Elevation: 5,691 ft
GPS: 40.534, -105.145 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 116,005 total · 458/month
Shared By: Ryan Nelson on Nov 29, 1999 with 7 Suggestions
Admins: James Schroeder, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

Description

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

Map:
binged.it/17mXOcq

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

History

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.

43 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.
V4+ 6B+
 5
Rough Hugs
Boulder
V9 7C
 3
Mother's Finest
Boulder
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 20
Unnamed Corner
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 123
Corner Climb
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 47
Apples
Trad, TR
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 10
Unknown North
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 27
Face Route
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
 48
Liberty's Last Stand
Trad, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 29
Purdy Dirty
TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 39
Oranges
TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 79
Dihedral Route
Trad, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 21
South OW aka Front Crack
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 32
Cheeseburger in Paradise
TR
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 90
Roof Route
Trad, TR
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 13
Out of the Black
Trad, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Rough Hugs
 5
V4+ 6B+ Boulder
Mother's Finest
 3
V9 7C Boulder
Unnamed Corner
 20
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
Corner Climb
 123
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Apples
 47
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Unknown North
 10
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Face Route
 27
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
Liberty's Last Stand
 48
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad, TR
Purdy Dirty
 29
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c TR
Oranges
 39
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c TR
Dihedral Route
 79
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, TR
South OW aka Front Crack
 21
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Cheeseburger in Paradise
 32
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a TR
Roof Route
 90
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, TR
Out of the Black
 13
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad, TR
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