Devil's Head Rock Climbing
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Devil's Head climbing occurs largely on the South and East-facing slopes of Devil's Head mountain, and the climber could not ask for a more serene place to climb. The crags face South, West, or East and overlook Pike's Peak with all the rest of the Rampart Range hills spread out in unbroken splendor as far as the eye can see.
The area possesses over 400 routes with the balance of new route activity devoted to bolt-protected sport climbing, although nearly 20 of the routes are superb granite crack climbs on bomber trad gear. While the emphasis in climbing is largely on the upper 5.11 and 5.12 range, difficulty pretty much spans the gamut, and it is a good bet that some under-rated 5.13 lies on the hill as well.
Development of new routes started nearly 8 years ago spearheaded by the relentless energy of Tod Anderson, author of the area's guidebook, "The Devil Made Me Do It". The roster of first ascentionists that Tod dragged up the hill includes (in no particular order) Tom Hanson, Scott Sills, Rich Magill, Richard Wright, Alan Nelson, Mike Lane, Janice Harnak, Ernie Moskovitz (Ziggy), Frank (Tripp) Collins, Martin Birch, Dave Fields, Eric Leonard, and Pat Burwick. Other notable developers include Pete Takeda, Ken Trout, and probably some more great climbers as well. Of more than a dozen developed crags, the most notable routes lie on the following crags: The Headstone, The Crimpfest Wall, The Red Wall, The Starcastle, The Crag Ranch, and The Shaft.
From Denver, the best way to reach Devils's Head is to take CO Highway 85 south to Sedalia. Then head west on CO Highway 67 to the North entrance of the park, about 10 miles. The ranger station booth marks the North end of FR 300, the Ramparts Range Road. Take this South for approximately 9 miles to the turn off for Devil's Head campground and the Fire Tower. Be aware that the Rampart Range Road will be closed from the first Monday in December to sometime in April due to snow pack. From Colorado Springs, FR 300 can be reached from the Garden of The Gods, but is a fairly torturous 20 miles North. Once at the parking lot, head up the tourist trail toward the Fire Tower about 1.5 miles. At a saddle well below the Fire Tower the trail forks right (to the tower) and left to the Zinn Overlook. Head for the Zinn Overlook along a well defined climbers trail. At the overlook, trails will fork directly toward the Headstone formation (left) and right, through the woods, toward the Red Wall, Starcastle, and The Shaft.
Per Tzilla Rapdrilla:the old Mile Marker 10 parking spot is at 46.7 now, just past the Mile Marker 47 sign when coming from the north, and before Campsite #62. Also, note that the MM10 spot is small and do not park on the west side of the road or risk a $100 ticket, as there is a big lot just around the corner. The mile posts were reconfigured a year ago for some reason. Note, that the comment below is incorrect about it being between Mile Marker 48 and 49.
COVID-19 Update from the FS:
Per Collin Hurler: as of 7/8/20: with speaking to a ranger (Steve) on the phone from the South Platte Ranger District today, he clarified the area is still open to climbing, so long as climbers avoid the campground, picnic area, and the entire trail up to Devil's Head Lookout. THOSE closures are still in effect until 2021 according to Steve.
2020-18 Devil's Head Recreation Area Closure Order
Pueblo, Colo., May 05, 2020 – A temporary closure order has been implemented for the heavy-use Devil’s Head recreation site on the South Platte Ranger District. The closure area includes the Devil’s Head trailhead, campground, picnic area, fire lookout tower, several Forest Service roads, and the Zinn trail (NFST615). The order will remain in effect until December 1, 2020 or until rescinded, whichever comes first.
“While we know Devil’s Head recreation area is a popular site for recreation, the primary function of this area is wildfire detection from Devil’s Head fire lookout tower,” said Forest Supervisor Diana Trujillo. “These actions have been taken to limit gatherings of large numbers of people and to promote social distancing, which is not possible at this site due to the confined nature of the trail, stairs and lookout tower. We are working in conjunction with local, regional, state and federal partners and cooperators to provide access to recreation opportunities where possible and to keep visitors, our employees, and communities safe.”
This closure prohibits going into or being upon the restricted area, being on the restricted roads and being on the restricted trails.
Forest officials are implementing the order in addition to existing regional developed recreation site closures and fire restrictions, which remain in place until May 31, 2020. Entering upon closed areas or igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or smoking on national forests and grasslands is a violation of Federal law and may result in consequent fines and possible jail time.
Visitors to our national forests are urged to take the tips and precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To review all of the orders and stay up to date on other closures, please visit the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands website. Forest Service offices are currently conducting business virtually and questions regarding this closure can be directed to the South Platte Ranger District at (303) 275-5610 or by email to South Platte Ranger District.
Per Adam bloc: 7/22/21 - the main Fire Lookout is closed for construction this year. Use the other parking areas to access the crags.
More info: fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO… fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO….
As of May 2012, a new guidebook to the South Platte that includes Devil's Head was published by Fixed Pin Publishing. "South Platte Climbing" by Jason Haas, Ben Schneider, and Craig Weinhold should be available in most climbing shops sometime in the latter half of May or directly from Fixed Pin.
As of July 2018, Tod Anderson published an updated Devil's Head Guidebook with 1500 routes! You can currently pick it up at local shops throughout the Front Range.
Ranger Station contact info
Website for the Pike Forest Ranger District.
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