BETA PHOTO: The Wizard's Gate is around the north side from th...
North of the prominent central buttress on the lower great face lies a severely overhanging alcove and an array of tall, beautiful slabs. This area has been recently developed into a fresh single pitch sport and trad climbing destination in the Estes Park Valley. The Wizard's Gate lies at above 10,000 feet and thus can feel very alpine at times (aka bring an extra layer and prepare for heavy breathing). The slabs remain in the shade until late afternoon and the alcove never sees sun, making it a perfect summer area. Dubbed 'The Wizard's Gate' for good reason, one should expect to find some truly magical climbing here along with exceptional views and brilliant summer conditions.
Across CO Highway 7 from Lily Lake, just south of Estes Park, there is a dirt road that eventually dead ends. Park somewhere along the right side of this road. Follow the Twin Sisters Trail until the 3rd switchback, where you should continue straight (north-northeast) and look for a moderately well traveled climber's trail. The trail winds through the forest and occasionally through small boulder fields until you reach the base of the Lower Great Face. Shoot for the protruding Central Buttress and continue around to the north side.
Once you hike the trail correctly you will find your way every time, but until you do, you may very well get lost. If all else fails, head uphill and towards the giant granite face. The hike is 30 minutes at a steady pace, knowing where you are going. 45 minutes at a normal pace.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Wizard's Gate:
A wizard's path is one of wandering... and expect nothing less of this amazing route. Start from a detached block by pulling on some tiny edges and knobs. Continuous and interesting slab climbing leads you to a small overlap, where you wander a bit left and then back far right before shooting straight up towards a large undercling. Consistent 5.10+ climbing creates an 11- pump. ...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
Truly magic up here.. Big thanks to Dr. Bob, Ben 'B-Real' Randolph, Phat Kat and Ron Lenz, Al and Peg Czecholinski and Kurt 'Hard Rock' Krueger. We have all had a ball running laps on these brilliant routes- hope you do to!
You can expect a number of additions within the next few weeks, but in the mean time there is plenty to sink your teeth into. Enjoy!
What an awesome crag -- many thanks to Jonathan and his crew for putting up some terrific routes here (and thanks for the tour!). Though currently not a ton of routes at this particular spot, it's possibly the best single-pitch crag (i.e. not including Lumpy, the Park, etc) around Estes, IMO. Really cool rock and great climbing, in a truly gorgeous setting. Well worth the visit, and hopefully more routes will go in -- seems there's plenty of potential for more.
The Crags are actually in Roosevelt National Forest, but when you access them from the Twin Sisters trail you have to cross National Park land. If you approach from the Baldpate Inn, across Rt. 7 from Lily Lake, you stay on National Forest land the entire day. The Wizard's Gate, being on the southern end of the Crags, is probably most efficiently approached from the Twin Sisters trail but it's not that much faster than the Baldpate approach. I suspect the route and bolt counts would be much lower if they had to drill by hand.
We had a great time climbing up there today...psyched on the route/rock quality. Very well done with bolts/pro always where you want it. Thank you Seigrists, Benny, all you guys...you've inspired me to climb in the Crags. Can't wait to get back up there!