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Routes in Sinking Sun

City of Gold T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Expanding Man T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Fire in the Sky T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Little Wing T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Parkview T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Sinking Sun T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Solar Flare T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b


Sinking Sun is high on the West Buttress of Palisade Mountain, facing south. It is a very warm place to climb in mid-winter. Currently there are about seven routes in the immediate area, with plans for about three or four more. What the area lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.

The routes are slightly off-vertical to vertical. Some protect with bolts and gear, while some protect with just gear. The rock can be very dirty, but the quality is excellent.


A. Expanding Man, 12-, 1p, 90', bolts & gear.
B. Sinking Sun, 11, 1p, 90', gear.
C. City of Gold, 11, 1p, 90', gear.
D. Fire in the Sky, 10, 1p, 90', gear.
E. Parkview, 11-, 1p, 80', gear & bolts.
F. Solar Flare, 10, 1p, 80', gear.
G. Little Wing, 10-, 1p, 80', gear & bolt.

Getting There

Getting there is another story. Some good approach information can also be found on the Horsehead page.

From US Highway 34, head up 43, Devil's Gulch Road for 0.3 miles; turn right on Storm Mountain Road for about 2 miles to a T intersection; turn right on Palisade Mountain Drive for 0.3 miles; turn right on Snow Top Drive for 1 mile; park in a pull-out on the right, or make a left onto Powerline Road for 300 feet (keep in mind, this is also someone’s driveway). Be quiet and very respectful to the owners of the nearby properties. See photo (1).

Walk on Powerline Road for about 0.3 miles to a faint trail junction with the approach to Horsehead. Continue past this junction for about 365 feet. At around this point there is a path that continues on a more northerly aspect, the trail to the summit of Palisade Mountain. Stay on the sunny, blunt, grassy, craggy ridge for less than 5 minutes to a small shoulder overlooking steep grassy, east-facing slopes leading down to a boulderfield. Proceed down (eastward) and left. Spot a smooth, low-angled ramp across the boulderfield. This is the start of the ridge scramble. The scramble is easy and only has a couple of exposed sections. See photos (1) and (2).

Scramble your way up and around a minor ridge, then a major ridge to the base of a route on an impressive looking tower-like formation (the route has a piton at the start). Above, in a rock gully, is a huge chockstone. This is where the rappel out is located. Proceed eastward up a rocky slope to a point past a dead tree resting on the cliff. This is the start of the low 5th class approach section. See photos (2) and (3).

Climb/scramble up left, then up and left again to a very exposed point on the leftish side of this slab/gully. Follow a low-angled ramp up and slightly leftward. The wall comes into view at this point. Find your way up some rock ledges to the base of the wall. Allow 40 - 60 minutes. See photo (4).

To get out, reverse the rock ledges down and into the gully proper. Down the gully at the top of the huge chockstone is where you’ll find a rappel station. This takes one back to where the ridge scramble can be reversed.

7 Total Climbs

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