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Elevation: 7,795 ft 2,376 m
GPS: 40.4531, -105.3689
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 394,534 total · 1,730/month
Shared By: Richard M. Wright on Sep 22, 2005
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC
Warning Access Issue: Access issue - Monastery, Cedar Park, Combat Rock, etc. - open since 2023 DetailsDrop down
Warning Access Issue: Area closure - now lifted. Previously: Storm Mt./Cedar Park road is reopened to all DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

Once the scene of some of the most bucolic climbing in the Front Range, The Monastery looks now more like the Tora Bora. The crags at The Monastery lie between the Galuchie and Bobcat Gulches just adjacent to the Hyatt Mine and therefore were the scene of terrific devastation by the Bobcat fire in June of 2000. The whole area comprised of Spruce Mountain, Cedar Park, and Bobcat Gulch burned in one of the worst fires of recent memory, consuming over 5,000 acres of pristine meadow and forest. However, the fires left most of the crags untouched, and restoration of the access trail is largely complete.

Climbing at The Monastery is on igneous granitic pegmatite and some schist and gneiss. It is steep and edgy or slabby and on great friction. Alligator skin is common on the steeper walls. Many of the dozen or so crags have excellent South faces that remain dry for a large part of the year; however, they are located at 8,000+ feet and can get cold on a cloudy day, or snowed in in mid-winter. As probably everyone in Colorado knows, most the routes were established by Mike and Tommy Caldwell, so you can expect some hard climbing. Don't be put off by the bulk of difficult routes; plenty of excellent bolt-protected 5.9s and 5.10s exist.

The routes here are documented in Bernard Gillett's Estes Park Valley guidebook.

Organization of Area Suggest change

Eds. addendum: This is a complex area for which a bit of organization could help, as evidenced by folks wandering through with guidebooks trying to figure out where specific climbs are located.

Joell's excellent aerial photo does help with the general layout. Gillett's fine guidebook to the area does choose single names for the crags & landmarks here. For the purpose of clarity, we'll use these names.

The general organization of the area could be split into 3 rows/areas of crags with 2 approx NE-SW corridors (The Vestibule (southern) & The Catacomb (northern) separating these. The southern edge of the crags here is called the Outer Gates. In addition there are narrow subcorridors, with routes inside, separating some of these southern-most crags, some of which have separate names. These subcorridors are: unnamed, unnamed, The Balcony, Hallowed Hall, & Inner Sanctum. For the purposes of organization, routes within this subcorridors will be organized in the The Vestibule section. Note, routes on a formation can be located in different subareas in this database depending upon which face they lie.

The southern-most row of crags are: (NE-SW) The Den, Not So Hairy Pin, The Guardian, perhaps Tower of Evolution?, The Abbey, The Chapel, Magical Mystery Tower, The Steeple, The Vestry, The Whine Cellar. Note, SE of these are the Basilica & Belfry. Also, The Den, Not So Hairy Pin, Basilica, & Belfry are lumped together as Bear's Lair.

Somewhere in here is the Tower of Evolution.

The middle row of these crags are: (NE-SW) unnamed, unnamed, The Boneyard, with the obvious free-standing plate/pillar The Altar, and unnamed.

The northern-most row/collection are: (southern-most) The Sepulcher, The Nursery, Lion's Den, Wedding Rock, & Barnacle Rock. This area has likely the most room for development.

Getting There

Suggest change
Getting to The Monastery is easy to do but complicated to describe. Going up for the first time one might want to go with someone who has been here. That said, the directions can be followed. Take US 34 West, out of Loveland. After passing through the Big Thompson Canyon, you will come to the town of Drake, set the odometer. Take a right onto County Road 43 West of Drake several hundred feet. After 0.3 miles turn right onto Colo 128 (Storm Mountain Dr.), this will take you to Combat Rock after 1 mile. Continue on 128 to a T-intersection at 2.5 miles - go left. At the Y-intersection go left again and stay on 128 until the odometer reads about 5.1 miles. Pull into a camping area on the left and park. Walk about [150] yards up the road to the switchback and the trailhead on the left. Do not park at the switchback by the trailhead; this is posted as a No Parking area.

You will be near the Hyatt mine. The trail head runs left of the road and will take 45 minutes to one hour to hike, go left at the fork in the trail. The trail has a steep downhill section at the start and a steep uphill section afterward. Be prepared for the hike out; it's as difficult as the hike in, and takes just about as long.

The first major formation you come to is The Guardian.

Guidebook

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This is covered in the Bernard Gillett guidebook, Rocky Mountain National Park - The Climber's Guide: Estes Park Valley.

Rattlesnake Alert

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There are rattlesnakes known to be in this area. Beware!

103 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Monastery

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 69
No Mystery Here
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 117
The Steeple
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 149
Monastic Groove
Sport
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
 184
The Hot Zone
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 91
La Maudite
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 392
Tabula Rasa
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 41
Bear Hug
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 88
Arch Crack
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 138
Stolen Land
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
 16
Crack a Smile
Trad, Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 114
Psychatomic
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 19
The Shortening
Sport
5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a
 15
The Quickening
Sport
5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a
 9
Third Millennium
Sport
5.14b 8c 33 X+ 33 E9 7b
 4
Grand Ol' Opry
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
No Mystery Here Outer Gates
 69
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
The Steeple Outer Gates
 117
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Monastic Groove Outer Gates
 149
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
The Hot Zone Catacomb
 184
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Sport
La Maudite Outer Gates
 91
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Tabula Rasa Vestibule
 392
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Bear Hug Lion's Den
 41
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Arch Crack Vestibule
 88
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Stolen Land Vestibule
 138
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Crack a Smile Catacomb
 16
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Trad, Sport
Psychatomic Vestibule
 114
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
The Shortening Vestibule
 19
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
The Quickening Vestibule
 15
5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a Sport
Third Millennium Vestibule
 9
5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a Sport
Grand Ol' Opry Vestibule
 4
5.14b 8c 33 X+ 33 E9 7b Sport
More Classic Climbs in The Monastery »

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