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Technical 14er routes
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Nov 24, 2013
ducking ropes at Copper
I am trying to put together my to do list for next summer and am having trouble finding resources on technical 14er routes. I am doing/have done a lot of the scouting myself but would love to hear from anyone else that has any info on any of the peaks. I plan on trying to find routes up as many as possible but would also love to repeat some previous ascents while I am on those mountains anyway. Also not talking about winter/mixed climbs, information on those is abundant. I am talking all rock, summer routes. ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Joined May 15, 2013
349 points
Nov 24, 2013
Can you clarify how you define technical? Maybe you could suggest a range of difficulty you are interested in (ie. 5.2-5.6)? There are tons of options, and personally I love the adventurous scrambling found in the Sangre de Cristo range. Check out the big 4 classic 14er traverses: Crestone Peak/Needle, Maroon Bells, Wilson/El Diente, Blanca/Little Bear.

On the other end of the spectrum, Longs Peak is an obvious holy grail for harder routes.
Mitch Musci
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Apr 8, 2002
702 points
Nov 24, 2013
If you're looking for technical rock routes, check out some 13ers which are generally more technical, more remote, and less crowded than the 14ers. With a few exceptions, the 14ers are choss piles and walk-ups. If you're set on them though, Crestone Needle and Kit Carson both have 2000' 5.8-ish rock routes, there's the Ellingwood Ridge on La Plata, and of course the Diamond on Longs. Matt.Zia
From Leadville, CO
Joined Mar 13, 2012
16 points
Administrator
Nov 24, 2013
Andrew Gram
Have you looked at Gerry Roach's 14ers guidebook? He lists a few dozen technical rock routes, which includes pretty much anything high quality that isn't on the Diamond. Certainly enough there to keep you busy for a summer. Andrew Gram
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Jan 1, 2001
3,577 points
Nov 24, 2013
ducking ropes at Copper
Mitch Musci wrote:
Can you clarify how you define technical? Maybe you could suggest a range of difficulty you are interested in (ie. 5.2-5.6)? There are tons of options, and personally I love the adventurous scrambling found in the Sangre de Cristo range. Check out the big 4 classic 14er traverses: Crestone Peak/Needle, Maroon Bells, Wilson/El Diente, Blanca/Little Bear. On the other end of the spectrum, Longs Peak is an obvious holy grail for harder routes.


I guess my ideal range would be 5.7-5.12's. I have done all the big traverses and loved them as well. But I was really looking for even longer/harder pitches. I also am well aware of all the great climbing on the diamond but am really looking to do as many different peaks in this manner. I am just a few peaks away from completing the 14ers and well on my way with the 13ers. I was just thinking it would be great to go back to some of those mountains and climb them with gear as opposed to the hiking that I did to summit all of them so far.
ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Joined May 15, 2013
349 points
Nov 24, 2013
ducking ropes at Copper
Matt.Zia wrote:
If you're looking for technical rock routes, check out some 13ers which are generally more technical, more remote, and less crowded than the 14ers. With a few exceptions, the 14ers are choss piles and walk-ups. If you're set on them though, Crestone Needle and Kit Carson both have 2000' 5.8-ish rock routes, there's the Ellingwood Ridge on La Plata, and of course the Diamond on Longs.



That is funny I have definitely noticed a plethora of good routes on the 13ers I have done so far as opposed to a lot of the not so epic 14er faces. I would have no problem doing them instead but I am guessing there is far less information out there on 13er technical routes. Plus side I guess that means more possibles FA's!!?? That wasn't really the goal but could be a nice side goal
ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Joined May 15, 2013
349 points
Nov 24, 2013
Here are a few links from Summit Post that may be helpful.

5th Class CO 14er Routes

5th Class CO Peaks
Chad Volk
From Boulder, CO
Joined Apr 10, 2007
38 points
Nov 24, 2013
me
check out 14ers.com most of the routes they describe in their online guidebook are no more than class 4 but the trip reports contain some good info on some of the more technical routes. there is also a 13ers.com

the kieners route on longs peak is a classic plus it has several other fine tech routes.

anything on the diamond of longs.

crestone needle has the ellingwood arete' that is listed in "50 classic climbs of north America"

some others are the northwest buttress of capital peak, ormes buttress on blanca peak, the prow on kit carson, and the north pillar on crestone peak just to name a few.

I suggest getting Gerry roach's book; "Colorado fourteeners"

some of the rock is loose, for instance in the elk range, but much of it is very good. the crestones are great. its not all choss. also, some of the 14ers can be crowded but only the standard routes, if your on something technical you will prob be alone. I did the north face of longs last year and had the route to myself while the standard keyhole route must have had 200 people on it.
george wilkey
From travelers rest sc
Joined Jan 23, 2013
258 points
Nov 24, 2013
ducking ropes at Copper
I have Roachs book, I guess i will have to go through it again because i seem to remember only a handful of technical routes in the range i am looking for but I could be wrong, it has been a couple years since i picked that one up. 14ers.com and 13ers.com are actually much less helpful then one would think. There really isn't much in the database of 5.7+ routes. I am about to drop the same forum post on both of those sites as well, I just figured MP has a higher concentration of climbers vs. hikers.

Thanks Chad, those both had some stuff I had not yet seen!!
ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Joined May 15, 2013
349 points
Nov 24, 2013
My two cents:
Aside from RMNP there is not a lot of good alpine rock climbing or even scrambling in CO. The one partial exception is the Crestone vicinity of the Sangres; Roach's 14ers book provides descriptions of a lot of these routes. A nice sweep of promising looking granite is found on the south side of Tijeras Peak. (mountainproject.com/v/tijeras-... )

The Gore Range has a lot of third class terrain on OK rock but little that would justify sustained roped climbing.

The Elks and San Juans have some promising looking faces but the rock usually turns out to be garbage. The somewhat ballyhooed NW buttress of Capitol features 1.5 decent pitches followed by a couple thousand feet of volatile choss. Most of the "5th class" San Juan thirteeners have at most a pitch of roped climbing after hours of approaching; Lizard Head is the exception in the SJs -- it has cleaned up pretty well (by the standards of the area) and has two quality pitches of roped climbing.

If you're really after a quality alpine 5th class route, head further afield. E.g. there is a lot of great granite in the Sierras along with the best alpine weather in the U.S.
david goldstein
Joined Jan 1, 2001
2,689 points
Nov 24, 2013
david goldstein wrote:
My two cents: Aside from RMNP there is not a lot of good alpine rock climbing or even scrambling in CO. The one partial exception is the Crestone vicinity of the Sangres; Roach's 14ers book provides descriptions of a lot of these routes. A nice sweep of promising looking granite is found on the south side of Tijeras Peak. (mountainproject.com/v/tijeras-... ) The Gore Range has a lot of third class terrain on OK rock but little that would justify sustained roped climbing. The Elks and San Juans have some promising looking faces but the rock usually turns out to be garbage. The somewhat ballyhooed NW buttress of Capitol features 1.5 decent pitches followed by a couple thousand feet of volatile choss. Most of the "5th class" San Juan thirteeners have at most a pitch of roped climbing after hours of approaching; Lizard Head is the exception in the SJs -- it has cleaned up pretty well (by the standards of the area) and has two quality pitches of roped climbing. If you're really after a quality alpine 5th class route, head further afield. E.g. there is a lot of great granite in the Sierras along with the best alpine weather in the U.S.


It sounds like you haven't done a lot of climbing in the San Juan's.....there are plenty of technical routes. And the rock isn't as bad as most think. Those comments are usually from people that can only handle solid granite. There is a beauty and challenge to climbing competently, and safely, on various forms of rock. It's definitely not a cragging area down here, it's adventurous and you need to be up for the challenge. I guess I shouldn't bitch....if people are afraid to climb hard here, then we don't have to worry about the backcountry gettin crowded. :)
Ray Hellinger
From Zion...for the most part
Joined Feb 2, 2006
378 points
Nov 24, 2013
Steve Levin wrote:
The Needles / Grenadiers in the SSJ are probably my second favorite alpine area in CO after RMNP.


Agreed, and if you are looking for more of a wilderness experience, these are my first choice. Just amazing down there. I used to be really into the 14ers, then I decided it was kind of a silly way to maximize crowds on my precious days off. Not saying you won't have fun on your quest, but just keep in mind the big picture: the mountains don't know how tall they are.
Mitch Musci
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Apr 8, 2002
702 points
Nov 25, 2013
Greed wih the grenadiers camp and bag multiple peaks in multiple days martinharris
From Glenwood Springs CO
Joined Jul 20, 2010
228 points
Nov 25, 2013
Mountain Bandito
Mt. Evans, that peak can keep you busy for a few seasons of climbing and skiing. Taylor-B.
From CO & AK
Joined Oct 20, 2009
2,489 points
Nov 25, 2013
Upper Parunuweap Canyon
Head to the Sierra. fossana
From Sin City & Bishop
Joined Apr 30, 2006
12,061 points
Nov 26, 2013
Ray Hellinger:

OP might have found it more helpful if you had given some specific routes or at least areas that met his criteria. I would have listed the No Name and Ruby basins as areas worth considering but for the historical lack of enthusiasm for the routes that have been done there. I haven't been in Leviathan basin so I can't comment about that.

Not sure which basin below Jagged Steve Levin was referring to but the south side of that peak does seem to have potential for multi-pitch routes on good rock.
david goldstein
Joined Jan 1, 2001
2,689 points
Nov 26, 2013
Dug up some photos of the Sunlight Creek rock...check it out if you're interested.


Yum.
Yum.


Granite.
Granite.


More granite.
More granite.


Spire on Jagged Mountain.
Spire on Jagged Mountain.
Mitch Musci
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Apr 8, 2002
702 points
Nov 26, 2013
ducking ropes at Copper
First off thank you all who offered the great suggestions. You have definitely given me more then enough for one summer. I am glad the early comments about needing to head to the Sierras were put to rest with lots of good looking rock. Sunlight creek rock looks awesome and is definitely going to the top of my list. ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Joined May 15, 2013
349 points
Nov 26, 2013
I haven't had a chance to do it yet, but there is a 6-8 pitch 5.8 route on the north face of north Eolus. Ray Hellinger
From Zion...for the most part
Joined Feb 2, 2006
378 points
Nov 27, 2013
Upper Parunuweap Canyon
ChefMattThaner wrote:
I am glad the early comments about needing to head to the Sierras were put to rest with lots of good looking rock.


Let me upload some unhelpful Sierra photos ;)

Keeler Needle and Whitney.
Keeler Needle and Whitney.


Evolution Traverse.
Evolution Traverse.


Temple Crag.
Temple Crag.


Harding Route on Conness.
Harding Route on Conness.
fossana
From Sin City & Bishop
Joined Apr 30, 2006
12,061 points
Administrator
Nov 27, 2013
Closeby, there are some pretty good routes on rock (like Pericle Rock, Eternal Flame) and near the mixed routes on Pike's Peak. There's been a lot of development in the Mt. Evans vicinity - Tan Buttesses (like The Black and Tan Towers and Fallen Angel), Black Wall (like Good Evans, Road Warrior, andCary Granite), 1st Apron. If you get bored with the Diamond on Long's, there's some routes on the Keyboard of the Winds. A bit further afield Capitol Peak has a long 5.9 on its Northwest Face, even tougher if you do it in the winter. Leo Paik
From Westminster, Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
23,170 points
Nov 27, 2013
Stairway to Heaven
There are also a couple of obscure areas up in Wyoming called the Wind Rivers and the Tetons. Maybe not quite the same quality as the Sierras but approach times and driving times from Denver are about the same as the San Juans. Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Joined Jul 16, 2003
155 points
Nov 27, 2013
Yep...the San Juans are fun and adventurous, but places like the Sierras, Winds, and Tetons are on another level in terms of rock quality and quality of routes. If you are focused on these aspects, then best to keep the San Juans out of the top slot in your list. Mitch Musci
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Apr 8, 2002
702 points
Aug 6, 2014
Anyone have anything on the North Face of the Wetterhorn (besides the few words in Roach and Ormes)? Frank Robertson
From Ridgway, CO
Joined Dec 10, 2013
58 points
Administrator
Aug 6, 2014
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
did a route on the N face of wetterhorn a long time ago with my GF's dad. i don't remember too much other than chimneying, cracks, and so/so rock. fairly easy, maybe 5'ish pitches(?). fairly straightforward walkoff (down the normal ascent route, easy 3rd class). it was ok, but not stellar. slim
Joined Dec 1, 2004
2,001 points
Aug 7, 2014
Thanks, Slim. With that many pitches, crack/chimney and descent from summit, assume it was Lowe's '74 route. By fairly easy: mostly 5.6 with few section up to 5.8? Anything special about route-finding, pro, etc.? Frank Robertson
From Ridgway, CO
Joined Dec 10, 2013
58 points


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