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Skunk Canyon

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Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven 
Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab 
Ridge 3 aka Angel's Way 
Ridge 4 aka Mohling Arete 

Skunk Canyon Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,500'
Location: 39.9777, -105.2917 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 36,583
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Leo Paik on Oct 16, 2006
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Patrick Edlinger doing laps on The Guardian, Skunk...

  • 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 a organizational entry to assist with those trying to find the 4 ridges of Skunk Canyon upon suggestion by one of our users. This area is subject to seasonal closures on Ridge 2, 3, & 4 (typically Feb 1- July 31).

    Here you will find 1 - 8 pitch routes. There are climbs from 5.0 to 5.14a here. Most routes are on the adventurous side. You will find predominantly traditionally-protected routes, so bring your rack if you rope up. Probably, the most popular routes here are Stairway to Heaven, 5.4, Satan's Slab, 5.8 S, Angel's Way, 5.2, & Mohling Arete, 5.5 S. There is room for new routes here.

    This a fairly infrequently visited area, so you will likely find solitude here. If you venture west of Ridge Four, you will likely find yourself in one of the least visited locales in the Boulder area.

    Note, the area is rather full of poison ivy, for those who are sensitive. Also, there are bears & mountain lions known to habit these parts.

    Getting There 

    The most rapid access to this area is to park at the NCAR parking lot at the top of Table Mesa. Hike W toward the Mesa Trail. Hike N on the Mesa Trail toward Skunk Canyon. There are various trails heading W into the bottom of Skunk Canyon. Head W. Expect 30-60 minutes for the approach depending on the route.

    Climbing Season



    Weather station 3.1 miles from here

    43 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',16],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]
    ['<=5.6',12],['5.7',6],['5.8',3],['5.9',2],['5.10',10],['5.11',6],['5.12',3],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in Skunk Canyon

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Skunk Canyon:
    Angel's Way   5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c     Trad, 8 pitches, 1200'   Ridge 3 aka Angel's Way
    Stairway to Heaven   5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a     Trad, 6 pitches   Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
    Enchanted Devil   5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a R     Trad, 2 pitches   Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    Love   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 3 pitches   Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
    Mohling Arete   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R     Trad, 10 pitches, 1500'   Ridge 4 aka Mohling Arete
    Purgatory   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, 3 pitches   Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    666   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13     Trad, 650'   Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    Satan's Slab   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, 8 pitches   Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    Armed Forces   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
    The Guardian   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Hea...
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Skunk Canyon

    Featured Route For Skunk Canyon
    Rock Climbing Photo: Andy Moore on the tricky moves of Pitch 1.  Above ...

    Satan's Slab 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Colorado : Flatirons : ... : Ridge 2 aka Satan's Slab
    This is the longest climb in Skunk Canyon and took us 8 full pitches with a 60m rope. It is a bit runout in places, but mostly where the climbing is easier. It is not as serious or unprotected as the East Face route (called Purgatory on this site).You can begin in two ways. Best: start a few feet above the lowest point of the rock, which is just where the gully between Ridges 1 & 2 hits Skunk Creek, or about 100' farther up Skunk Creek. Getting to the farther start involves complex bush whac...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

    Photos of Skunk Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: I am pretty sure we can identify ridge #2 in blue....
    BETA PHOTO: I am pretty sure we can identify ridge #2 in blue....
    Rock Climbing Photo: Selected Flatirons formations on the northern side...
    BETA PHOTO: Selected Flatirons formations on the northern side...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Scenic approach with the Guardian looming over the...
    Scenic approach with the Guardian looming over the...
    Rock Climbing Photo: This is on the Argonaut, at the bottom of the drai...
    This is on the Argonaut, at the bottom of the drai...
    Rock Climbing Photo: This is on the Argonaut, at the bottom of the drai...
    This is on the Argonaut, at the bottom of the drai...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Before this boulder is Hillbilly, Ridge 1, and Rid...
    BETA PHOTO: Before this boulder is Hillbilly, Ridge 1, and Rid...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bob Horan on Beware the Future, Skunk Canyon.
    Bob Horan on Beware the Future, Skunk Canyon.
    Rock Climbing Photo: I took this from the top of Front Porch. Is this r...
    I took this from the top of Front Porch. Is this r...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The remains of a cougar-killed deer after being pi...
    The remains of a cougar-killed deer after being pi...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The entrance to Skunk Canyon in the fall is a yell...
    The entrance to Skunk Canyon in the fall is a yell...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Approach Trail to Skunk Canyon.
    Approach Trail to Skunk Canyon.

    Comments on Skunk Canyon Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Forrest L.
    May 28, 2013
    Bear seen in Skunk Canyon 5/26/13 from about 300 ft away. He was on the climbing trail usually used to access Angel's Way.
    By Mark Roth
    From: Boulder
    Sep 20, 2016
    On September 17th, there was a volunteer bolt replacement event. Every bolt in Skunk Canyon was replaced (except for The Inferno).

    flatironsclimbing.org/skunk-ca...
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 28, 2016
    Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! At least, no tigers in this canyon, but poison ivy makes up for it, I guess.

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