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Areas in Thunder Ridge

Alligator Lounge, The 12 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
Arch Rock 5 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Battlement Crag 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Black and Tan Wall 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Brown Wall, The 17 / 6 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 23
Cat Scratch Wall 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
For Real Canyon, The 12 / 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
Great Warm-Up Boulder, The 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Gunky Wall, The 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Lumberjack Wall 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Meadow Rock aka Cougar Cliff 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Metaphysical Wall 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Outback, The 2 / 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Post Office, The 4 / 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Quarry, The 18 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 23
Swamp Corridor 3 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Wasp Canyon, The 12 / 5 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Elevation: 7,835 ft
GPS: 39.199, -105.22 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 121,764 total · 584/month
Shared By: Richard M. Wright on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac


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.
Road & nearby private property Details

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.

139 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
W.A.S.P. (What About Some Pesticide?)
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Let's Do It Again, Daddy
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Pulp Friction
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Bee Positive
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Is This For Real?
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Reptile Tears
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
No Pressure
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
So Wild
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Powder Monkey
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Real Black Velvet
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
The G Route
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Reality Check
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Trad, Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
W.A.S.P. (What About Some P… Wasp Canyon 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad
Let's Do It Again, Daddy Alligator Lounge 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad
Pulp Friction Quarry 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Bee Positive Wasp Canyon 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Reptile Brown Wall 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Is This For Real? For Real Canyon 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Reptile Tears Brown Wall 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
No Pressure Quarry 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
So Wild For Real Canyon 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Powder Monkey Post Office 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Real Black Velvet For Real Canyon 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Storm Wasp Canyon 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Trad
The G Route Wasp Canyon 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Reality Check For Real Canyon 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Trad
Starlight Wasp Canyon 5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Trad, Sport
More Classic Climbs in Thunder Ridge »

Weather Averages

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Prime Climbing Season


Dan G0D5H411
Colorado Springs, CO
Dan G0D5H411   Colorado Springs, CO
Concealed my hiking poles amongst some boulders at the bottom of Wasp Canyon while my partner and I made our way up the boulderfield to work routes higher in the canyon. If anyone picked them up, thinking they were forgotten, I would appreciate any help getting them back. Feb 3, 2018
Mike Humphries
Arvada, CO
Mike Humphries   Arvada, CO
I left my stick clip near the approach trail at Quarry wall. Planning to head out next Sunday, but if someone finds it in the meantime, I would most appreciate its return.
Mike 303-513-7188. Nov 6, 2017
Mike Anderson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Anderson   Colorado Springs, CO
I stupidly may have left my hiking shoes sitting in the parking lot on January 2nd, 2017. If you've seen them, please let me know. They are black Salomons. Thx! Jan 9, 2017
Mr. Stevens
Boulder, CO
Mr. Stevens   Boulder, CO
Just to add on to what has been said above:

I had the chance to meet one of the landowners. He and his wife actually pulled up on their four-wheeler while my GF and I were walking the road and offered us a ride (hell yeah, we hopped on!), and he is a SUPER nice and friendly guy. We chatted for 5-10 minutes, and he pretty much said the same things that have been said above, also that the threatening gun signs are *mostly* a joke, haha! Please, please, please, respect this place and the rules surrounding the access! It is possibly my, and I'm sure many other people's, favorite crag in the state. While I'm sure the new guidebook will increase awareness of the area, hopefully it increases respect for it as well. I'd never seen more than two other cars in the parking lot, and this weekend I saw more than ten! Sep 20, 2015
My yellow Petzl climbing helmet has run away from home. Last seen struggling up some slab on Thunder Ridge. If found, please pretty please return to loving mother (303)217-3048. I miss you, helmet!
Sep 17, 2015
Ok, now I get it! I'll bet you have fooled a lot of unsuspecting people. Jul 12, 2013
Dave Meyers
Evergreen, CO
Dave Meyers   Evergreen, CO
Finally there’s topos for Thunder Ridge! Check them out; they should make navigating this awesome place much easier. May 10, 2013
The information at the top of this page, including directions, has been updated. This includes information about the public vs. private access. Please take a look at it before you venture out to Thunder. Also, do not drive the gated road - this is entirely private property, not a closed FS road. The landowners are ok with climbers walking the road (despite the newly-posted signs), just not driving or mountain biking it. Lastly, metal signs will be added to the parking lot very soon. Jan 13, 2013
Incredible place! Went to Thunder Ridge yesterday for the first time and acquired some beta about access:

As we were walking on the Forest Service land on the West side of the private property, we ran into one of the local land owners, Mike. He is a generally friendly guy who told us that he is beginning to get irritated with people not respecting his (and his neighbors') property (i.e. biking down their driveway, DRIVING down their driveway, and even being as bold as to go up to the house and ask for directions). Mike told us that he has been getting annoyed to the point of "carrying around his shotgun" lately. Yikes. He also told us that he was okay with people walking down the road, but please stay off to the side, because he cruises down the road at 30 miles per hour and could hit someone.

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. It would be a shame to lose this precious gem. Thanks! Dec 24, 2012
Adam Brink
on the road
Adam Brink   on the road
Thank you, Glenn! Mar 20, 2012
Glenn Schuler
Monument, Co.
Glenn Schuler   Monument, Co.
Adam, from the parking area, head back south up the road until you are in the live trees again. A little ways past the first live trees on the west side is a nice flat area with an established fire ring and nice views of the Platte. If that is taken, just head further back towards Sheepsnose and there are plenty of campsites. Just avoid camping near the rancher's driveway that comes in from the east side of the road about halfway down. Mar 20, 2012
Adam Brink
on the road
Adam Brink   on the road
What is the best place to camp at near Thunder Ridge? I know there is private property around the area, and I want to make sure we camp in an already established area. Thanks! Mar 19, 2012
Glenn Schuler
Monument, Co.
Glenn Schuler   Monument, Co.
Snow can get pretty deep on the approach during big snow years. Should be OK right now. The road is plowed to the parking area, so even when there is quite a bit of snow you can get there alright. Tomorrow looks good - we're going! Jan 20, 2012
Scotty Nelson
Scotty Nelson   Boulder
Is going here in winter a bad idea? Jan 19, 2012
Glenn Schuler
Monument, Co.
Glenn Schuler   Monument, Co.
Rob, that is the DJ Wall. If I remember right, there are two bolted routes on the left side of the wall put up by Steve Cheyney and Dave Dyess. I'll have to look thru my old notes and see if I can find the names.
They used to be rated in the .10 range - but I bet they are quite different now. That wall was probably the hardest hit from the flames and you can see where all kinds of holds have spalled off. I've never seen anyone on it since before the fire - so how are they now? We saw you guys rapping off the wall as we were headed out on Friday. Nov 13, 2011
rob bauer
Golden, CO
rob bauer   Golden, CO
Glen or Kevin?

What's the light colored, slabby rock to the right side of WASP Canyon? (The one with the 2 or 3 friction routes.) Pretty friable stuff. I did the one on the right yesterday and a few more of the features fell off. (So did I.) Stout lead! Nov 12, 2011
Amir erez
Boulder, CO
Amir erez   Boulder, CO
Kevin and Glenn,

Great meeting you today at the crag! This is one of the best crags in the state. Thanks for your huge contribtuion to Colorado climbing! Oct 2, 2011
noah gostout
Iqaluit, Nunavut
noah gostout   Iqaluit, Nunavut
Contrary to common belief, the rock here is choss, and the area is full of snakes! Sep 21, 2011
Lizzy Scully
Lyons, Colorado
Lizzy Scully   Lyons, Colorado
Directions are incorrect. The road is not 360 that you turn right on from West Creek. It is Stump Rd, #68, and you turn right at the fire station. Also, the landowner who owns the property at the gate where you park (at the end of 9J) is a decent fellow. However, he is a bit bummed because people camp by the gate (there's a big no camping sign as its a wildlife area), and he relayed some stories about climbers driving down his road (it is a private road that he allows people to walk on) and then being belligerent when he told them it was private property. Whoever you are, please cease and desist with the irresponsible behavior as it will threaten access for all of us. This is one of the most gorgeous climbing areas I have visited. I hope to climb there for many years! Oct 17, 2010
Regardless...what does a local desire for campers to do...what is primo locale...for me and you! Aug 15, 2010
Who has thunder this week (August16-20th?) Young group of climbers looking to sample some Thunder Ridge anyone willing to climb with us? Aug 15, 2010
rob bauer
Golden, CO
rob bauer   Golden, CO
(Thanks to Kevin, Glen & Brennan for taking the mystery out of the approach.) Had a great day there 2 days ago! From my small sample of 4 routes on Alligator, the ratings aren't exaggerated in the least and most sport climbers will find the dirth of bolts daunting, to say the least. (This area defines why I'm proud to be a 5.10 climber.) Trad climbers will be greatly rewarded and many thanks to the developers! May 25, 2010
Intriguing. . . . Apr 9, 2010
Glenn Schuler
Monument, Co.
Glenn Schuler   Monument, Co.
You're right, Christopher, those are the contenders for the hardest established routes so far. Not sure how/why Richard came up with that statement. However, there will be a .13+ very soon - as soon as a certain someone finishes their project. Apr 9, 2010
I'm curious about the comment that Thunder hosts routes from 5.7 - 5.13+. To the best of my knowledge, there are three routes in the 12+/13- range (Starlight, Thunderstruck, and Wave Goodbye). Are there any lines harder than these? If so, where are they? Apr 9, 2010
Those atheistic anchors will certainly eat your rope. They could have a similar effect on your soul. Clip only theistic anchors -- save your rope, save your soul. Jun 25, 2009
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
I love this place! Its great... but it can be a rope eater. On a lot of routes think about belaying from above, the rock tends to eat your rope on a lot of routes. Just think twice before you lower and have fun! Jun 25, 2009
Shane Neal
Colorado Springs, CO.
Shane Neal   Colorado Springs, CO.
T-Ridge is amazing. The area, the post burn atmosphere, the amazing routes and rock all make it a great place to climb. Thanks Kev and Glen for the best Platte weekend ever! Not to mention all the hard work and cost you two and others have put into this gem over the years- you dudez rock! Especially for OLD dudz! ;)

For everyone else- please, just respect it. TRidge is a unique and amazing area. The long hard hike will deter the crowds and this is NOT a sport stop by any means. You need to have skill and mental strength to climb here. It is truly a climbers paradise in the CORE sense of the meaning. The ground up ethics prevail with pride, thus be prepared to climb that way. You must be SOLID and your grade, strong in your mind and really know how to use bolts that are where u need em' only and make the best of natural gear.

Come here with that fun, friendly, positive mind set that Kevin spoke of above- thats what it is all about here. Keep it green, respect the rock, route's, land and other users- and this one of a kind area will forever be around. TRidge is truly what climbing is all about, in every possible aspect. Love it and enjoy it!

p.s.- bring extra nuts! (not talking about the aluminum kind) Also, beware the wind, dead trees are being blown down-we witnessed it this weekend. Jun 8, 2009
Kevin McLaughlin
Colorado Springs
Kevin McLaughlin   Colorado Springs
I don't WANT to post here - but before I see anymore verbal sparring I WOULD like to say .... Thunder is a nice place to be with a great atmosphere to it ... PLEASE do not change that. Thank you.
P.M. sent
Apr 20, 2009
To Whom It May Concern,

I visited Thunder Ridge on Wednesday April 15th and noticed that the landing under the large boulder below the G-Route had been dismantled. I was very disappointed to see this considering the time and effort put into the development of this boulder. I know there are people that have been climbing at Thunder Ridge longer than I have but that does not give you the right to destroy a boulder problem. There are many routes at Thunder that are bolted and could be done with run out gear. However, I do not chose the chop the bolts on your routes so please do not destroy the hard work of other climbers. Unlike you, I chose to leave only what was already there. Without that constructed landing there is no way that this boulder would go and it does not significantly detract from the canyon, considering the people that use this canyon are all climbers that are dealing with stainless steal bolts left on the rock. If you have an issue with this please feel free to send me a private message. Otherwise, please be respectful of other users of the area who have the same vested interest in the long term sustainability of Thunder Ridge.

Sincerely, Hayden Miller Apr 20, 2009
The developers did an excellent job on this area. The hike is long but not too hard, and is well marked with cairns and red tags along the way. Great place to climb and find some solitude. Apr 22, 2008
Derek Lawrence   Bailey
Thanks, Glenn! Mar 16, 2008
Kevin McLaughlin
Colorado Springs
Kevin McLaughlin   Colorado Springs
Thunder Ridge is unlike any other South Platte granite - it is very featured. All routes have been drilled on the lead - as per South Platte standards. A few all bolt routes exist, but most take gear. Mar 16, 2008
Glenn Schuler
Monument, Co.
Glenn Schuler   Monument, Co.
Since I'm one of "those" people and I like to consider myself a friendly soul, here's what I know:

Just past Sheep's Nose turn north on the 9J road and follow it until you reach a gate and chain link fence. Park at the small pullout on the west side of the road adjacent to the gate. From here, you can see the climbing area to the northeast and up the hill. From this point, there is a large rectangle of private property extending to the north and east, the gate is located at the SW corner of the private land. To avoid trespassing walk north along the road for about .7 miles and then turn right (east)once you are past the private property. As you get towards the end of the road it makes a 90 degree turn towards the east - do not go down this part of the road or you will be crossing private property! Instead continue straight north for another couple hundred yards and then go east toward the creek. Find the creek crossing at a small meadow with a 15' cliff band on your left (north). Keep walking eastward up the hill and you will find yourself on an old road that takes you directly to the cliffs.

One other thing I should mention about the road that runs along the west boundary of the private property - to the west is National Forest land and to the east is private land. The road meanders a bit and crosses both. There are metal signs clearly marking the NF boundary, so stay to the west of these when in doubt.

Once you know where you are going this is about a 45 minute hike to the first crags (Quarry Wall, For Real Canyon and Wasp Canyon). Beyond that, add another 15 - 30 minutes to the crags further on up the hill (Alligator Lounge, Brown Wall and Thunder Dome).

There is some amazing climbing here, well worth the hike! I'll post some more route/crag info in the near future.

schu Mar 16, 2008
Derek Lawrence   Bailey
Gotcha - that makes sense... thanks, Stefan.

Now...what's the deal w/ the dome with the right-leaning corners? (not labeled, behind 5...).

I can be emailed thru this site.... Mar 15, 2008
Derek, I can see where you got that. To clarify, Phil and I climb a lot together, and I was just giving him crap on the hand drawn numbers (which there is nothing wrong with, as you said the picture is helpful). In fact, theres a good chance that when he took that picture, Kevin M. and I were there. If I didn't know him, and if I didn't know for sure the poster wouldn't take it seriously, it would have been a different comment.

About my directions comment- After I re-read it, I can understand your perspective. My ideas behind this comment, though possibly poorly worded and communicated, go as follows. The feeling is almost unanimous that Thunder could never become another Shelf, mainly because of the approach. Also, I have chosen to refrain from posting directions out of respect of the climbers who have found and developed that area. If anything, it's not my personal crag but theirs. This small handful of climbers have put an enormous amount of work into setting routes there; so much so that I wouldn't feel justified in bringing people in there. If/when they want to do that, that perfectly fine with me, but I feel that's their choice to make. This is a personal choice, and it was not imposed upon me by any of those people. Mar 15, 2008
Derek Lawrence   Bailey
Wow Stefan, between your comment above and your comment on Phil's photo (which I thought WAS helpful), you sure come across as an ass...trying to have your own private crag? I've seen those crags for years heading down 67, just had no clue had to get there without crossing private property. Frankly, considering the length of the approach that I'm sure it involves, I don't think you'll be finding any Shelf Road crowds there ever.... Perhaps a friendlier soul will post the current approach directions. Mar 15, 2008
Submitting directions would have that nasty little side effect of bringing people in there! We already have Shelf Road for that kind of climbing. My previous comment was an attempt to keep people from getting lost. Mar 14, 2008
Anyone know how to get here by these directions? I didn't find them by the directions. I was in the right area. Any info is appreciated. Aug 26, 2004
Hey Richard, you could sink a bolt in her face next to the crack and call it 5.13! Jul 11, 2003
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
Is Terry Barton human or a loosely cohered sack of hormone imbalances - something like a cockroach on estrogen? Jan 15, 2003
Burned June '02 by a human caused fire. Hopefully the originator of this fire will commit suicide. Jun 12, 2002
Ethics are a thing of the past. Jul 28, 2001

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