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Areas in Sheeprock

Land that Time Forgot 5 / 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14
Smoking Sections 7 / 4 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
South Ramp 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Velcro Wall 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3

Description

Deep in the inner platte lies Sheeprock. A sleeping giant. At around 500 feet high, and more than a dozen multipitch routes, this wall offers somewhat of a unique adventure experience. I would be surprised to find a rock climber who was NOT inspired by the ominous and imposing north face. Guidebooks have always been vague about the old routes here, and certainly no mention of the new ones.

In 2002 the biggest forest fire in all of Colorado history swept hard through this area. Flames crept up as far as 200 feet up the flanks of Sheeprock. While a terrible tragedy, leaving an ugly and dead hillside, I have found the beauty in the natural regrowth of the ecosystems in its aftermath. I was never fortunate to experience the area before the burn. In just almost 5 years, it is pretty awesome to see nature running its course. Sure the trees are gone and the hillside is grossly eroded, but this adds to the experience and reminds us of nature's power. It also makes you feel like you are way the hell up there. Ironically, the fire actually cleaned up much of the lower faces, burning away moss, lichen, and exfoliating some of its weaker skin.

The north face is often referred to as the Land that Time Forgot. The routes, along with their names, suggest almost a mystical feel. The friction on this granite is unmatched. You may find yourself sticking to stuff you wouldnt normally think you could. Therefore it turns out that most are fully bolted face and slab routes, largely established in ground-up-on-lead style. While many of them top out on the saddle, a few adventure to the summit. Some very old and very obscure aid routes exist as well as some newer trad climbs. The saddle is simply an awesome place and picnic paradise. From here, you can top out on the summit via one of the routes on Velcro Wall, the low angled slabs on the south face.

If you want a warm-up to the weekend, or don’t have much time, check out the Smoking Section. This was a definite hot spot of the fire, hence the name. Almost a dozen short one pitch outings are here, as well as a few hard slab and crack testpieces.

In the spring and fall months, the northern exposure can chill you to the bone. Along with gale force winds at times, prepare accordingly. However, in the heat of summer, at high noon shade is a luxury and almost non-existent. The routes are longer than you might think so bring some water. Speaking of water… when it rains here, it pours! The summit is no place you want to be in a lightning storm, either.

Gear: Bring a shit-ton of draws as the pitches are typically long and mostly well protected. Bring a second rope for rappels. Even though there are only a few established trad routes, they alone are worth the weight of the rack.

Descent: You can rap almost every route except for the traversing ones, however the recommended cleanest rappel off the saddle is down Jacob's Ladder (3 X double rope raps). The quickest way off the Summit is to rap Cloak of the Wolf.

Some recommended routes: SolArian (5.10+), Cloak of the Wolf (5.12), Knossos (5.10), Riders in the Sky (5.10), Oklahoma Princess (5.7), and Marlboro Man (5.11).

How ya get there

Follow driving directions for Molly Gulch / Goose Creek.

Cross Goose Creek, head for the rolling hills. You will connect with a horse trail, (from here, its about 5 minutes to the Smoking Section) that makes a rising traverse to east (see approach photo). Once you are almost to the ridge, cut straight up the hill until you encounter a big expanse of slabs (see photo). From here, you can keep following the ridge to the base* of T19 and the Cloak, or traverse the hillside back to the west to the two-tiered base* of Knossos. *If you are really adventurous, there is room to bivy at either of these bases (see LTTF topo photo for location of these bases).

DO NOT try to cut straight up the hill. Even though the above trail descriptions seems arduous, the hillside below Sheeprock is heavily eroded, and large boulders can and do come down if you disturb them. Also, I have seen dead burned tree trunks knocked down in the wind. there is bad juju on this slope.

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nicolas blair
Denver, CO
nicolas blair   Denver, CO
Sweet exposure, sweet isolation, sweet camping, nothing much more to say! Sheeprock is like a mini-Half Dome and has enough slab climbing for everyone. The long approach keeps people away (I was there 8/5-8/6 and saw no one).

Approach: if you can't find the old Molly Gulch campground (like me), just park in front of the feature, and cross over the river through a meadow (some faint climber-like trails exist). This will eventually hit a horse trail that leads SW to Sheeprock. Follow the horse trail until you're right in front of Sheeprock, and start scrambling towards the base. You'll be able to see the giant rock face the whole time, so it's hard to actually get lost. Plan on about an hour to get to the base.

There are so many raspberries on the approach trail, it's awesome. Aug 7, 2017
"H" Lampasso
Manitou Springs
"H" Lampasso   Manitou Springs
Raspberries are still going and the river is warm! I did the Nazca/Knossos link up (check it out in the updated Colorado Guidebook-Thanks, Stewart, for putting that together!).

Awesome granite, felt like a gecko sticking to the rock. Unfortunately got a late day start and didn't get up the Velcro Wall that would have made it even better. Aug 27, 2010
Jay Eggleston
Denver
Jay Eggleston   Denver
The bountiful raspberries are worth the approach alone! Jul 28, 2010
Derek Lawrence   Bailey
Interesting jleining....

The copy of "Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer - Detailed topographic maps, Sixth Edition, page 49" sitting here on my lap, clearly labels the above formation as "Sheeprock".... May 3, 2008
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Allen Hill   FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Gosh what thin skin you have. May 3, 2008
Casey Bernal
Arvada, CO
Casey Bernal   Arvada, CO
Sheeprock is the name for the entire mountain as given by the USGS maps. Aug 20, 2007
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Allen Hill   FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Your thinking of Sheep's Nose. The description's for this area are more or less correct. Aug 19, 2007
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
Bill -- the simplest thing to do is to go to each route in question and add the correct FA information as a comment. The area admins can then incorporate it into the route description. May 30, 2007
Bill Schmausser
Colorado Springs, CO
Bill Schmausser   Colorado Springs, CO
Admins -- I am the FA for many of these routes, if I can get edit rights, I'll happily fill in the details that Darren was lacking.

Thanks May 30, 2007
Adam Peters
Salt Lake City, Utah
Adam Peters   Salt Lake City, Utah
Changed my mind, AGAIN! May 18, 2007
slim    
I was lucky enough to stumble upon this place when the first of the new bolted routes were going up. This side of Helen's Dome had long been written off as being rotten and covered with lichens. It was pretty cool to climb routes and watch an old timer drill on lead, usually rope soloing. The routes are well-protected and took a lot of time and effort to create. Hopefully, people who brave the death march up the hill will enjoy these routes as much as I have. Mar 3, 2007

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