Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven Rock Climbing
Heaven from the SW (I think).
This is the first major ridge ascending out of Skunk Canyon on the right (north) side. Quality of the rock is very good--perhaps slightly better than "average" Flatiron rock. Routes range from the classic 1000'+ slab and ridge climb called Stairway to Heaven (5.2-ish, but mostly 3rd/4th class) to the enjoyable Love (5.4) and Better Than Love (5.5) on the west side of the rock, to the massively overhanging Guardian (5.12).
The rock gets few visitors, but the Colorado Mountain Club occasionally climbs Stairway to Heaven with groups of 10 climbers or more. Other than those times, it is a quiet and beautiful place to climb. Views of Satan's Slab [on Ridge Two] to the west, particularly from Better Than Love, are stunning.
[Ridge One] is notable in that it is the only ridge in Skunk Canyon that DOES NOT close for raptor nesting.
From the NCAR trailhead, hike to the Mesa Trail, go north, and cross the Skunk Canyon creek. Continue steeply up a few switchbacks until you can see a faint trail heading into the canyon. You may have to climb over or around a log fence to reach the trail. If you reach the point where the Mesa Trail flattens out and heads east out of the canyon, you went too far (but not by much).
Climbing Season For the Skunk Canyon area.
Weather station 3.2 miles from here
19 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',8],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven:
Love 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad, 3 pitches
Featured Route For Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven
Better than Love 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a CO
: ... : Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
This route begins in the same place as "Love". See the description for that route to locate the start. Crank the entrance move to get onto the rock. After you reach a large ledge about 15' up, instead of moving up and right into the large dihedral (Love), move up and left.The exact line of this route was not clear to us. If you move far enough left you run into a clean arete, and we climbed this to the ridge. I believe you can also climb the face right of this aret...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
BETA PHOTO: Looking back at the route from the summit pinnacle...
BETA PHOTO: This rock is the last pitch (full length pitch). ...
Typical climbing on Ridge One (Stairway To Heaven)...
The start of In God We Trust, 10 X.
By Jeremy Hakes
From: Golden, Colorado
Oct 15, 2006
A good, clean & fun climb. Decent pro. We watched a bear move around with some deer remains from the summit - evidently the "Bear Area" signs are accurate. We exited to the east of the ridge, hiked down and slightly east and found a decent climbers trail to hike out on.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 12, 2011
We were visited by a mountain lion yesterday while packing up at the base of Stairway to Heaven. Although it is only a few hundred yards off the Mesa Trail, the base of this climb seems remote and seldom visited. I'm sure the healthy crop of poison ivy keeps people out. The poison ivy in Skunk Canyon is really bad right now!
By Mark E Dixon
From: Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 20, 2015
The Mesa Trail has been rerouted a bit. After crossing the stream, you will have two quick short switchbacks, then a longer leg to a sharp right turning switchback. There's a big tree and several nice sitting rocks on a flat platform. Go past this spot and into Skunk Canyon. On the way to Ridge 1, it seems better to follow the trail on the south side of the creek until you are nearly below the ridge.