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Heading to Estes Park for first time Need Advice/Tips


Original Post
Mason Mueller · · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 449

Hey everyone heading to Estes Park Valley in late September just looking for any advice on camping, climbing, approaches and things of that nature. We are planning to mainly stay in the  Lumpy ridge area, maybe check out the mcgregor slab, and defiantly see the edge of time. I have never been to colorado climbing before but have climbed at elevation and feel comfortable leading trad and building anchors. Whats the camping situation like at lumpy ridge? Can i camp for free anywhere close to the climbing areas? Will it be busy when i go?Whatl is the latest guide book? Feel free to add anything else you think is relavent.

Thanks Mason

Dharma Bum · · Glen Haven, Co · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 585

There is no free camping near Estes Park.  Weekends will be busy but weekdays will be OK. The guidebook for the Estes Park Valley  (Lumpy Ridge, Jurassic Park, etc) is "Rocky Mountain National Park, the Climber's Guide Estes Park Valley by Gillet.  There are many new routes listed on MP that are not in this book however.

There is also the Rossiter Rocky Mountain National Park Guide which is more for the Alpine Routes in the park.

The descents at Lumpy Ridge can be almost as challenging as the climbs so leave extra time.

Mason Mueller · · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 449

Thank you very much.

Nick Thomas · · Fargo, ND · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 30

There is some free camping near Estes.  Pole Hill is just a few minutes from town on 36, but will take a 4WD vehicle with high clearance to get far or a short hike (5 or so minutes). Just don't park in the residential area below the national forest land.  Also, camping on Ski Rd in Allenspark is about a 20 minute drive from town but easier access to 2WD vehicles.

Mcgregor's slab is pretty sweet.  The approach is pretty bushwhack-esque, but not extremely long.  If you're confident on 5.9 slab I highly recommend the bolted 5.9+ on it (bring some trad gear for the easier pitches, and lots of draws for the long 2 bolted pitches),  Lumpy is awesome too, especially now that the formations with shorter approaches (Twin Owls, Batman rock, etc.) are open.  Twin Owls especially has a very easy rap off to descend while many of the formations have a long walk off/downclimb.  The entire ridge is great though.

Edge of Time is great, as are lots of other climbs at Jurassic.  The 12 and 11s to the right of it on the Fin are very fun and aesthetic, and not difficult to set up a top rope for either.

One other area worth checking out is the Monastery in Big Thompson Canyon.  Bring a guide book!  We learned the hard way that it's difficult to find your way around due to its layout with only mountain project.  There's some super classic routes there including the 5.10d slab Tabula Rasa (just as cool looking as Edge of Time).

Dharma Bum · · Glen Haven, Co · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 585

There is free primitive camping near the trailhead for the Monastery, but that is >15 miles to Estes.

Mason Mueller · · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 449

Thank you very much Nick really helps!!

Jeff Scheuerell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 1,555

I thought the climbing on Lumpy was great, lived there for 2 summers. I have my old guides I would be willing to sell.

Mason Mueller · · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 449
Jeff Scheuerell wrote:

I thought the climbing on Lumpy was great, lived there for 2 summers. I have my old guides I would be willing to sell.

How much for the 2 on the right?

Arlo F Niederer · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 460

We camp in the Moraine campground in RMNP.   Beautiful campground 10 min from town, has bathrooms and water. But has the usual $16(?) a night fee plus the entrance fee.  You can make reservations online.


We've camped at the free primitive camping for the Monastery which is at Storm Mountain. Seems like it takes about 30+ min to get to Estes Park - 15 min to get to main road and 15 min to get to Estes. 

The climbs on Lumpy have a bit of an approach, with Sundance having the longest. The approach used to be shorter when you could park near Macgregor ranch, but this was closed and moved to the east, making for a longer approach.

Note that Estes is mostly trad climbing, with many nice moderates.   Jurassic park has sport, but if you come here just for sport you are missing out.   The Monastery is all sport but has a long approach with steep trail which descend into a stream and then climbs out of it - both going to the crag and returning. I agree that due to its complexity, Mountain Project is not very good for finding routes. But it is interesting and fun climbing of all grades. Tommy Caldwell put up a bunch of hard routes there.


Good luck and have fun!

Jeff Scheuerell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 1,555

Mason, how about $20

Mason Mueller · · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 449

Thanks for the info everyone. It seems like I'm going to have a harder time finding he routes and descending some of them than the routes themselves. Thanks again!

Mason Mueller · · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 449
Jeff Scheuerell wrote:

Mason, how about $20

Send you a PM Jeff.

Jeff Scheuerell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 1,555

Sent PM back

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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