BETA PHOTO: Aiguile De St. Peter beneath stormy skies
It is reluctantly that I describe Saint Peter's Overlook. This is a beautiful area that sees little traffic from climbers, but since Old Stage Road is now an area, it might as well be done right. Use Bob D'Antonio's description in Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak - 1996 and you will get good and lost. It is probably better that way.
Saint Peter's Overlook has climbing on the Aiguille De Saint Peter, the Pearly Gates, the Sanctum, and some shorter climbs at the overlook itself.
There is not a lot of good beta on climbs in this area as very few routes have names or a climbing history that is not passed on except by word of mouth. Usually, it is someone who has climbed there before that introduces another climber to the area.
The rock in this area has to be some of the best in the Colorado Springs area if not the entire state. The Aiguille De Saint Peter has ultra clean granite cracks that vary in width from fingers to offwidth. So, it is much more pleasant and user friendly for gear and hands than say an area like Turkey Rock. The climbing has a very remote feeling to it, but downtown Colorado Springs is plainly visible in the distance. The elevation is about 9500 feet. So, if there is snow on the mountains, don't bother.
Classic routes are the Martyr, about which never a discouraging word has been said, and the Pearly Gates. Plenty of nice, shorter routes are to be found on the Sanctum above. From the Overlook, follow a trail east to the tip of the obvious rocks and some shorter sport and mixed traditional routes can be found.
This area sees a lot of people partying, off-road vehicle and motorcycle yahooing, shooting, and dead, half buried goats can be found beneath the overlook. There even was a meth lab busted in the vicinity in June of 2002. Definitely lock your vehicle and stash all of the valuables. More than likely, nobody will be climbing where you are, but hundreds of vehicles will pass your parked car while driving to and from Cripple Creek. A better diversion than climbing might be to set a little ambush up in the woods. The sound of a cocked shotgun would do wonders for some low life sphincter muscle.
To get to Saint Peter's Overlook, follow signs for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Take Highway 24 west from I-25 to 21st street. Turn left or south on 21st street. Follow that all the way to a T intersection and turn right. Drive past the Broadmoor Hotel and make a left turn at the next street. This is not the fork in the road beside the Broadmoor Hotel, but just a little ways past that point. Follow that street south until the junction with Old Stage Road. Turn right and go uphill on Old Stage Road. Eventually the road will turn to dirt. This is a very narrow and exciting dirt road. Look out for other people on the road in the many sharp and very blind corners. Follow the dirt road for many miles until Saint Peters Overlook is obvious on the right. Park at the overlook and hike the trail to the east for a short distance until some short routes are reached at the tip of the obvious rocks.
To reach Aiguille De Saint Peter, continue west on Old Stage road for a quarter mile or so. Either park on the right side of the road and locate a faint path leading uphill or park in a larger spot on the left and hike back to the trail leading uphill. This trail can be very hard to locate. It is not marked. Follow the faint trail uphill until it levels out and head right about 45 degrees or so. Continue uphill with rocks closing in on the left and right until it necks down and a drop-off seems to block the way in front of you. This will be the only apparent weakness in the rocks in front of you. There may a cairn at this point. Go through the weakness and head right along a ledge system until you start going downhill. The Sanctum will be on your right. From the bottom of the Sanctum, go downhill until cliffs that drop off in front of you bar the way. You are at the top of the Pearly Gates. Look to the right and locate a large pinnacle of rock that sticks up in the air. The Martyr is located on the opposite side of the pinnacle from where you are. Continue to work across the slope to the right, crossing a gully, until you are past the obvious pinnacle. Go downhill, with the pinnacle on your left until you reach the base. You are now at the base of the Martyr. It is best to leave your pack and spare gear at the top before hiking down to the base. You don't want to have to hike back down again and then back up just to claim your gear. From the complex directions, you can see why it is best to have someone who has been there before show you around.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Saint Peter's Overlook:
Pearly Gates is the namesake route on the Pearly Gates formation. This formation is a very attractive 250' long slab just west of the Aiguille de St. Peter (The Martyr) and is clearly visible from its summit.The (two) climbs on this slab start from a bolted belay on a ledge about 75' off the ground and are best approached by scrambling down the gully just West of the Aiguille de St. Peter. As you're heading down, head left around onto the face as soon as you are able and you'll see this ledge....[more]Browse More Classics in CO