This is a small crag compared to others in this general area, but it is the highest in elevation. This rock forms a summit cap on the Western ridge above the North side of Fern Canyon. From the top, you look back on a nice view down into town and to the West into the mountains. The angle from which you view all the other crags is almost disorienting.
The rock here is generally compact smooth and solid, with one notable exception (Almond Joy, 5.8+) and is given to slab and face climbing. The non east-face routes here range in height from 30' to 70' and in difficulty from 5.3 to 5.13.
The south face gets sun most of the day, and the West face in the afternoon.
To descend this rock, downclimb about 1/2 way down the East face on the South end to a point where it is possible to step left around a corner and onto the ground, or climb to reach the anchors on one of the several sport routes and rap off.
Head up the Fern Canyon trail passing Fern Canyon and the Nebel Horn Ridge, eventually arriving at a flat "pass" with loose gravel as a base (very little soil) and braided trails. To the right (North) there is a stubby-looking summit tower, and this is the Mars Block. You are looking at the shortest face, the South. The harder climbing is all on the West side, the easier climbing faces you on one of the two south-facing aspects, and the tallest stuff is only revealed by walking under it to the West.
This is a care-free romp up solid, incut edges from the bottom to the top. The holds are not very visible from below but surprise you one after another with how large and positive they are. This is the easiest route up Mars Block and protects reasonably from good stances. This might even be a good beginner lead if it were not for the difficulty of setting a solid anchor up top for the belay....[more]Browse More Classics in CO