Tiers of Zion Rock Climbing
|GPS:||39.744, -105.242 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
|Page Views:||203,179 total · 2,434/month|
|Shared By:||Josh on Nov 6, 2014|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC|
The Tiers are hidden high on the northwest face of Mt. Zion (Nuu-agha-tuvu-pu [Ute] and Cheyenne territory). If you had x-ray vision, and you stood in downtown Golden looking through the big white "M," you would see the Tiers. Several layers of cliffs rise from a wooded slope, offering surprisingly good rock quality and a secluded, beautiful setting. This is a unique place for the Golden area, with mostly moderate slab and face climbs leading to airy perches over quiet woods full of willows, wildflowers, and lots of wildlife. Ravens, vultures, and even golden eagles circle overhead along with the paragliders, and in the spring and summer you will be buzzed by hummingbirds as you climb. The views to the west overlooking Clear Creek Canyon are expansive and distinctly backcountry, not a city or house in sight. It feels worlds away from the traffic down in the canyon and the hustle of downtown Golden, despite being so close.
The climbing is northwest-facing, at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet and starts in the trees, so it is generally cooler, shadier, and more lichenous than the routes down in Clear Creek Canyon. Some climbs also stay wetter for longer after rain or snow, and the base area will hold snow longer than crags down in the canyon. Thus, the climbing season on the Tiers may start later and end earlier than at other CCC/Golden areas, but it offers great relief in the heat of the summer and a very different feel than the dusty roadside crags in the canyon.
The Lower Tier gets direct sun only in the afternoons, but in the summer, the sun can break over the ridge line above at midday and shine directly down the lines of ascent, making it hard to look up at your next holds when you're climbing or at your partner above you when you're belaying. It is a bit of an annoyance, but the effect only lasts for an hour or so. A perfect time to break for lunch.
The area generally has decent cell phone reception. The Lower Tier has a narrow strip of terrain that hugs the base of the walls, but after that the ground drops off steeply. Thus, it is not the safest place for bringing small children. The Upper Tier is even less friendly to parties hanging out at the base of climbs, as there are fewer trees, more scree, and even less level ground.
The Tiers are made of the same fine-grained gneiss as the other Clear Creek Canyon crags. Modern climbing development history here begins in 2013, but the area has a much longer climbing history than that. The modern route developers, while finding no evidence of regular use of the cliffs, discovered several fixed pitons and one old ¼" bolt head at the top of the Lower Tier, as well as a cordolette rap station on a tree and even a classic Chouinard Crack-N-Up rusting in the dirt. If anyone has more information about earlier use of the area, please contact us or post info here. We would love to give a shout out to the earliest vertical explorers at the Tiers.
Animals abound here, so be both sensitive and careful. There is a mule deer herd on the slopes of the lower approach hike many mornings, and climbers have encountered mountain lions on the approach trail and weasel nests in the cliffs. Rattlesnakes have been spotted on the approach hike and at the base of the cliffs. Please leave no trace and leave this place wild.
There is now a wag bag station at the trailhead sign (thank you, JeffCo Open Space, Boulder Climbing Community, and Foothills Climbing Community for making this happen!). Also, dogs stay on leashes, please, as per JeffCo Open Space regulations (the Tiers are within the Windy Saddle Open Space Park).
The Tiers break naturally into two main layers, Upper and Lower, and each of those break into several distinct faces. Both are approached from the main trail. Scrambling in between them is not recommended - it is better to walk back to the trail junction if you're at one tier and want to get to the other.
Cross the road (watch for descending cyclists and longboarders), and look for the trail sign and wag bag station. Please stay on the main trail, which ascends a bit and then crosses a broad gully. The Upper Tiers trail breaks off this main trail at a signed junction.
The Upper approach (approximately 15-20 minutes):
Please note this is not a recognized or maintained JeffCo Open Space trail. The plan is for this access to be eventually closed. Now that the trail to the Upper Tiers is complete, this is mostly an unnecessary approach option. Only use this approach if you want to start at the top of the Upper or Lower Tiers.
Continue up Lookout Mountain Road and park at the Windy Saddle Park lot. Take the obvious trail from the parking lot up Mt. Zion to its summit, and continue east along the ridge line, passing over a lower false summit on your way to the next high point along the ridge. If you start counting at the true summit (the first high point you come to), you are headed for a point just beyond the third summit on the ridge. Look for a flat sandy spot in front of a rock outcrop. You are directly above the Second and Third Triangles. To reach Jericho from above, continue on to the next (and final) high point.
It's a good idea to pack a trash bag and use your hike out to clean up a little from the partiers and unenlightened hikers who leave a lot of trash on the summit trail. Let's show JeffCo how climbers are responsible users....
A. Jericho (Left to Right):
- Mike's Dihedral, 6-7, 1p, 35', gear.
- The Horns of Jericho , 5.5, 1p, 45', bolts.
- Fit the Battle , 5.6,1p, 45', gear.
B. Upper Tier (Left to Right):
A. First Triangle
- For Whom the Cap Fits, 9, 1p, 65', bolts.
- I Don't Wanna Wait in Vain, 9-, 1p, 45', bolts.
- Three Little Bats, 5.9+, 1p, 100', bolts.
B. Second Triangle
- A Pretty Gneiss Route, 8, 1p, TR.
- Undisclosed Location, 5.9-, 1p, 80', bolts.
- Three Little Roofs, 5.8, 1p, 65', bolts.
- If Your Well Runs Dry, 5.8-, 1p, 70', bolts.
C. Third Triangle
- Bloody Lady Di, 8 PG-13, 1p, 75', gear.
- The Joy of My World (is in Zion), 5.9+, 1p, 75', bolts.
- Allrete, 8, 2p, 280', bolt & gear.
D. Fourth Triangle
- Takin' it Easy, Takin' it Slow, 5.6 or 5.7+, 1p, 65', bolts.
- Best Hamster Ever, 5.4, 1-2p, 220', gear.
- Poofie, 4th Cl, 1p, 65', solo.
E. Front Triangle
- Reggaeton, 5.9, 1p, 55', bolts.
- Kinky Reggae, 5.9, 1p, 50', bolts.
- Get Up, Stand Up, 5.8, 1p, 60', bolts.
C. Lower Tier (Left to Right):
A. East Wall
- Trenchtown, 4, 3p, 195', bolts.
- Dig Your Own Hole, 5, 1p, 135', gear.
- Irie, 5.7, 1p, 50', bolts.
- The Burning Bush, 5.7, 1p, 55', bolts.
- Catch That Train, 5, 1p, gear & bolts.
- Zion Train, 5.10-, 2p, 215', bolts.
- An overview of the top pitches of Lower Tiers. , 8 PG-13, 1p, 115', gear.
B. Recessed Slab
- Don't Rock My Boat, 5.7, 2p, 205', bolts.
- My Feet is My Only Carriage, 5.7, 1p, 60', gear & bolt.
- Cornmeal Porridge, 5.7+, 1p, 60', bolts.
C. Middle Wall
- Buffalo Soldier, 5.10c, 1p, 65', bolts.
- Lyin' Like a Lion (in Zion), 5.10c, 1p, 65', bolts.
- The Belay Brothers Bounce Back, 5.8+, 1p, 70', gear.
- Please Pick Up Your Trash, 12, 1p, 70', gear & bolts.
- Offwidth Corner, 8-9, 1p, 40', gear.
- Blunt Arete to Exit, 9 PG-13, 2p, 80', gear.
D. West Wall
- Small Axe, 5.11d, 1p, 75', bolts.
- Old Pirates, 5.11a, 1p, 75', bolts.
- Three Little Birds, 5.9, 1p, 65', bolts.
- Back on Track, 8 PG-13, 1p, 65', gear.
- Gates of Praise, 5, 1p, 40', gear.
- Root of Jesse, 5 PG-13, 1p, 45', gear.
- Tongues of Fire, 4, 1p, 55', gear.
Classic Climbing Routes at Tiers of Zion
Days w Precip