(LIST OF CLIMBS + 1 "TRIP REPORT")
Category: Colorado
Elev: ~10,000+ ft
Rock Type: Gneiss
 
2019
 

THE CRAGS Climbing


The Crags is a collection of fins and spires located just south of Estes Park. 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.

The first time I climbed at The Crags was in September 2019, on a wonderful link-up called The Golden Staircase. Actually, as of now that is the only time I have climbed at The Crags, but I hope to climb there more, so I created this page to support more trip reports for the area than just the one climb I have done there.



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



(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      =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 September 29, 2019













And here are trip reports for longer climbs I've done at The Crags (so far just one, but there will be more!)...

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 Dylan ____. 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 Dylan 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.



Some random photos from other days of cragging at The Crags.....

Color coded by area:
   =Woodstone        =Half & Half       =Sharksfin
    =Grey Slab      =Druid Tower
   =Upper Great Face      =Lower Great Face
    =Wizard's Gate