Type: Sport
FA: Tom and Ric Gieman ca. 1991
Page Views: 7,994 total · 38/month
Shared By: Steve Marr on Sep 17, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: New 2018 partial West Face Closure Details
Access Issue: 2017 Seasonal Closures - Partial Closure Lifting Details


Per Sandra Kemp: as of June 4, 2018, the West Face closure starts with Big Sky. There is a metal sign hanging on the first hanger. 

Big Sky ascends a shallow corner system up the east face of Kindergarten Rock. The route is actually the retro-bolted start to the Hong-Fiedler Route (5.7+ R/X) that continues past the Big Sky anchors to the summit ridge. Unlike the majority of the routes in the Garden, the rock on Big Sky is very solid. Climb past 4 bolts on great rock with very positive holds (jugs, incuts, and edges) to a 2-bolt anchor.

I wish this climb could have been twice as long as it was. It is a fun route.


4 bolts to a 2-bolt coldshut anchor.
The rating is very generous for a Garden climb. With all the jugs and ledges it is one of the easier 5.7s I have ever climbed. With that in mind this is a good climb for beginner leaders in the sport climbing world because of the ample protection and huge hold and ledges at the bolt placements which make for easy cliping for folks not used to it. Also a rarity for Garden climbs the first two bolts are under 20 feet off the deck so groundfall for leaders is minimum. Apr 8, 2002
I agree with Barret totally. Take Garden ratings with a grain of salt. Potholes, Montezuma's Tower, New Era, and this one are all 5.7's. However, I'd say that Big Sky is at LEAST half a grade easier than all of those. I'd recomend this route as a first lead, I would NOT recomend Montezuma's tower as a first lead. You get the idea... Apr 9, 2002
Be aware that the anchor consists of one good bolt and one half driven piton that is bent. Does anyone know what the route just to the left of Big Sky is? New bolts, 5.10ish, open cold shut anchor..... May 29, 2002
Legs Magillicutty   Durango
A nice line with lots of positive holds clear to the top. Not bad for GotG rock! May 30, 2002
no one I talk to seems to know the name of the route to the left. Apparently it was only recently put up (late 2001, or early 2002??) We did it the other weekend and its a pretty fun route. It seems to be kind of mid 5.10ish down low, easier up top.

FYI - if you'd rather try the new route on TR before hopping on it on lead, its possible to traverse 15 feet left on the ledge at the Big Sky anchors and pick up the upper part of the new route (2 more bolts to the open-shuts, 5.7ish). Ok, so its kind of a weenie bypass of a 5.10 crux, but it winds up extending the 5.7 climbing on big sky another good 30 feet, and when you're done you have a 5.10 toprope ready to go. We'll call it "New Route de la Weenie Way." Jul 27, 2002
David Danforth
David Danforth   California/Colorado
Whats the easiest way to access this route? Oct 5, 2002

As you look at Kindergarten Rock from the east, you see 2 distinct summits - and Big Sky starts at the ground pretty much directly under the saddle between them. There are 2 ways to get there, and they're about the same in my oppinion:

From the main parking lot: Take the main sidewalk south through the park. Stay on the fork that cuts between S. Gateway rock and Montezuma's tower. Just past montezuma's, you'll see some trails cutting of to the east through the bushes. Hop the fence and follow the haphazard trails eastward between the north ridge of kindergarten rock and S. Gateway. Once on the east side of Kindergarten, head south along the base of the rock. Big sky starts in the lowest point along this face.

From the south parking lot: Follow the approach for New Era, Bob's Buttress Crack, etc. From the hight point where Bob's Butt crack and End of an Era start, continue north down into the little valley. Big sky will be the next set of bolts you see. Oct 17, 2002
David Danforth
David Danforth   California/Colorado
The first thing I said when I got to the route was "I wonder what the route to the left is." It looks pretty fun and I'm excited to see what it's like. As for big sky, it was a nice route. It was a little uneventful, but i think it would be good for a first lead or something. The route to the side is defenetely something to look into, though. Meanwhile, Big Sky is something worth tearing up. Cheers. Jan 13, 2003
Note the approach from the west is blocked off (i.e. the "hop a fence") for revegetation. Which does not mean close for everyone but climbers who don't want to walk around... Mar 16, 2003
Isn't the approach to just about everything in the garden technically "closed for revegitation," though? May 9, 2003
No, you can reach all climbing in the Garden via a "legal" approach. This often involves walking along the cliff side for a long ways. The Park frowns on the dozens of criss-crossing paths between the sidewalk and the base of routes. Most climbers don't pay attention, and the rangers don't seem too adamant about restricting clmbers' approach paths, but we should make an effort to minimize the impact where we can.

I don't see how you can find a difference between 5.7 and 5.8. Half a grade easier than 5.7? What's that? How about 5.easy or 5.fun? May 9, 2003
Dan - well spoken. Cutting through 'restricted' areas in the Garden is so commonplace that its tempting to ignore them all together (one might note the signs would tend to imply that one could not "legally" climb in the Cowboy Boot/Finger Face area.) However, you're absolutely right: as climbers we should set the example for conservation of these areas, and boldly trodding through a marked revegitation area reflects badly on us all. Ammend above directions to read "cut east off the main sidewalk to Credability Gap, then proceed south along the base of the rock to the gap between S. Gateway and Grey Rock..." with my apologizes.

Now, regarding ratings: I agree in part - far too much debate is wasted on the "correct" rating for a route, especially given the subjective nature of ratings in the first place. My point was that regardless of what number you assign to things, IMHO, Big Sky is WAY easier than, say, Finger Ramp, despite the fact that they have the same number attached to them...that's all. May 19, 2003
Years ago I climbed this and the route to its left. For some reason I seem to remember the route to the left existing in the guidebook at something like 5.10a/b but it was some time ago. The first moves aren't that bad, if I remember correctly, the handholds are just a wee blind from underneath. Anyway, it's a good climb, though funky after the 3rd or 4th bolt. Jun 25, 2003
I climbed that "route to the left" (maybe that should be the name of it) a couple of days ago. I thought the crux was the first few moves. It seemed really crimpy to me and required a somewhat desparate lunge for a nice handhold. Around the fourth bolt there is some loose rock to be aware of and that seems like it could be the crux. Very fun climb, gets a little runout up top but not by the Garden standards. Aug 4, 2003
I have just about every guide book to the garden (not sure why...), and I've never seen a mention of this route except for here. Maybe I've missed an older version or something. Anyway, I'm pretty sure this climb has been here longer than 2001, but I'm also losing my mind in general so who knows.

Cool climb though...

Patrick Jul 31, 2004
I know it's been there at least since the late 90's. I think it is indicated in the Soft Touch III guide with a couple x's on a topo, but I could be wrong. Jul 31, 2004
Larry Shaw
Larry Shaw  
I really like this route, cool moves and great pro. I have climbed the hong fiddler route and it is NOT recommended. You roll the dice big time on this one, bad pro and LOTS of loose rock. Sep 2, 2004
Ryan Carlino
Ryan Carlino  
Climbed Big Sky Saturday - very good climb on solid rock. The bolts are solid, although some hangers move a little. The crux is definately the move from the last bolt to the anchors. The holds are there to do it, you just need to find them. The anchor is 2 bolts with a glued piton in the middle. The is an alternate start using the right ramp. From the ground it leads right to the second bolt.

While between climbs we were serenaded with a marching band at the Visitors Center. Their sound bounced right off the building to this climb - it was pretty cool. May 16, 2005
Rich F.
Colorado Springs, CO
Rich F.   Colorado Springs, CO
Route is about 50 yards north of New Era. Park at the south lot, walk down the road (past New Era ridge), then follow a small trail that goes from the road straight to the base of the route by a large cedar tree (see pic).

Fun but short route with 4 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor (plus a piton). Interesting route in that it follows a flake/crack just a little left of the anchors all the way up. Good quality rock and gorgeous views. Oct 20, 2008
Bill Olszewski
Colorado Springs, CO
Bill Olszewski   Colorado Springs, CO
Fun route. I second the idea of leading it to the upper anchors; a little runout and airy, but manageable. The route to the left is definitely not in Soft Touch III. Oct 2, 2010
Sandra Kemp
Colorado Springs, CO
Sandra Kemp   Colorado Springs, CO
June 4, 2018 - the West Face closure starts with Big Sky. There is a metal sign hanging on the first hanger. Jun 5, 2018