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Routes in Duncan's Ridge

Africa's West Coast T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Apples T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Bird Shit Avenue T,TR 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Broken Crack T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Cave Route T,TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Cheeseburger in Paradise TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Conglomerate Face TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Corner Climb T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Crackmard T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Dihedral Route T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Face Route T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Icebreaker Arete V4 6B
Kahlua Roof V6 7A
Left of The Nose TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Liberty's Last Stand TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Lichen Roof TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Monster Block Full SDS V6-7 7A+
Northern Unnamed T,TR 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Nose, The T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Oranges S,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Out of the Black S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Purdy Dirty TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Roof Route T,TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
South Corner T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
South OW aka Front Crack T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Unnamed Corner T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Unnamed Overhang TR 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Unnamed Top Rope Section T,TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Wide Side, The T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Wishbone Crack T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Unsorted Routes:
Elevation: 5,691 ft
GPS: 40.534, -105.145 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 58,610 total, 267/month
Shared By: Ryan Nelson on Nov 29, 1999 with updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac


This is a very sunny wall with a short approach and a beautiful view. Duncan's Ridge has the closest rope climbing to the Fort Collins. The majority of the routes can easily be top-roped, and the area is a great place for beginners and highball boulderers alike. The area has a good variety of trad climbs in the range of 5.4 to 5.12.

Getting There


Once at the parking lot (same lot for Piano Keys Bouldering Area), hike west up the hogback for 5 minutes and your at the ridge. You can descend via the obvious 4th class gully to the north of the main climbing area.


Climbing here goes back at least to the 1960s. The name was given in honor of Duncan Ferguson (an extremely modest, non-self-promoting, and one of the most graceful climbers) who came here and probably climbed every line here during training sessions taking advantage of the area's proximity and accessibility as this area was his escape from the crowds at Flagstaff and Rotary. As was Duncan's practices, he rarely gave much effort to publicizing his ascents other than to his close associates. Some, like Steve Bass, would go up for hours at a time, up/down climbing every move, until he could send in preparation for other mentally challenging routes. Other notables who frequented the area include: John Gill, Mike Storeim, Dan Hare, Scott Woodruff, Brad Gilbert, Jeff Stringham, Jamie Logan, Sam Shannon, Alan Nelson, Tom Kelly, Steve Mamman, John Long, Scott Blunk, Mark Wilford, Lizz Grenard, Malcolm Daly, Ken Decker, Ken Duncan, Steve Bass, Jim Brink, and Craig Luebben. Thus, Duncan's was originally a highball area for most climbers. It was a training ground to get used to longer runouts while on lead for those who liked headgame routes. It became a mostly toprope area as more of the masses found the rock to their liking.

The tradition and style of the first ascents was ropeless or using clean gear. Unfortunately, some if not most of the history has been passed down by mouth incompletely, which has led to the younger climbers not recognizing (or perhaps respecting) the history and traditions here. Over the years, some of the "respect the ethics of the first ascensionist" has not been passed on fully to the "next generation." Further, the sheer numbers of climbers have pushed some of the "older generation" to climb more elsewhere.

Over the decades, bolts have appeared, mostly at the top of the cliff, but they have often been "chopped" as the traditions were to leave nothing behind. Duncan Ferguson would spend afternoons soloing up and down the ridge probably doing most every route done there today. Duncan's legacy may help explain why some feel that retro-bolting the ridge is a travesty.

Also, the area has been used by non-climbers, sometimes to the detriment of the area's resources. Even the earlier climbers found bottles, cans and the occasional rock trundle flying down from the top.

More recently, the area has come under the closer inspection and regulation of the Larimer County landmanagers. The Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition has come about after the turn of the century and has tried to be an advocate for climbers in the area. The NCCC has worked out an agreement with Larimer County in 2015 that has sanctioned fixed anchors, perhaps unknowing of the history and traditions of the area, in an effort to reduce erosion at the tops of the cliffs and injury to trees used as anchors. Additionally, the NCCC, or at least one of its members, has begun to add some bolts to previously climbed lines which has led to some controversy (as is common with retrobolting routes anywhere).

Eds. The original text was deleted by the poster. Given the circumstances, this section was edited in to reflect the history. Some of the history can be found alluded to here.

30 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Duncan's 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
Corner Climb
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Unnamed Corner
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
South Corner
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Trad, TR
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Face Route
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Liberty's Last Stand
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Purdy Dirty
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sport, TR
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Unnamed Overhang
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Dihedral Route
Trad, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
South OW aka Front Crack
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Cheeseburger in Paradise
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Roof Route
Trad, TR
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Out of the Black
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Corner Climb 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Unnamed Corner 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
South Corner 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Apples 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Crackmard 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Face Route 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Liberty's Last Stand 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c TR
Purdy Dirty 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c TR
Oranges 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport, TR
Unnamed Overhang 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c TR
Dihedral Route 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, TR
South OW aka Front Crack 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Cheeseburger in Paradise 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a TR
Roof Route 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, TR
Out of the Black 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Duncan's Ridge »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
JR Cook
Fort Collins, CO
JR Cook   Fort Collins, CO
I left a Black Diamond blue 0.3 X4 Camalot stuck in the crack at the top of the climb named “Conglomerate Face” on Friday 10/27/17. I went back Sunday 10/29/17 to use a tool to get it out, and it was gone. My friend and I tried in the freezing dark on Friday for about an hour to get that thing out to no avail. If you snagged it, I would be willing to give some cash for it. I wasn’t able to come back the next day to grab it, so please understand my predicament, if you have it. Please PM me. Thanks! Oct 30, 2017
Sean Onasch
fort collins
Sean Onasch   fort collins
Hey found an anchor today, let me know if it's yours. Oct 5, 2017
Chris Neal
Fort Collins, CO
Chris Neal   Fort Collins, CO
Hi, I think I left my anchors clipped in to a route near the overhang last Monday the 17th. Didn't realize it until I started packing my gear to go climb again. Turquoise sling and four locking carabiners. I'd appreciate a call or text at (719)640-3481 if you found them, and I'd be happy to toss you some cash as a reward. Jul 24, 2017
There is a hanger missing, and the nut on either Easy Face or Purty Dirty, I can't remember which.

I have an extra hanger and nut if someone is heading up there before I get a chance. PM me, and I can give you the stuff. I've noticed that these nuts get loose very quickly, I can tighten a few, come back a few weeks later, and they are loose again. If there is no objections, I am going to start Loctite'ing them when I tighten. Jul 18, 2017
Found some quickdraws at the top of a route today. Some young kids were talking about stealing them. I grabbed them. Message me to claim them. Jun 21, 2017
Dan Brogan
Fort Collins
Dan Brogan   Fort Collins
On March 24th, I forgot two Trango quickdraws attached to the anchors for roof route. The biners are dark silver, the non-wired gates are red (straight) and orange (curved), and the dogbones are black. If you grabbed them, I'd really appreciate getting them back! Thanks! May 10, 2017
My anchor cordelette didn't find its way into my bag, went back a couple of hours later, and it was gone. Let me know if you happened to pick it up. The cord is green and has four carabiners attached to it with teal tape on them. You can contact me at Apr 9, 2017
Ryan Nelson
Fort Collins, CO
Ryan Nelson   Fort Collins, CO
In response to Drewboski Hacker: the loose bolt was replaced on July 7th, 2016, and I applied some Loctite to the nut on the other bolt. The route in question is….

Everything else looked bomber up there. Enjoy. Jul 7, 2016
Be very careful with the bolts. While double checking a toprope, I was able to pull one bolt completely out and the other is very loose. Don't take chances, double check your pro. Great day besides that. A wonderful place to take kids and beginners and teach leading. May 29, 2016
Found a rather nice earring on the hike up today, meaning it was probably lost within the last week. You can email me at if you recently lost one, you'll just need to send a description or the picture of its mate to get it back. Apr 5, 2016
One of the two permanent anchor bolts at the top of the roof route is quite loose. The nut is secure, but the bolt itself is pretty jiggly. Backed it up with a long sling and locking biner from a nearby rock yesterday. A nut and runner set in a nearby crack would do the same job. Check yourself before you deck yourself. Mar 23, 2016
Climbed a route on lead last Thursday that I think may be an FA. If you are look at out of the black, look directly right. Find a finger/hand crack leading to a couple crimps. Head on left into a bit of an undercling place your last piece, and run it out on low angle slab. Such a great climb! Probably goes at 9+. Please let me know if anyone has climbed this yet! Oct 12, 2015
Just a heads up, all the sport bolts are gone. Toprope hardware is still present. Aug 30, 2015
Forgot 2 BD draws with Super Mario Bros. tape on the "Apples" chains today 8/3/15. Please email if found. Thanks. Aug 3, 2015
Spencer Dries
Golden, CO
Spencer Dries   Golden, CO
NicholasHoogendyk and everyone:

For great history and the issue of bolting at Duncan's, read this thread! Jun 18, 2015
NicholasHoogendyk Hoogendyk   Fort Collins
We were up there this Saturday, and there are a few new bolted routes. Specifically, The Roof Route is bolted up to chains and Liberty's Last Stand is bolted. I'm not sure what the other routes are. Jun 16, 2015
Michael Kauzmann
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Michael Kauzmann   Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hey all, I was climbing with friends on Friday afternoon and was an idiot. I pulled my rope at the end of the day, meaning to grab my anchor on the way out but forgot. If anyone has this hefty anchor of two non-lockers, two lockers, and a grey nylon double and wants to be a kind soul, I would love an email: Free compliments and a beer will be in store! Jul 13, 2014
Went to DR about 3 weeks ago and my partner found a GriGri lying on top of the cliff, at the end of the approach trail. Give Mark a call at 970 371 9371 with description of the sticker that's on it and he'll get it back to you. Aug 26, 2011
John R. Williams
Fort Collins, CO
John R. Williams   Fort Collins, CO
Question: would anybody happen to know the name and or rating of the route(s) under the 2 bolts about 20 feet right (south) of the roof route?

Thanks Jul 28, 2010
Denver, CO
jbarnum   Denver, CO
Better come to a consensus on these bolts and future bolts. Recently up there, and the hangers are gone, with the bolts still present. Soon, with these antics, the bolt threads will be damaged, leaving an unusable bolt, or a spinning hanger. Also not having a hanger leaves the rock surrounding the bolt more prone to erosion in this softer rock. Why not form a group to decide where bolts are appropriate, and where not. Where can anchors safely be made, and where a bolt could be justified. An accident with a novice with only draw unwanted attention. This is no where near Eldo, but people will climb here long after you and I are gone. Apr 11, 2010
Tanner Mitchell
Fort Collins CO
Tanner Mitchell   Fort Collins CO
A question for the Admins...I was climbing some of the more obscure routes at Duncan's today, and I wondered if it's possible to make route entries for them, with hopes that other users will add info, as I know no definite names/ratings for them. I'm surprised that the routes I was on weren't entered already, as I found them to be great fun. Anyway, if you could let me know the procedure for something like this, I'd be most greatful. Mar 28, 2010
David Pneuman
Western, CO
David Pneuman   Western, CO
As of yesterday, all the new bolts are missing hangers and nuts. Not sure if they are removed because the placements were unsafe or just booty for children.... Jan 17, 2010
Denver, CO
jbarnum   Denver, CO

They did not bolt the roof, but a set to climber's right, and another set to the left, in addition to the bolts that were already there. I am surprised the roof was not bolted, since that also seems to be the more timely anchor to build. I agree, the more traffic an area sees, the more likely we are to have people that will abuse it. Two recent fire rings were also evident. An area like this, while not destination, should have its tradition and ethics be respected. I am not one to chop, but I also will not stop others if they feel the need. But chopping just leads to more scars, and more bolts. Nov 7, 2009
jeff walz
Historic SodoSopa
jeff walz   Historic SodoSopa
What'd they bolt? The roof and surrounding climbs already bear scars from former anchors.
The (previous) lack of bolts speaks for itself, especially considering how long people have climbed here. Most climbs can be toproped with a rudimentary rack. Nov 6, 2009
Denver, CO
jbarnum   Denver, CO
Up there yesterday. Someone has been busy. New bolts across the top, so new the drill dust was still there. Two new sets, and a replacement/refurbish of the existing set. It was nice to get more climbing in and move from bolted anchor to bolted anchor without having to fiddle with gear. I understand the debate between pro and fixed gear, but I personally do not have an opinion on bolts in this particular area. Perhaps with the addition of bolts the area will see more traffic, and some people don't like that. These bolts are no more unsightly than the chalk visible at Piano and the Rotary. With the history here, however, they are at risk of being chopped. Nov 6, 2009
Just an FYI for everyone. I was up at the bolts climbing with some friends and my dog got bit by a rattlesnake. We did not hear or see the snake. Keep your dog on a leash if you are up there. Aug 12, 2008
Gary Schmidt
Boulder, CO
Gary Schmidt   Boulder, CO
If you are hoping to use trees for anchors, they are a very long ways back. Your best option is to probably to bring a static climbing rope if you own one. If not you will have to do some creative anchor building with pro. Aug 30, 2004
The road is now open! Oct 5, 2003
I talked to some of the construction guys, and they just 'offiicially' opened a path from the piano rock car park just north of the south damn. Gain the path just west of the construction gate, but to get there you'll have to go past the hughes stadium access road.

m.trinidad Jun 11, 2002
Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
I tried to get to Duncan's Ridge this morning, but the road was closed for dam construction. I'm not sure if one can park and walk in from the road closure sign. Either way, the access to the Horsetooth Res. bouldering areas has been altered for the moment...Shane Apr 1, 2002
There aren't any anchors (bolt) anywhere anymore! Make sure you can set up your own gear or remote sling belay. Jan 4, 2002

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