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Skunk Canyon

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Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven 
Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab 
Ridge 3 aka Angel's Way 
Ridge 4 aka Mohling Arete 

Skunk Canyon 


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Elevation: 5,500'
Location: 39.9777, -105.2917 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 144,664
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Leo Paik on Oct 16, 2006
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Patrick Edlinger doing laps on The Guardian, Skunk...
  • Some crags in this area are closed 1 February to 31 July: MORE INFO >>>
  • Climbing areas reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    This is a organizational entry to assist with those trying to find the 4 ridges of Skunk Canyon upon suggestion by one of our users. This area is subject to seasonal closures on Ridge 2, 3, & 4 (typically Feb 1- July 31).

    Here you will find 1 - 8 pitch routes. There are climbs from 5.0 to 5.14a here. Most routes are on the adventurous side. You will find predominantly traditionally-protected routes, so bring your rack if you rope up. Probably, the most popular routes here are Stairway to Heaven, 5.4, Satan's Slab, 5.8 S, Angel's Way, 5.2, & Mohling Arete, 5.5 S. There is room for new routes here.

    This a fairly infrequently visited area, so you will likely find solitude here. If you venture west of Ridge Four, you will likely find yourself in one of the least visited locales in the Boulder area.

    Note, the area is rather full of poison ivy, for those who are sensitive. Also, there are bears & mountain lions known to habit these parts.


    Getting There 

    The most rapid access to this area is to park at the NCAR parking lot at the top of Table Mesa. Hike W toward the Mesa Trail. Hike N on the Mesa Trail toward Skunk Canyon. There are various trails heading W into the bottom of Skunk Canyon. Head W. Expect 30-60 minutes for the approach depending on the route.


    41 Total Routes


    ['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',15],['2 Stars',15],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]
    ['<=5.6',12],['5.7',6],['5.8',3],['5.9',2],['5.10',8],['5.11',6],['5.12',3],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

    The Classics

    Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Skunk Canyon:
    Angel's Way   5.2 3 8 II D 2c     Trad, 8 pitches, 1200'   Ridge 3 aka Angel's Way
    Enchanted Devil   5.3 3+ 10 III VD 3a R     Trad, 2 pitches   Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    Stairway to Heaven   5.3 3+ 10 III VD 3a     Trad, 6 pitches   Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
    Love   5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c     Trad, 3 pitches   Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
    Mohling Arete   5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a R     Trad, 10 pitches, 1500'   Ridge 4 aka Mohling Arete
    666   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b PG13     Trad, 650'   Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    Purgatory   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b R     Trad, 3 pitches   Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    Satan's Slab   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c R     Trad, 8 pitches   Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    Burger Madness   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    Armed Forces   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
    The Guardian   5.12d 7c 28 IX E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
    Browse More Classics in Skunk Canyon

    Featured Route For Skunk Canyon
    Andy Moore on the tricky moves of Pitch 1.  Above is the big roof P2 goes left around, the roof on P3 is also visible.

    Satan's Slab 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c CO : Flatirons : ... : Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    This is the longest climb in Skunk Canyon and took us 8 full pitches with a 60m rope. It is a bit runout in places, but mostly where the climbing is easier. It is not as serious or unprotected as the East Face route (called Purgatory on this site).You can begin in two ways. Best: start a few feet above the lowest point of the rock, which is just where the gully between Ridges 1 & 2 hits Skunk Creek, or about 100' farther up Skunk Creek. Getting to the farther start involves complex bush whac...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

    Photos of Skunk Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
    Approach Trail to Skunk Canyon.
    Approach Trail to Skunk Canyon.
    The entrance to Skunk Canyon in the fall is a yellow tunnel of Mountain Maple, Box Elder, Willow, and Poison Ivy in spots. The Creeping Barberry is an evergreen in the Holly family (Mahonia) and keeps its color year round. Photo by Tony Bubb, 10/06.
    The entrance to Skunk Canyon in the fall is a yell...
    Bob Horan on Beware the Future, Skunk Canyon.
    Bob Horan on Beware the Future, Skunk Canyon.
    I took this from the top of Front Porch. Is this ridge 1,2,3, and 4???
    I took this from the top of Front Porch. Is this r...
    The remains of a cougar-killed deer after being picked over by a bear in Skunk Canyon, in the Flatirons of Boulder, CO. Photo by Bubb, autumn 2006.
    The remains of a cougar-killed deer after being pi...
    I am pretty sure we can identify ridge #2 in blue. What is Green?, yellow? and red?
    BETA PHOTO: I am pretty sure we can identify ridge #2 in...
    Before this boulder is Hillbilly, Ridge 1, and Ridge 2 directly on your right, Achean Pronouncement uphill to your left.
    BETA PHOTO: Before this boulder is Hillbilly, Ridge 1, and Rid...
    Comments on Skunk Canyon Add Comment
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    By Mark Roth
    From: Boulder
    Jul 2, 2011
    CONDITION REPORT 

    OPEN!

    Skunk Canyon closure was lifted early this year....

    www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=vi>>>

    By Forrest L.
    May 28, 2013

    Bear seen in Skunk Canyon 5/26/13 from about 300 ft away. He was on the climbing trail usually used to access Angel's Way.