REI Community
Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness Areas

Select Area...
Apache Peak 
Arapahoe Peaks 
Lone Eagle Peak 
Mt. Bancroft 
Saint Vrain Peak - Middle St. Vrain 

Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness Areas Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 10,000'
Location: 39.92872, -105.65534 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 14,568
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: John McNamee on Jan 22, 2015
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Eddie traversing one of the narrower sections of s...


Located in the Arapaho and the Roosevelt National Forests in Colorado, the Indian Peaks Wilderness area was added to the National Wilderness Preservation System by Congress in 1978. The name was selected because many of the peaks within the wilderness are named for Native American tribes of the west. This wilderness area covers nearly 75,000 acres, following the Continental Divide south for nearly 16 miles, with the Rocky Mountain National Park as its northern border.

Indian Peaks contains vast areas of alpine tundra, numerous cirque basins with remnant glaciers, and nearly 50 lakes. Streams in the wilderness include Middle and South St. Vrain, Boulder, Buchanan, Cascade, and Arapaho Creeks. Elevations range from 8,400 to over 13,000 feet. The underlying rock of the Indian Peaks area is 80-90% Precambrian biotite gneiss formed approximately 1800 million years ago. The area has since been reshaped by at least six glacial sequences dating back 15,000 years.

Within Indian Peaks lie N Arapahoe Peak (13,502 ft), Apache Peak (13,438 ft.), Navajo Peak (13,405 ft*.), S. Arapahoe Peak (13,397), Ogalalla Peak (13,333 ft.), Mt. Audubon (13,233 ft.), Parry Peak (13,391 ft.), James Peak (13,294 ft.), Arikaree Peak (13,146 ft.), Paiute Peak (13,083 ft.), Mt. Toll (12,979 ft.), Shoshoni Peak (12,962 ft.), "Ooh La La!" (12,945 ft.), Pawnee Peak (12,939 ft.), Jasper Peak (12,923 ft.), Elk Tooth (12,848 ft.), Mt. Neva (12,814 ft.,), Haimovi Tower (12,220 ft.), Lone Eagle Peak (11,940 ft.), and Niwot Ridge. There are four trail passes: Devil's Thumb (11,747 ft.), Arapahoe (11,906 ft.), Pawnee (12,541 ft.), and Buchanan (11,837 ft.).

Be prepared for changing weather, wind, and watch for sudden onset of thunderstorms and lightning.

Note, some areas within the Indian Peaks Wilderness area are closed to the public and trespassing can result in hefty fines.

Getting There 

See individual peak descriptions for better detail. This area is west of the Denver area and south of Rocky Mountain National Park along the Continental Divide. Areas can be approached from either the east or west.

Climbing Season

Weather station 6.2 miles from here

10 Total Climbing Routes

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

Classic Climbing Routes in Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness Areas

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness Areas:
Skywalker Couloir        , 1500'   Arapahoe Peaks
Fair Glacier        , 1400'   Lone Eagle Peak
North Star Couloir        Trad, 2000'   Arapahoe Peaks
East Ridge Direct   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a M2-3 Steep Snow R     Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine, 4 pitches, 3000'   Mt. Bancroft
Northwest Face   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b WI3 M4+     Mixed, Ice, 10 pitches, 2000'   Apache Peak
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness Areas

Featured Route For Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness Areas
Rock Climbing Photo: The green line shows a direct start, but to me it ...

East Ridge Direct 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a M2-3 Steep Snow R  Colorado : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : Mt. Bancroft
The direct E. Ridge of Mt. Bancroft is accessed from just above Loch Lomond. The route is a sustained class 4 ridge scramble with a 60' rappel required in the middle, and several places of low 5th class climbing, especially out of the notch you rap into.There is a harder variation to this route which goes straight up the headwall of the NE buttress. In winter, the climbing on this variation is rather difficult, though low 5th class, due to the snow/ice on all the ledges and the lack of suitabl...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Comments on Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness Areas Add Comment
Show which comments
- none yet -

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About