With the blistering summer setting in, the search for a cool shady to spot to climb rises up in the agenda, and Keystone offers one good solution to the relentless heat in the Front Range. While Keystone is not a great "destination spot" overall, it does offer a reasonable range of sport climbs at 10,000 feet elevation and as cool as one is likely to find one hour from Denver. The crags at Keystone are South facing but get good shade for part of the day nonetheless. The rock is alpine granite, quite solid overall, and bolted sport climbs range from 5.9/5.10 to middle 5.12. Several years ago all of the old anchors and tree belays were replaced by double bolt lowering stations, however, some these are cold shuts and should be checked for wear. N.B.: if you top rope, do it through your own draws. All of the routes on the main crags can be done with a 60 meter rope, and while the bulk of the climbing consists of bolted sport routes, there are some cracks also available. The hump up the hill is not too strenuous and when combined with the scenic venue is well worth a day's visit. There are at least a couple of routes with enough chatacter that they should not be missed.
Keystone crags lie just a couple of miles East of Keystone (the town) on the South flank of Porcupine Peak. The most expedient approach is to drive to Dillon and take 6th avenue East to Keystone. After the last shops in town continue East - as though you were headed to A-Basin. A sharp right turn on to Colo 5 will snake you beside the Keystone lodges. Stay on 5 for approximately 1.5 miles and park in a dirt pullout on the left side of the road. Crags will have been visible from the moment you pass the lodges, and the creek will be nearby and on the right. The key is to find the pullout on the left as you head East. If you come to the FR260 fork then you have gone too far. There will be a short embankment at the pullout and room for six or eight cars. Pick up a trail through the woods, on top of the embankment. This will take you up hill for 10 minutes or less to a short talus field and the trail will continue through the woods for another 5 minutes after leaving the talus field. Along the way you will pass a large boulder with two bolted lines on it and the main crag is just a bit ahead. Route numbering starts on the right and sweeps left along the crag.
A nice place to spend a weekend. There's a few trad climbs and decent bouldering, so don't forget a light rack and a bouldering pad. Most of the routes can be toproped, just scamble to the top of the boulders. You can also camp for free (illegally?), but there's no facilities. Filter water from the stream.
There is a guide book for this small area. High Country Crags by Scott Astaldi and Mike Gruber. It was printed in '93 so the newer routes are not in it. I will try to give a brief description of the new routes that I know of:
Haus Rock is a large boulder about 5 minutes up the trail and it has routes from 5.7 to 5.13. The steep side has the hard routes on it, and I think the guide shows all of these as projects.
I am not sure of all the grades or names, but #3 in the guide is CRYSTAL BALL and it goes at 12d. Some call it 12a or 12b.
The easiest route on this side is the right most route on the wall, and it goes at about 5.9+ and it has 5 or 6 bolts on it. You reach the rock by the right fork on the main trail. Someone wrote "You reach the rock by the LEFT fork on the main trail. There is a small cairn - you head slightly up and across a small talus field. If you reach a boulder with 2 bolted lines on it you have missed the fork/cairn and gone too far up the main trail.." The west side of Haus has 3 short rotes on it.
Number 3 in the guide goes at 10b, and it is identified by its webbing anchor and prominent roof that it climbs.
The next route to the left is called THROWIN' THE DROOL AGAIN, and it was put up by PAT and AZENDA THOMPSON IN THE SPRING OF 2000. It has 5 bolts and goes at 11a.
The next route to the left is called Little Haus and it was put up by the Thompsons. It has four bolts and it goes at 10b.
The north (slab) side of Haus has the best concentration of easy routes. I will describe them from right to left.
The first route is called LITTLE SQUIRT and it is another THOMPSON route. It has 3 bolts and it goes at 5.7.
The next route is called THEY CALL ME SHORTY, it is also a Thompson route. It has 4 bolts and it goes at 5.8.
The next route to the left is a 5.11a/b with 6 bolts on it. I do not know the name of this route, but it is excellent.
The next route is a 10d/11a and it has 6 bolts on it. It is also quite good, it is called the SPINE and it was put up by M. MOORE?
The next route is probably the best 5.8 in the county. It is called FEET DO NOT FAIL ME NOW, and it has 8 bolts on it.
The next route not in the guide is called Lichen this, and it is also a THOMPSON route. It goes at 9+ straight over the bulge or 5.8 to the left and it has 7 bolts.
The next route is also fun, and it has a hard start so I give it 5.10. It has 5 bolts, and I do not know FA information on it.
Then, last and least there is a 5.9 top rope at the far right end of the wall.
The HUMMINGBIRD BOULDERS can be reached via the right fork on the main trail. They all have new anchors on top unless some jerk has taken them again. Please leave anchors in place I cannot afford to keep replacing them.
Also, HUMMINGBIRD BOULDER #2 used to have a short but nice route on it, but someone removed the entire route. I asked around but no one was man enough to fess up to it so be careful with new route activity, because it seems as if some of the locals are still stuck in 70s.
The ALPENGLOW WALL is a 15 minute walk up the hill and it is reached via the right fork leading to the Hummingbirds. I think all the routes are in the guide.
The best route there is Chockstone Arete and it is excellent! The first moves on this route are sort of hard, so a stick clip might be nice.
50 yards to the left of Alpenglow is the SATELLITE WALL and it has 3 routes on it. From right to left, they go at 11d ,11d and 11a? These routes are excellent for the 5.11 leader.
There is another crag called the MORNING GLORY WALL up the road and across the river from the 'zuma areas I just described. It is in the guidebook. There are a couple of new routes there and a couple of descent trad lines. I will describe the routes from right to left.
I have not found #3 and 2 in the guide book, but #1 in the guide is a fun trad lead, rack up to a # 3 cam.
The next route left is called MY NEMESIS a.k.a THE WORLD'S HARDEST 10d. I think it goes at about 11c, but I have not redpointed it yet. It was put up by the Thompsons and it has 6 bolts.
The next route is called Butt Licker, and it is also a Thompson route. It goes at about 5.8. It is actually a mixed route that has 4 bolts and small to medium stoppers and TCUs.
The next route is called Changed Man, and it goes at mid 11, if you stay right on the bolts or at about 5.10 A0 for me.
And just to the left of this route is an old trad line that goes at about 5.8. The first piece of gear is in very dubious rock (read rotten), so I use the first 3 bolts of Changed Man and then start placing the gear and it goes up to the same anchors for changed man. Changed Man has 8 bolts on it.
Well, there you have it. Come on up to the cool country, and enjoy a little summer cragging in good ole Summit County. Also, Swan Mountain boulders has some really fun shady bouldering. This area is also in the guide book for directions. If you boulder here, be very, very cautious as the rock is quite chossy but still lots o' fun.
Patrick, why don't you log on the rocks, set up a verbal or pictorial topo for them and get the routes logged in to their appropriate rock? In 1995/1996 I worked with some other lads to add a few FAs and clean up the anchors and would be glad to chip in two cents worth as needed. richard
Just a quick note on this area - the grades seem inflated. John Sore, Lance Hadfield, and I (Matty O) put up a lot of these routes in the mid 90s, and the ratings seemed to have crept up, which only concerns me, b/c it might deter folks from heading up there. I would knock 2 letter grades off all these ratings. That would make them jive with Eldo, the Flatirons, and older Boulder Canyon sport routes. Great place to get out of the heat for sure!!
Sorry for the wrong information on the climb called Butt Licker at the Morning Glory Wall. It is actually a mixed route that has 4 bolts and small to medium stoppers and TCUs. Also, Richard thanks for the advice. I will post the information correctly, as soon as I can find the time.
Great after work climbing area for the Summit County local.The approach to all the walls gives for a nice warm up. Watch for some loose rock on the south side of Haus Rock. One softball sized rock fell from right side nearly fitting me in the head. Bring DEET, the skeeters are big and hungry.
The name of this area should be listed as Montezuma area to avoid confusion. It is refered to by this name in all guide books of the area. All areas are accessible by Montezuma Rd which is the exit after Keystone but before heading up the hill to A-Basin and Loveland Pass.
MONTEZUMA, or "Zuma" as the local dudes and dudettes call it - be cool, call it Zuma. Easy approach and easy to find crags. Some fun climbs, mostly bolted, and well - Haus has some seriously hard routes (12+ to 14. . . ). Summit County Guide (2nd ed.) shows a newer place called "THE SHIRE". It's a shit approach (developer didn't spend 1/2 a second on the trail) with distant I-70 traffic noise (though not bad), and there are only 3 routes (still). Per the 2nd edition guide, route #1 is 10c, feels like sustained 10a/b, and is dirty, but the moves are nice; route #3 is 10a, feels like 10a XX due to the fact that the top two hangers are missing and the fall from the top would beat you something serious. ALSO, the route setter must be on crack, or new, being that the one (and only) belay hanger wasn't even showing threads flush to the nut, AND it is cockeyed as a Siamese. . . Route #2 is just plain death unless you can run 30' on solid 11 with dirty rock; #3 is a nice run, though a bit dirty (I happen to like it that way), and well worth the climbing, but not worth the approach. Whomever is developing needs to be a bit more considerate and responsible - BTY, the FA in this area is the author of the guide. . . not too impressive. . . but then, if you read the guide, with the bad misspellings and typo's and serious consistency issues, you'd understand the connection. Sorry author/developer, but you can do a lot better than that!
Yes, the Snake is quite polluted. A project was started to clean up the area this past summer (2006), but don't count on being able to drink it! It is possible to hike up the river all the way past some really cool old mines and such to Montezuma, and it's an awesome walk if you find that the rock is still wet from rain that fell days beforehand (which happens too often in Summit County).
Apparently there's another guidebook for this and the rest of Summit County climbing. "Summit Climbing Guide" is in the second edition and you can still find it at local shops. It was written by Rick and Laura Karden. I picked mine up in Dillon at Wilderness Sports, but I'm sure most of the local climbing shops carry it. The pics are good but the route beta leaves a bit to be desired. Either way, support the locals and grab one!
Can anyone help me with information on boulders in this area? over the last few years, I've put a lot of scrubbing time in on a few of the main blocks. I was told that these appear in one of the old print guides, which I've never been able to see; however, a few folks who lived in the area cast doubt on whether many of the bouldering lines had actually been done. The amount of cleaning that they required before I climbed them could confirm this, or it may have just been a decade since the first ascents.
Soon, I will post up a few photos and descriptions, but I'd love to talk with first ascentionists or others in the know beforehand.
Please email me directly with an all-capps, conspicuous subject line:
I have begun work on a revision to the Summit Climbing Guide and would appreciate any changes, updates, etc. that you have come across. It has been a while since the Summit Climbing Guide was published and plenty of things have changed. I am aware of some changes, but new routes have been put up, and I don't know who put them up and some are still going up as I type this, so please share the info. If you have any information, please post here.
Hello All, This a quick update on the new routes that I know of in Summit. Sorry for the lack of pertinent details, but I do not have enough time to post the information like I would enjoy doing. Also, sorry for the lack of cleaning on many of these new routes from this year. The monsoonal flow has made it very hard to clean the routes adequately. You can rest assured that I will do my duty to God, my country, and all you pain in my rear route critics to get these routes in tip top shape in the near future!!!
New routes at Morning Glory Wall. Reference Karden's guide 2nd edition. I will start at the upper end -left side of the cliff.
New route # 1 - 8 feet right of NOTHIN' BUTT A THANG. Climb up rounded prow and traverse slightly right to the same roof as "Nothin' Butt A Thang". Pull bulge via fun moves & continue on the slab to anchors. F.A.: Pat Thompson, Chris and Shannon Coney. 6 bolts, 5.7+. We called this route "Nothin' Butt a Rainy Day Thang" as it was quite a misty & slickery on the day when we red pointed the route.
New route #2: 10' right of "Gone Fishin'". Quick note: Gone Fishin' (5.8) is not a bad trad route for Summit County. Also Karden calls route #1 at Morning Glory upper wall in his guidebook Old Trad Crack, it is quite fun also (I THOUGHT IT WAS 5.7, BUT SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE SAID 5.9?). Both of these routes need to have the cracks cleaned out again. I did this many years back but some public service work would make them more enjoyable. O.K. back to new route #2. It climbs up to the big flake, feature left of "Gone Fishin'". Climb a seam (place small gear if needed) to the rounded flake/arete. Lay away the rounded arete and clip bolts out left to the ledge then climb past two more bolts up a fun slab to the anchor. 6 bolts, 5.9+. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson. "The Church of Climbintology".
New route #3 - Just right of previous route is a trad route. Can use gear in seam of the beginning of the previous route. Climb seam & step slightly right. Climb big flake with a finger crack to a prominent roof. Pull roof on the left side and go to the same anchors of Climbintology. Note: Don't' even try to clip the bolts! Place the gear, you sport swanky you! F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson; small to medium gear, "Rico Suave Made Me Do It", 5.9+.
New route #4 - 10' right of previous route. This is an open project, as my feet have failed me several times on this typical grainy Morning Glory thin slab route. Climb the freakin thin slab to an obvious roof. Pull the roof and climb past two bolts to an anchor. 6 bolts. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson, "Slabsters Lament", 10b+?
New route #5 - (10' right of #4)- Climb cracks to a roof passing two bolts. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson; small to medium gear. "Disco Boy", 5.9+.
New route #6 - Another Morning Glory slab fest. Climb obvious, bolted slab & bypass roof on right. F.A.: Pat Thompson & Russ Feilds, 6 bolts, "Amazing Feets of Glory", 5.9+.
New route #7 - 6' to the right of #6 - Climb cracks & face to same anchor as #6. Mixed 4 bolts and gear to #3 Camalot. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson, 5.6. "Ian's Route #2".
Note: Middle Wall in Karden's guide has 3 routes listed on page 26, "Project, Temptation and Project". All 3 routes share an anchor that is not in an optimal spot. If you do these routes, carry very long webbing to avoid ruining your rope. Right most route is quite good for a Summit trad route. I called this route "Chris Wilson Made Me Do It" when I climbed and cleaned it previously. It was probably climbed in the Gone Fishin' days though? It is kind of grainy and funky. Kind of like Chris!!!! 5.8.
New routes - Lower section -Karden's guide. First routes as you hike uphill to climbs.
New route #8 - Obvious bolted arete 4 bolts. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson, "Jerr Bear's Final Lick", 5.11a. Also, can toprope the left overhanging face right under the anchors.
New route #9 - 6' to left of previous (uphill). 4 bolts. Thin moves at bottom (above tree stumps) to bigger holds in a right-facing groove. Can place small TCU or nut if needed between 1st & 2nd bolt. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson, "The Tree Sawga", 5.8+.
New route #10 - 6' left of "Baby Bear Layback". This is an open project. Not sure of the grade and it needs more cleaning. 5 bolts. May call it "Levitation". You will need to drink a Red Bull to get your wings on this. Actually, you may need a Red Bull, a Rock Star, and a banana for some fluidity in order to levitate up this one!
New route #11 - Short trad route to anchor. Small to medium gear. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson, 5.9+, "Ralph Fickel Memorial Route" - we miss and love Ralph & may his legacy live on in his many bold routes that he established.
Also two trad routes have been climbed at the very far right side of the lower Morning Glory. They are 10-15 feet right of There's a Bear. They climb up gritty, blocky, right-facing corners. Enjoy, or not!
Note: Don't cross river on foot bridge as it is private property. The fellow that lives below the cliff is sensitive to our presence while approaching the cliff!!! Wade the river in many of the shallow spots that are available after the high water snow melt has receded. There is also a tyrolean traverse across the river, but my nads are not of the right stature to mount this one. Bring your Tevas, use good judgment, use some not so common sense and use some not so common courtesy!
- Haus Rock- North side/Slab side:
"Napoleon's Syndrome" - Karden calls this 5.9 toprope. Now this short route sports 3 bolts. Climb face to overlap and clip chains. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson, 5.8+.
"Susie Seka's Short yet so Seductive Little Flakey Arete" - 8' right of previous route. Climb easy arete to a height-dependent crux. Clip the same anchor as "Not Lichen This". F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson; 5 bolts, 5.7+.
"Not So Hostile Krainzover" - Climb past bolt to ledge/chimney. Climb onto left-facing groove to same anchor as Hostile Krainzover. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson, 5 bolts, 5.8+.
"Half and Half" - 10' right of "Throwin' the Drool Again". Karden calls this the west edge. This is a mixed route. Bottom half is an old trad route & upper half has 3 bolts on the face to an anchor up high on the slab. F.A. of upper face: Pat & Azenda Thompson - gear up to a #1 Camalot, 5.8.
New route on the right side of the steep side of Haus. 10 feet right of Top Soil. Pretty sure there are 4 or 5 bolts on this. F.A: Tim Toula, 10d/11a.
- Satellite Wall -
"Borgeson's Monster Fuzz Bucket" - Far right side of wall. Start off the ground for a harder start of make it easy using boulder. Clip first bolt and move left onto face via good but hidden holds. Climb up groove to anchors. 6 bolts. F.A.: Pat Thompson & Bill? 5.8.
"Junk Bucket Conda Baby" - Climb techie terrain to the ledge. Climb easy moves off the ledge to a bulge and then climb some very thoughtful moves to the anchors. Throw or crimp???? F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson, 6 bolts, 5.11.
"Luke Spankyburg Made Me Do It" - 15' left of "Junk Bucket". Steepish, technical route to ledge. F.A.: Pat & Azenda Thompson, 5 bolts, 5.11-.
Note: Single bolts to either side "Luke Spankyburg" are for new routes in progress. Stay tuned. Also, on the far left side of the cliff is an obvious roof. Open project with anchors on top. Bring long webbing to work route and gear to keep rope in under roof. These new routes will get bolted soon.
Note-Note: All the Hummingbird Boulders have newer anchors on top of them for T.R. action. Don't miss Crack of Thorns if you just happen to have a small rack while in the area.
Cheers, Pat Thompson
NOTE/NOTE/NOTE: Peter K. and Tim T. a.k.a The Dynamic Duo. Get to work, you new routing maestros!!!The clean (as Peter tells it) rock on Royal is waiting for you two to add some more classics to this wonderful Summit treasure.
From the reading I've done here on Mtn. Proj., it seems that there is at least one guidebook for Montezuma if not two. Can anyone direct me to where I can buy one locally, what the heck they are titled, and who the authors are? (Denver or Keystone en route) It seems that one was written in '93, and there is potentially a second edition of it or another guidebook. I could really use one for my buddy's bachelor party climb/camp trip this June.
By John McNamee Administrator From: Littleton, CO May 11, 2011
I am trying to figure out which route this is we were doing yesterday (video attached) at Haus Rock...far left side, maybe even considered East side. I am thinking Napoleon's Syndrome is the bolted route more directly under the anchors, but we were doing a bolted route more on the corner just a couple of feet to the right of this and sharing the anchors for Napoleon's Syndrome?? Small overhang just before finishing this short route, but balance is tough to start the overhang especially with the rope pulling on you from your left. We kinda decided it was a 5.9+. Can you tell from the video which route this is?
Edit: Ok, now that I have seen all of the beta photos and reread Pat's post on the new routes, I do think this must be "Susie Seka's Short yet so Seductive Little Flakey Arete", only we used the anchors for Napoleon's Syndrome instead of Not Lichen This making the crux much more difficult than 5.7+ or even 5.8. Now I have to get back there to see if using Not Lichen This anchors makes a big difference.