Button Rock (aka Pinewood Rock) Climbing
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|Shared By:||Dan Levison on Dec 23, 2002|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
DescriptionOn a ridge high above the mountain hamlet of Pinewood Springs are two hidden granite formations. Located deep within Roosevelt National Forest, I refer to this obscure area as Pinewood Rock. This hidden mountain crag lies at 8000 feet and allows for year round rock climbing possibilities. The sweeping views span the Continental Divide with dramatic views of Mount Meeker and Longs Peak Diamond far in the distance.
Currently there are only 8 bolted pitches (and others on the way) on the two formations in the range of 5.10 to 5.13. All routes are bolt protected with 3/8 and/or _ inch Rawl stainless- and plated-steel bolts or Fixe wedge bolts and double Fixe ring or Gold Shut anchors. The climbing is typically comprised of granite high-angle face climbing using thin smears, edges, and pebbles. The cracks are somewhat dirty and lichen covered and would require much cleaning.
North FormationThe North formation, which has a long flat summit that extends for over 100 yards, has two off-vertical climbs on the southwest face (Water Streak 11c and Career Day 11d). The climbing is clean and sustained with 5 or 6 bolts protecting the difficulties. Water Streak sports a fun roof above its thinly featured crux section, and the ultra clean Career Day has an exciting run-out to the anchors.
South FormationThe South formation, which is over 160 feet tall, has a dramatic two pitch climb on the southwest face, Granite Beach (Pitch 1 -- 12a, Pitch 2 - 12d A0). Granite Beach, the first route on the crag, incorporates all type of climbing: face, crack, layback, slab, and overhang. Pitch 1 ends at a hanging belay half way up the granite wall. The second pitch (open project) shoots straight above the belay onto the desperately difficult hanging headwall to a ledge and the final 30 feet of face to crack climbing. Just left of Granite Beach is Lima Bean (10b), which pulls a small/dirty roof/corner and ends climbing on a clean vertical quartzite vein. The Northwest side of the South Formation (at the saddle between the formations) has two single pitch climbs: Payback 11b and Electric Sky 11d. Electric Sky, a beautiful face and thin crack/seam, is 50 yards to the right of Payback, and the climb actually starts on a ledge about 40 feet up at the base of a large pine tree. Payback, just left of another large pine tree, is seen to the left shortly after the approach trail ends on the saddle. A very stout first move (crux) over the roof leads to moderate face climbing above a small hang.The East face of the South Formation has a project (Hibernation 5.13) on the south side of a large boulder abutting the main formation. The South face of the South Formation is home to a rising traverse under a massive roof, quite possibly the first climb done here (pins at the anchor under the roof traverse). Unfortunately the rock band getting to the roof is fractured, 5.8 and dangerous. Pinewood Rock is in a beautiful, remote setting with potential for new route activity. The obscure location, long approach, and complexity of the formations provide adventure/sport climbing far away from the crowds deep within the confines of Roosevelt National Forest.
Routes (to date):
1. Water Streak, 11c, FFA D. Levison, 6 bolts and anchor, set up belay half way up ramp, 1998, southwest side2. Career Day, 11d, FFA D. Levison, 5 bolts and anchor, 1995, southwest side
3. Hibernation, 5.13 project, FA D. Levison, 3 bolts and anchor, on south side of a large boulder abutting main formation, 2002, East side4. Payback, 11b, FFA D. Levison, 4 bolts and anchor, starts left of large pine tree, 2002, northwest side5. Electric Sky, 11d, FFA D. Levison and Bob Ratliff, 5 bolts, 1 pin, and anchor, starts on ledge formation 40 feet up at base of pine tree, 2002, nortwest side6. Lima Bean, 10b, FFA D. Levison and Bob Ratliff, 4 bolts and anchor, 2002, southwest side7. Granite Beach,12a (Pitch 1), FFA D. Levison and Wendy Knickerbocker, 8 bolts, triple bolt anchor, 1994; Pitch 2, 12d A0, open project, FA D. Levison and Wendy Knickerbocker, 7 bolts, 1 fixed wire, triple bolt anchor, 1994, southwest side
Getting ThereFrom the junction of CO 7 and US 36 in Lyons, you drive northwest on US 36 toward Estes Park. If you get to the turnoff to Big Elk Meadows, you have gone too far. Upon entering Pinewood Springs, at exactly 7.7 miles take a left at Gate 1 (Deer Lane), then an immediate right on Meadows Road, and a left on Pinewood Drive. Follow Pinewood Drive to the junction of Pinewood Drive, Pinewood Court, and Chipmunk Drive. Park here, make sure that you are parked well off the road. Next to the Pinewood CT sign is an inconspicuous trail leading to the southwest. After a few minutes this trail will connect with the main trail heading up the drainage to the southwest. Stay on Roosevelt National Forest land, at the start there are private residences jutting in and out of the National Forest border. The main approach trail has steep sections sans switchbacks, and will deposit a fit individual on the saddle between the two formations in about 30 minutes.
Per George Bracksieck: the correct name for "Pinewood Rock" is Button Rock, which is the name that has appeared on USGS and USFS maps for at least 60 years. In the '80s, climbers started calling the rocks (including the River Wall) by Longmont Reservoir "Button Rock." Longmont Res. lies a couple miles east of Ralph Price Res., which was originally named Button Rock Res., because it lies three miles south of and is in sight of Button Rock Mtn and the real Button Rock.
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