Elevation: 7,835 ft
GPS: 39.199, -105.22 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 165,810 total · 735/month
Shared By: Richard M. Wright on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
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Access Issue: Road & nearby private property Details

Description

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 Cheyne,y 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.

Getting There

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 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.

Hike along the left road (this is private property, do not drive on it!), going uphill at first then heading downhill. After roughly ten minutes (0.6 miles), the road makes a sharp, 90-degree turn to the right towards a house; continue straight on an old two-track. 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.

143 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Thunder Ridge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 73
W.A.S.P. (What About Some Pestic…
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
 58
Let's Do It Again, Daddy
Trad
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 58
Pulp Friction
Sport
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 55
Bee Positive
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 90
Reptile
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 109
Is This For Real?
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 92
Reptile Tears
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 50
No Pressure
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 43
So Wild
Trad
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 63
Powder Monkey
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 39
Real Black Velvet
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 58
Storm
Trad
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 58
The G Route
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 35
Reality Check
Trad
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 47
Starlight
Trad, Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
W.A.S.P. (What About Some P… Wasp Canyon
 73
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad
Let's Do It Again, Daddy Alligator Lounge
 58
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad
Pulp Friction Quarry
 58
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Bee Positive Wasp Canyon
 55
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Reptile Brown Wall
 90
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Is This For Real? For Real Canyon
 109
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Reptile Tears Brown Wall
 92
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
No Pressure Quarry
 50
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
So Wild For Real Canyon
 43
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Powder Monkey Post Office
 63
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Real Black Velvet For Real Canyon
 39
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Storm Wasp Canyon
 58
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Trad
The G Route Wasp Canyon
 58
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Reality Check For Real Canyon
 35
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Trad
Starlight Wasp Canyon
 47
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Trad, Sport
More Classic Climbs in Thunder Ridge »

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