Elevation: 13,602 ft
GPS: 39.592, -105.653 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 30,962 total · 148/month
Shared By: Leo Paik on Feb 20, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac


These are the Summit Aprons of gorgeous, alpine, granite slabs which beckon you forth from the Summit Lake cirque. 5-9 pitch climbs treat you to a backwater but aerobically friendly alpine experience. Each of the three aprons will offer a different experience. Left to right, the 1st Apron will offer the longest climbs with the least sun with a distinctly more challenging bit of climbing including overhanging, offwidth 5.7. The 2nd Apron offers brilliant, moderate slabs of link-whatever-features-you-wish-climbing with quite adequate protection. The 3rd Apron offers the least steep but the least protected of the bunch. 25-35 minute approaches (timed with a watch, though some may need 60 minutes) keep the legs fresh and save the alpine wakeup calls. Ambulatory or automobile descents offer variety of experiences. Beware of midday lightning. Enjoy!

1st Apron
A. Slip and Slide [1st Apron], 9 X, 4p, gear.
B. 1st Apron, Left Side , 7 PG-13, 6-8p, gear.
C. Cheap Date [1st Apron], 9, 7-8p, ~1400', gear.

2nd Apron
D. 2nd Apron Far Left, 8 R, 5p, 780', gear.
E. 2nd Apron Left Side, 8+, 5p, 800', gear.
F. 2nd Apron Center, 7, 5p, 710', gear.
G. ?
H. 2nd Apron Right Side, 7, 6p, 850', gear.
I. ?
J. 2nd Apron, Right Side Dihedral, 5, 5p, 700', gear.
K. The Napkin (2nd Apron), 7+, 1p, 200', gear.

3rd Apron

L. 3rd Apron Left, 7+ R, 5p, gear.

Getting There

Drive I-70 west from Denver to exit 240 and up the Mt. Evans CO Highway 103. Go to Echo Lake (~10,000'). Follow the summit road to ~12,500 to Summit Lake. Park. Look up. These aprons are arbitrarily called (from left to right) first, second, third. If you can't see the aprons, you may want to do something else. Take a leisurely (Addendum: some argue with this adjective) alpine walk 25-35 minutes (Addendum: timed with a watch avoid walking on vegetation; later - some take up to 60 minutes) to the base of your desired apron. Hop aboard. Some early season ascents will require a bit of snow crossing. During moist years, snow may persist. Ambulatory descents include right of the 3rd Apron or left of the 1st Apron down the hiking trail. Automobile descents require a traverse to the observatory area (L) and a protuberant thumb or a bit tourist schmoozing between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Update: note the new signage to avoid getting ticketed for new restrictions.

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Aprons

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
2nd Apron Right Side
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
2nd Apron Center
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
2nd Apron Left Side
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
2nd Apron Right Side
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
2nd Apron Center
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
2nd Apron Left Side
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
More Classic Climbs in The Aprons »

Sun & Shade

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Someone asked how tall the [Second Apron] was, so I brought an altimeter along yesterday. By subtraction, this second apron is 530 feet tall.

Also, one of my partners came across an old pin in a thin crack between the right and central lines I described earlier. It is below the left side of the M-shaped overlap about 80 feet up. Seemed the rock was getting smooth in the 5.9 range with diminishing pro options. You may find a white sling hanging on this pin about 40 feet up. Aug 15, 2002
Maybe I'm not in top shape, but the approach is closer to an hour than 30 minutes. Jun 18, 2003
Legs Magillicutty   Durango
The time difference may depend on which side of the lake you approach from. If you walk to the right around the lake, the approach is longer. Walk left and its shorter. Jul 9, 2004
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
Hey, I was wondering if anyone had some information on routes existing on the First Apron, and more importantly where can I get more information about all of the routes that exist on Evans? Just curious cause this is kinda my backyard, and I would like to exploit it more. Thanks. Jul 31, 2005
Doug Redosh
Golden, CO
Doug Redosh   Golden, CO
Another option for the descent: stash bikes at the end of the road at the summit before your climb. There is a bike rack, bring a lock. Dress warm, then float back to your car at Summit Lake. Easier on the knees and a lot more fun than walking down talus!
Doug Redosh Aug 1, 2006
A few things I'd like to add regarding area beta, and I think this would helpful to add to the area description above.

1) I took two altimeters with me yesterday, and the average between the two put the Second Apron at 750, which seems right, as it took me four and a half pitches at 50 - 65 meters per pitch (I was using a 70m rope).

2) The approach. Let's be clear about this. You don't just "take a leisurely alpine walk." Not even close. It will take about an hour from the parking lot to the base of the Second Apron. I'm in pretty good shape, live in Denver, and unless I knew exactly how to get there and really huffed and puffed getting there, even 35 minutes is unrealistic. I mean, there's about a 700-800 foot gain in altitude just on the approach. Also important is how to get there. From the parking lot, walk back to the road and follow the road about 100 yards on toward Mt Evans. Cut back off the road just where the lake meets the road. You'll walk a trail that will eventually disappear amidst tiny ponds, and then you'll begin the harder section ascending a skree field. It took us 50 - 60 minutes to get there, once we'd found the trail.

3) The car/hitch hiking descent is not always an option. Be sure you check to see if the last five miles (after Summit Lake) is open or not before you bank on this; luckily for us, we took our hiking shoes and just descended the talus on the climber's right of the Third Apron (about 1 - 1.5 hours back to the parking lot).

4) Regarding the Second Apron. Climbed on September 18th, 2010, there was a bit of snow on it, and I don't think it was leftovers from last winter. Also, a lot of the climbing was "dirty," covered in moss, dirt, and/or lichens. Not all that hard, a bit heady in places (often because it wasn't so clean), but still a fun way to summit a 14er. Sep 20, 2010
After doing right side/second apron and descending by the third apron and walking back around the lake, we were met by a Denver Parks Ranger. There are newly erected fences and signs indicating the area is closed for revegetation. The Ranger was very respectful and understands the access issues, but they are going to get more strict. Signage will be going up by next year.

What appears to be acceptable is to walk further up the road and get directly onto the talus field/slopes and stay off of the alpine vegetation around the lake. Aug 17, 2014
ACCESS ISSUE: we climbed the 2nd Apron yesterday (8/29/2015). When we were at the Summit Lake parking lot trying to figure out our approach, we ran into one of the City of Denver's Park Rangers for the area. He said that the access trail from Summit Lake is closed for revegetation and Summit Lake is now strictly a trail only area. He suggested that we head up the road until we past the sign that said "Summit Lake Fee Area" and from there head into the scree fields. This is definitely not the most direct route to access the Aprons, but it wasn't horrible either. Aug 30, 2015
Allie Jackson
Allie Jackson   Durango
Anyone been up recently? Are things still pretty wet? Thanks!!! Jun 26, 2016