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Ridge 1 aka Stairway to Heaven
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The Guardian 

YDS: 5.12d French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 28 British: E6 6b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 50'
Original:  YDS: 5.12d French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 28 British: E6 6b [details]
FA: Bob Horan & Dan McQuade
Page Views: 2,379
Submitted By: Joshua Merriam on Sep 21, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
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BH sending the Guardian.

  • 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 

    The name is perfect. Imagine a burly, tough SOB standing over the trail at the mouth of the canyon, guarding the entrance to the whole Skunk canyon area. As you come out of the creekbed trail, the base of Ridge One is the first rock you encounter. Its lowest downhill face is a 40 feet, severely overhung face covered with honeycombed pockets and pierced by bolts up the line of least resistance.

    Negotiate some low angle, suspect, slab to the base of the overhang, clip an upward driven piton, (possibly backup with a second, more trustworthy pin farther in, long sling required) and start pulling yourself up past three bolts to stand up over the lip. The holds are pretty darn awesome, although long moves or pulling on intermediates are required. The crux is just having enough endurance to hang the holds but no real buckets till you clip the third (last) bolt and prepare to go for the top.


    This is on the lowest cliff face of Ridge One on the right side of Skunk Canyon. It is the first cliff face encountered on your way into the area.


    2 pins (1 needs double length sling), 3 bolts, 2 bolt anchor.

    Photos of The Guardian Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Guardian.
    The Guardian.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Guarding the canyon.
    BETA PHOTO: Guarding the canyon.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Side view showing the angle and the pro.
    BETA PHOTO: Side view showing the angle and the pro.

    Comments on The Guardian Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Joshua Merriam
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 29, 2008

    The closure sign is on a tree which is beyond this route. Also, the OSMP site specifically mentions Ridges 2, 3, 4 but NOT Ridge 1, which is where the Guardian is located.

    Checking with a ranger would be prudent, but I believe this climb to not be affected by the closure.
    By Tom Hanson
    Dec 4, 2008

    Bob, These latest photo additions with captions are friggin' sweet!
    Now this is what is all about.
    It's great to see these shots.
    Keep them coming.
    The historical FA info is really fun to read.
    By George Bracksieck
    Mar 19, 2014

    You don't have to have strong hands and fingers to have fun on this route. In the early '90s, I led this by using aid on the fixed hardware and a few hammerless pieces that I placed - and grabbing holds in between each piece. I might have used a hook but no cheater stick. I rated it 5.10 A1.
    By Curt MacNeill
    From: Boulder, CO
    Apr 21, 2014

    This route is just plain awesome. As I am climbing more and more in the Flatirons, I am realizing there are more and more gems hidden in the plethora of rock formations. This is another one of those ultra classics and probably hasn't seen very many ascents. My buddy Joe Huggins told me an interesting story of the famed Patrick Edlinger onsighting this route, then downclimbing it right before he won the first World Cup Climbing Competition at Snowbird, Utah. At the time, he was the Chris Sharma of climbing. I just recently went up and tried the route and I have to say one word, burlfest! From the ground, all the holds look like jugs and I was expecting an onsight coming off a really hard send of a project. What I realized was the jugs are more like slopey pinches and holding on til the end was a bit harder than expected. Turns out I have to go back cause I left after one session and four burns empty handed. For only being 3 bolts, this thing is full on. Do it and you will probably have climbed one of the steepest sport routes in the Flatirons with a lot of history. It's all that and a bag of chips....
    By eddie m
    Jul 19, 2016

    Does anyone know if there is still a big ol' wasp nest towards the top of this thing? Last spring it was present near the big jug just before the lip.... Any info would be appreciated.

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