(LIST OF CLIMBS + 3 "TRIP REPORTS")
Category: Colorado
Elev: ~6700 ft (Combat Rock), ~7600 (Horsehead Rock), ~7600 (Mikey's Island)
Rock Type: Granite
 
2020
 

COMBAT ROCK & HORSEHEAD ROCK & MIKEY'S ISLAND Climbing


Combat Rock, Horsehead Rock, and Mikey's Island are located on the edge of Big Thompson Canyon between Loveland and Estes Park.

Combat Rock is a south-facing 250-foot wall of granite. The 10 minute approach, lower elevation, and southern exposure  make Combat Rock a great winter crag. Most of the routes are one- or two-pitch. The high quality granite has an assortment of discontinuous cracks, incut edges, friction slabs, and roofs. Due to the nature of the rock, most routes are supplemented with protection bolts, although since many of the routes were bolted on lead, bolts are somewhat spaced at times. The climbing is techy and engaging. 

Horsehead Rock is located a short drive further along the road from Combat Rock in an area on the steep slopes of Palisade Mountain. Compared to Combat Rock, Horsehead Rock is a bit more obscure, and the approach is a bit longer (~35 min, still short by my standards) and more devious. Horsehead Rock is about 250 feet high and south facing. The climbing at Horsehead is a mix of cracks, corners, roofs, crimpy faces, and airy aretes.

Mikey's Island is the pinnacle just southeast below HorseHead located on the ridge line. The formation has a couple of striking finger cracks that make up two of the four climbs this formation has to offer.


Combat Rock. Horsehead Rock. Mikey's Island.

The first time I climbed at Combat Rock was in March 2020. The first time I climbed at Horsehead Rock was in April 2020. The first time I climbed at Mikey's Island was in May 2020. I have been impressed with the quality of the rock at these somewhat obscure crags.

Since I'm sure I'll climb again at these areas, I just keep a list for each area of the climbs I've done there (on this page). Below the lists, I've also included my original trip report from the first time I climbed at each location (made to establish this page on my website), and below that I have photos from subsequent random days of cragging at Combat Rock and Horsehead Rock.



ON THIS PAGE:

LINK
List of climbs I've done at Combat Rock
2020 trip report (1st trip to Combat Rock: 1 day of cragging)
MAR
7
2020

  TR #: 397
Other random photos from cragging at Combat Rock     


LINK 
List of climbs I've done at Horsehead Rock
2020 trip report (1st trip to Horsehead Rock: 8 days of cragging)
APR
25,26,&30,
MAY 
1,3,9,10&12
2020

  TR #: 401
Other random photos from cragging at Horsehead     


LINK 
List of climbs I've done at Mikey's Island
2020 trip report (1st trip to Mikey's Island: 1 day of cragging)
MAY
10
2020

  TR #: 403



Combat Rock
List of climbs I've done at Combat Rock

(Alphabetical order)
CLIMB DIFFICULTY

(everything is 1 pitch unless noted otherwise)
AREA
DATE CLIMBED

Color-coded: 
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter
Camouflage (Pitches 1&2) 5.9-, 2p Combat Rock Mar 7, 2020;
Apr 11, 2020
Diagonal (Pitch 1) 5.9 Combat Rock Mar 7, 2020
Eight Clicks to Saigon (Pitch 1) 5.10c Combat Rock Apr 11, 2020
Front Lines (Pitch 1) 5.10d Combat Rock Mar 7, 2020;
Apr 11, 2020
G.I. Joe 5.9+ Combat Rock Mar 7, 2020
Lizzard Warrior 5.10d Combat Rock Mar 7, 2020;
Apr 11, 2020
Lober Route 5.9 Combat Rock Mar 7, 2020;
Apr 11, 2020
Nuclear Polka (Pitches 1&2) 5.10a, 2p Combat Rock Mar 7, 2020
Post War Dream (Pitch 1) 5.11b Combat Rock Mar 7, 2020;
Apr 11, 2020
Post War Dream (Pitch 2) 5.10a Combat Rock Mar 7, 2020
Silent Enemy 5.11 Combat Rock Apr 11, 2020
Stronghold 5.9 Combat Rock Apr 11, 2020
Unknown (Arete between No More War & Stronghold) ~5.10 Combat Rock Apr 11, 2020

Photos

FIRST TRIP TO COMBAT ROCK
MARCH 7, 2020
w/ Nate Arganbright
This was my first day climbing at Combat Rock. As an Estes Park local, Nate had long since lost count of the number of days he had climbed there. I was quite impressed with the quality of not only the rock but also the quality of the movement. No wonder Nate keeps coming back. I'll be back again for more in the future!

1. Nate starting up Pitch 1 of Camouflage.

2. Splitter on Pitch 2 of Camouflage.

3. Front Lines Pitch 1 with variation right at top.

4. Nuclear Polka climbs the obvious corner.
5. Looking down corner from belay at top of Pitch 1 of Nuclear Polka.
6. Fun in the sun on Pitch 2 of Nuclear Polka.

7. You can see this Pitch 2 splitter on Nuclear Polka from the road. But since you cannot see it from the belay at the top of Pitch 1, I don't think most people climb this second pitch.
8. Anchor at top of G.I. Joe.

9. Anchor at top of Lober Route. (As of April 2020, this anchor has been replaced by a bolted anchor about 15 feet higher.)
10. Looking down while leading Diagonal, one of the most obvious trad lines at Combat.
11. Nate starting up Diagonal.
12. Combat Rock in the afternoon sun. Lots of great features.

APRIL 11, 2020
w/ Nate Arganbright, Cassie Vendegna, Bernard Gillett

13. Camoflage.
 14. Cassie on the recently-bolted first pitch of Post War Dreams.




Horsehead Rock
List of climbs I've done at Horsehead Rock

(Alphabetical order)
CLIMB DIFFICULTY

(everything is 1 pitch unless noted otherwise)
AREA
DATE CLIMBED

Color-coded: 
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

Breeder's Cup (Pitch 1) 5.10 Horsehead Rock Apr 26, 2020;
May  1, 2020
Charlie Horse 5.6 Horsehead Rock May 3, 2020
De-Virginizing Stud Pony (/w and /wo 5.8 fingercrack start) 5.7/5.8 Horsehead Rock May 3, 2020;
May 9, 2020
May 12, 2020
Eagle's Beak (Pitch 1) 5.10 Horsehead Rock May 1, 2020
Fall of the Republic 5.9 Horsehaed Rock Apr 25, 2020;
Apr 26, 2020
Feeling Loopy 5.11 Horsehead Rock May 3, 2020;
May 10, 2020;
May 12, 2020
Funky Gold Patina (Pitch 1) 5.10 Horsehead Rock May 1, 2020
Glue Factory 5.8 Horsehaed Rock Apr 30, 2020
Government Mule 5.10a Horsehaed Rock May 12, 2020
Hippophobia /w left finish 5.10, 2p Horsehaed Rock May 12, 2020
Kentucky Derby 5.10 Horsehead Rock Apr 26, 2020
Neighsayer 5.10b, 2p Horsehead Rock Apr 26, 2020;
May 1, 2020
Ponyboy Arete 5.8 Horsehead Rock May 1, 2020
Preakness (Pitch 1) 5.8 Horsehead Rock May 1, 2020
Seabiscuit 5.10- Horsehead Rock May 1, 2020
Tijuana Donkey Show 5.11- Horsehead Rock May 1, 2020

Not Throwing Away My Shot 5.12a Palisade Mountain West Prow Jun 20, 2020
Real Training 5.11 Palisade Mountain West Prow Jun 20, 2020

New Routes (Listed left to right)
Arete feature on wall around left of main wall
(FA: Bernard Gillett and Paul Bodnar; Route name: "Horse's Ass")
5.10- Horsehaed Rock Apr 30, 2020
Arete left of Fall of the Republic
(FA: Nate Arganbright & Steph Abegg; Route name: "Cauda Equina", Latin for "Horse's Tail")
5.11 Horsehaed Rock Apr 25, 2020;
Apr 26, 2020
Arete right of Fall of the Repubic
(FA: Nate Arganbright & Steph Abegg; Route name: "Trojan Horse")
5.10+ Horsehead Rock Apr 26, 2020;
May 3, 2020
Slot just left of Feeling Loopy
(FA: Scott Kimball, Nate Arganbright, & Steph Abegg; Route name: "Dog and Pony Show")
5.9 Horsehaed Rock Apr 30, 2020;
May 9, 2020
Face just right of slot (direct finish and right finish)
(FA: Nate Arganbright; Route name: "Black Riders")
5.12 (direct); 5.10- (right) Horsehead Rock May 3, 2020;
May 9, 2020;
May 10, 2020
Roof/undercling just right of "Black Riders"
(FA: ______; name TBD)
5.11 ? Horsehead Rock May 9, 2020
Offwidth + arete right of Feeling Loopy
(FA: _______; name TBD)
5.11/2 ? Horsehaed Rock Apr 30, 2020;
May 3, 2020;
May 9, 2020
Arete right of De-Virginizing Stud Pony area
(FA: Nate Arganbright, Bernard Gillett, & Steph Abegg; Route name: "Chestnut Mare")
5.12 Horsehaed Rock May 3, 2020;
May 9, 2020
Arete/crack right of "Chestnut Mare"
(FA: Paul Bodnar, Nate Arganbright, Bernard Gillett, Cassie Vendegna, & Steph Abegg; Route name: "Prancing Pony")
5.9 Horsehaed Rock May 9, 2020;
May 10, 2020;
May 12, 2020

Photos

FIRST TRIP(S) TO HORSEHEAD ROCK
APRIL 25&26&30 & MAY 1&3&9&10&12, 2020
w/ Nate Arganbright, Scott Kimball, Cassie Vendegna, Bernard Gillett, Paul Bodnar
This was my first time climbing at Horsehead Rock. We ended up putting up several new routes over the course of a week. Putting up new routes is about as fun as cragging gets. 
 1. Horsehead Rock on approach. 
  2. Putting up a new route on the arete on the left side of Horsehead Rock. To keep with the horse theme of several of the routes and the position of the route on the end of the Horsehead Rock massif, one name Nate came up with was "Cauda Equina", Latin for "Horse's Tail".
   3. The arete of the perhaps-to-be-named "Cauda Equina". Really good climbing.
  4. An optimistic bunch of Pasqueflower. These are one of the earliest types of flowers to bloom. Spring has arrived!
  5. A view towards RMNP.
 6. Looking up Pitch 1 of  Neighsayer, perhaps the crag's most classic climb (for good reason). Two pitches of awesome 5.9-5.10 climbing to the top of the feature!
  7. Chickenhead fun on Pitch 1 of  Neighsayer.
 8. Crack at start of Pitch 2 of  Neighsayer.
 9. Crack at end of Pitch 2 of  Neighsayer. A fun bouldery move getting into it.
  10. Offwidth section at end of Pitch 2 of  Neighsayer.
 11. Looking up Pokey's Arete. Definitely gotta climb this some day.
 12. Nate starting up our new route, perhaps-to-be-named "Cauda Equina". This was the first lead after we bolted it. Nice job on the send, Nate!
 13. Looking up Breeder's Cup and Kentucky Derby, two 5.10's just left of Neighsayer that I toprope soloed while Nate was toprope soloing the next new route....

 14. The next new route....Nate returned to put some needed protection bolts and an intermediate anchor on it a couple of days later (it's long enough that even with a 70 you need 2 raps from the top!). Proposed name is "Trojan Horse".
  15. A new bolted line up an arete feature just around left of the main Horsehead Rock formation, named "Horse's Ass". Fun airy climbing.
 
16. The slot just begged to be explored.  We put a bolted anchor at the top of it, and Scott Kimball made the first lead, and named it "Dog and Pony Show". It felt about 5.9 and had some fun stemming.
  17. Cassie starting up Glue Factory, an enjoyable 5.8 already established on the wall.
   18. Nate exploring the arete just left of Glue Factory. Another new route.....
19. It's like a climbing gym on Pitch 1 of Neighsayer.
20. Breeders Cup Pitch 1.
21. We went up the arete on the left. I think this is Ponyboy Arete. Whatever it was, it doesn't get a lot of traffic.
22. Cassie cruising up the bolted patina face of Funky Gold Patina. Really fun climbing.
23. Fun featured crack on Sea Biscuit.
24.  Cassie nearing the crux of Eagle's Beak Pitch 1.
25. The wildlife.
26. Horsehead Rock glowing in the late afternoon light.
 
27. The start of Charlie Horse.
 28. Cassie lowering from "Trojan Horse".

29. Flowering cactus. 
30. Nate sending his new 5.12,"Black Riders".
31. Fun finger crack variation at the start of Glue Factory
32. Fun climbing. 
33. More fun climbing freshly equipped with bolts.
34. And more. 
35. Paul leading Glue Factory
36. The wild 5.12 overhanging arete of "Chestnut Mare", freshly equipped with some bolts.
37. Nate leading the wild overhanging 5.12 arete of "Chestnut Mare". Impressive lead! Photo taken by Bernard Gillett.
38. Awesome exposure. Photo taken by Bernard Gillett.
39. Steph somehow making it up the 5.12 section. Photo taken by Bernard Gillett.

40. Clouds in the valley below.
41. The finger crack start to De-Virginizing Stud Pony.
42. Cassie on Feeling Loopy.
43. Government Mule climbs the corner through the roof.
44. Cassie enjoying the hand crack on the upper stretch of Government Mule.
45. Looking up Hippophobia.
46. Starting up Hippophobia.
47. The freshly-bolted line of "Prancing Pony".
48. Part of the adventure of developing a crag is trundling large blocks. Here is one of them. Better to be pulled off on purpose than by accident!
49. A beautiful evening.
50. Strange times back in the real world.

JUNE 20, 2020
w/ Nate Arganbright, Bernard Gillett
Bernard and Nate wanted to send a new 5.12a they had put up on the west prow of Palisade Mountain, so we headed up there for the morning. Both of them sent the route first try, nice work! I toproped the 5.12a and also did some toprope soloing on a nearby 5.11. (These routes are not actually on the Horsehead feature, but are close by and share the first part of the approach. If I come back to this area, I will probably create a separate section on this page for it.)

51. Pretty sunflowers on the approach.
52. Looking up Real Training (5.11).
53. Nate leading Not Throwing Away My Shot (12a), Bernard belaying. Send!
54. Giant dandelion.
55. Hiking out. Hey, wouldn't it be awesome to traverse that skyline?....
 
Mikey's Island
List of climbs I've done at Mikey's Island

(Alphabetical order)
CLIMB DIFFICULTY

(everything is 1 pitch unless noted otherwise)
AREA
DATE CLIMBED

Color-coded: 
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

Annie's Knotty Fingers 5.11 Mikey's Island May 10, 2020
Care Giver, The 5.8 Mikey's Island May 10, 2020
Discriminator, The 5.11 Mikey's Island May 10, 2020
Skillset 5.10 Mikey's Island May 10, 2020

Photos

FIRST TRIP TO MIKEY'S ISLAND ROCK
MAY 10, 2020
w/ Nate Arganbright
This was my first time climbing at Mikey's Island. You can see this pinnacle from Horsehead, and Nate had been telling me about the stellar finger cracks up to the top of the pinnacle. Indeed, they were stellar!
1. Mikey's Island. The two 5.11 fingercracks are The Discriminator and Annie's Knotty Fingers. Nate led the left one and I led the right.
2. The Care Giver ascends a crack on the right side inside the chimney.
3. The Care Giver. Super fun and a great warmup route.
4. Nate leading The Discriminator, the left of the two 5.11 finger cracks. The crux is a punchy finish.
5. How can you not enjoy this finger crack section of Annie's Knotty Fingers?
6. We toproped the route on the right, which ascends the corner and ends on the bolted face above. The route is not on mountainproject (as of May 2020) but it is named Skillset and is rated 5.10.
7. A wide section on Skillset (a big cam would be nice on lead).
8. A view of Horsehead from Mikey's Island.