Type: Trad, Alpine, Grade IV
FA: Winkelman and Davis 1993
Page Views: 7,675 total · 31/month
Shared By: Steve Levin on Mar 31, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


Cowboys and Indians is the most popular, and perhaps finest, route on the NE Face of Chiefshead. At 11 or so pitches, it is one of the longest routes in RMNP.

On the right side of the wall, and just left of obvious terraces, find a thin finger crack (5.10d) leading to 3 bolts which protect 5.10 climbing. Belay on a ledge below an imposing, left trending roof.

Undercling the roof left (strenuous) to a stance out left (optional belay) and continue up an easier left facing corner. If you skip the optional belay take care you don't stick your rope in the left edge of the roof (probably better to belay at the intermediate stance - then you get to watch your second undercling the roof). Climb a short left facing 5.9 corner leading to easier (5.8) climbing and a ledge (short pitch). (Ten Little Indians crosses the route here.)

If you belayed at the optional belay below, it may be possible to combine this pitch with the following 5.10a pitch. Head up slightly left, then straight up past an overlap and 3 bolts, 5.10a or so, to a ledge with a 2 bolt anchor.

Now climb the pretty wall above (3 bolts, soft for 5.11a) to a right facing corner, 5.8, and belay above.

Now climb a (second) bolted section (rated 5.11c on one topo I have seen, but no way) which leads to a ledge- a long 165+ foot pitch, optional belay out left and lower at a fixed wire. Move up and left across a corner roof (5.10a) to a 5.8 crack and belay ledge above.

A 5.9 crack groove leads to the large ledge and cave area which is the most prominent feature on the upper wall. It is on these two previous pitches that routefinding gets fuzzy, and you may find yourself climbing something that bears no resemblance to my description.

Walk right 140 feet to below a steep corner with a couple of fixed pins and belay.

Climb the corner (a 5.11c boulder problem), with the fixed pins a bit lower than you would like and continue to a nice, if cramped, belay ledge.

Now either head right under a roof, then up a right facing corner (5.9), or go up and left from the belay on spicy 5.9 face, belay, then climb the "hanging gardens" 5.4 pitch to the top.


RPs, wired nuts, TCUs, to 3 inch cams. 10 QDs, 6 slings.