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Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Ariel T 
Armed Forces S 
Arms Reduction T 
Army T 
Better Than Better Than Love T 
Better than Love T 
Casual Slabs T 
Forget Me Not T 
Guardian, The S 
Gunky T 
In God We Trust T 
Inscrutable T 
Like Hell It Is T 
Love T 
Party Of One T 
Seeker, The T 
Stairway to Heaven T 
Wanderer, The T 
What, What? TR 
Who, Who? T 

Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 6,760'
Location: 39.979, -105.29 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 11,354
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Mark Oveson on Apr 18, 2005

82° | 66°

79° | 61°

72° | 58°

74° | 58°

78° | 60°

80° | 62°
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  • Some crags in this area are closed 1 February to 31 July: MORE INFO >>>
  • Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>
  • Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    This is the first major ridge ascending out of Skunk Canyon on the right (north) side. Quality of the rock is very good--perhaps slightly better than "average" Flatiron rock. Routes range from the classic 1000'+ slab and ridge climb called Stairway to Heaven (5.2-ish, but mostly 3rd/4th class) to the enjoyable Love (5.4) and Better Than Love (5.5) on the west side of the rock, to the massively overhanging Guardian (5.12).

    The rock gets few visitors, but the Colorado Mountain Club occasionally climbs Stairway to Heaven with groups of 10 climbers or more. Other than those times, it is a quiet and beautiful place to climb. Views of Satan's Slab [on Ridge Two] to the west, particularly from Better Than Love, are stunning.

    [Ridge One] is notable in that it is the only ridge in Skunk Canyon that DOES NOT close for raptor nesting.

    Getting There 

    From the NCAR trailhead, hike to the Mesa Trail, go north, and cross the Skunk Canyon creek. Continue steeply up a few switchbacks until you can see a faint trail heading into the canyon. You may have to climb over or around a log fence to reach the trail. If you reach the point where the Mesa Trail flattens out and heads east out of the canyon, you went too far (but not by much).

    Climbing Season

    For the Skunk Canyon area.

    Weather station 3.2 miles from here

    20 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',7],['Bomb',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven:
    Stairway to Heaven   5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a     Trad, 6 pitches   
    Love   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 3 pitches   
    Armed Forces   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
    The Guardian   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven

    Featured Route For Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven
    Rock Climbing Photo: Paul Glover leading Arms Reduction.

    Arms Reduction 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Colorado : Flatirons : ... : Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
    Start as for Armed Forces continuing straight up after the first bolt to the top of the crag....[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

    Photos of Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Heaven from the SW (I think).
    Heaven from the SW (I think).
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back at the route from the summit pinnacle...
    BETA PHOTO: Looking back at the route from the summit pinnacle...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Typical climbing on Ridge One (Stairway To Heaven)...
    Typical climbing on Ridge One (Stairway To Heaven)...
    Rock Climbing Photo: This rock is the last pitch (full length pitch).  ...
    BETA PHOTO: This rock is the last pitch (full length pitch). ...

    Comments on Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Jeremy Hakes
    From: Golden, Colorado
    Oct 15, 2006
    A good, clean & fun climb. Decent pro. We watched a bear move around with some deer remains from the summit - evidently the "Bear Area" signs are accurate. We exited to the east of the ridge, hiked down and slightly east and found a decent climbers trail to hike out on.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 12, 2011
    We were visited by a mountain lion yesterday while packing up at the base of Stairway to Heaven. Although it is only a few hundred yards off the Mesa Trail, the base of this climb seems remote and seldom visited. I'm sure the healthy crop of poison ivy keeps people out. The poison ivy in Skunk Canyon is really bad right now!
    By Mark E Dixon
    From: Sprezzatura, Someday
    Sep 20, 2015
    The Mesa Trail has been rerouted a bit. After crossing the stream, you will have two quick short switchbacks, then a longer leg to a sharp right turning switchback. There's a big tree and several nice sitting rocks on a flat platform. Go past this spot and into Skunk Canyon. On the way to Ridge 1, it seems better to follow the trail on the south side of the creek until you are nearly below the ridge.
    By Flatirons Climbing Council
    May 15, 2016
    An application for bolting a new route on Ridge 1 has been received by the FCC for the May 1 cycle. Details of the proposed route can be found here on the FCC site:

    Please feel free to post any comments you have on the application. The public meeting will be held at the Spot on June 2, 2016 at 6:30, and everyone is welcome to join and vote there.

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