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The Ironclads

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Black See 
Cube, The 
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Mount Boner 
Punk Rock aka Poacher's Rock 
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The Ironclads Rock Climbing 

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Location: 40.1674, -105.4791 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Joe McManus on Nov 1, 2001
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Shelly on Ironsides.


The Ironclads outside of Allenspark have a large collection of sport and trad climbing along with some top ropeable climbs. Its concentration of routes in a nice high altitude setting is unbeatable. There are short sport climbs, longer sport and trad, and tons of unclimbed bouldering spots. The parking, camping, and climbing is all free and easily accessed. If the rednecks don't bother you, the camping is nice and the weather is cool in the summer.

Getting There 

From Boulder: take US 36 to Lyons, Take CO 7 up past the Peak to Peak Highway, about 1/2 mile past on the left is Bunce School Road (dirt road, unmarked). Drive up that for about 1 mile and take a right uphill turn. The turn is noticed as being the "crest" of the dirt road, an aspen grove on the left and two ways going uphill. You'll see Mt. Boner and Punk Rock from this road, and it can be a good starting point.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.7 miles from here

40 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',28],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Ironclads

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Ironclads:
Dirty No-Gooders   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport, 1 pitch   Mount Boner
Shaking the Pope's Hand   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch   Mount Boner
Rip Off Ranger   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Punk Rock aka Poacher's Roc...
Double Hung   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Ironsides
Stock Still and Stoic   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Punk Rock aka Poacher's Roc...
Fire Widow aka Gypsies in the Palace   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 150'   Ironsides
Alloy Madness   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 140'   Ironsides
Smack the Cold Booty   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch   Mount Boner
Confession   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch   Mount Boner
High Seas   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Ironsides
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Ironclads

Featured Route For The Ironclads
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Amato setting up to turn the roof.

Smack the Cold Booty 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  Colorado : Estes Park Valley : ... : Mount Boner
Left of Shaking the Pope's Hand you will see an obvious 4 foot roof, which gets much bigger as you move down the crag. This route goes straight up the right side of the roof, right at the point where it forms a dihedral above (yes, I know this is kind of a lame description, but it's clear when you're there).A bouldery start leads to the first bolt (10+/11- unless you use the cheater's start on a boulder), then it is 5.8 past two more bolts to the roof and a no-hands rest. Hardmen/...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of The Ironclads Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Dede on Mosh Pit, The Nose.
Dede on Mosh Pit, The Nose.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dede pulling jugs on the roof of Trout Mask Replic...
Dede pulling jugs on the roof of Trout Mask Replic...
Rock Climbing Photo: Smooth lead by Shelly.
Smooth lead by Shelly.
Rock Climbing Photo: Chrissy Biggs on typical Ironclads granite.
Chrissy Biggs on typical Ironclads granite.

Comments on The Ironclads Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 3, 2016
By Darin Lang
Nov 2, 2001
A couple of comments: (1) while I made it up once in my passenger car, most times you will need a high-clearance vehicle to make it much past the Bunce School. There is a large pulloff about 1/4 mile up the road which is a convenient spot to hop in your friends' pickups; (2) free camping can be had in the immediate Punk Rock/Mt. Boner vicinity. There are several fire rings but no amenities. Be prepared to be awakened to the sound of 2-stroke engines.
By Michael Walker
From: Loveland, CO
Nov 2, 2001
This area has become quite trashed over the years as every high school it seems has a party every weekend along the Bunce School Road. Do not expect a wilderness experience. I could show you a good camping spot away from it all, but then I'd have to kill you. ;-). Let's just say that a 4X4 will get you away from the low-riders....
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 5, 2001
Actually, you see quite a few "town cars" up there. I used to drive mine all the way up quite a bit but ended up damaging my radiator. The road has become a bit washed out recently, also.

This area gets serious traffic on week-ends. Punk Rock is a good definition of grid-bolting. Also, there are many ORVs and motor bikes using the area, and one often climbs to the steady accompaniment of gun-fire. I have been nearly run over by a bike, and a stray bullet hit the rock once while a friend of mine was climbing on Punk Rock.

That said, the routes offer nice granite edge climbing, and I've made several visits.
By chris hall
Nov 21, 2001
There is good bouldering right off Bunce School Road. Go past the sandflats and the little parking loop on the right. The hillside has a nice roof with exits to the left and right. They go at v blah-blah. Then continue down the road and turn the corner to the rocky oil pan killing rocks. Look up to your right, you'll see a big boulder with a crack and a piton in the top of it. The boulders offers a lot of variations, most have been done. The two overhanging walls to the north and west also offer a lot. Check it out, and be nice to environment; it's one of the few places the 2 strokers don't go into. Please help by picking up glass and trash, we don't want to see this place closed.
By Anonymous Coward
Nov 10, 2004
All I can say is that I have not been to the Ironclads since 1995 when I spent many fine weekends with a couple of friends who were putting up new routes.....and to read that the place is crawling with 2-strokes, gunfire, trash and a higher degree of human traffic is a bit depressing.So, to those of you that enjoy the Ironclads as much as I once did.....please respect the land so that you can continue enjoying access.....Aloha Y'all.
By nolteboy
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jun 22, 2005
This place turns into an Urban Assault Area on weekends, thanks to it's inclusion in a popular Front Range Topropes book. Go mid-week if you can.
By Umph!
Oct 6, 2005
I wish the Urban Toprope [Assault] was the problem here. . . Really it's the urban lead and mud slingers. There are some nice pitches, no doubt, but the area has been torn up a bit by partiers, off-roaders and not-so-sharp-shooters. Fortunately they haven't tracked into the crags up above (where all the good climbing is). I haven't personally had a problem with anyone or thing on my trips, but I can see how one might. The views from atop the climbs are great, and midweek climbing is exceptional (very peaceful). (many new lines are still available for FA's, but don't bolt the trad lines (refering to the climbs in the Ironclads proper). . . . much thanks).
By Brendan Leonard
From: Denver, Hollarado
Sep 28, 2006
I've been here a couple of times and enjoyed it -- all the bullets seemed to be aimed away from the crag, which was nice. There were a couple moments where the guys with the ATVs and guns looked at us and wondered why we'd waste a day climbing up rocks, and we wondered why they'd waste a day shooting guns into the side of a mountain. There was quite a bit of broken glass scattered on the ground around Punk Rock, but all in all, it was fun.
By Seth Zastera
Jul 10, 2007
If anyone knows of the bouldering in this area and its V scale, could you be so kind to post a note on here...thanks.
By Baumer
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 18, 2009
I had a bit of trouble finding Punk Rock because there were dozens of pseudo-roads (serious, steep 4-wheeling) to the right of the aspen grove. The one to follow is 216.
By Scott McMahon
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 19, 2009
Does anyone have beta on the LOWER section of the Ironclads (left at road split)?
By Matt Novinger
From: Erie, CO
Aug 23, 2010
Note, if you are using the Bernard Gillett guidebook he says the 4x4 road is FR 115, but it is in fact FR 105. The Bunce School landmark is accurate as is the Hilltop Guilde. There's a point of interest sign on the main highway at the turn off for the road.
By Hiro Kurotsuchi
From: Colorado
Jul 7, 2013
No posts here for years, so I'll just update...not much of an update since it hasn't changed. The clearance of an Outback is totally adequate for getting in on the road - although it dumped a huge amount of water on us at the end of our visit - I'm sure clearance requirements change depending on when it was last graded.

Lots of off-roaders, expended ammunition strewn about, plenty of bits of trash to carry out with you - mainly from the camp areas, not in the climbing areas (good job, all!).

Automatic weapons sooth your nerves as you scrape up the rock towards anchors of safety.
By Blake C
From: Superior, CO
Jul 14, 2013
Pretty easy to find, look for Bunce School road off the CO Hwy 7, once you drive up a bit you will see Forest Service road signs 105. Should be about 1.4 mi till you reach some parking at Punk Rock just like the guide says. Watch out for broken glass at the base of Punk Rock. It is possible to scramble up the back to set top rope anchors.
By Wayne McIlwraith
Aug 10, 2013
Josh and Emily, I understand you have my camera that I left at Ironclads ..thanks for retrieving it. Could you call me at 970 218 6855 or email to let me know how to retrieve. Thanks!! Wayne
By shnoonan
Jun 9, 2014
I found a set of Toyota keys with a few other keys with it on a fire pit while I was there today. If anyone is missing their Toyota keys, please contact me.
By Kinnikinnik
Apr 13, 2015
Trashed and gunshots every 3 seconds, offroaders galore. Disgusting and scary. I began climbing ther around 1993, and it was beautiful, few off roaders, zero trash, and zero gunfire. It stayed that way until About 2003 maybe. We went to our same spot for a weekend of camping and got there late Saturday night, set up camp, cooked, and slept. Our dogs we off leash, as always up there, and roaming around camp. Next morning we went to set up some climbs and were shocked to see about 2 inches of nothing be broken glass and ammuniton completely covering the ground around the base of the pissed about that. Last weekend after giving the place a rest for another ten years, I took my wife there just to check it out again...trashed still and about 100x the offroad traffic and 1000 times the gunfire. I'm writing some emails to Rep. Polis and the Forest Service, Sheriff's office after this post. Totally let down. Don't go, it sucks.
By BeckyKRC
Aug 20, 2015

We were up in Estes Park for just the weekend escaping the flatness of Nebraska and took our truck up to the Ironclads. Even in a Ford Lariat, there were times we were concerned we would smash the bumper or undercarriage. The road has become so incredible washed out (and I am sure the 4 wheelers don't help). The area was totally littered, and I couldn't find my spare trash bag anywhere, but I did fill up empty sandwich bags with broken glass.

Frankly, I don't mind the gun shots, or the four wheelers so much, the rock was a ton of fun and I loved the climbs despite the trash...but I dont know if I would risk going up the road again, it desperately needs worked on.
By waldo
From: Knoxville, TN
Oct 21, 2015
The road is a little washed out. If you know how to maneuver your vehicle, then you will be fine. I took my Honda Accord almost all the way up several times in the summer of 2015. I had no problem in my GMC Terrain. Be careful of the 4WD tours. They haul in a bunch of offroad 4 wheelers on trailers and drive people around for a price. The area is littered with sh** tickets and trash everywhere, so be careful where you step. It's too bad, because this is a cool place. I wish the Forest Service would protect this area better. There are lots of opportunities for camping and climbing in this area otherwise.
By Ian Roberts
From: Austin, TX
Feb 3, 2016
Overall a great spot. I normally drive in and park near Mount Boner (since it's a good, easy-to-locate landmark), and then hike to the west up to the larger Ironclad formation where there's a lot of cool spots, none of which seem to be noted here surprisingly. The west side of the Ironclads have some pretty exposed and steep granite faces with some great aretes and cracks to be climbed - none bolted, though.

The top of the Ironclads themselves are usually pretty deserted. Out of probably 10 trips over the spring/summer, we only saw one other group up there, and they were just some kids scrambling the big domes. If you're bothered by the 4-wheeler drivers and the constant gunfire, climbing up high is a good option. There are some cool camp spots up there that are pretty secluded.

The road is "accessible", but I wouldn't personally try it in anything other than a 4WD truck or Jeep. FR216 runs past Mount Boner (heading NW) but eventually reaches a hill climb that's so washed out I'm afraid to try to drive up it even in a Jeep - but someone with more off road experience could probably tackle it. That road seems to lead NW and around the Ironclads' west side so could be used to reach the climbs over there without having to park and then hike up and over.

The guys at the main entrance off CO Hwy 7 renting 4-wheelers are pretty friendly, but I wish they'd find somewhere else to run their business. The gunfire is pretty ridiculous, but hey, it's Forest Service land I guess....

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