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Looking for 4th class route suggestions in the Colorado mountains

Original Post
Tom Fitzgerald · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

I currently live in Denver, and I am trying to get motivated to train for the summer season of climbing. I know the obvious answer of, "google it!" but I thought I would reach out for advice. Obviously I already know about the flatirons.

As the title says, i'm looking for suggestions about good 4th class (also fine with spots of low 5th), routes in the Colorado mountains. I would prefer routes that are within 3-4 hours of Denver. Although I am totally open to driving longer and making a weekend out of it, if anyone has great suggestions that are further away.

I would also strongly prefer routes that are not swarmed with people. If there is a line on it, i'm not interested.

I have not done any scrambling or hiking in Colorado, but I grew up nearby in Wyoming so I have a feel for the weather and other region specific things.

To be more specific about my preferences, I'm thinking mostly of climbs that have 1,000+ feet of vertical. I would prefer 4th class, but I am not adverse to routes with some 5.2-5.3 spots. Mostly i'm looking for interesting, but not terrifying, mountain scrambles.

I'm not sure if it helps at all, but these are some examples of scrambles that I have done and enjoyed; Mount Emerson (4th/low 5th in one spot), Bear Creek Spire (4th/low 5th), and Laurel Mountain (4th).

Anyways, I appreciate any suggestions!

Andy Nelson · · Fort Collins, Colorado · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 343

I scrambled the NE Ridge of Powell Peak in RMNP last summer and found it very enjoyable, you can then make it more challenging by climbing through McHenry's Notch to McHenry's SE Ridge or you can take the divide over to Flattop and back down to the Bear Lake TH.

Little Matterhorn would also be worth a look.

The CMC has a pretty neat little scramble guidebook called "Colorado Scrambles"

Jeff G. · · Fort Collins · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 865

Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon
Little Bear to Blanca Ridge Traverse

fossana · · leeds, ut · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 12,957

+1 to Blitzen Ridge (recommend doing the whole cirque)
E Ridge of Bancroft

Billy Danger · · Asheville, NC · Joined Mar 2005 · Points: 236

I remember Pyramid peak being pretty cool. The Crestones have a bunch of interesting scrambles too.

mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28

Like the last two posters said, up Blitzen Ridge and down Donner Ridge on Ypsilon. Keyhole Ridge on Long's is good, as is The Beaver. Little Bear to Blanca is excellent (do it car to car if you're really feeling strong). Mt Wilson to El Diente is good. Crescent Ridge on Pagoda is a lot of fun, lots of off trail travel and fun scrambling. Basically Colorado is full of the kind of stuff you're asking about.

Victor K · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 165

I've done Bancroft, it's great. It requires a rap at a notch. Check out Colorado Scrambles , it really has everything you need.

Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 883

3k+ is more typical. 4th to 5.easy, good quality (bolded I considered higher quality):

-Crescent Mtn SE Face (4th, 30 min drive)
-Pettingel to Citadel (5.easy, 1.5 hr, tack on Hassel and Golden Bear for more cardio)
-Bancroft E Ridge (5.easy, 1 hr)
-Longs via NW couly (though Kiener's isn't much more difficult)
-Arrowhead SW Face to McHenry's (5.0, 1.5 hrs)
-Blitzen on Ypsilon (slightly outside criteria at 5.4 but great, 1.5 hrs)
-Lone Eagle to Mohling (5.easy. 1 hr)
-Apache to Navajo (brief 4th with variations, 1 hr)
-Neva N Ridge (4th, 1 hr)
-Arkansas NE ridge, 4th

Gore (~2hr drive):
Grand Traverse, 4th
Ripsaw Ridge, 5.easy with standard C start.
Eagle's Nest to Powell, 5.easy
XYZ, 4thish
Peak L via Guyselman and Gore Thumb, 4th
Spider and the Fly, 5.0

Slightly farther at about 3-hr drive:
-Crestone traverse, Crestone N Buttress
-Crestolita N face/Analemma
-Tijeras/Music or Milwaukee
-Kit Carson N Ridge
-LB Blanca (best to start on LB NW Face)

4-hr drive delves into the Elks, which are best with snow with a few notable exceptions (Bells trav, Megamidal, Cap, Snowmass S). Also, Sawatch - best scrambles are in HCW (Fool's N and surrounds as well as Finnegan/Gold Dust). Okay scrambles around Indy Pass.

I can give beta on any of the ones you can't find TRs for. I also have a statewide list of scrambles with my ratings/quality.

Victor K · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 165

Bravo Ryan! I'm going use this list too!

Tom Fitzgerald · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

Thank you for the awesome answers everybody! Inspiration has been acquired.

Yes Ryan, I would for sure be interested in your ranked list of scrambles if you're willing to share.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 75

The Flatirons.

Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 883

Okay, let's see if the link below works. This is just a list of stuff I know of and felt should be incorporated.

Dropbox Link

Nathan Self · · Louisiana · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 90

Nice list, Ryan.

Ryan Nevius · · Estes Park, CO · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 904

Rad, Ryan. Thanks for sharing!

Lou Hibbard · · Eagan, MN · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 225

Colorado Scrambles by Dave Cooper is a good guidebook.
New version and old version very similar.

WadeM · · Golden, Co · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 320

Good list - looks like you have a nice ticklist for summer Tom

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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