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Tiers of Zion

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A. Jericho 
B. Upper Tier 
C. Lower Tier 

Tiers of Zion Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 7,000'
Location: 39.74395, -105.2421 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 31,572
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Monty, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Josh on Nov 6, 2014
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BETA PHOTO: The Tiers of Zion from the lower approach trail.

Description 

The Tiers are hidden high on the northwest face of Mt. Zion. If you had x-ray vision, and you stood in downtown Golden looking through the big white “M,” you would see the Tiers. Several layers of cliffs rise from a wooded slope, offering surprisingly good rock quality and a secluded, beautiful setting. This is a unique place for the Golden area, with mostly moderate slab and face climbs leading to airy perches over quiet woods full of willows, wildflowers, and lots of wildlife. Ravens, vultures, and even golden eagles circle overhead along with the paragliders, and in the spring and summer you will be buzzed by hummingbirds as you climb. The views to the west overlooking Clear Creek Canyon are expansive and distinctly backcountry— not a city or house in sight. It feels worlds away from the traffic down in the canyon and the hustle of downtown Golden, despite being so close you can almost see it from the center of town. Please tread lightly and leave the place wild.

The climbing is northwest-facing, at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet and starts in the trees, so it is generally cooler, shadier, and more lichenous than the routes down in Clear Creek Canyon. Some climbs also stay wetter for longer after rain or snow. The Tiers are made of the same fine-grained gneiss as the Clear Creek Canyon crags below, and while there are patches of rotten rock here and there, the established routes are mostly quite solid and offer good friction and the same positive edges and jugs as other Clear Creek Canyon locations. The upper reaches of Mt. Zion frequently hold snow longer than does the canyon bottom, especially in the somewhat hollowed-out northwest face. Thus, the climbing season on the Tiers may start later and end earlier than at other CCC/Golden areas, but it offers great relief in the heat of the summer and a very different feel than the dusty roadside crags in the canyon.

The Lower Tier gets direct sun only in the afternoons, but in the summer, the sun can break over the ridge line above at midday and shine directly down the lines of ascent, making it hard to look up at your next holds when you’re climbing or at your partner above you when you’re belaying. It is a bit of an annoyance, but the effect only lasts for an hour or so. A perfect time to break for lunch.

The area generally has decent cell phone reception. The Lower Tier has a narrow strip of terrain that hugs the base of the walls, but after that the ground drops off steeply. Thus, it is not the safest place for bringing small children. The Upper Tier is even less friendly to parties hanging out at the base of climbs, as there are fewer trees, more scree, and even less level ground.

The Tiers’ modern climbing development history begins in 2013, when two parties independently began setting anchors and cleaning lines around the same time. After a note taped to a freshly drilled anchor connected the two groups, a small band began working on new routes together over the next several seasons. However, the area has a much longer climbing history than that. The modern route developers, while finding no evidence of regular use of the cliffs, have discovered at least one fixed piton and one old ¼” bolt head at the top of the Lower Tier, as well as a cordolette rap station on a tree and even a classic Chouinard Crack-N-Up rusting in the dirt. If anyone has more information about earlier use of the area, please contact us or post info here. We would love to give a shout out to the earliest vertical explorers of the Tiers.

This place is wild: animals abound here, so be both sensitive and careful. There is a mule deer herd on the slopes of the lower approach hike many mornings, and climbers have encountered mountain lions on the approach trail and weasel nests in the cliffs. Rattlesnakes have been spotted on the approach hike and at the base of the cliffs. Remember, you’re just visiting for the day, while for the animals, this is their home. Please leave no trace. Specifically, consider this a Wag Bag crag-- we should all be packing our human waste out of sensitive places like this. Also, dogs stay on leashes, please, as per JeffCo Open Space regulations (the Tiers are within the Windy Saddle Open Space Park).

The Tiers break naturally into two main layers, Upper and Lower, and each of those break into several distinct faces. The main approach trail goes directly to the bottom of the Lower Tier. Access to the Upper Tier is best achieved by rappelling in from above.

Getting There 

There are upper and lower approaches, and they are best used to reach the Upper and Lower Tiers, respectively. For access purposes, the Upper and Lower Tiers should mostly be considered separate destinations for now. It is possible but not recommended to scramble from the Lower to the Upper Tiers and vice-versa. The only viable version is a scramble from the top of the multi pitch climbs on the Lower Tier to the sandy bench above the Second and Third Triangles on the Upper Tier, but this still involves steep slopes, with dense brush.

Lower approach (approximately 15 minutes):

Follow the Lookout Mountain Road / Lariat Loop for 2.2 miles past the intersection with Highway 6 as it curves around the front / east side of Mt. Zion and begins to switchback up the north side above Clear Creek Canyon. At mile 1.8, you will pass Lookout Mountain Crag. Beyond this are some switchbacks. At the third switchback, where the road once again turns east, park in the large pullout inside the switchback (with a garbage can chained to a road sign), or in the smaller pullout on the right. From here, you can see the Tiers of Zion above you.

Cross the road (watch for descending cyclists and longboarders), and find the clear trail that starts next to the guardrail (please do not shortcut the trail on the way back down just because you can see your car). The trail turns immediately left (uphill) and follows the crest of the long, blunt ridge toward the front edge of the mountain top. After 500 feet, turn right (cairn). Follow the trail headed more or less straight for the base of the crags.

On the far side of the gully, enter the woods and switchback uphill to the base of the Lower Tier. You will arrive right at the start of Buffalo Soldier on the left side of the Middle Wall. Be cautious — this is exactly where one of the area’s rattlesnakes has been seen on several occasions.

Upper approach (approximately 15-20 minutes):

There is only one upper approach route now (the trail from the paraglider launch area by the "M" is closed). use the following approach to reach Jericho and the top anchors of the Upper Tier or even the top of the multi-pitch climbs on the Lower Tier.

Park at the Windy Saddle Park lot behind the summit of Mt. Zion. Take the obvious trail from the end of the parking lot up Mt. Zion to its summit. From the summit, continue east along the ridge line, passing over a lower false summit on your way to the next high point along the ridge. If you start counting at the true summit (the first high point you come to), you are headed for a point just beyond the third summit on the ridge. Look for a flat sandy spot in front of a rock outcrop. You are directly above the Second and Third Triangles. To reach Jericho, continue on to the next (and final) high point.

It's a good idea to pack a trash bag and use your hike out to clean up a little from the partiers and unenlightened hikers who leave a lot of trash on the summit trail. Lets' show JeffCo how climbers are responsible users...

L->R: 

A. Jericho (Left to Right):
- Mike's Dihedral, 6-7, 1p, 35', gear.
- The Horns of Jericho , 5.5, 1p, 45', bolts.
- Fit the Battle , 5.6,1p, 45', gear.

B. Upper Tier (Left to Right):
A. First Triangle
- For Whom the Cap Fits, 9, 1p, 65', bolts.
- Three Little Bats, 5.9+, 1p, 100', bolts.
B. Second Triangle
- A Pretty Gneiss Route, 8, 1p, TR.
- Undisclosed Location, 5.9-, 1p, 80', bolts.
- Three Little Roofs, 5.8, 1p, 65', bolts.
- If Your Well Runs Dry, 5.8-, 1p, 70', bolts.
C. Third Triangle
- Bloody Lady Di, 8 PG-13, 1p, 75', gear.
- The Joy of My World (is in Zion), 5.9+, 1p, 75', bolts.
- Allrete, 8, 2p, 280', bolt & gear.
D. Fourth Triangle
- Takin' it Easy, Takin' it Slow, 5.6 or 5.7+, 1p, 65', bolts.
- Best Hamster Ever, 5.4, 1-2p, 220', gear.
- Poofie, 4th Cl, 1p, 65', solo.
E. Front Triangle
- project
- project

C. Lower Tier (Left to Right):
A. East Wall
- Irie, 5.7, 1p, 50', bolts.
- The Burning Bush, 5.7, 1p, 55', bolts.
- Zion Train, 5.10-, 2p, 215', bolts.
B. Recessed Slab
- Don't Rock My Boat, 5.7, 2p, 205', bolts.
- My Feet is My Only Carriage, 5.7, 1p, 60', gear & bolt.
- Cornmeal Porridge, 5.7+, 1p, 60', bolts.
C. Middle Wall
- Buffalo Soldier, 5.10c, 1p, 65', bolts.
- Lyin' Like a Lion (in Zion), 5.10b, 1p, 65', bolts.
- The Belay Brothers Bounce Back, 5.8+, 1p, 70', gear.
- Please Pick Up Your Trash, 12, 1p, 70', gear & bolts.
- Offwidth Corner, 8-9, 1p, 40', gear.
- Blunt Arete to Exit, 9 PG-13, 2p, 80', gear.
West Wall
- Small Axe, 5.11d, 1p, 75', bolts.
- Old Pirates, 5.11a, 1p, 75', bolts.
- Three Little Birds, 5.9, 1p, 65', bolts.
- Back on Track, 8 PG-13, 1p, 65', gear.

Dogs 

Per JeffCo Open Space: no dogs off leash, please.

Rattlesnakes 

Beware of rattlesnakes in the area.

Climbing Season



Weather station 1.7 miles from here

31 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',17],['1 Star',11],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',4],['5.7',7],['5.8',7],['5.9',7],['5.10',3],['5.11',2],['5.12',1],['5.13',0],['>=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 Tiers of Zion

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Tiers of Zion:
Don't Rock My Boat   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 2 pitches, 205'   C. Lower Tier : B. Recessed Slab
Irie   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   C. Lower Tier : A. East Wall
The Belay Brothers Bounce Back   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   C. Lower Tier : C. Middle and West Walls
Undisclosed Location   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   B. Upper Tier : B. Second Triangle
Three Little Birds   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   C. Lower Tier : C. Middle and West Walls
Three Little Bats   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   B. Upper Tier : A. First Triangle
The Joy of My World (is in Zion)   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   B. Upper Tier : C. Third Triangle
Zion Train   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 2 pitches, 215'   C. Lower Tier : A. East Wall
Buffalo Soldier   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   C. Lower Tier : C. Middle and West Walls
Lyin' Like a Lion (in Zion)   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   C. Lower Tier : C. Middle and West Walls
Old Pirates   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   C. Lower Tier : C. Middle and West Walls
Small Axe   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   C. Lower Tier : C. Middle and West Walls
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Tiers of Zion

Featured Route For Tiers of Zion
Rock Climbing Photo: One of Adam's attempts.

Please Pick Up Your Trash 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b  CO : Golden : ... : C. Middle and West Walls
Climb a corner and crack system 10 feet to the right of Belay Brothers Bounce Back. Join Belay Brothers' first bolt about 30 feet off the ground....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Tiers of Zion Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Lower Tier topo. (c) Josh Pollock.
BETA PHOTO: Lower Tier topo. (c) Josh Pollock.
Rock Climbing Photo: The upper section of Zion Train.   Climber: Adam H...
The upper section of Zion Train. Climber: Adam H...
Rock Climbing Photo: Trail work on June 27th, 2015.  Thanks to everyone...
Trail work on June 27th, 2015. Thanks to everyone...
Rock Climbing Photo: The rock.
BETA PHOTO: The rock.
Rock Climbing Photo: Somebody had some fox for lunch....
Somebody had some fox for lunch....
Rock Climbing Photo: Springtime on Zion.
Springtime on Zion.
Rock Climbing Photo: Found these terrific little mountain snails in the...
BETA PHOTO: Found these terrific little mountain snails in the...
Rock Climbing Photo: WHAT?! Don't do this, whoever you are.  Not at all...
WHAT?! Don't do this, whoever you are. Not at all...

Comments on Tiers of Zion Add Comment
Show which comments
By A. Bandos
Apr 5, 2015
This place may not have all the great climbs of Little Eiger or Wall of the '90s, but it is definitely one of my favorite crags in CCC. Such a nice change of pace from busy traffic noise. It's so natural and serene. Please keep it that way people. :)
By Josh
From: Golden, CO
May 20, 2015
Our first public trail work event for the Lower Tiers was a huge success! We had more than 25 people out working on June 27th and got a lot done! A great big thank you to all of you who helped out and to Jefferson County Open Space for organizing the event and to Bentgate shop for supporting the volunteers with coupons and prizes aaand to Snarfs Sandwich Shop for hooking us up with tasty lunch.

There is still some more to do on the west end (below the West Wall climbs) and on the stone steps leading up to the East Wall and Recessed Wall, but the trail in the woods is now much more stable, and many of the belay areas are larger and more stable.

There will be a few more opportunities this season to help us finish up the trail work, so stay tuned for details as soon as the dates are set. If you are interested in helping out, feel free to PM me, and I'll make sure you're on the list when the time comes.
By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Jul 25, 2015
Found a cam. ID & I'll get it back to you.
By Kev V
From: Denver, Colorado
Aug 22, 2015
RATTLER ALERT!

Beware of rattlers up here! Around to the right of that 5.9 where the trees end is where my dog stumbled back from, so save yourself the few grand of vet fees and keep 'em leashed or in the woods!
By Josh
From: Golden, CO
Aug 31, 2015
Just a reminder for everyone visiting the Tiers that JeffCo Open Space regulations ask for dogs to remain on leashes except in specific designated areas. Since the Tiers of Zion are within the boundaries of the Windy Saddle Open Space Park, this means no dogs off leash, please. Given the amount of wildlife in the area (and rattlesnakes), this is a sound approach anyhow. That said, I'm very sorry to hear your dog got bitten, Kev.
By Paul Deger
Jun 12, 2016
On a hot day, hard to beat. Short approach, beautiful view of CCC from anchors, shade, and comfortable belay area. Clean rock, not much lichen, on route.
By Monty
Administrator
From: Golden, CO
Aug 2, 2016
@2chains. Check your facts. New routes have legally gone in at Tiers of Zion since the new climbing management plan. There are several people still active in the canyon and elsewhere on JeffCo land. Notice that The Tiers were not affected by any of the recent nesting closures....
By 2 chains
From: Denver
Aug 21, 2016
Ya got me. Sound more legit then what the gym climber at the Crag told me. Will delete upper message. with that said. there's better Rock in the canyon :-)