Thunder Ridge Rock Climbing
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|Shared By:||Richard M. Wright on Dec 31, 2000 · Updates|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC|
#2 is a little tricky considering the shoulder and the crag is on United State Forest Service land (Free), while the PARKING is on CPW land.
Info can be found here: pikespeakclimbersalliance.o…
As of April 5th, the Pikes Peak Climber's Alliance announced that Thunder Ridge is CURRENTLY CLOSED due to COVID-19. Please respect this closure, and check in with PPCA on updates as COVID-19 stay at home orders and impacts reduce over the coming months.
Please do your best to maintain good relationships with the people who own the land in this area. Do not drive your vehicle past the "private property" sign. Do not go up to the house to ask for directions to the crag. Do not ride your bike down the road. Please move immediately to the side of the road if any landowners are approaching in their vehicles.
Scattered around the state of Colorado, a little off the beaten path, are dozens, if not hundreds, of superb climbing areas that see very little traffic despite hosting oftentimes many wonderful routes. Thunder Ridge is one of my favorite "secret" crags with a wealth of fine climbing to be had. Strictly speaking, Thunder Ridge is a South Platte crag; however, the ridge is so extensive as to warrant status as an area in its own right.
Thunder Ridge was discovered by Steve Cheyney in the late 1980s and features over 200 routes. The routes are typically highly-featured alligator skin, single-pitch mixed and sport lines in the 5.10 to 5.11 range. Picture vertical to slightly overhanging face climbing on bomber incut edges and chickenheads. With that said, several standout routes also exist in the 5.7 to 5.9 range. Additionally, some of the best 5.12s in the Front Range can be found here. If Thunder was closer to Boulder, it would be the most popular cragging area around. Since it is nearly two hours from Boulder and a solid hour from Colorado Springs, it sees very little traffic, and you typically have the entire area to yourself. The crags primarily face south, although there are some canyons that hold shade all day as well. In the winter, Brown Wall and Alligator Lounge bake in the sun, while For Real and Wasp Canyon can be great summertime choices.
January 2013 Update. Please read as access is sensitive here:
The rocks at Thunder Ridge reside entirely on Pike National Forest land. However, half of the approach, which involves walking down a gated dirt road, is on private property. The road is private property from behind the gate (where you park) to where you leave it at the two-track. This is not a closed Forest Service road; it is essentially a driveway. The landowner is ok with climbers walking the road, but he is NOT ok with anyone driving or mountain biking down the road. This is a reasonable request; please honor it. The land to the left of the road is forest service land as well, but there is not a trail along this and we want to continue to utilize the road as long as the landowner is ok with it. PLEASE DO NOT JEOPARDIZE THIS IN ANY WAY. The landowner has become extremely frustrated with people driving down the road and approaching his house to ask for direction and has posted a lot of threatening signs about no trespassing and shooting people. Several climbers, including Joe Sambataro of the Access Fund, Jason Haas of Fixed Pin Publishing, and original developers Steve Cheyney and Glenn Schuler spoke with the landowner after these signs were posted and got him to agree to allow climbers to walk the road, but that's it! Please follow these simple rules:
* Park off to the left at the end of Nine-J Road, and do not block either gate.
* Do not drive or mountain bike down the road.
* When the private road makes a 90-degree turn towards the house, continue straight on the two-track and do not approach the house.
* No camping or overnight parking. Instead, drive about three miles back up Nine-J Road and camp in one of the pullouts where the trees start up again.
* Walk to the side of the road and get out of the way of oncoming cars - this is a private road that is used by the local landowners.
* No fires - this is a high fire danger area.
* Stay on existing trails.
From Denver/Boulder - take US 285 to Pine Junction and head south (left) on CO-126/Pine Valley Road. Once at the small community of Deckers (about 27 miles), continue south on CO 67 for 8.7 miles and turn right (west) onto Abbey Avenue at the small community of Westcreek. If coming from Colorado Springs, take US 24 to Woodland Park and then head north on CO-67 for 14.1 miles from its intersection with US-24 and turn left (west).
Once on Abbey Avenue, go 0.2 miles to a T-intersection at a stop sign, and turn left. Drive 0.5 miles to a volunteer firefighter station, and turn right onto Stump Road/CR-68. Drive 2.0 miles and take the first right past Sheep's Nose onto Nine-J Road. Follow this for 5.2 miles to where the road ends at two gated driveways and park on the left, being sure to not block either gate.
From the parking lot, head straight West to pick up a trail that heads North 40 yards off the side of the road. Follow this over the gentle hills until it slopes down to meet the road after it turns. Do not head down the road, but instead continue North on the old two-track road for a bit. After several hundred yards, spot a climber's trail veering off at a 45-degree angle to the right at a stump with a cairn consisting of rocks and skulls. Take this trail as it quickly becomes more defined and heads up through the hillside towards the rocks. This trail will wind its way through the burn area and into the aspen groves. The first area you come to will be the Quarry Wall.
Park off to the left at the end of Nine-J Road. As of July 1st, 2020: A Colorado Parks and Wildlife pass is now required to park on CPW land.
- DO NOT BLOCK EITHER GATES*
As of April 2020 hiking along the road is no longer preferred by the landowners, use the new trail to the West built by the PPCA. Please respect the landowners wishes and use the new trail that takes 60 seconds longer.
Dogs MUST be on leash.
All trash must be packed out. Please be responsible and clean up after yourself and dogs.
Do not drive past the gate. This is private property and only landowners vehicles are permitted.
Please do not approach private residences asking for directions or other information from Landowners. If you have a question on the area, please reach out to the Pike's Peak Climbers Alliance at PPCASouthPlatte@gmail.com. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Per Adam bloc: a new PPCA trail hikes to the left of the private road. I have a GPX to update the approach map.
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