Type: Trad, 70 ft (21 m)
FA: John Otto
Page Views: 3,187 total · 18/month
Shared By: Bill Duncan on Aug 17, 2009
Admins: Jesse Zacher, Bradley Mark Edwards, Nick Reecy, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

You & This Route

1 Opinions
Your To-Do List: Add To-Do ·
Your Star Rating:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty Rating:
-none- Change
Your Ticks:Add New Tick
Use onX Backcountry to explore the terrain in 3D, view recent satellite imagery, and more. Now available in onX Backcountry Mobile apps! For more information see this post.

Description Suggest change

In the early 1900s, a man named John Otto chose what is now the Colorado National Monument as his home. The area was preserved as a national monument in 1911 largely through his efforts. He worked tirelessly building trails, roads, cabins, and ladders. Many are familiar with the pipe ladder that he pioneered up Independence Monument, now known as Otto's Route, but fewer know about another piece of history in Monument Canyon to the east. Otto was looking for a faster way to get up and down from the northern arm of Monument Mesa, and so built another pipe ladder for this purpose. This ladder is still largely in place and can be climbed to the top with relative safety. Some of the pipes are missing, but the holes remain, and there are carved steps, enabling progress to the next pipe. This is a fun, interactive, history exploration. For a nice loop, climb up this ladder, and then hike across the mesa to the south and climb down the other Otto ladder into Gold Star Canyon and back to the car.

Location Suggest change

Park at the White Rocks/Gold Star Canyon trailhead. Hike up to the east side of Mushroom Rock, and look for the most logical, shortest cliff behind and to the left of the rock. Red arrow on the map. Navigate up through the benches to the base of the route. Bushwhacking is mandatory.

The descent rappel is on the east side of the mesa, where old slings may still be present around a tree. Bring 2 ropes. Black arrow on the map. OR hike south to Gold Star Canyon, and descend the other Otto ladder for a nice loop.

Protection Suggest change

A selection of slings are needed, medium to long, about a dozen. These are employed to tie off the pipes with a lark's head knot for protection. Don't pull the loose rods out of the holes lest they become even shallower. The best belay is either the last two pipes or if you brought more gear, you may be able to find something up and to the left in the choss. Bigger pieces are then advised.