Some crags in this area are closed 1 February to 31 July: MORE INFO >>>
The following crags are closed 1 February to 31 July: First Pinnacle (Gregory Canyon) Second Pinnacle (Gregory Canyon) Third Pinnacle (Gregory Canyon) Third Flatiron Queen Anne's Head WC Fields Pinnacle The Ghetto East Ironing Board West Ironing Board The Fin Green Thumb Jaws
BETA PHOTO: This rock is the last pitch (full length pitch). ...
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).
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven:
From the top of Ridge One, traverse right for 30 feet (5.9). Place a #2 Camalot and head for a sharp point out right, then go straight up and over the apex of the large overhang. One can sling the point to reduce the runout and also place a small cam behind a flake at the lip. After pulling the lip, continue to the summit or build an anchor in a horizontal slot just over the lip with large cams....[more]Browse More Classics in CO
Photos of Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven Slideshow
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.
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!