Areas in Ralston Buttes
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|GPS:||39.853, -105.28 Google Map · Climbing Map|
|Shared By:||Richard M. Wright on Apr 2, 2002|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
DescriptionRalston Buttes, aka The Coors Crag, has a forty year long history of climbing. Back in the 70s Jim Erickson, Steve Wunsch, Roger Briggs and many others cleaned up a slew of old aid lines turning them into a handful of classic trad routes. In the early 80's I had a chance to hump in and check out some of Jim Erickson's lines. I never returned until the mid 90s when the relentlessly energized and organizational mastermind, Tod Anderson, commandered a crew of folks to start picking off the blank faces. In the ensuing years, dozens of new routes have been established, largely under Tod's driving force but with the whole Head crew spinning drills. What has resulted is the development of one of the most stunning crags on the Front Range, and much still remains to be done.
Ralston Buttes is broken into two tiers, an upper (Easterly) band and a large, lower (Westerly) crag. Most of the routes presently developed on Ralston are on the lower formation. Since Rossiter's book has the only current data (some old stuff can be fetched out of Jim Erickson's Rocky Heights) route numbering follows his precedent and tracks from the North to the South. The lower crag varies in height from from 100 or so feet to over 200 ft. The rock is Eldorado sandstone. The crag sits high on the hill, faces due West, and resides in a spectacular location, despite the presence of a Uranium mine at the base of the hill.
The sore point concerning the Ralston Buttes, and the reason for posting it here on cb.com, is that this crag and servicable access were purchased by JeffCo several years ago moving the crag into the public domain. The same tax dollars, your own, have subsequently gone into closing the crag to public access pending "environmental analysis". However, many years have elapsed and little has been done to meet the conditions of public land. Plenty of time has elapsed in which to assess raptor nesting, for example. Ralston Buttes should be given the same treatment as Mickey Mouse, Eldo, or any other sensitive area - temporary closure as needed. The exclusionary policy of JeffCo Open Space needs to come to an end with access to this public crag restored to the public.
Getting ThereWell, this is what sucks. Current access is via the Jefferson County Open Space property, the White Ranch, off Co 93. This is a long hike. Alternative access is through private property, and in the past, before the housing development got revved up, this was a reasonable approach. Since your tax dollars are hard at work keeping you off public lands that you bought, one interesting option is to stimulate JeffCo Open Space to provide access to this public property without recourse to trespass. It is high time to press the county commissioners for access to this crag. Their phone number is 303 271 8525.
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