(LIST OF CLIMBS + 1 "TRIP REPORT")
Category: Colorado
Elev: ~10,000+ ft
Rock Type: Gneiss (The Crags) / Granite (Jurassic Park)
 
2019, 2020
 

THE CRAGS & JURASSIC PARK Climbing


The Crags and Jurassic Park are located on Highway 7 just a few miles south of Estes Park, at the Lily Lake area. The Crags is on the east side of the road while Jurassic Park is directly opposite on the west side of the road.

The Crags is a collection of fins and spires. The rock is gneiss, offering plentiful knobs and edges. The area has become more popular over the recent years, largely due to new sport route development. The area has lots of potential for more routes. To add to the appeal of the area, the setting overlooking the Estes Park valley is sublime.


The Crags.

Jurassic Park is also a collection of fins and spires, but smaller than The Crags and composed of granite rather than gneiss. Most of the climbing here is single-pitch sport climbing, with difficulty ranging from 5.6 to 5.12. With its proximity to Estes and short approach and scenic location, this area is very popular. The iconic Fin feature graces the cover of Gillett's Estes Park climbing guidebook.

The Fin, an iconic feature at Jurassic Park.

The first time I climbed at The Crags was in September 2019, on a wonderful link-up called The Golden Staircase. I later returned to The Crags in June 2020 to check out Wizard's Gate. The first time I climbed at Jurassic Park was in June 2020.

Since I plan to return to The Crags and Jurassic Park several times over the years, I just keep a list of the climbs I've done there (on this page). Below the list, I've also included my trip report for The Golden Staircase, and below that I have photos from subsequent random days of cragging at The Crags and Jurassic Park.



ON THIS PAGE:

LINK 
List of climbs I've done at The Crags
Photo trip report for The Golden Staircase (5.9-5.11, 14p, sport) (WOODSTONE, HALF & HALF, SHARKSFIN, GRAY SLAB, DRUID TOWER, UPPER GREAT FACE) 
SEPT
29
2019

  TR #: 370
Other random photos from cragging at The Crags (WIZARD'S GATE, LOWER GREAT FACE, CROSSWINDS, UPPER GREAT FACE)            
          
    


LINK
List of climbs I've done at Jurassic Park
Random photos from cragging at Jurassic Park            
          


The Crags
(Still quite small)List of climbs I've done at The Crags

(Alphabetical order)
CLIMB DIFFICULTY

    =multi-pitch
AREA

Color-coded:
   
=Woodstone        =Half & Half
   =Sharksfin         =Grey Slab  
   =Druid Tower        =Upper Great Face
   =Crosswinds       =Lower Great Face
   =Wizard's Gate
DATE CLIMBED

Color-coded: 
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

The Golden Staircase 5.9-5.11, 14p, sport Woodstone, Half & Half, Sharksfin, Gray Slab, Druid Tower, Upper Great Face Sept 29, 2019

Low Tide 5.11, 1p, sport Crosswinds July 27, 2020
Power Structure (Pitch 1) 5.10a, 1p, sport Crosswinds July 27, 2020
Rattlin' the Saber 5.12a, 1p, sport Crosswinds July 27, 2020
Serpent's Rising 5.11c, 1p, sport Crosswinds July 27, 2020
Unnamed crack left of Serpent's Rising ~5.10a, 1p, trad or toprope Crosswinds July 27, 2020

Closed Casket 5.11a, 1p, sport Lower Great Face July 4, 2020
Pyramid Scheme 5.10c, 1p, sport Lower Great Face July 4, 2020
Timed Entry 5.10b, 1p, sport Lower Great Face July 4, 2020;
July 5, 2020
Trance Dance 5.11, 1p, sport Lower Great Face July 5, 2020
Two Towers, The 5.12, 4p, sport Lower Great Face July 6, 2020
Witch Hunt 5.11, 1p, sport Lower Great Face July 5, 2020
Unnamed on left ~5.9, 1p, sport Lower Great Face July 5, 2020

Xxx 5.x, xp, sport/trad Upper Great Face August 13, 2020
Xxx 5.x, xp, sport/trad Upper Great Face August 13, 2020
Xxx 5.x, xp, sport/trad Upper Great Face August 13, 2020
Xxx 5.x, xp, sport/trad Upper Great Face August 13, 2020

Arrival, The 5.11, 4p, sport Wizard's Gate June 5, 2020
Black Gate Opens, The 5.11c, 5p, sport Wizard's Gate June 5, 2020
Bring Me To Life ~5.8, 5p, sport
(climbed as 2 long pitches
in ~30 minutes)
Wizard's Gate June 14, 2020
Dark Horse 5.10c, 1p, sport Wizard's Gate June 5, 2020
Gatekeeper, The 5.12a, 1p, sport Wizard's Gate June 14, 2020
Gizmo 5.7, 1p, sport Wizard's Gate June 5, 2020
Riding With the Ravens 5.11b, 1p, sport Wizard's Gate June 14, 2020
Take Me to Your Leader 5.11c/d, 1p, sport Wizard's Gate June 5, 2020
White Raven, The 5.11a/b, 4p, sport Wizard's Gate June 14, 2020


Photos
A trip report for a long link-up at The Crags


Route: The Golden Staircase (5.11, 14p, sport)  WOODSTONE, HALF & HALF, SHARKSFIN, GRAY SLAB, DRUID TOWER, UPPER GREAT FACE

Date: September 29, 2019     Partner: Nathan Arganbright

The first time I climbed at The Crags I probably climbed one of the best link-ups in the Crags. My partner Nate had climbed here several times and put up several routes in the area himself, but he had not yet gotten on The Golden Staircase, a 14-pitch link-up of features starting near the base of the crags and ending at the high point at the top of the Upper Great Face, recently established by Dustin Dyer. The route links up Woodstone, Half & Half, Sharksfin, Grey Slab, Druid Tower, and Upper Great Face and the climbing ranges from 5.9 to 5.11, all sport, all bolted belays, and on excellent rock. All you need in 12 draws and a 60m rope. 

The Golden Staircase was a super fun day. There was not a bad pitch on the route—the climbing was super fun and the three 5.11 pitches offered some engaging moves on well-protected terrain. I love the kind of route you can move quickly over lots of 5.9-5.11 terrain. Nate and I were base to top in 5 hours and 16 minutes, moving at what was just an enjoyable yet efficient pace. 

The following gives a pitch-by-pitch breakdown for the climb. Thanks Nate for a stellar first day at the Crags (I'll be back for sure) and thanks Dustin for putting up this fun route. What a blast!
Route Overlay:
Photos:
Photo descriptions:

Approach 
Idea: Approach as per Wizards Gate and continue to base of Druid Tower halfway up route, leave extra stuff like water and lunch and shorts, descend to base of Woodstone, climb 8 pitches back up to base of Druid Tower, rehydrate and refuel and leave extra layers, and continue the remaining 6 pitches up to top of Upper Great Face. Collect your stuff on the descent.
1.    
2.    
3.    
4.    
 
  

 
 
 
1. Starting the approach on the road to Twin Sisters. We cut off on a climbers' trail shortly after starting up the main trail to Twin Sisters.
2. Diamond in the distance.
3. View out from The Crags.
4. Descending to base of Woodstone after dropping out extra stuff below Druid Tower.



Pitch 
1

Woodstone Rock
5.9, 6 bolts. 
From top of pitch: Continue up Woodstone.
5.    
6.   
5. Base of Woodstone Rock.
6. Pitch 1.



Pitch 
2

Woodstone Rock
5.10, 8 bolts. 
From top of pitch: One rappel, short walk to base of Half & Half.
7.   7. Pitch 2.



Pitch
3

Half & Half Crag
5.9, 9 bolts. 
From top of pitch: Continue up Half & Half.
8.    
9.    
8. Base of Half & Half.
9. Pitch 3.


Pitch
4

Half & Half Crag
5.11, 9 bolts. 
From top of pitch: Scramble to base of next feature.
10.    
11.   
10. Nate pulling through the crux steep headwall on Pitch 4.
11. Steph nearing top of Pitch 4. (Photo by Nate.)




Pitch
5

Sharksfin
5.9, 6-7 bolts.
From top of pitch: One rappel to base of next pitch.
12.    
13.    
 
 
 

  
 

12. Pitch 5.
13. Rapping to next section of Sharksfin between Pitches 5 and 6.



Pitch
6

Sharksfin
5.10, 9-10 bolts.
From top of pitch: One rappel to base of Gray Slab.
 14.   
14. Pitch 6.



Pitch
7

Gray Slab
5.10, 9 bolts.
From top of pitch: Scramble to base of next pitch on Gray Slab.
15.    15. Pitch 7.



Pitch
8

Gray Slab
5.10, 9-10 bolts.
From top of pitch: Put on approach shoes and walk to base of Druid Tower.
16.    
17.    
18.   
16. Awesome exposure on Pitch 8.
17. Pitch 8.
18. Hiking through Enchanted Forest between top of Pitch 8 and base of Druid Tower. We had stashed our extra stuff on the south side of Enchanted Forest.



Pitch
9

Druid Tower
5.11, 11 bolts. 
From top of pitch: Continue up Druid Tower.
19.    
20.   
19. Nate high on Pitch 9. One of the harder pitches of the route. Nice lead Nate!
20. Steph following Pitch 9. Apparently I went with the ninja attire for the day. (Photo by Nate.)



Pitch
10

Druid Tower
5.11, 12 bolts.
From top of pitch: One rappel to base of The Dungeon.
21.    
22.    
23.    
24.    
21. Pitch 10. This pitch probably had the single hardest move of the climb. Another nice lead by Nate.
22. 
Steph following Pitch 10. (Photo by Nate.)
23. Watch out for the sharp edge the rope runs over just below the belay. Someone has created a nice divot for the rope to run over.
24. The shiny chains at the rappel at the top of Pitch 10 to the base of The Dungeon.



Pitch
11

The Dungeon
5.10, 8 bolts.
From top of pitch: One rappel to base of Upper Great Face.
25.    
26.   
25. Pitch 11.
26. The rappel to the base of the Upper Great Face. The last rappel of the day.



Pitch
12

Upper Great Face
5.9, 9 bolts.
From top of pitch: Continue up Upper Great Face.
27.     27. Pitch 12.



Pitch
13

Upper Great Face
5.9, 10-11 bolts.
From top of pitch: Continue up Upper Great Face.
28.    28. Pitch 13. We linked Pitches 13+14 into a 60m rope-stretching lead. This photo was taken from the base of Pitch 13. Nate is around the location of the belay at the top of Pitch 13, continuing onto Pitch 14 to the top.



Pitch
14

Upper Great Face
5.9, 8-9 bolts.
From top of pitch: Scramble to summit.
28.    28. Same photo as above. We linked Pitches 13+14 into a 60m rope-stretching lead. This photo was taken from the base of Pitch 13. Nate is around the location of the belay at the top of Pitch 13, continuing onto Pitch 14 to the top.



Top!
Yay! Enjoy the view, and the beautiful ancient limber pine trees.
29.    
30.  
29. The anchor at the top of Pitch 14. From here, a short scramble to the top.
30. On the summit ridge. Twin Sisters in distance.


Descent
From top, stroll down gully between Upper Great Face and Lower Great Face. Collect your stuff at base of Druid Tower. Hike back down from here the way you came up.
31.    
32.    
33.    
34.   
31. Cool limber pine snag on the descent.
32. 
Descent gully between Upper Great Face and Lower Great Face.
33. Flaming aspen.
34. Flaming aspen. Fall is a beautiful time of the year.




More Photos
Some random photos from other days of cragging at The Crags
Color coded by area:
   =Wizard's Gate
JUNE 5, 2020
w/ Nate Arganbright

11 pitches at Wizard's Gate

1. Start the approach to Wizard's Gate on the Twin Sisters trail.
2. Wizard's Gate.
3. Climbing at Wizard's Gate.
4. Climbing at Wizard's Gate.
5.Climbing at Wizard's Gate.
6. Climbing at Wizard's Gate.
7. Gizmo (5.7) at Wizard's Gate.
8. Take Me to Your Leader (5.11c/d) at Wizard's Gate.
9. Nate starting up Pitch 3 of The Arrival (5.11, 4p) at Wizard's Gate.
10. Climbers at Wizard's Gate.
11. Hard to beat the view from The Crags.

Color coded by area:
   =Wizard's Gate

JUNE 14, 2020
w/ Nate Mankovitch

10 pitches at Wizard's Gate

1. Nate starting up Pitch 1 of The White Raven (5.11, 4p) at Wizard's Gate. (This pitch is also called The Riding with the Ravens).

2. Looking up Pitch 2 of The White Raven (5.11, 4p) at Wizard's Gate

3. Pitch 3 of The White Raven (5.11, 4p) at Wizard's Gate.

4. Nate cruising up The Gatekeeper (5.12a) at Wizard's Gate.

5. Nate sending up Magic Dagger (5.13a) at Wizard's Gate. Awesome job!

6. Climbing at Wizard's Gate.

7. Climbing is a blast!

Color coded by area:
   =Lower Great Face

JULY 4&5&6, 2020
w/ Nate Arganbright, Scott Kimball, Bernard Gillett, Paul Bodnar, Shawn May
July 4: 3 pitches at Lower Great Face before the rain began...
July 5: 4 pitches at Lower Great Face and a new route before the rain began...
July 6: An after-work 4 pitches 5.12 route on the Lower Great Face.
1. (July 4) Nate climbing on the Lower Great Face.
2. (July 4) And then it started to rain....

3. (July 5) First ascent.

4. (July 5) Shawn climbing on the Lower Great Face.

5. (July 5) Tansy asters.

6. (July 5) Shawn climbing on the Lower Great Face. Hard to beat the views of the Diamond from this crag.

7. (July 5) And the rain is coming again...

8. (July 6) Approaching a 5.11 roof.

Color coded by area:
   =Crosswinds

JULY 27, 2020
w/ Nate Arganbright & Scott Kimball
5 after-work pitches at Crosswinds

1. Climbing Low Tide.

Color coded by area:
   =Crosswinds

AUGUST 13, 2020
w/ Nate Arganbright
xx pitches at Upper Great Face

 
Jurassic Park
List of climbs I've done at Jurassic Park

(Alphabetical order)
CLIMB DIFFICULTY

(everything is 1 pitch)
AREA

Color-coded:
   =Big Ass Slab 
   =Dinosaur's Foot
   =The Fin
   =Left Hand Rock 
DATE CLIMBED

Color-coded: 
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter
Andrology 5.12a The Fin Jun 17, 2020,
Jun 18, 2020,
Jun 26, 2020,
Jul 13, 2020
Assmosis 5.9 Big Ass Slab Jun 17, 2020
CG's Naked Fun Time (aka Stegosaurus) 5.10b The Fin Jun 17, 2020,
Jun 26, 2020
Copradelite 5.10d Dinosaur's Foot Jun 17, 2020
Critical Morass 5.10c Big Ass Slab Jun 17, 2020
Dino Dung 5.10a Dinosaur's Foot Jun 17, 2020
Dynamometer 5.11b The Fin Jun 18, 2020
Edge of Time 5.9 The Fin Jun 17, 2020
Gilded Lily 5.9 Left Hand Rock Jun 17, 2020
Index Toe 5.9- Dinosaur's Foot Jun 26, 2020
Little Toe Jam 5.11a Dinosaur's Foot Jun 17, 2020
Middle Toe 5.9 Dinosaur's Foot Jun 17, 2020
Stout Blue Vein 5.8+ Big Ass Slab Jun 17, 2020

Photos
Color coded by area:
   =Big Ass Slab        =Dinosaur's Foot       =The Fin       =Left Hand Rock
FRIST TRIP TO JURASSIC PARK
JUNE 17, 2020 (12 routes) & JUNE 18, 2020 (2 routes)
w/ Nate Arganbright
We had a day to spare between bigger climbing trips in RMNP, and Jurassic Park was a good option for getting in a dozen pitches of climbing with very little approach effort.

1. Columbine glowing in the morning sun.
2. Columbine.
3. Jurassic Park area as seen from the trailhead.
4. Climbing Gilded Lily (5.9).
5. Looking up the iconic Edge of Time (5.9) route on The Fin.
6. Looking down Edge of Time (5.9).
7. Awesome position on Edge of Time (5.9) route on The Fin.
8. Nate leading Little Toe Jam (5.11a).
9. Nate leading Critical Morass (5.10c).
10. Some climber on Coloradoddity (5.6), against a backdrop of Longs Peak.
11. Looking down Middle Toe (5.9).
12. Dino Dung (5.10a).
13. Climber on Andrology (5.12).
14. Looking down Coparadelite (5.10d).
15. Nate lading up CG's Naked Fun Time (5.10b).
16. Nate heading up a lead of Andrology (5.12), probably the best route at Jurassic Park and a great steep climbing testpiece.
17. Toproping Andrology (5.12).
18. Toproping Andrology (5.12).