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Pulpit Rock Massif

Colorado > Estes Park Valley > Devil's Gulch &… > Cow Creek Canyon / Mc…
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This is the array of short rocks just to the north of the parking area at McGraw Ranch / Cow Creek Canyon. All the routes are less than 600 feet in length. The front-most, pear-shaped rock is Pulpit Rock. There is more rock there than just Pulpit Rock that merits the wander. Overall, the rock is generally slabby; however, there are steep to overhanging features here and there. There is even 5.12 terrain for the adventurous. Don't expect a lot of bolts once past Pulpit Rock. You may have to figure out descents if you climb here.

So far, we have a couple handful of routes/variations (40) listed here. There's more in the works.

This area can have ticks in the spring. Do your tick checks.

5/14/13: Sadly, I have to report that some misguided folks have proceeded to chop and remove bolts, anchors, and rappel anchors from a number of routes (10+) put up by a number of climbers (5+).

Getting There

Go east past the Lumpy Ridge trailhead, go northward on a dirt road to the small (14 car?) parking area perhaps 2 miles in. Head north from the McGraw Ranch trailhead onto National Forest land. There is a cairned trail once you get 150 yards from the barn.

Land Management

This massif appears to be on Comanche Wilderness land, so power drills are not allowed. Also, they prefer camoflauged hangers.

Cell phone reception

From some checking, it seems you can get a Verizon signal here, but you can't get a AT&T or Cricket signal here.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Eight new routes.
[Hide Photo] Eight new routes.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] If you are the people doing the route development on the lowest level of Pulpit Rock : PLEASE STOP!!! This is an abortion of a bolting job, in style, aesthetics, and workmanship. Dec 1, 2012
Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
[Hide Comment] Now, now let's keep it civil. The bolting here is all reasonable and not hurting anybody. 'tain't nobody doin' nuttin' bad. May 15, 2013
[Hide Comment] I don't know who chopped my routes, but they where good routes all ground up bolts placed on lead and no other protection available. If you want a war, you have one. I will replace my bolts every time you chop them, and when I catch you, I will treat you as I would an thief, and I don't call cops. If you cared about the rock, you should contact the FA party and explain why you think the routes needs chopping. You might teach someone something or learn something yourself. May 16, 2013
[Hide Comment] Judging by his comment (above), I am guessing that Scott Kimball did the chopping. If I'm wrong, I'd like to hear it. If I'm not wrong, I'd like to know what makes his many bolted routes worth keeping if he thinks the ones he just chopped aren't. I've climbed some of his bolted routes, and I don't see that his are any better. So come on, Scott: What's REALLY the problem? May 17, 2013
[Hide Comment] Last summer, I led Crashed at Sea and Atmospheric Testing, and I followed Power Structure, all bolted routes that Scott Kimball established in the Crags. I think those are good routes but NOT perfect. On CAS, Kimball placed bolts next to a finger crack where you can place gear. On AT, the first bolt is too low to do any good, and you risk decking while clipping the second. AT's first few bolts contrive to keep you left of the arete, but I had to climb right of the arete and reach way to the left in order to clip the second bolt. (Should've brought a stick clip.) On PS, one of the lower bolts has a two-foot steel cable hanging from it, which is ugly, and the summit is wrapped with about 15 feet of cable for the rappel. Looks like Scott is batting a thousand when it comes to creating (to quote his Dec. 1, 2012 comment above) "an abortion of a bolting job, in style, aesthetics, and workmanship [on all three of the routes I've done that he's bolted]." I've climbed four and looked at many more of the routes that just got chopped at Pulpit. Those were AT LEAST as intelligently thought out and equipped as Scott did on CAS, AT, and PS. May 18, 2013
[Hide Comment] This chopping episode reminds me of the bolt wars of the eighties, when anything rap-bolted was chopped by the "ethics police," who really didn't give a rat's ass about the rock. They just wanted to put in bolts in their own way, whether or not an intelligent, good-quality route was the result. Granted, some people did a poor job of rap bolting; yet many ground-uppers left the rest of us with death routes.

Top-downers and ground-uppers can establish good routes, if conscientious. I admire ground-uppers for their style and boldness, when they establish good routes; yet I appreciate the work and expense that all route establishers incur.

First ascenders don't own "their" routes. However, the rock and the huge majority of climbers suffer when there exists no reason to chop bolts other than to complain about style. Taste should not be legislated. May 18, 2013
justin dubois
Estes Park
[Hide Comment] While I find the above bolting debate hilarious and entertaining, I must remind you all of one major fact. This rock is a pile and no one cares. May 18, 2013
[Hide Comment] George, thanks for your bullshit comments. You should do a little investigtion before you spout off. I did not chop those bolts, and I stand by my comments about "Sport Park" like bolting at Pulpit Rock. May 18, 2013
Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
[Hide Comment] There are a couple truths happening here in this thread: while I dont really think the entire rock is a 'pile', I do agree that no one 'should care', but obviously someone did, someone that has yet to have the balls to expose themselves and their reasoning. For anyone that bolts in one place that they like to bash someone else's rock-of-choice seems a bit hypocritical, and yes this is a 20/20 reflection of the early 1990s attitudes of opinion, of trad vs. sport. I can't blame the author for his rage. This was a completely out-of-the-way place with no historical climbing value that someone else just found enjoyable. Sure seems like there's room enough for everyone to play. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. May 27, 2013