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The Window

5.3, Trad,  Avg: 2.2 from 35 votes
FA: unknown
Colorado > Colorado Springs > Garden of the Gods > Three Graces
Access Issue: 2017 Seasonal Closures - Partial Closure Lifting Details


Climb the rampy north ridge to its top, and then make a wild step across to the main summit. This is a very cool, strange route on crumbly rock-definitely one of the better 5.2 routes you'll ever do.

A ranger watched me climb this and didn't yell, so I don't think it is closed. It may very well be, however, since many of the rangers are pretty laid back about the rules and might not have tried to enforce the closure.


Not much-the rock is chossy and hard to protect. Bring a few medium to large cams. Fixed anchor to rap on top.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The crux.<br>
[Hide Photo] The crux.
The non-5.2 start.
[Hide Photo] The non-5.2 start.
Getting in some final climbing before the the light is lost
[Hide Photo] Getting in some final climbing before the the light is lost

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] I'm pretty sure this one is still open. My wife and I climbed it on 10/20/01, and there were several rock scramblers in the chimney who received warning from the rangers, but we didn't here a peep. Indeed the pro is hard to come by.... I found a couple of tri-cam placements 2 and 2.5, I think and slung a few of the large flakes, but I'm glad I didn't have to test any of them. An interesting climb, seldom more than two feet wide -- very airy. Oct 28, 2001
[Hide Comment] What a goofy arse route. I put in one cam before the "window" and that created more problems than is was worth. This route was out there. Maybe good practice for route finding? It really forces you to look around and see the inobvious sections. Pull on the flakes, smear the feet and work your way up to the top. Ride the ridge cowboy style and belay the second. Not near as spectacular as its neighbor to the east. But, if there is a line for Montezuma's Tower, and there is nothing else to do, and if you don't mind sparse pro on a psychologically "tough" route give The Window a try. Apr 15, 2003
[Hide Comment] Right after the window is a travers across an unprotected ledge which is the technical and psychological "crux" (to the extent that anything at 5.2 can be considered a crux) of the route. A slip on the traverse would wreck someone's day. Has anyone figured out a good placement for some protection on the traverse? Apr 18, 2003
[Hide Comment] Best thing to know, besides other comments already mentioned, is the actual "quality" of the rock. The traverse is not technically difficult, but I found a LOT of loose stuff on both hands and feet, many times flaking off during the moves. This makes for a non-smiling traverse without the pro. Not a bomb route, but no 3-star IMHO. The "closure" issue may relate to Garden-wide policy of off-limits to scramblers more than 10 feet off deck. This formation gets lots of violating scramblers who tackle the easy chimney on south end and stare at you as to why you needed any ropes/gear at all when they meet you at or near summit. Oct 4, 2003
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Perhaps due to erosive changes, c/w S Ridge, White Spire; N Ridge, Montezuma's; Potholes, Red Twin; this route feels 5.2+++ or 5.6/5.7 at the end of the traverse. Being shorter than 5'7" may make it feel even 'arder. Not the best route for a beginner 2nd. Dec 7, 2003
Evan Pilant
[Hide Comment] The traversing "crux" is unprotectable with gear, but the window and the thigh high rail will catch you if you fall, but the crux isn't hard, it is just a little scary. My personal experience is that you should build a small anchor and bring up your second right after the crux. This reduces rope drag and makes the climb to the summit A LOT easier. As a warning to anyone who doesn't enjoy rapping off old rusty pitons, once you make the step across and to the summit, you cant back down, and the piton anchor looks 50 years old on the top. It's still safe, it's just a little scary. EXCELLENT EXPOSURE ON THE SUMMIT!! Mar 26, 2004
[Hide Comment] I'm not certain that this is the appropriate place to post this information, but there was a fatality on this route yesterday. See…

The climbing community still seems pretty small to me, and every time this happens I feel like I lost a good friend that, by mere quirk of fate, I just haven't met yet. My condolences to his friends and family.

Also, this is an opportunity for us all to remind ourselves that (1) one can never let one's guard down, no matter what the route, and (2) climb somewhere other than the Garden when it has rained. Aug 26, 2004
[Hide Comment] Echo your sentiments Darin but need to make a correction to your comments. This route is on the north ridge. The fatality occured on the south ridge of the summit fin. To the best of my knowledge the south ridge is not documented as a route in any of the guide books. While "The Window Route" is indeed quite chossy, the south routes are even more so. I can not think of any rock in "The Garden" that is more fragile than the south ridges of "Three Graces". Mark, I never met you, but, like Darin, I grieve your loss. Aug 29, 2004
[Hide Comment] I heard he was on the west face, but that may not be correct. Either way, he was attempting to lead some of the loose topropes, not advisable. I met him a few years ago briefly, but didn't really know him. Heard he was a good person, though, tragic. Aug 30, 2004

[Hide Comment] A funky and fun little climb that we did today after finishing Montezuma's Tower. I thought the most difficult move was climbing up the first hump before the window. We were not able to protect the traverse after the window, but it was easy with good holds. There were two very solid large bolts on top with a chain between them for rappeling. Jun 11, 2008
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
[Hide Comment] Climbed this route this morning. managed to place some tri cams and some slings around a couple flakes. Also used a #2 and 0.75 cam. Good route, lots of exposure on top. There's a lot of ways to through/around the window, but we found it was good to belay the second up after the crux. Reduces rope drag. Airy straddle on the ridge. Both me and my partner thought it felt harder than a 5.2-- Maybe 5.4. The rock is crumbly and there aren't bomb proof holds. Jul 1, 2008
Chris Zeller
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Very fun and classic route. As good as it gets at 5.2. I didn't think the rock was any softer or loose than any other Garden climb. I also think it protects quite well. I'm not sure how you are "supposed to" climb this but after gaining the first hump I broke left though the arch/hole rather than traversing around. I found this to be easier, but it did generate some rope drag. Maybe this is where others found all the loose rock?

Before you move across the chasim to the summit, there is excellent protection under a bulge. I think I placed 2 pieces here then found another cam in the opposite wall after stepping over. Exposure YES (and fun too) but not sketchy. A must do route for any moderate leader. Nov 21, 2008
[Hide Comment] I simply love this thing, and I climb it all the time. I have honestly climbed it more times than it is probably worth. I just think it is kind of neat and unique, and it puts a smile on my face. That said, after my trip up it yesterday and after some of the insane "climbing" I have been seeing around town lately, I wanted to add a few bits of info for anyone who cares.

There are exactly 2 points of protection on this entire route that are any good. You can get a fairly decent #1 Camalot (long sling) before the move out on to the west face which leads you to the "window", and then routing your rope through the window as you climb through will help to protect you as you lead the traverse that follows. That's it for good gear. You can get a few more cams after the traverse, like a 0.75 and a 0.4, but the rock you are putting them in is loose and exfoliating. I actually tugged on the 0.75 yesterday and watched a 9" thick chunk of rock wiggle around under the force. You can get another cam higher as well, right before you surmount the fin and finish, but if you fall on it..., it is is going to rip right out of the placement and likely tear a large chunk off the wall with it. You are in the Garden and most of the rock in there is crap... so just climb/think/act accordingly. Sometimes you just need to smile, take a breath, and treat that shit like a free solo (because it kind of is).

Regarding the traverse portion of the route, immediately following the window move: it is not currently possible to protect this for the second. There will be so much rope out that if they come off the little ledge at the start of it they will deck without question. It is important to note this, as with a guidebook rating of 5.2, it certainly sounds like a good route to take a noob on. I am not saying it isn't, but they cannot fall at the start of that traverse, and it is one of the more "exciting" sections of the route. You may, be able to place a huge cam or a Bigbro low below your feet just after the start of the traverse... but I doubt you brought one and I am still not sure if it would work.

One more thing... before you crack open your High Life at the bottom, make sure your now pigeon shit encrusted hand doesn't touch the part of the can that you drink from so you don't end up with the shits tomorrow.

Enjoy! Mar 10, 2014
Doug Sleeger
Colorado Springs
[Hide Comment] Are you supposed to traverse on the East or West side of The Window for the standard route? I went on the East side. I'm pretty sure there was a decent horn for a sling before the traverse....
There was another big horn to sling before the step across high on the route.

I thought it was pretty spicy for a 5-2! several mental cruxes for me.
Fun "Garden style" route. Jun 4, 2016
Davis Badger
Colorado Springs, CO
  5.3 PG13
[Hide Comment] Climbed this just a few days ago, and I must say it was more fun than the ratings or comments seems to give it credit for. Was able to get more protection than I expected (granted a few pieces were more "psychological protection"). Was able to place a good #8 BD hex before the traverse on the west side of the rock (could substitute this for a #1 C4 as well). Next set of protection was simply climbing through the window (from west side to east side) and using the window itself as some "slung protection". Next up came slinging a "horn" with a double length (120cm) sling. This piece was definitely more psychological than anything, as the "horn" I wrapped it around was nothing more than a slightly less rounded peak, but have no fear. For a beautiful, red tricam placement in a vertical-facing crack would give me peace of mind before the climb up towards the "step-across" move. Right before stepping across to the spire with the anchors there is a handlebar that near the top of the middle spire that you can sling with a 60cm runner. This gave me all the confidence you should pull of a hefty 5.3+ crux move to the anchor. Rope drag can get bad after all this, so you might wanna extend any placements you can.

Overall, however, this route was one of the more memorable climbs I've had in The Garden, and I will certainly be back to do it again. If you're already over there for the North Ridge of Montezuma, might as well make a quick and fun lap up this thing! Jan 10, 2019