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Areas in The Ironclads

Black See 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Cube, The 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Dylan Wall 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Ironsides 2 / 10 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Mount Boner 0 / 9 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Punk Rock aka Poacher's Rock 0 / 10 / 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Quartz Garden, The 1 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3

Description

The Ironclads outside of Allenspark have a large collection of sport and trad climbing along with some top ropeable climbs. Its concentration of routes in a nice high altitude setting is unbeatable. There are short sport climbs, longer sport and trad, and tons of unclimbed bouldering spots. The parking, camping, and climbing is all free and easily accessed. If the rednecks don't bother you, the camping is nice and the weather is cool in the summer.

Getting There

From Boulder: take US 36 to Lyons, Take CO 7 up past the Peak to Peak Highway, about 1/2 mile past on the left is Bunce School Road (dirt road, unmarked). Drive up that for about 1 mile and take a right uphill turn. The turn is noticed as being the "crest" of the dirt road, an aspen grove on the left and two ways going uphill. You'll see Mt. Boner and Punk Rock from this road, and it can be a good starting point.

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Ironclads

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Ian Roberts
Austin, TX
Ian Roberts   Austin, TX
Overall a great spot. I normally drive in and park near Mount Boner (since it's a good, easy-to-locate landmark), and then hike to the west up to the larger Ironclad formation where there's a lot of cool spots, none of which seem to be noted here surprisingly. The west side of the Ironclads have some pretty exposed and steep granite faces with some great aretes and cracks to be climbed - none bolted, though.

The top of the Ironclads themselves are usually pretty deserted. Out of probably 10 trips over the spring/summer, we only saw one other group up there, and they were just some kids scrambling the big domes. If you're bothered by the 4-wheeler drivers and the constant gunfire, climbing up high is a good option. There are some cool camp spots up there that are pretty secluded.

The road is "accessible", but I wouldn't personally try it in anything other than a 4WD truck or Jeep. FR216 runs past Mount Boner (heading NW) but eventually reaches a hill climb that's so washed out I'm afraid to try to drive up it even in a Jeep - but someone with more off road experience could probably tackle it. That road seems to lead NW and around the Ironclads' west side so could be used to reach the climbs over there without having to park and then hike up and over.

The guys at the main entrance off CO Hwy 7 renting 4-wheelers are pretty friendly, but I wish they'd find somewhere else to run their business. The gunfire is pretty ridiculous, but hey, it's Forest Service land I guess.... Feb 3, 2016
waldo
Knoxville, TN
waldo   Knoxville, TN
The road is a little washed out. If you know how to maneuver your vehicle, then you will be fine. I took my Honda Accord almost all the way up several times in the summer of 2015. I had no problem in my GMC Terrain. Be careful of the 4WD tours. They haul in a bunch of offroad 4 wheelers on trailers and drive people around for a price. The area is littered with sh** tickets and trash everywhere, so be careful where you step. It's too bad, because this is a cool place. I wish the Forest Service would protect this area better. There are lots of opportunities for camping and climbing in this area otherwise. Oct 21, 2015
THAT ROAD.

We were up in Estes Park for just the weekend escaping the flatness of Nebraska and took our truck up to the Ironclads. Even in a Ford Lariat, there were times we were concerned we would smash the bumper or undercarriage. The road has become so incredible washed out (and I am sure the 4 wheelers don't help). The area was totally littered, and I couldn't find my spare trash bag anywhere, but I did fill up empty sandwich bags with broken glass.

Frankly, I don't mind the gun shots, or the four wheelers so much, the rock was a ton of fun and I loved the climbs despite the trash...but I dont know if I would risk going up the road again, it desperately needs worked on. Aug 20, 2015
Trashed and gunshots every 3 seconds, offroaders galore. Disgusting and scary. I began climbing ther around 1993, and it was beautiful, few off roaders, zero trash, and zero gunfire. It stayed that way until About 2003 maybe. We went to our same spot for a weekend of camping and got there late Saturday night, set up camp, cooked, and slept. Our dogs we off leash, as always up there, and roaming around camp. Next morning we went to set up some climbs and were shocked to see about 2 inches of nothing be broken glass and ammuniton completely covering the ground around the base of the climbs...so pissed about that. Last weekend after giving the place a rest for another ten years, I took my wife there just to check it out again...trashed still and about 100x the offroad traffic and 1000 times the gunfire. I'm writing some emails to Rep. Polis and the Forest Service, Sheriff's office after this post. Totally let down. Don't go, it sucks. Apr 13, 2015
I found a set of Toyota keys with a few other keys with it on a fire pit while I was there today. If anyone is missing their Toyota keys, please contact me. snunan@comcast.net Jun 9, 2014
Josh and Emily, I understand you have my camera that I left at Ironclads ..thanks for retrieving it. Could you call me at 970 218 6855 or email wayne.mcilwraith@colostate.edu to let me know how to retrieve. Thanks!! Wayne Aug 10, 2013
Blake C
Superior, CO
Blake C   Superior, CO
Pretty easy to find, look for Bunce School road off the CO Hwy 7, once you drive up a bit you will see Forest Service road signs 105. Should be about 1.4 mi till you reach some parking at Punk Rock just like the guide says. Watch out for broken glass at the base of Punk Rock. It is possible to scramble up the back to set top rope anchors. Jul 14, 2013
Hiro Kurotsuchi
Colorado
Hiro Kurotsuchi   Colorado
No posts here for years, so I'll just update...not much of an update since it hasn't changed. The clearance of an Outback is totally adequate for getting in on the road - although it dumped a huge amount of water on us at the end of our visit - I'm sure clearance requirements change depending on when it was last graded.

Lots of off-roaders, expended ammunition strewn about, plenty of bits of trash to carry out with you - mainly from the camp areas, not in the climbing areas (good job, all!).

Automatic weapons sooth your nerves as you scrape up the rock towards anchors of safety. Jul 7, 2013
Matt Novinger
Erie, CO
Matt Novinger   Erie, CO
Note, if you are using the Bernard Gillett guidebook he says the 4x4 road is FR 115, but it is in fact FR 105. The Bunce School landmark is accurate as is the Hilltop Guilde. There's a point of interest sign on the main highway at the turn off for the road. Aug 23, 2010
Scott McMahon
Boulder, CO
Scott McMahon   Boulder, CO
Does anyone have beta on the LOWER section of the Ironclads (left at road split)? Oct 19, 2009
Baumer
Boulder, CO
Baumer   Boulder, CO
I had a bit of trouble finding Punk Rock because there were dozens of pseudo-roads (serious, steep 4-wheeling) to the right of the aspen grove. The one to follow is 216. Jul 18, 2009
If anyone knows of the bouldering in this area and its V scale, could you be so kind to post a note on here...thanks. Jul 10, 2007
Brendan Leonard
Denver, Hollarado
Brendan Leonard   Denver, Hollarado
I've been here a couple of times and enjoyed it -- all the bullets seemed to be aimed away from the crag, which was nice. There were a couple moments where the guys with the ATVs and guns looked at us and wondered why we'd waste a day climbing up rocks, and we wondered why they'd waste a day shooting guns into the side of a mountain. There was quite a bit of broken glass scattered on the ground around Punk Rock, but all in all, it was fun. Sep 28, 2006
Umph!  
I wish the Urban Toprope [Assault] was the problem here. . . Really it's the urban lead and mud slingers. There are some nice pitches, no doubt, but the area has been torn up a bit by partiers, off-roaders and not-so-sharp-shooters. Fortunately they haven't tracked into the crags up above (where all the good climbing is). I haven't personally had a problem with anyone or thing on my trips, but I can see how one might. The views from atop the climbs are great, and midweek climbing is exceptional (very peaceful). (many new lines are still available for FA's, but don't bolt the trad lines (refering to the climbs in the Ironclads proper). . . . much thanks). Oct 6, 2005
nolteboy
Fort Collins, CO
nolteboy   Fort Collins, CO
This place turns into an Urban Assault Area on weekends, thanks to it's inclusion in a popular Front Range Topropes book. Go mid-week if you can. Jun 22, 2005
All I can say is that I have not been to the Ironclads since 1995 when I spent many fine weekends with a couple of friends who were putting up new routes.....and to read that the place is crawling with 2-strokes, gunfire, trash and a higher degree of human traffic is a bit depressing.So, to those of you that enjoy the Ironclads as much as I once did.....please respect the land so that you can continue enjoying access.....Aloha Y'all. Nov 10, 2004
There is good bouldering right off Bunce School Road. Go past the sandflats and the little parking loop on the right. The hillside has a nice roof with exits to the left and right. They go at v blah-blah. Then continue down the road and turn the corner to the rocky oil pan killing rocks. Look up to your right, you'll see a big boulder with a crack and a piton in the top of it. The boulders offers a lot of variations, most have been done. The two overhanging walls to the north and west also offer a lot. Check it out, and be nice to environment; it's one of the few places the 2 strokers don't go into. Please help by picking up glass and trash, we don't want to see this place closed. Nov 21, 2001
Charles Vernon
Tucson, AZ
Charles Vernon   Tucson, AZ
Actually, you see quite a few "town cars" up there. I used to drive mine all the way up quite a bit but ended up damaging my radiator. The road has become a bit washed out recently, also.

This area gets serious traffic on week-ends. Punk Rock is a good definition of grid-bolting. Also, there are many ORVs and motor bikes using the area, and one often climbs to the steady accompaniment of gun-fire. I have been nearly run over by a bike, and a stray bullet hit the rock once while a friend of mine was climbing on Punk Rock.

That said, the routes offer nice granite edge climbing, and I've made several visits. Nov 5, 2001
Michael Walker
Loveland, CO
Michael Walker   Loveland, CO
This area has become quite trashed over the years as every high school it seems has a party every weekend along the Bunce School Road. Do not expect a wilderness experience. I could show you a good camping spot away from it all, but then I'd have to kill you. ;-). Let's just say that a 4X4 will get you away from the low-riders.... Nov 2, 2001
A couple of comments: (1) while I made it up once in my passenger car, most times you will need a high-clearance vehicle to make it much past the Bunce School. There is a large pulloff about 1/4 mile up the road which is a convenient spot to hop in your friends' pickups; (2) free camping can be had in the immediate Punk Rock/Mt. Boner vicinity. There are several fire rings but no amenities. Be prepared to be awakened to the sound of 2-stroke engines. Nov 2, 2001

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