Sheep Mountain Rock Rock Climbing
BETA PHOTO: Sheep Mountain Rock.
Sheep Mountain Rock is the long south-facing cliff band (350 feet high by 1,500 feet long) located on the north side of the valley about 2 miles from the trailhead, where its low-angled eastern flank can be seen. With an approach longer than any at nearby Lumpy Ridge, routes no more than 4 pitches long, and containing only 10 routes, it's not exactly a hot climbing destination. But its uniqueness, solitude, and two classic routes (Double Fantasy
- 5.10a and Glimmerton Corner
- 5.10b) make the hike in worthwhile, especially if you're looking for a break from Lumpy.
The best descent for all routes is a gully to the west, and although an eastern descent isn't mentioned and I haven't tried it, it may be feasible for routes closer to that side.
There's not exactly a standard approach as there's no trail from the main trail to the rock - not even a faint "climber's trail." But to start with, head west from McGraw Ranch along the Cow Creek Trail as if you're heading to Bridalveil Falls. When the rock is in full view, look around for whatever looks like the best way up. Guidebooks suggest to start heading up at either the Gem Lake junction or just beyond the trail to Rabbit Ears campground. Whether you choose one of these or find a better way, you'll be hiking uphill farther than you would to Sundance - without the benefit of a trail.
A. Double Fantasy
, 10-, 3p, 320', gear.
B. Wuthering Heights, 9 R, 3p, gear.
C. Pennystone Crag, 9+, 3p, gear.
DC. Lamb's Skin, 8, 3p, gear.
E. Gimmerton Corner
, 10, 3p, 350', gear.
F? One of these days, Felix
, 10+, 4p, gear.
G? Stone Pillar, 10, 3p, gear.
H. Himmelfahrt, 10, 4p, gear.
I. Thrushcross Grange, 7, 2-3p, gear.
J. High Road, 0, 2-3p, gear.
Climbing Season For the Estes Park Valley area.
Weather station 3.5 miles from here
4 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Sheep Mountain Rock
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Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sheep Mountain Rock:
Featured Route For Sheep Mountain Rock
Gimmerton Corner 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b CO
: Estes Park Valley
: ... : Sheep Mountain Rock
This route is in the center of the face. The Gillett and Rossiter guide books tend to describe other routes in relation to this one. They also describe a trail that is supposed to end at the base of this climb, which my partner and I could not find, either from the tourist trail or the base of this route. If this climb were on The Book, you would have to wait in line for it. The first pitch reminded me of the first pitch of Loose Ends, only at a higher grade. It will become a trade ...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
Nice foliage to view while not climbing.
Slightly more detailed photo. Look carefully at p...
By Luke Clarke
Aug 7, 2004
Sheep Mountain Rock is high quality rock bound to see more traffic once the Park Service moves the Lumpy parking, making a two-mile approach closer to the norm. Rossiter's "The Crag Areas" guide and [Gillett's] "Estes Park Valley" guide both describe two "climber trails." One is supposed to be near the Rabbit Ears campground cutoff (which is well marked) one presumable three-tenths of a mile west of that cutoff. My partner and I found neither. The trail lines we found took us too far west on ascent. Don't bother trying to find them unless you're with someone who knows where they are. Walk in 1.5 miles, turn right and slog north up the sloped toward the center of the cliff. That said, this crag is great quality, well worth the two-mile approach. Did it on a warm day today, but I would recommend it for a cool fall day or mild winter day. The approach would warm you while the sun heats the broad, south-facing rock. Parking may become an issue. The Park Service allows 17 cars on the west side of the road, and it's a popular trail for tourists.