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Duncan's Ridge

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Africa's West Coast T 
Apples T,TR 
Bird Shit Avenue T,TR 
Broken Crack T,TR 
Cave Route T,TR 
Cheeseburger in Paradise TR 
Conglomerate Face TR 
Corner Climb T,TR 
Crackmard T 
Dihedral Route T,TR 
Face Route T,TR 
Icebreaker Arete 
Kahlua Roof 
Liberty's Last Stand TR 
Lichen Roof TR 
Monster Block Full SDS 
Northern Unnamed T,TR 
Nose, The T 
Oranges S,TR 
Out of the Black S 
Purdy Dirty TR 
Roof Route T,TR 
South Corner T,TR 
South OW aka Front Crack T 
Unnamed Corner T,TR 
Unnamed Overhang TR 
Unnamed Top Rope Section T,TR 
Wide Side, The T,TR 
Wishbone Crack T,TR 
Unsorted Routes:

Duncan's Ridge Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,691'
Location: 40.53352, -105.14488 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 56,550
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ryan Nelson on Nov 30, 1999
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Overview of "central" section of Duncan'...


This is a very sunny wall with a short approach and a beautiful view. Duncan's Ridge has the closest rope climbing to the Fort Collins. The majority of the routes can easily be top-roped, and the area is a great place for beginners and highball boulderers alike. The area has a good variety of trad climbs in the range of 5.4 to 5.12.

Getting There 


Once at the parking lot (same lot for Piano Keys Bouldering Area), hike west up the hogback for 5 minutes and your at the ridge. You can descend via the obvious 4th class gully to the north of the main climbing area.


Climbing here goes back at least to the 1960s. The name was given in honor of Duncan Ferguson (an extremely modest, non-self-promoting, and one of the most graceful climbers) who came here and probably climbed every line here during training sessions taking advantage of the area's proximity and accessibility as this area was his escape from the crowds at Flagstaff and Rotary. As was Duncan's practices, he rarely gave much effort to publicizing his ascents other than to his close associates. Some, like Steve Bass, would go up for hours at a time, up/down climbing every move, until he could send in preparation for other mentally challenging routes. Other notables who frequented the area include: John Gill, Mike Storeim, Dan Hare, Scott Woodruff, Brad Gilbert, Jeff Stringham, Jamie Logan, Sam Shannon, Alan Nelson, Tom Kelly, Steve Mamman, John Long, Scott Blunk, Mark Wilford, Lizz Grenard, Malcolm Daly, Ken Decker, Ken Duncan, Steve Bass, Jim Brink, and Craig Luebben. Thus, Duncan's was originally a highball area for most climbers. It was a training ground to get used to longer runouts while on lead for those who liked headgame routes. It became a mostly toprope area as more of the masses found the rock to their liking.

The tradition and style of the first ascents was ropeless or using clean gear. Unfortunately, some if not most of the history has been passed down by mouth incompletely, which has led to the younger climbers not recognizing (or perhaps respecting) the history and traditions here. Over the years, some of the "respect the ethics of the first ascensionist" has not been passed on fully to the "next generation." Further, the sheer numbers of climbers have pushed some of the "older generation" to climb more elsewhere.

Over the decades, bolts have appeared, mostly at the top of the cliff, but they have often been "chopped" as the traditions were to leave nothing behind. Duncan Ferguson would spend afternoons soloing up and down the ridge probably doing most every route done there today. Duncan's legacy may help explain why some feel that retro-bolting the ridge is a travesty.

Also, the area has been used by non-climbers, sometimes to the detriment of the area's resources. Even the earlier climbers found bottles, cans and the occasional rock trundle flying down from the top.

More recently, the area has come under the closer inspection and regulation of the Larimer County landmanagers. The Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition has come about after the turn of the century and has tried to be an advocate for climbers in the area. The NCCC has worked out an agreement with Larimer County in 2015 that has sanctioned fixed anchors, perhaps unknowing of the history and traditions of the area, in an effort to reduce erosion at the tops of the cliffs and injury to trees used as anchors. Additionally, the NCCC, or at least one of its members, has begun to add some bolts to previously climbed lines which has led to some controversy (as is common with retrobolting routes anywhere).

Eds. The original text was deleted by the poster. Given the circumstances, this section was edited in to reflect the history. Some of the history can be found alluded to here.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.5 miles from here

29 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',22],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Duncan's Ridge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Duncan's Ridge:
Wishbone Crack   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   
Corner Climb   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch   
South Corner   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   
The Wide Side   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   
Unnamed Corner   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   
Apples   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   
Crackmard   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 45'   
Liberty's Last Stand   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   
Face Route   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch   
Oranges   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   
Purdy Dirty   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch   
Unnamed Overhang   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   
The Nose   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
Bird Shit Avenue   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   
Cheeseburger in Paradise   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 45'   
Dihedral Route   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch   
South OW aka Front Crack   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   
Cave Route   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   
Roof Route   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch   
Out of the Black   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Duncan's Ridge

Featured Route For Duncan's Ridge
Rock Climbing Photo: The route climbs up the left side of the cave-like...

Cave Route 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a  Colorado : Fort Collins : ... : Duncan's Ridge
From the start hold 10 feet inside the cave on the left, follow the vertical to overhanging crack/flake system for about 20 feet to a large jug. Using an undercling on the roof, make a reach to a slopey hold and stem up the remaining 10 feet of crack to the top. ***DO NOT USE THE CHOCKSTONES IN THE CRACK.*** They are quite insecure and likely to fall out if used. For full value on this route, do not use the east side of the cave wall for chimneying/stemming, but stay exclusively to the western o...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Duncan's Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A long view of Duncan's Ridge shows an attractive ...
BETA PHOTO: A long view of Duncan's Ridge shows an attractive ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Upper Wall topo.
BETA PHOTO: Upper Wall topo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Nose Wall topo.
BETA PHOTO: Nose Wall topo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Southern routes.
BETA PHOTO: Southern routes.
Rock Climbing Photo: Duncan's Ridge... with Horsetooth in the backgroun...
Duncan's Ridge... with Horsetooth in the backgroun...
Rock Climbing Photo: Just south of the descent gulley
BETA PHOTO: Just south of the descent gulley
Rock Climbing Photo: Toprope somewhere on middle Duncan's Ridge.
Toprope somewhere on middle Duncan's Ridge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Trad climbing the route south of overhang with the...
Trad climbing the route south of overhang with the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Some easy soloing.
Some easy soloing.
Rock Climbing Photo: Taking advantage of great November weather.
Taking advantage of great November weather.

Comments on Duncan's Ridge Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 5, 2017
By Anonymous Coward
Jan 4, 2002
There aren't any anchors (bolt) anywhere anymore! Make sure you can set up your own gear or remote sling belay.
By Shane Zentner
From: Colorado
Apr 1, 2002
I tried to get to Duncan's Ridge this morning, but the road was closed for dam construction. I'm not sure if one can park and walk in from the road closure sign. Either way, the access to the Horsetooth Res. bouldering areas has been altered for the moment...Shane
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 11, 2002
I talked to some of the construction guys, and they just 'offiicially' opened a path from the piano rock car park just north of the south damn. Gain the path just west of the construction gate, but to get there you'll have to go past the hughes stadium access road.

By Anonymous Coward
Oct 5, 2003
The road is now open!
By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 30, 2004
If you are hoping to use trees for anchors, they are a very long ways back. Your best option is to probably to bring a static climbing rope if you own one. If not you will have to do some creative anchor building with pro.
By Shala
Aug 12, 2008
Just an FYI for everyone. I was up at the bolts climbing with some friends and my dog got bit by a rattlesnake. We did not hear or see the snake. Keep your dog on a leash if you are up there.
By jbarnum
From: Denver, CO
Nov 6, 2009
Up there yesterday. Someone has been busy. New bolts across the top, so new the drill dust was still there. Two new sets, and a replacement/refurbish of the existing set. It was nice to get more climbing in and move from bolted anchor to bolted anchor without having to fiddle with gear. I understand the debate between pro and fixed gear, but I personally do not have an opinion on bolts in this particular area. Perhaps with the addition of bolts the area will see more traffic, and some people don't like that. These bolts are no more unsightly than the chalk visible at Piano and the Rotary. With the history here, however, they are at risk of being chopped.
By jeff walz
From: Historic SodoSopa
Nov 6, 2009
What'd they bolt? The roof and surrounding climbs already bear scars from former anchors.
The (previous) lack of bolts speaks for itself, especially considering how long people have climbed here. Most climbs can be toproped with a rudimentary rack.
By jbarnum
From: Denver, CO
Nov 7, 2009

They did not bolt the roof, but a set to climber's right, and another set to the left, in addition to the bolts that were already there. I am surprised the roof was not bolted, since that also seems to be the more timely anchor to build. I agree, the more traffic an area sees, the more likely we are to have people that will abuse it. Two recent fire rings were also evident. An area like this, while not destination, should have its tradition and ethics be respected. I am not one to chop, but I also will not stop others if they feel the need. But chopping just leads to more scars, and more bolts.
By David Pneuman
From: Western, CO
Jan 17, 2010
As of yesterday, all the new bolts are missing hangers and nuts. Not sure if they are removed because the placements were unsafe or just booty for children....
By Tanner Mitchell
From: Fort Collins CO
Mar 28, 2010
A question for the Admins...I was climbing some of the more obscure routes at Duncan's today, and I wondered if it's possible to make route entries for them, with hopes that other users will add info, as I know no definite names/ratings for them. I'm surprised that the routes I was on weren't entered already, as I found them to be great fun. Anyway, if you could let me know the procedure for something like this, I'd be most greatful.
By jbarnum
From: Denver, CO
Apr 11, 2010
Better come to a consensus on these bolts and future bolts. Recently up there, and the hangers are gone, with the bolts still present. Soon, with these antics, the bolt threads will be damaged, leaving an unusable bolt, or a spinning hanger. Also not having a hanger leaves the rock surrounding the bolt more prone to erosion in this softer rock. Why not form a group to decide where bolts are appropriate, and where not. Where can anchors safely be made, and where a bolt could be justified. An accident with a novice with only draw unwanted attention. This is no where near Eldo, but people will climb here long after you and I are gone.
By John R. Williams
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jul 28, 2010
Question: would anybody happen to know the name and or rating of the route(s) under the 2 bolts about 20 feet right (south) of the roof route?

By Ammon
Aug 26, 2011
Went to DR about 3 weeks ago and my partner found a GriGri lying on top of the cliff, at the end of the approach trail. Give Mark a call at 970 371 9371 with description of the sticker that's on it and he'll get it back to you.
By Michael Kauzmann
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jul 13, 2014
Hey all, I was climbing with friends on Friday afternoon and was an idiot. I pulled my rope at the end of the day, meaning to grab my anchor on the way out but forgot. If anyone has this hefty anchor of two non-lockers, two lockers, and a grey nylon double and wants to be a kind soul, I would love an email: Free compliments and a beer will be in store!
By NicholasHoogendyk Hoogendyk
From: Fort Collins
Jun 16, 2015
We were up there this Saturday, and there are a few new bolted routes. Specifically, The Roof Route is bolted up to chains and Liberty's Last Stand is bolted. I'm not sure what the other routes are.
By Spencer Dries
From: Golden, CO
Jun 18, 2015
NicholasHoogendyk and everyone:

For great history and the issue of bolting at Duncan's, read this thread!
By Daryl Mocarsky
Aug 3, 2015
Forgot 2 BD draws with Super Mario Bros. tape on the "Apples" chains today 8/3/15. Please email if found. Thanks.
By MikeDee Dickinson
Aug 30, 2015
Just a heads up, all the sport bolts are gone. Toprope hardware is still present.
By Davis Dailey
Oct 12, 2015
Climbed a route on lead last Thursday that I think may be an FA. If you are look at out of the black, look directly right. Find a finger/hand crack leading to a couple crimps. Head on left into a bit of an undercling place your last piece, and run it out on low angle slab. Such a great climb! Probably goes at 9+. Please let me know if anyone has climbed this yet!
By MikeDee Dickinson
Mar 23, 2016
One of the two permanent anchor bolts at the top of the roof route is quite loose. The nut is secure, but the bolt itself is pretty jiggly. Backed it up with a long sling and locking biner from a nearby rock yesterday. A nut and runner set in a nearby crack would do the same job. Check yourself before you deck yourself.
By mbacon
Apr 5, 2016
Found a rather nice earring on the hike up today, meaning it was probably lost within the last week. You can email me at if you recently lost one, you'll just need to send a description or the picture of its mate to get it back.
By Drewbowski Hacker
May 29, 2016
Be very careful with the bolts. While double checking a toprope, I was able to pull one bolt completely out and the other is very loose. Don't take chances, double check your pro. Great day besides that. A wonderful place to take kids and beginners and teach leading.
By Ryan Nelson
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jul 7, 2016
In response to Drewboski Hacker: the loose bolt was replaced on July 7th, 2016, and I applied some Loctite to the nut on the other bolt. The route in question is

Everything else looked bomber up there. Enjoy.
By uncapher
Apr 9, 2017
My anchor cordelette didn't find its way into my bag, went back a couple of hours later, and it was gone. Let me know if you happened to pick it up. The cord is green and has four carabiners attached to it with teal tape on them. You can contact me at
By Dan Brogan
From: Fort Collins
May 10, 2017
On March 24th, I forgot two Trango quickdraws attached to the anchors for roof route. The biners are dark silver, the non-wired gates are red (straight) and orange (curved), and the dogbones are black. If you grabbed them, I'd really appreciate getting them back! Thanks!
By Jacob Staelin
Jun 21, 2017
Found some quickdraws at the top of a route today. Some young kids were talking about stealing them. I grabbed them. Message me to claim them.
By Drewbowski Hacker
Jul 18, 2017
There is a hanger missing, and the nut on either Easy Face or Purty Dirty, I can't remember which.

I have an extra hanger and nut if someone is heading up there before I get a chance. PM me, and I can give you the stuff. I've noticed that these nuts get loose very quickly, I can tighten a few, come back a few weeks later, and they are loose again. If there is no objections, I am going to start Loctite'ing them when I tighten.
By Chris Neal
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jul 24, 2017
Hi, I think I left my anchors clipped in to a route near the overhang last Monday the 17th. Didn't realize it until I started packing my gear to go climb again. Turquoise sling and four locking carabiners. I'd appreciate a call or text at (719)640-3481 if you found them, and I'd be happy to toss you some cash as a reward.
By Sean Onasch
From: fort collins
Oct 5, 2017
Hey found an anchor today, let me know if it's yours.

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