REI Community
Radio Head

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bends, The T 
Black Velvet T 
Blinders S 
Centrist T 
Crandall Hammer Arete S 
Crosshairs S 
Doom Seam S 
Freezer Burn T,S 
Gap, The S 
Giant Dihedral T 
Gigantor T,S 
Heat Stroke S 
Lady Fingers T,S 
Left of Center S 
Libertine S,TR 
Line-of-Sight S 
Lord of the Flies S 
Man Hands T,S 
Meter Maid T,S 
Mighty Mouse S 
Minimalist T,S 
Mix Up T 
My Left Foot S 
Not Alone T 
Radio One S 
Refiner S 
Right of Center S 
Shimminy Cricket T 
Shiny Face S 
Sun Burn S 
Sunrise Slab S 
Super Nova T,S 
Surefire S 
Tall Boy S,TR 
Tilt S 
Tilt-a-Whirl T,S 
Trail of Tears S 
Two Edged Sword T,S 
White Dwarf T,S 

Radio Head Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 9,120'
Location: 39.26976, -105.11789 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 25,512
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Jim Hausmann on Aug 15, 2010


70° | 45°

60° | 39°

51° | 33°

49° | 33°

54° | 36°
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Radio Head offers one of the shortest approaches at Devil's Head, with routes ranging from 5.6-5.13. Approximately half of the routes require some gear placements, so bring at least a small rack of stoppers and cams through 4". Most routes require a 60m rope to lower off, with a few requiring a 70m rope. Tod Anderson's book "Rampart Range Rocks" is the best resource for route information. The crag faces primarily southwest, with most routes getting afternoon sun.

This crag was developed recently, primarily by Scott Sills and Jim Hausmann, but there was evidence that at least 2 routes had been discovered and climbed several years prior.

Getting There 

To get to Radio Head, continue along Rampart Range Rd past the turnoff for the campground, heading uphill on the now narrower road. After 0.7 miles you crest the ridge at the Radio Towers. Park here, or up the road a short ways, making sure not to block access to the towers.

From the parking, head northwest along the ridge. The trail is pretty obvious as it goes along, first on the right side of the ridge crest, then over to the left. Stay on the west side of the ridge, just below the top, until you pass a big mess of quartz crystals.

At this point, you will see a large tower (Line of Sight Wall). Descend the slabs marked with cairns and logs and a couple of steps. Total approach time is approximately 15-20 minutes.

Per Jason Haas: as of December 2014, the parking situation at the “Radio Head” area off the Rampart Range road has changed. A gate and fencing was installed this fall to control access to the communication facilities and prevent parking and camping at that location. There is no parking available at this location now. We hope to develop additional parking the south to account for the 5-10 spaces this takes away. Best parking in the area for now is probably to the south near the Topaz Point picnic area.

Climbing Season

Weather station 8.0 miles from here

39 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',23],['2 Stars',13],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Radio Head

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Radio Head:
Giant Dihedral   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 190'   
Sunrise Slab   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   
Black Velvet   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   
Tilt-a-Whirl   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 200'   
Shimminy Cricket   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 105'   
Freezer Burn   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches   
Mix Up   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 95'   
Lady Fingers   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
White Dwarf   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch   
Lord of the Flies   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   
Crandall Hammer Arete   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Refiner   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   
The Bends   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   
Libertine   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   
Super Nova   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Tall Boy   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   
Tilt   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Heat Stroke   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Shiny Face   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   
My Left Foot   5.13a/b 8a 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c     Sport, 3 pitches, 200'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Radio Head

Featured Route For Radio Head
Rock Climbing Photo: Second pitch can be seen to the right of center, s...

The Bends 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  Colorado : South Platte : ... : Radio Head
This is burly on both pitches, involving about every crack climbing technique.P1 (100', 14 bolts to 2-bolt anchor, 5.11b).Start at a bolted, flared chimney. Scott originally climbed this clean with gear, but this would have warranted an R/X rating with the scarcity of good protection available. After the chimney pinches down, the route veers to the left on thin crimps, then up to a comfortable belay just below the large bulge.P2 (100', 2 bolts & gear to 4" to anchor, 5.10d).Follow the hand to ...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Radio Head Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott working on Triangulation (5.12c) on the Main...
Scott working on Triangulation (5.12c) on the Main...
Rock Climbing Photo: Trailhead from the parking lot.
BETA PHOTO: Trailhead from the parking lot.
Rock Climbing Photo: Parking for the radio towers/Radio Head access.
BETA PHOTO: Parking for the radio towers/Radio Head access.
Rock Climbing Photo: The top of Radio Head before the slab descent ment...
BETA PHOTO: The top of Radio Head before the slab descent ment...
Rock Climbing Photo: Radio Head from the north as approached by the tra...
BETA PHOTO: Radio Head from the north as approached by the tra...
Rock Climbing Photo: Trail to Radio Head.
BETA PHOTO: Trail to Radio Head.
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott Sills bolting on the Gap Wall in 2006.  This...
Scott Sills bolting on the Gap Wall in 2006. This...
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown route. Far right of Sunshine Slab.
BETA PHOTO: Unknown route. Far right of Sunshine Slab.
Rock Climbing Photo: Hike out....
Hike out....

Comments on Radio Head Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 24, 2016
By Mike Carrington
From: Centenntial
Oct 9, 2010
If you actually find this area, you might want to add some cairns on the way back.
By Chris Monty
May 3, 2011
Just to let anyone know that is back in this area, the cairns on the "trail" are almost random. Took me way outside the climbing area. Be cautious of your climbing guidebook as the scale may not be correct for this area at all. Also take caution when hiking to the Gully Slab, the terrain is technical almost from the start of the trail.
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
May 4, 2011
Sorry for the confusion on the RH approach. I seemed to go different ways for the first few times. The maps in the guidebook are to scale as I extracted them directly from aerial photos. The trick is to start off staying to the west (left) of the ridgeline when approaching. There could also be cairns from crystal hunters confusing the trail, too.
By Hiro Kurotsuchi
From: Colorado
Oct 1, 2012
The cairns lead to RH pretty well as of this last weekend. You need to start off correctly though, since I didn't see any cairns until after exiting the trees at the beginning of the hike.
By Tim C
From: Lakewood, CO
Sep 3, 2013
The trail is well-cairned right now. Also, to get to the start of the trail: take Rampart Road towards Devils Head, then when you get to a split where Devil's Head campground/fire tower are one way you will need to head (right) down the other road for ~0.8 miles until you see the radio towers on the right side.
By Scott Sills
Oct 2, 2013
Take trail n.w. from parking lot for about 100 yards turn west cross over ridge following the newly created (as of 2013) motorcycle trail until it drops downhill. Head north staying near the ridge of rock the whole time. There is a point were you squeeze through a few small boulders right before you cross a gully (you can go down this gully which is not as plesant and get to R.H. passing Lowball Wall first). The main way is to cross this gully and continue up a ramp heading north through an upen flat area, then skirt around a narrow point with a bit of exposure. After a few small elavation gains, you will pass a crystal dig and will see Line of Sight Wall.

In addition, after incountering several lost climbers looking for gully slab, it is located at the top of the gully beyond the north end of the main wall.

Hope this helps.
By DebColorado McLain
From: Louisville, CO
Oct 27, 2014
We hiked down and out of the Gully Slab area heading N/NW along the base of the crag on a cairned trail and found 3-4 more bolted routes on this far end of the crag. Does anyone know which routes those might be? Didn't see them in Jason Haas' guidebook.
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Oct 28, 2014
You most likely found the routes on the Backslide Wall that are described in the frequently updated Rakkup app:
By Jason Haas
Dec 8, 2014
The standard parking lot has been closed. I received this email from one of the rangers down there:

"Wanted to let you know the parking situation at the “Radio Head” area off the Rampart Range road has changed. A gate and fencing was installed this fall to control access to the communication facilities and prevent parking and camping at that location. There is no parking available at this location now. We hope to develop additional parking the south to account for the 5-10 spaces this takes away. Best parking in the area for now is probably to the south near the Topaz Point picnic area."

Rock Climbing Photo: Gated Radio Head parking area.
Gated Radio Head parking area.
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Dec 9, 2014

Hi Jason, thanks for posting about this.

I have actually been meaning to write a similar post but obviously hadn't gotten around to it. In some sense, I understand the parking lot closure because there has been quite a bit of trash left at the "campsite" fire pit on the trail in (diapers, tortilla wrappers, etc.). However I feel like the complete closure is excessive and unwarranted on public land, but I guess if they plan on adding spaces nearby, then it is not a huge deal. That said, as it stands there is no way that there will be adequate parking for the West Valley/Wipeyur areas if they don't do something soon.

On top of this, the approach trail into Radio Head proper has been co-opted by an (illegal?) dirt bike trail. My guess is that the dirt bike folks have been trying forge this trail for a few years now, because each of the last few years they have smashed an ever wider gap between the rocks and trees to gain the ridge proper. This year they finally succeeded in smashing a big enough gap that they could finish paving their trail down the other (south) side of the ridge where it heads back down into the woods. I find this pretty irritating on multiple levels. First off, it is a hazard to the climbers and crystal gathering folks that have been using this trail for years, because the dirt bikers certainly don't slow down in that section (my brother and his wife almost got mowed down this fall). Second, the dirt bikers also cut down live trees to block the climber trail proper (I have's pretty annoying and ugly). My guess is that they did this to "signal" to the other dirt bikers that the trail goes down the hill to the northeast (away from Radio Head) instead of following the climber trail back to the old, now closed parking area.

I feel like climbers are being punished here despite the fact that the dirty campsite and new dirt bike trail are clearly the bigger damaging issue (and I am pretty damn sure that it ain't climbers who are trashing the place with new trails and diapers in the fire pit). I guess what really gets me is that I and my partners spend probably 3 weekends a month somewhere in the Platte during the summer and fall months, and every single weekend we spend time cleaning up shell casings, clay pigeons, broken bottles, trash, etc. left behind by other (i.e. non-climber) user groups -- not to mention the several abandoned dirt biker fires I have extinguished -- and I am fairly certain that we are not the only climbers who pitch in to help keep the Platte a clean place. Yet we as a user group somehow get our parking area shutdown as a result of the other irresponsible user groups. Arrrgh.

Anyway, I was planning on making a forum post about all of this so that we as a user group can try and come up with a coherent message to the Forest Service about all of this if need be; thus if an admin sees this and wants to move my post to an appropriate forum, that would be just fine.

By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Dec 10, 2014
The area was closed off almost solely to protect the microwave towers and their access. Another better, and more dog/kid friendly access to Radio Head has already been established. More details to follow before next season. Recent discussions have indicated that the USFS does have climbers and our impacts in proper perspective and appreciate all that we do to mitigate the impacts of other users.
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Dec 10, 2014
That's great information, Tod, thanks for the update.
By JohnEdsonStagg
From: Evergreen, CO
May 31, 2015
Does anyone know how far the Topaz picnic area is from the Radio Head Trailhead? I understand that's where you have to park for climbing at Radio Head.
By Robert Chappe
Mar 5, 2016
So, where is the best place to park to access Radio Head, and how much time does it add to the approach?
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Mar 9, 2016
There is a new parking lot planned for the vicinity of Mile Marker 10. Not sure when construction will begin, but I believe the USFS has everything all set up with Douglas County to do the construction, so it may even happen in 2016. It is also possible to park at the big hairpin about 1/4 mile past MM10 and head up to Radio Head from below, just stay right & head up through the woods.
By Isaacbg Gorrell
From: Golden, CO
Sep 7, 2016
Is there another area by the Lowball Wall? Went looking for Lowball and found a bunch of routes down there, but the photos in both the South Platte and Rampart Range books were useless. Anybody have any insight to the unsorted routes down there?
By teece303
From: Highlands Ranch, CO
Nov 22, 2016
There is an area south-ish of Lowball with several routes not documented anywhere, yes.
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Nov 24, 2016
Hope to get more info into Rakkup for next season. The new and better trail is in Rakkup now and the start better delineated as of yesterday.

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