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Routes in Horsetooth Rock - West Face

Choss Chimney T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Straight from the Horse's Mouth T 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Tourist Attraction T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Treasure Chimney T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Wild Child, The T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Type: Trad, 300 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Ryan Nelson
Page Views: 2,211 total · 50/month
Shared By: Ryan Nelson on Jun 2, 2014
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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This route is spectacular and you need to climb all 300 feet of it.

Pitch 1 (35m, 5.8): climb up an easy slab with a lot of face holds up to a left-facing dihedral with 2 cracks (finger and flaring 0.75) running up the wall. Set gear as high as you can, and then bust out on to the ledge above (the gear on the upper dihedral can be tricky to see for newer leaders). Continue up a fist crack to chains. A single 70m just reaches to ground from these anchors. A 60 meter can be used, but one will have to downclimb the slab (5.5ish).

Pitch 2 (20m, 5.9): this pitch makes the hike to this route worth it.

Move up and left to the dihedral, past a tan bolt and up into a bulging finger crack, and continue up to chains.

Pitch 3 (35m, 5.4R): this is a great face climbing pitch with wandering gear and two tan bolts to supplement the longer run outs. This pitch requires one to build an anchor at the top.

Climb this to the top off the rock and prepared to get gawked at by all the tourists.

Descent: walk off the tooth to the north and back to the base of the climb.


It is on the West face of Horsetooth Rock.


Double rack to a #3 Camalot and a set of nuts.


Ryan Nelson
Fort Collins, CO
Ryan Nelson   Fort Collins, CO
@MaxSupertramp: definitely out of place, but the climb wanders way, way too much if placing gear. It only has 2 bolts, btw. Climbed this on 2/27/16 as a warm-up. The rock has cleaned up a lot since the last time I was on it. Such a fun, little climb. Mar 2, 2016
I feel that the last pitch, with its three fat pro bolts and waaaay low-key climbing (minus the loose blocks here and there), is a bit out of character with the rest of the route.

Still, it is a great route, and I tip my hat to you, Mr. Nelson. Nov 9, 2015
Carl Marvin
Boulder, Colorado
Carl Marvin   Boulder, Colorado
Definitely destined for classic status.

While the rock quality is good, it could use a bit more traffic to clean it up. It was definitely fun to top out with all the onlooking hikers!

Second pitch involved lots of stemming on bulging terrain with some fun exposure. Jun 21, 2015
Ryan Nelson
Fort Collins, CO
Ryan Nelson   Fort Collins, CO
Absolutely not illegal. I personally worked with Larimer County on access and climbing regulations for the west face of Horsetooth.

Please disregard Eljiah's comment.

The county was on board with my anchor replacement initiative I did on Horsetooth Rock and is 100% supportive of climbers utilizing Horsetooth Rock and Outerspace Rock for recreation. Dec 14, 2014
The official regulation is that you can only boulder or rock climb in designated areas, and Horsetooth Rock is not a designated area.

Link to Larimer Parks areas where rock climbing is allowed.…

Note that the bouldering is Horsetooth Reservoir County Park and the rock is Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.

Link to policy.…

Don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but officially it was never open. I believe the fine is $50, but the above link will verify. Dec 14, 2014
I heard a rumor that it is now illegal to climb the west face of Horsetooth....

Is this true, can anyone verify? Dec 12, 2014
Kyle Kamrath
Kyle Kamrath  
Hard to believe there are routes this fun so close to town. The rock quality is great and the views are fantastic.

Like Ryan mentioned, the second pitch is the best, offering some good challenge and fun movement. Stemming!

Jun 4, 2014