Type: Sport, 200 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Ramon Ramirez and Club Celo Rey, 1964
Page Views: 13,309 total · 90/month
Shared By: Jimmy McAllan on Jan 30, 2007
Admins: MAKB, Nate Ball, Ricardo Orozco, Rudy Peckham

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P1: Start at a broken ramp just right of a small palm tree. The crux is at the bulge just before reaching the "eye". Continue up to the notch between the two towers on easy ground. 8 bolts and 110 feet.

P2: Climb the south arete of Chico Spire. Thin moves right on the corner go to some old Mexican iron rings right on the summit (modern rap anchors are 5 feet below). 6 bolts and about 70 feet.

Descent: Make one double rope (50m) rappel down the south face of Chico Spire. Or rap the way you came with a single 60m rope, but be careful downclimbing the last 10 feet of the first pitch.


Route is located on the North side of the Spires


Bolts and some old Mexican iron. First pitch is quite runout but can be be protected with a few mid sized cams or stoppers.
Matt Richardson
Longmont, CO
Matt Richardson   Longmont, CO  
This route totally rocks! The top of the spire is incredible, as I recall, only about 2 people can fit (maybe only one). If the wind is up, then communication with your second sucks at the first belay. Bring some longer runners to avoid rope drag. Also, note that this route is 8 bolts for the 110 ft - as I recall, the bolt spacing is not even, and I would suggest a smaller cam for the first pitch before the crux (somebody else might have some better beta for this). Apr 21, 2007
Tim Stich
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Tim Stich   Colorado Springs, Colorado
For pitch one, you might feel compelled to try the crack where the saddle between the spires forms, but stay on holds to the right and you'll have less trouble. Some of the old, hand-made pins remain from the Mexican first ascentionists. Apr 2, 2008
I brought a set of stoppers for pitch one and placed two of them. Also, I found the crux to be the dark pod/offwidth directly behind "Nick" in the photo above. I cut out onto the face once the offwidth tapered off (maybe 4/5 feet above bolt?). I also clipped some bolts off the arete of the "looking glass" hole beneath the saddle before heading back onto the face. Seemed to be the logical line, and couldn't figure what other route those bolts could have been for. Great route, both pitches are stellar! Jan 7, 2009
Mike Holley
Boone, NC
Mike Holley   Boone, NC
Super Fun route to access the top of the Small Spire! The First pitch is slightly run out between higher bolts but if you bring a longer sling there is a thread through you can do to reduce it, regardless the climbing is over easy terrain. Second Pitch is unreal!! First time I climbed a spire and it was everything I imagined and more!! Go to the Summit proper for some exciting exposure, but watch out for the cactus!!! Jan 10, 2012
Sherie Lou
Washington, DC
Sherie Lou   Washington, DC
1st pitch is harder than 5.9?...and run out. Definitely climb right at the crux and don't find yourself stuck inside the first/small needle's eye. To start, the moves up the ramp to 1st bolt are easy, but leave leader unprotected. If you use the bolt under the ramp, you'll have a total of 9 bolts. Feb 6, 2016
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
P1 somewhat awkward getting established between bolts 1 & 2 not particularly run out with option to sling a constriction up high (bring runner), see other contributor notes - they are helpful. P1 gets a single star for climbing but adds a star for the cool peek-a-boo slot then the eye which is neat. The belay is deluxe with great views, large area and bomber anchor. Consider cocktails.

P2 - hey we lucked out... 1pm beginning of March means the sun is high and already rotated to the west... shade was ours! The rock is very good, moves fun and you likely will be compelled to veer over the south side to check the exposure. The pitch climbs well but is micro in height, the top is nifty and worth bringing your partner up for the obligatory summit selfie. You also have a neat view of the dihedrals and other formations. Big enough for party of two.... beyond that... you're better off to just TR/slingshot from the notch.

Descent - unless you're going down the south side with two ropes you'll cross over the notch to the east spire. There you'll find a pretty dirty stance (beware of loose rocks) and another anchor. Snake or saddle your ropes if windy and you'll be down to the north-side base with a single 70m.

Two stars.. worth doing for the view, vintage hardware and the climbing of P2.

Edit: Two years later and realize I was stingy with the stars... the view and belays should count for something 2.857. This is a really neat climb. Mar 4, 2016
Wherever we park!
AOSR   Wherever we park!
First pitch is tricky, polished in places, and strangely bolted with runouts. The second pitch, however, is classic. Well protected, fun moves, exposed... if only it was longer. Jan 4, 2017
John Hovell
San Francisco, California
John Hovell   San Francisco, California
One fun way to climb this route is with a 70m, link the whole route as 1 pitch, build an anchor and have your partner lower you back to the notch (you'll have 2 meters to spare with a 70). Then you can belay your partner in relative luxury on the large platform at the notch, and have them rappel from the summit back to you, then one more rappel to the ground using the bolts on the east (downhill) spire. Jan 6, 2017
James Elric
James Elric   rockville
Just finished it. Blew my mind. A must do IMO. 2 pitches sounds lame amid all these long routes but this is a gorgeous super exposed gnarly climb. Like they say: run out. I regularly on-sight 5.10 but this was a challenge . Dont lead if not super solid in the grade.

Aside from the aesthics and exposure theres a nice variety. of movement. First pitch goes through dramatically different rock from sharp to polished.

Crux was def that last crack before the cave. Get it gets super smooth....but if you commit to leaning right passed the bolt youll be rewarded with friction jugs (not really visible till you commit, gotta have faith)

After crux youre on the right side of the cave. Theres a bolt in there on ur left u cant see until in the saddle. I missed it at first cuz i had come to expect runout.

I was fine in comfy flat shoes...but def some tiny toes to begin pitch two. if ur not super confident i something a little stiffer might be nice...tis only 2 pitches with a comfy belay in the "saddle" above the cave. Nov 19, 2017
Jay Morse
Hooksett, New Hampshire
  5.10a PG13
Jay Morse   Hooksett, New Hampshire
  5.10a PG13
This route is classic for many reasons, and is a must-do if you are a comfortable mid 5.10 climber. You should be prepared to do some 5.9 moves with extreme consequences of a fall. Even if you thread the pinch, there are a couple of very substantial runouts on the first pitch. The route is kind of tricky to figure out too in a couple of parts - I saw lots of people get confused on this one during my trip. If you're a confident climber, you will be fine. But as a 5.10a I think this deserves a strong PG13 rating. Jan 19, 2018
How far IS the run out on this route ? Sep 2, 2018
I did not climb it because it was preoccupied, but observing from the adjacent route, the run out is at least 20 ft. There's currently a fixed nut in there it looks like. Jan 7, 2019
Evan Schiewe  
Fantastic route. The second pitch is fun, thin climbing with incredible exposure.

I agree that the worst runout was just north of 20 feet. I think some more bolts had been added, because I ended up using more than 8 draws, and never clipped any of the original pitons.

Gear beta: singles of BD .5 - 2 cams and a set of nuts will more than cover you on the first pitch. I placed a 1 and 2 cam and a single nut. The bolts will keep you off the ground but gear definitely helps you calm down.

A single 70m gets you from the notch down the south face with plenty to spare. Jan 8, 2019