Type: Trad, 6 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,706 total · 13/month
Shared By: George Bell on Oct 19, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


As you walk up Skunk Canyon, the Achean Pronouncement is the first ridge of rock on the left side rising from the stream. At certain points on the approach you can see the second pitch on the route, a wide crack up a slab that ends at a tree. As you reach the base of Satan's Slab, hike up a gully to the left to the base of the route. The route begins just right of a long overhang which extends across the east face (only a few feet above it's base), and left of a huge juniper bush hanging down the rock. The starting point is about 150' up from the stream and 60' above the low point of the rock.

P1: Angle up and right across a slab (5.7), aiming for two large trees 50' up. From these trees you will see a nice slab split by a 2-6" crack. Belay at one of the two trees (or it is possible to combine the first 3 pitches in 2 by going to a ledge 100' higher).

P2: Climb the crack to the next big tree. This is a long pitch and a few feet of simulclimbing is required with a 50m rope. WATCH OUT FOR A PATCH OF POISON IVY ABOUT 40' UP THIS CRACK. This crack is mostly 3-4" and accepts smaller pro at rare intervals, but it is quite easy (5.4). The last 20' below the belay, the crack is 5-6", but you can climb the face right of the crack (no pro, though).

P3: Continue 90' up the wide crack in the slab to a spectacular fixed belay on the crest of the ridge with a piton and cable loop.

P4: Step left onto the east face, and climb back up to the crest. Follow the knife-like crest south to some fixed slings and belay (120'). There is almost no pro on this pitch, but it is only about 5.2.

P5: Fourth class pitch south up the crest to the NW corner of the summit block (165').

P6: Cross some slabs under the overhanging east face of the summit block. Angle up and left, and climb the south face of the summit block (5.7). There is not much pro on this pitch either (fortunately, there is pro before the 5.7 moves). Route finding skills needed on this pitch to find the easiest way.

Rap 60' south from the summit to hiking territory.


Light rack up to a #4 Camalot for the 5.4 wide cracks. Several big pieces may be needed by timid leaders. Several sections of this route are runout, but only where it is quite easy.
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
This is an interesting & varied route; however, the poison ivy in the jungle of Skunk Canyon make the approach less fun. No lines here. Some beeeta: P1 feet. From P1 anchors at the trees, it's 180' to the trees of the P2 anchor. The NE Arete variation (P2 & P3) sports little solid pro & the crack is much better per Allen Light. A #4 or #4.5 Camalot is nice for P3. Some ancient KBs on the cable loop dangle. P4 you can get a couple slings around 2 flakes about 70' out, then clip some threaded rap anchor at 100', the belay at 120' with a decent angle can be backed up with a #4.5 Camalot, but it is better to keep on going to easy terrain and belay 200' out. P6 cross low under the overhang and you'll find some pro. The bulgy crux just L of a decent thread is easier and shorter than it looks; however, there virtually no pro above the thread. Beth did find a creative, smarter, less strenuous finish to the L of the "boy's" finish.

This may be better approached off the Dinosaur Mt from Back Porch. Way less poison ivy. Itch, itch, itch.

That rap anchor leaves much to be desired. Most of the slings are around a detached, albeit large, flake. One could add a long sling around the horn up and R from the slings. There is an old sling buried deep, up and R, to back up the anchor. Aug 25, 2003
I can't see rating this one. Of the 100 or so Flatiron routes I've tried, this is the least coherent. Not even a link-up, really, and couldn't keep the rope out of the poison ivy. Just come from the south, and do the summit pitch underclings. Jun 12, 2004
RomoFo Fo
RomoFo Fo  
The poison ivy on p2 looks like it has been taken out of the crack by someone. Thanks! This is a great route, lots of variety and the summit pitch has some steep, exposed climbing. Way good! Sep 18, 2004
Wandered up this recently, and the KBs have fallen out of the anchor atop p3, leaving just the one ancient pin. There is gear around though.

The poison ivy is definitely back, too, just leafing out. It can be avoided by taking the arete variation. May 1, 2006
Lee Smith  
No more fixed pro at the top of pitch 3, but I left a small wire & draw for bailing. Not a very good route above this in my opinion, but then I didn't make it past P3. Sep 27, 2008
Mic Fairchild
Mic Fairchild   Boulder
Is it my imagination, or is the approach (more descent) to this a bushwhacker's paradise? I've been into Skunk a number of times, and the overgrowth seems thicker this year. The route is actually pretty good, although the last pitch will require some savvy routefinding. I stepped out and face climbed past the PI on route; not much help if you're roped. Another thumbs up for the recommended list from Gerry Roach Classics. Aug 21, 2010
Rick Blair
Rick Blair   Denver
Pitons are not present at the top of P3. They are not needed anyway, plenty of pro. I linked the 1st and part of 2nd pitch in approach shoes, if it's 5.7, then just barely. I would recommend linking first 3 pitches into 2 pitches. The start of P1 is the crux so use your own judgment. P4 is 5.2 climbing BUT... very rotten, every hold is questionable, and there is no pro that will actually hold a fall until you get to a bomber threadable hole ~80 ft out on the ridge.

This was a fun climb, I liked the variety and position a lot plus I got rain/snowed on at my first belay, wet lichen sucks. Rapped down, then the sun came back out. We made it across the ridge where we had to bail due to nightfall. Double rope rap got us SE to the ground with a few feet of rope left over.

For Skunk Canyon veterans, I think this is actually an easy approach and one of the quickest climbs to gain from NCAR. Can't wait to get back and tackle the final pitch. Nov 8, 2010
Brian C.
Longmont, CO
Brian C.   Longmont, CO
This is a great route. Here is a photo trip report from a recent climb of the east face.

brianinthewild.com/achaen-p… Aug 29, 2011
Jamie Princo
Boulder, CO
Jamie Princo   Boulder, CO
This route is an awesome, hidden gem on a relatively unknown Flatiron. Thanks for posting that TR, Brian; I was hoping to see something from this day.

Yes, Skunk Canyon's foliage is going wild this year, but the approach isn't bad if one knows the secrets of the trail. The poison ivy is immense, many times larger than I expected! A microcam off to its right safely detoured us from this obstacle. The 5.8 section on the summit block's SE corner loads of fun, wish it was longer! Great holds there. Sep 3, 2011
Mark Roth
Mark Roth   Boulder
Approaching from Skunk Canyon is very easy after the flood. It was easy to avoid the little poison ivy that we saw.
First pitch is probably 5.4 and well-protected. Continue to the first good ledge above the poison ivy patch.
2nd pitch: to the stance on ridge.
3rd to the notch where the final pitch begins. 70m.
4th to top.
There was no fixed gear except for a sling at the thread near the top crux. Sep 9, 2015
Mark Roth
Mark Roth   Boulder
With a 70m rope, you can make it to the big tree in one pitch. A tiny cam out left can hold your rope away from the PI. From the tree, we made it all the way to the Dangling Fury anchor.

Thanks to OSMP, the Flatirons Climbing Council, and the ASCA for supplying the hardware. The slung loose blocks have been replaced with a proper rap anchor.

Sep 21, 2016
We ended up on a fun and wild variation to the last pitch. Instead of going up the 5.7 crux, diagonal easily up and west/left for about 30 feet to reach the west face of the summit block. You'll probably want to belay here. Traverse north on a ledge system about 15' using giant chickenheads (4th Class with one move of 5th) until the ledge ends at the west end of the north face. Place some #1 Camalot-size pro then monkey up into an alcove/slot using licheny jugs and minimal feet. (This move is reminiscent of the move at the start of the last pitch of Wind Ridge in Eldo.) There is a good #2 Camalot placement in the alcove. From here, face climb straight up on good holds and more lichen with no pro for about 8' to the summit.

This climbing is in the 5.7-5.8 range and is very exposed for Flatirons climbing of the grade. Sep 13, 2017
Long Ranger
Boulder, CO
Long Ranger   Boulder, CO
Tons of fun scramble. Get past the initial moves, and get thee to those cracks which are not to be missed. PI is dead and has been shorn. Thoughtful last pitch.

Skunk Canyon rarely disappoints! Dec 21, 2018