dumb your statement is but will refrain.
By Kevin Stricker
From: Evergreen, CO
Nov 4, 2009
Chris,
Good job defending your friends at the Access Fund. If you had read Ken's post more closely you would realize his comments were directed at Jeffco Open Space, not the Access Fund.

Could you enlighten us with information on any traditional crags on the Front Range (or Colorado even) that the Access Fund has helped preserve access to? I too am disillusioned by their lack of local involvement. Can you imagine the entire Eldorado Canyon being closed for 5 months for the possibility of a single nesting raptor?

I hope you realize that Ken is one of the leading figures in establishing routes on the Colorado Front Range. He was running it out above 1/4" button heads while you where still in grade school. I am guessing you have probably enjoyed several of his routes if you have spent any time climbing in the Platte, Clear Creek, or on Mt. Evans.
By slim
Administrator
Nov 5, 2009
Ditto what Kevin said. In the Front Range area, it seems like the AF only chases after the popular grid bolted sport areas. I don't feel I really get much out of it.
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Nov 5, 2009
As someone who was involved in access issues for the Access Fund in the past I'd like to add some information that may not be widely known. Back in the mid-'90s JeffCo acquired the spires and the Dome from BLM, basically because BLM didn't want to deal with the isolated parcels and Jeffco was very zealous in getting their hands on anything that was or could be used for peregrine nesting. How that relates to JeffCo Open Space's basic mission is a bit unclear.

JeffCo originally intended to close the area completely. Their premise was that there wasn't legal access to the isolated parcels of land, ostensibly even for them, so they sure couldn't let the public (climbers) in there. According to Jeffco you had to either cross Denver Water Board or private land and that was not allowed. I was able to work with DWB and confirm that they allow the public to cross their lands on foot and defeated that attempt by JeffCo to make Cathedral Spires another private biology park for JeffCo and their friends from Colorado State University.

The raptor closure is clearly excessive, the Dome has to be at least a mile from the nest across the valley and certainly no closer than the road which remains open. The Access Fund has worked to address excessive raptor closures through the best avenue, challenging the baseless science, primarily through the work of Rob Ramey. Some land managers are more reasonable than others, so that's why efforts in this area have lagged and other areas have seen substantial progress.

Despite your preferred style of climbing it is important to realize that baseless or excessive closures of climbing areas of one type (sport or trad) inevitably affect the other. The Access Fund does a great job of working to open climbing areas of all types and is more successful in some cases than others. While it may be frustrating that certain areas aren't as open as they should be, recognize that it may not be for lack of effort. I'm sure that the Access Fund could use any help that anyone was willing to put forth.
By Kevin Stricker
From: Evergreen, CO
Nov 5, 2009
Hey Todd,
Thanks for the history lesson, it is good to hear the AC is trying to help out. I guess I just never hear of any of their attempts in the Platte. I appreciate that they do help in more popular areas, but it would seem that an area like the Spires with some very historical routes (Bishops Crack, Ellingwood Chimney, and Wunsch's Dihedral) that we would hear more about their efforts. Can you give us any details of their involvement in attempting to get access back into Sphinx or Squat Rocks? Any attempts to open climbing in Denver Mountain Park land, or Ralston Buttes? Road or trail improvements at Turkey Rocks? Trail improvements in ANY S. Platte crag? Are these areas just too low of a priority to warrant any attention?

I am sure you are aware that JeffCo has been promising trail improvements on the approaches to the Cynical Pinnacle and Sunshine Wall for the last several years. I am guessing they just do not have the funding to make this happen. Maybe I would feel differently if I saw that the Access Fund had at least made an attempt to assist JeffCo in this project vs making another trail improvement at Shelf Road or N. Table. As it is currently, it seems to me that the Access Fund is more of a organization catering to the masses VS attempting to maintain access to historically significant climbing areas. I hope that you can help change that impression.

Thanks,

Kevin Stricker
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Nov 5, 2009
Kevin,

Although I am no longer an official regional coordinator for the Access Fund, I think I can certainly say that the Access Fund placed a high priority on South Platte issues in the past and probably still does. I'll do some checking and see what is currently going on inside the Access Fund on South Platte activities.

I was personally involved in a number of projects too numerous to list and many I've probably forgotten related to various South Platte areas. Some of the issues were really tough, like unfriendly land owners, etc. Certainly Cyn Pin and other areas aren't just at the top of the priority list due to their historical significance, but because of the sheer quality of the climbing to be had there. The thing that makes the Platte in general a challenge is the widely dispersed nature of many of the climbing areas and the distance to some of them from the road. It is a bit easier to get a volunteer trail crew together for 1/4 mile of Shelf trail than it would be for several miles of trail in the Platte, especially if there were land ownership and environmental regulatory hurdles. I'll do some checking to see what's going on these days and let you know.
By Mike Morin
From: On the Road
Nov 5, 2009
I wanted to take a moment to chime in here and express some optimism for the future in regards to the Spires. Although slow I think that we will start to see positive change at the Spires in the coming years. In regards to the approaches to the Sunshine Wall and Cynical Pinnacle I know that the Open Space Trails Crew has been out looking at them in the past month and have been documenting the locations and I'm sure the condition of the trails. The soils at the Spires pose a daunting challenge for them, but they are a creative bunch. I'm not even going to speculate on the closure issue not knowing for sure what that might look like in the future.

I think the future is bright for climbers that love this crag. For my part I pass along the concerns I hear in the field to the folks in Golden whenever I have the opportunity. If you ever see me at the Spires or any crag for that matter please feel free to bend my ear, I'd love the opportunity to chat.

Mike Morin
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Nov 5, 2009
Slim said: "in the Front Range area, it seems like the AF only chases after the popular grid bolted sport areas. I don't feel I really get much out of it."

That's just plain uninformed. Join and read the newsletter.
The AF had executive level and legal attention directed into the S. Platte just this past spring when there was a buzz about some property in the Splatte opening up around Squat Rock and Sphynx, which are not 'grid bolted sport areas.' As well, if you look at their last big purchase in CO with a regional, it was Mother's Buttress, right?

I'm just sayin'.

Maybe the popular areas seem to get the most attention and support from the public, and create the most Buzz, but the fact is that the AF was involved from everything from wilderness anchors policy to roadless lands travel, to forming the coallition in the Indian Creek, and printing up those nice FOIC brochures with the info and maps.

Thanks for your reconsideration.
And no, I am NOT on the A.F. board- I'm just a dues paying member who sees the value.
By Buff Johnson
Nov 6, 2009
Any chance we're gonna get to beer 30 on this?

No offense, but the AF & DCC aren't proving to be much use for this area. Considering, what, about 6-7 years fighting the somewhat exclusive privatization of public lands through the DMP? Nobody has really gotten anywhere and I bet nothing really will at this point; maybe until someone files a good lawsuit. None of us are ever going to list out inventory for these jokers. I've always felt this issue might be a good precedent setter.

But, I don't feel the Spires are going to go in that direction. Really not much relayed over the past few years in developing the overall guideline plan has been shown to drastically vary in how this area is going to be developed as a park. Nor really any of the other park areas that are listed for that matter; what the guidelines tell you is pretty much what each area is going to offer. Ken has a good point and a lot of people feel the same way; the whole: from the road to the North Pole .. has it ever made any sense?
By slim
Administrator
Nov 6, 2009
Tony, you bring up very good, valid points concerning IC and Unaweep. My point was more or less limited to the Front Range, although I admit that I was being pretty pessimistic.
By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
May 22, 2012
The new comprehensive, color guidebook to the South Platte is available in all the local shops and online at Fixed Pin's website (free shipping). Happy climbing!
By JFisher
Aug 18, 2012
Great day up on Wunsch's on Thursday, 8/16 although my partner was unable to clean a yellow TCU 1/2 way up the 3rd pitch and somehow a purple BD c3 worked its way off my harness and fell (presumably) onto the 1st pitch ledges.... If anybody finds one/both of these, I would be EXTREMELY grateful. Thanks!
By MountainManny
From: Idaho Springs
Mar 5, 2013
Does the seasonal closure include the roadside routes (i.e. The Angle Iron Slab & Friends)...?
By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
Mar 7, 2013
MountainManny, the roadside climbing including Angle Iron Slabs are open during the closure