Cathedral Spires Area Rock Climbing
|GPS:||39.413, -105.267 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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|Shared By:||John McNamee on Feb 17, 2006|
Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
History (Admin Only): Leo Paik edited this area Mar 9, 2020
The Cathedral Spires area, including Block Tower, Cynical Pinnacle, Snake Buttress, the Dome, Hall of Mirrors, Sunshine Wall, and Poe Buttress, are closed annually starting March 1 for raptor nesting. After careful monitoring of nest sites, Jefferson County Open Space opens certain areas of Cathedral Spires and maintain spot closures for active nests through July 31st. Check back periodically during times of closure for updates: jeffco.us/open-space/parks/…
Note, JeffCo Open Space has notified us that access to The Bishop and Poop Point (along with all the Cathedral Spires Area) currently goes across JeffCo OS land. Despite information in some guidebooks (published or soon-to-be-published), the entire Cathedral Spires area is subject raptor nesting closures. Please be aware of the hefty fines associated with failure to observe these regulations.
There is something for everyone in the Cathedral Spires -- Cragging, multipitch, slabs, cracks, faces, chimney's and offwidths. If you like traditional climbing, then you will enjoy climbing here. There are too many 4 star routes to list, but Center Route (9+) and Wunsch's Dihedral (11) are two of the best crack climbs in the state. The approach for all of the climbs is a bit grueling, but well worth it. Expect about an hour long slog from the parking lot to reach the base.
History: The Spires have a very rich climbing history. The first climb in the Spires was the Ellingwood Chimney, which was first climbed in 1924! Albert Ellingwood drug a rope up the chimney (soloing of course), belayed a couple of friends to the top of the formation, lowered them, then down climbed the route. The majority of the development in the Spires took place between the late seventies and late eighties. Climbers established routes from the ground up, using bolts only when necessary. In the early days, climbers would drill bolts by hand while smearing desperately on sometimes-tiny stances. This adventurous style of route developing is still alive and well, though most climbers now use hooks and power drills to push the limits of what is possible in ground up development.
One or Two Ropes: With the exception of routes on the Dome where two ropes are required, most routes only require a single 60m or 70m rope to descend. Make sure you know your descent and plan accordingly.
Rules and Regulations: All of the formations lay on Jefferson County Open Space land and are subject to JCOS rules and regulations. Most notably, new routes requiring fixed hardware must be approved by the Fixed Hardware Review Committee. For more information, please visit ClimbJeffco.com
The Cathedral Spires are typically closed from March 1 to July 31 for raptor nesting. Please read Seasonal Raptor Closures above for more details.
To get to Cathedral Spires, turn left off of 126 Rd at 96 Rd. There is an old school convenience store, keep driving until you see the Cynical Pinnacle which is probably the best landmark. You can't miss it. It can be seen from the interection at 96 Rd, and 126 Rd, and is a big spire that looks like a phallacy.
You can also turn South off US 285 on Foxton Rd, just W of Conifer/before & E of Pine Junction. Follow it until the T at Platte River Rd. Head W (right) until you are below the spires.
Parking: There are two parking spots for the Cathedral Spires that access the three major trails. The bigger (western) parking lot has a toilet and large trail sign with regulations. Use this parking for The Bishop, The Dome, Sunshine Wall and the Poe Buttress (though the Poe can be reached from either lot).
The other parking is a series of pullouts directly below the Cynical Pinnacle (east of large lot). Use this approach for the Cynical Pinnacle, Block Tower and Poe Buttress. Both of the parking options are within a couple 100 yards of each other so don't fret if one is full.
Trails lead directly out of both of the lots.
Classic Climbing Routes at Cathedral Spires Area
Days w Precip