Glacier Gorge Rock Climbing
Long's, Pagoda, and Chiefshead from Arrowhead.
The west slope of Long's Peak drops 3000 feet into a rugged basin at the head of Glacier Gorge known as the Black Lake Cirque. Some of the most impressive walls and spires in Rocky Mountain National Park are found here towering above fields of wild flowers, ice-scoured slabs and jewel-like lakes comprising an alpine paradise of exceptional beauty (except for the mosquitoes). The rim of Glacier Gorge is formed by Half Mountain, Storm Peak and Long's Peak on the east; Keyboard of the Winds, Pagoda Mountain and Chief's Head Peak on the south; and by McHenry's Peak, Powell Peak and Thatchtop Mountain on the west. Spearhead and Arrowhead are satellite or island peaks within the rim of the gorge.
Begin from the Glacier Gorge Bus Stop (Trailhead) and follow the Glacier Gorge Trail to Black Lake. A useful shortcut branches right from the main trail just after the 4th stream crossing (about .55 mile) and regains the main trail just east of the Loch Vale Junction. As soon as you cross the log bridge over Icy Brook, you are in Glacier Gorge. This great trail continues to Mills Lake, Jewel Lake and eventually to Black Lake. From Black Lake the trail climbs along a beautiful cascade SE into the basin above Black Lake. From here, cairns indicate the line of least resistance into the upper cirque.
There is also a steep path that leads to Shelf Lake and Solitude Lake. This trail (never built) breaks right from the Glacier Gorge Trail after about 4 miles in some old avalanche debris. Cross Glacier Creek on large flat boulders and the find the start to the trail in the trees. This is less than obvious.
Weather station 7.3 miles from here
65 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',11],['3 Stars',24],['2 Stars',22],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',1]
Classic Climbing Routes in Glacier Gorge
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Glacier Gorge
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Glacier Gorge:
Featured Route For Glacier Gorge
Airhead 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a CO
: Alpine Rock
: ... : Arrowhead
It's hard to believe that Airhead, which climbs the plumb line dihedral and crack system up the center of Arrowhead's south face, isn't an RMNP mega-classic. Not only is the line itself the most obvious directissima on the wall, but the climbing is really good and the crux pitch is one of the gems of the Park. After approaching via any of the methods listed for Arrowhead, begin climbing from the highest of a series of ledges below the obvious, hanging, left-facing dihedral. This feature is se...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
By Russell Errett
May 31, 2012
An update to Clayton Laramie's post: NPS have only cleared about 100 yards of the 0.5 mile or so, and I would estimate it will take months to get a path cleared through the tree hellscape. It took my buddy and every bit of an hour to negotiate our way through going to spearhead and +2 hrs on the way back on Tuesday (5/29). It is a maze and is difficult to follow any path or lack thereof and nearly impossible by headlamp. We looked at the area from up on the ridge above Black Lake, and it looks like a 0.5 mile crop circle. Craziest thing I have ever seen. Plan accordingly and bring your chainsaw....
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 14, 2012
Per the RMNP Backcountry Office, they finished chainsawing a trail through the deadfall on Glacier Gorge Trail two days ago. Looks like GG is open again!