ROCK OF AGES
Route 1 (July 17 2018, July 23 2020): Days of Heaven (5.10d, 3p, 200')
Route 2 (May 2020): Nameless Demons (5.10b, 2p, 130')
Route 3 (May 2020): Center Dihedral (5.10c/d, 2p, 150')
Route 4 (May 2020): Heavenly Daze (5.12b, 1p, 110', toprope)
Route 5 (July 15/22/23 2020): The Wasp (5.12d, 1p, 100')
Route 6 (July 15 2020): Greensleeves (5.12b, 1p, 100')

JULY
17
2018
TR #: 301
MAY
29
2020
TR #: 414
JULY
15&22&23
2020
TR #: 435

Category: Colorado       Elev: ~8,700 ft       Rock Type: Granite

Partners (July 2018): Dow Williams & Tristyn Butler              
Partner (May 2020): Will Starks             
Partner (July 2020):
 Nate Arganbright

Rock of Ages is a great objective for a half day of technical quality crack climbing.


OVERLAYS FOR DAYS OF HEAVEN, CENTER DIHEDRAL, HEAVENLY DAZE, NAMELESS DEMONS, THE WASP, GREENSLEEVES


Lower Cliff
Lower Cliff
Upper Cliff



This page contains three trip reports ....



July 2018 Trip Report
Days of Heaven (5.10d, 3p, 200')

INTRO

Dow had arrived in the Estes Park area the evening before, so to kick off our trip together, we climbed the route Days of Heaven on Rock of Ages. Dow's friend Tristan joined us as well for a team of three.

Rock of Ages is a 200-foot granite wall in Rocky Mountain National Park, with a lower elevation and shorter approach than peaks further into the park. This area is a good choice for a half day or a day with possible thundershowers, or when you want to crag on a harder (5.10 or higher) route, or both. Days of Heaven — which climbs the left side of the main buttress of Rock of Ages — is perhaps the best route in the area, featuring clean splitter cracks from fingers to hands, with some wild 5.10 moves to access these cracks. 

I led the first pitch, while Dow led pitches 2 and 3 as a single pitch, and Tristan enjoyed the opportunity to follow the route. The first few moves of Pitch 1 pulling over the bulge are rather committing, but on cool juggy features. Pitch 2 is a very technical pitch, involving some face climbing and hand traversing. Pitch 3 is the money pitch of the route, up an obvious vertical splitter to the top. The pitch ratings seemed a bit off to us. Pitch 3 (10d) is the supposed crux pitch of the route, but actually seemed to be the most straightforward climbing, with great jams and locks; to me, Pitch 3 felt easier than Pitch 1 (10a), which had some committing and more insecure moves. Pitch 2 (10c) was definitely the hardest pitch for us, as it felt significantly more technical and tricky than any other section of the route — specifically, the step left at the end of the hand traverse was the crux move of the route for each of us. 

Even though only 200 feet long, Days of Heaven was a satisfying objective for the day (plus, it began to thunder and spit droplets of rain just as we topped out, a sign that it was time to head out). This page gives a route overlay and some photos from the climb.

In July 2020, I climbed Days of Heaven for a second time, this time via toprope solo. I had been on the upper cliff toprope soloing The Wasp. The top of Days of Heaven on the lower cliff is easy to access from the base of the upper cliff, so I decided to fix a rope on the tree above Days of Heaven and run a lap on Days of Heaven before hiking out. With a single 70 and a handful of directional placements, I was able to do the entire route as one long pitch from the ground. Because of the way the rope was hanging, I climbed the steep 11c/12a fingercrack of Pitch 2 of Celestial Gate which starts at the top of Pitch 1 of Days of Heaven and rejoins Days of Heaven halfway through Pitch 2. Fun!


PHOTOS FOR DAYS OF HEAVEN

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
From the Fern Lake Trailhead, hike for a little over a mile, and just past the house-sized boulders on the trail, scramble up a talus field to the base of the route. About 1 hour.
1.    
2.    
3.    
4.    
5.    
  
   
   
1. Hiking the road to the Fern Lake Trailhead (no parking spots left, on a Tuesday too!).
2. Hiking along the trail. It is flat and goes quick.
3. House-sized boulder on the trail. Just after this, turn right and scramble up a talus field to the base of the route.
4. The talus field. Days of Heaven climbs the left side of the rock outcrops above.
5. Looking up Days of Heaven from the base.

Pitch 
1
5.10a, 80'. From the top of a large detached block, pull some committing moves over the roof and climb the left-angling grove to a large ledge.
6.    
7.    
 
6. Climb the groove on the right. The ramp on the left leads to a crack that peters out on a steep face....
7. Dow arriving at the ledge. I belayed at the far left side of the ledge because I could not find great gear placements (with the cams I had left at least) at the top of Pitch 1, but I did find great gear placements on the left end of the ledge. Ideally, one should belay were Dow is in the photo.

Pitch 
2
5.10c, 70'. Face climb up, hand traverse left along a flake, make a wild and difficult move left to switch cracks, and climb the crack to a stance below the obvious hand-sized splitter. Continue on or set a belay.
8.    
9.    
10.   
8. Dow doing the hand traverse on Pitch 2.
9. The hand traverse section on Pitch 2.
10. The wild and difficult move left to switch cracks. This was the crux of the route for us.


Pitch 
3
5.10d, 50'. Jam the spectacular tapering hand crack to the top of the face.
11.  11. The Pitch 3 splitter.


Descent
Rap from top of Heavenly Daze with a single 70.
12.   
12. Rap anchor at the top of Heavenly Daze. A belay might be nice to get to these anchors (see photo from 2020 trip report.)


For more excellent beta from this climb, see Dow's summitpost page for Days of Heaven.


May 2020 Trip Report
Nameless Demons (5.10b, 2p, 130') 
Center Dihedral (5.10c/d, 2p, 150')
Heavenly Daze (5.12b, 1p, 110', toprope)


INTRO

When I climbed Days of Heaven in Summer 2018, it was during a road trip to Colorado that was supposed to be for one week and turned into a month when I discovered it difficult to leave. It was on that trip that I decided to move to Colorado. So when I finally returned to Rock of Ages in May 2020, it was a mere hour's drive from my doorstep in Boulder to the trailhead. As another interesting tie-in to my momentous 2018 trip, on this second trip to Rock of Ages, I climbed with Will Starks, who I had met and climbed with on my 2018 road trip and had now become one of my regular climbing partners.

Will and I climbed three routes. First we climbed Nameless Demons, which climbs the large, left facing dihedral just left of Days of Heaven. Super fun and punchy climbing on great rock. Next we moved rightward a couple of hundred feet to Center Dihedral, which climbs the obvious right-facing dihedral that splits the upper wall just right of Days of Heaven. This was a bit mungy, but I thought it was a good route with some engaging heads up climbing. Last, we toproped Heavenly Daze, since this steep and sustained edgy 12b had intrigued us every time we rapped down it on the rappel descent. After climbing this in the hot sun, we were satisfied with the day and hiked out.

The following gives photos from each of the climbs.

PHOTOS FOR NAMELESS DEMONS

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
Same general approach as for Days of Heaven. Route is in the amphitheater just left of Days of Heaven.
1.    
2.    
3.    

4.       
  
 
 
 
1. This was the third day that Rocky Mountain National Park had been open to the public since its closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
2. Look at that awesome finger splitter just minutes from the parking lot!
3. Couldn't resist the photo op.
4. Some pretty purple buds on an evergreen.

Pitch 
1
5.10b, 70'. Climb the left-facing corner to a bulge. Belly flop onto a shallow slab. Recompose yourself and build a belay.
5.    
6.    
7.    
8.    9 
 
5. Steph leading Pitch 1. Photo by Will.
6. Looking up Pitch 1.
7. Steph executing the belly-flop near the end of the pitch.  Photo by Will.
8. Will following the pitch.
9. Will executing the belly-flop.

Pitch 
2
5.10b, 60'. Continue up the corner. The crux moves are just above the belay. 
10.    
11.    
10. Looking up Pitch 2.
11. Will starting up Pitch 2.

Descent
Rap from top of Heavenly Daze with a single 70.
12.    
13.    
14.    
12. Hmm.....a belay might be nice to get to those rap anchors....
13. Rappelling Heavenly Daze. We toproped this as our last route of the day.
14. The view up Fern Canyon. Not too shabby.


PHOTOS FOR CENTER DIHEDRAL

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
Same general approach as for Days of Heaven. Route is just right of Days of Heaven. Begin from the top of the big detached flake beneath an obtuse left-facing dihedral with an obvious jug at the bottom.
1.    
 
   
  
  
  
   
   
1. Looking up from near the base of the route. The second pitch is the obvious corner.


Pitch 
1
5.10a, 80'. Grab the jug, surmount the roof (crux), and proceed up a thin face crack to the base of the main dihedral.
2.     2. The thin face crack on Pitch 1. Small cams and nuts are nice here.

Pitch 
2
5.10c/d, 70-120'. Climb the dihedral. At its top, choose either the left or the right exit. The dihedral is rather steep and sustained. RPs (which we did not have) and a #4 (which we did have) are nice to have.
3.    
4.    
5.  
3. Looking up the corner of Pitch 2. Photo by Will.
4. Steph leading Pitch 2. Photo by Will.
5. The left exit at the top of the corner. This way looked more protectable than the right exit, so I went this way. It was pretty fun climbing.


Checking out the Upper Cliff and some views.
The Upper Cliff is not far from the top of the routes on the Lower Cliff, so we walked up a bit to check it out. There are some 4-star routes up here, but they are all pretty hard (the easiest is 12b and the hardest that has been put up is 13c). 
6.    
7.   
6. The Upper Cliff. This has routes like Greensleeves (12b), Pitch Perfect (13a), The Wasp (12d), Telekinesis (13c), and Brain Step (13c).
7. The view down Fern Canyon. 

Descent
Rap from top of Heavenly Daze with a single 70.
(see photos from Nameless Demons)  



PHOTOS FOR HEAVENLY DAZE

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
Same general approach as for Days of Heaven. The route is located immediately left of the Nameless Demons dihedral and the anchor at the top is the standard rappel for descending from the formation. So its an easy one to toprope
(see overlay photo for location) 
  
   
   

Pitch 
1
5.12b, 110'. Steep and sustained with incut edges and a crux between the fifth and six bolts.
1.    
2.    
1. Toproping Heavenly Daze.
2. A glued-in stopper on Heavenly Daze. This route would be a heady lead, so take all that you can get!

Descent
Rap from the anchor at the top with a single 70.
(see photos from Nameless Demons)  




July 2020 Trip Report
The Wasp (5.12d, 1p, 100')
Greensleeves (5.12b, 1p, 100')


INTRO

Nate and I had gotten into the pattern of 2-3 alpine days a week plus a couple of days of hard cragging between. The Wasp (once 13a and now downgraded to 12d) on the Upper Cliff of Rock of Ages was a perfect objective. The Wasp climbs a zig-zagging crack system up the steep face, and is a candidate for the best single-pitch route at its grade in the state. It is trad and takes pretty good gear, and would be a proud lead. We toproped the Wasp, each doing a few laps. We returned a week later in the early morning before work to do a couple of more laps. I returned the next day alone to do a few more laps via toprope solo. We plan to return again, since Nate plans to lead it soon and I am still working on getting the whole thing on toprope without hangs.

We also toproped Greensleeves, a bolted face on the left side of the wall. It stats with an easy finger crack, and then launches into sustained crimping with no rests. Although rated 12b, it felt harder than The Wasp to me.

The following gives just a couple of photos from each of the climbs. 

PHOTOS FOR THE WASP

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
This route is on the Upper Cliff. Leave trail as per Days of Heaven but head up past the lower cliff on the right to get to the upper cliff. 
   
 
   
  
  
  
   
   

Pitch 
1
5.12d, 100'. 
1.    
2.    
1. Looking up at the route.
2. Nate taking a lap.


Descent
Rappel from fixed anchor at top of route.




PHOTOS FOR GREENSLEEVES

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
This route is on the Upper Cliff. Leave trail as per Days of Heaven but head up past the lower cliff on the right to get to the upper cliff. 
 
   

Pitch 
1
5.12b, 100'. 
1.      
1. The rope is hanging on the route.


Descent
Rappel from fixed anchor at top of route.