Devil's Head is a relatively new granite climbing area with perhaps the highest concentration of three star routes anywhere in the Front Range. While lying in the South Platte, Devil's Head granite presents a super fine-grain textured granite that only rarely reveals the typical South Platte crystalline matrix. The rock is remarkably featured with roofs, cracks, edges, and flakes that, unlike most of the South Platte, offer up tremendous amounts of excellent, exciting face climbing. Devil's Head climbing occurs largely on the South and East-facing slopes of Devil's Head mountain, and the climber could not ask for a more serene place to climb. The crags face South, West, or East and overlook Pike's Peak with all the rest of the Rampart Range hills spread out in unbroken splendor as far as the eye can see. The area possesses over 400 routes with the balance of new route activity devoted to bolt-protected sport climbing, although nearly 20 of the routes are superb granite crack climbs on bomber trad gear. While the emphasis in climbing is largely on the upper 5.11 and 5.12 range, difficulty pretty much spans the gamut, and it is a good bet that some under-rated 5.13 lies on the hill as well. Development of new routes started nearly 8 years ago spearheaded by the relentless energy of Tod Anderson, author of the area's guidebook, "The Devil Made Me Do It". The roster of first ascentionists that Tod dragged up the hill includes (in no particular order) Tom Hanson, Scott Sills, Rich Magill, Richard Wright, Alan Nelson, Mike Lane, Janice Harnak, Ernie Moskovitz (Ziggy), Frank (Tripp) Collins, Martin Birch, Dave Fields, Eric Leonard, Pat Burwick. Other notable developers include Pete Takeda, Ken Trout, and probably some more great climbers as well. Of more than a dozen developed crags, the most notable routes lie on the following crags: The Headstone, The Crimpfest Wall, The Red Wall, The Starcastle, The Crag Ranch, and The Shaft.
From Denver, the best way to reach Devils's Head is to take CO Highway 85 south to Sedalia. Then head west on CO Highway 67 to the North entrance of the park, about 10 miles. The ranger station booth marks the North end of FR 300, the Ramparts Range Road. Take this South for approximately 9 miles to the turn off for Devil's Head campground and the Fire Tower. Be aware that the Rampart Range Road will be closed from the first Monday in December to sometime in April due to snow pack. From Colorado Springs, FR 300 can be reached from the Garden of The Gods, but is a fairly torturous 20 miles North. Once at the parking lot, head up the tourist trail toward the Fire Tower about 1.5 miles. At a saddle well below the Fire Tower the trail forks right (to the tower) and left to the Zinn Overlook. Head for the Zinn Overlook along a well defined climbers trail. At the overlook, trails will fork directly toward the Headstone formation (left) and right, through the woods, toward the Red Wall, Starcastle, and The Shaft.
"Rampart Range Rocks" by Tod Anderson is available at Bent Gate.
As of May 2012, a new guidebook to the South Platte that includes Devil's Head was published by Fixed Pin Publishing. "South Platte Climbing" by Jason Haas, Ben Schneider, and Craig Weinhold should be available in most climbing shops sometime in the latter half of May or directly from Fixed Pin.
This is a great powerful line up the steepest part of Digital Tower. The route overhangs about 10 degrees, and is very continuous. You will be the star of the day for the tourists at the firetower. To get there, do the first pitch of Beta Sponge (10a) to a belay ledge at 80 feet. Jesus H. Cranker is the first route to the right of the belay ledge. The climbing is hard immediately after leaving the ledge - and it doesn't get easy again until just before you reach the anchors, abou...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
On July 19, 2002 Devil's Head and most of the Pike National Forest reopened. Devil's Head was not burned and retains its previous natural character. The view from the firetower provides an amazing view of the now mostly burned South Platte area.
One of the interesting side areas that I found on Devils Head is on the west side, just to the east of the gully opposite Topaz Point. Or, for those who have been in the area for more than 10 years, Virgin's Bath. The Forest Service had to change the name on the sign because unthoughtfull city slickers and their cousins keep tearing down and stealing the signs to take home and hang on their bathroom door. But for those of you that are here because they love what I call 'Extreme Hiking', follow Rampart Range Road to the sign leading to the trailhead parking area, but take the route to the right.After a couple of zig-zags and big 'S' curves, you'll come up to the area marked Topaz Point. Stop, you went too far. Back up about 100 yards or so and take the usable 2 wheel drive trail that takes you to the dig site of Topaz Point. Leave the non-climbers here to dig in the dirt for findable quartz and topaz crystals while you take the short 10 minute wall across the small gully due east. Once you hit the face, it doesn't matter if you go left or right, there's a fresh assortment of granit cracks and chimneys that will test your will and patience all day long, and give you fantastic views into the Westcreek / Deckers area.There is plenty of climbs on this side of the rock that havent been destroyed yet. All I ask is Please pickup your trash so my kids dont have to.
The new guidebook to Devil's Head is now complete and available in stores. There are over 200 routes listed. The book contains many new topos and pictures as well as all of the details on how to find the new climbs. So far it's available at The Bent Gate, Mountain Sports, Mountain Miser, & Neptunes. Hope to see you up there this summer.
DH crew, just wanted to say what a great job you have done creating and marking the trails around here. I have been to DH several times over the years and it is one of the more complicated places to figure out where the hell you are. I've been climbing in the West Valley the past three weeks and along with the new guide it has been a piece a cake getting around back there. Thanks for the back breaking work.
Regarding a new bolted line put up on the Headstone on Saturday, September 11 ... PUT UP SOME ANCHORS. Your new route probably goes at 10c (onsightable for most 5.11+ climbers) and is well-cleaned, but it stops well before the top of the wall without anchors. If you're going to bolt a route and not finish it, leave out the first few bolts, not the anchors. Climbers are likely to mistake the route for something marked in the guidebook and wind up having to traverse down to the anchors on the arete when they reach the last bolt.
You might be talking about h-flake, 30' left of rock nazi. I was unable to finish pitch 2 due to weather, hope to get up there in the next few weekends. I'll post it here when it's finished. Sorry for the inconvenience.-JH
Went back to The Head on Sunday. I truly can't believe that areas like The Sport Park, Clear Creek, The Monastary, even Shelf get so much action when Devils Head has, by far, the best sport climbing in the state. This is, of course, my humble opinion. But really, The Head has about two hundred and twenty sport climbs (5.9 - 5.13) and dozens of stellar trad lines. The rock is the best granite face climbing I've seen in Colorado. It must be the forty minute approach that keeps everyone away. It's too bad that a mere forty minute approach would prevent people from experiencing what is the best sport climbing in The Front Range. If you haven't climbed at The Head you are cheating yourself. Make it your next destination.
Went there on 7/30/06 and the flies were everywhere. If you were silent, it sounded like you were in the middle of a beehive with all the swarming. They were not black flies but annoying nonetheless and swarming all over you as you climbed.
By Sorden From: inside the Bubble, Colorado Jul 31, 2006
Hey you forgot to mention how hot it was there yesterday! (Other than the swarms of flys and ants). What a cool place! I'd like to know what the locals know; but in the future I will avoid Devil's Head during hotter months. Dirty quality rock, bolted cracks, obscure trails, no water; I loved it! I'll be back in Autumn.
In my 15 years of climbing at Devil's Head, the flies were by far the worst I've ever seen. However, if you stayed in the shade there were very few of them. I've also experienced way more flies in Aspen and Tensleep Canyon recently than ever before too, maybe they're the cause of global warming.
Bolts are too close together and the routes are rated on the easy side although you will still find me clipping them. We measured the distance between bolts at the Starcastle to be 42 inches apart, clipable from almost the same stance.
Yes, there is a raptor closure but I don't know the specifics of which formations.
By Shane Neal From: Colorado Springs, CO. Jul 10, 2008
I believe the raptor closure is on Devils Head proper- the trad climbing destination in Hubbels book. Aka- the Dariush of Balanat. A great must do 5.9+. Closed March 1st to July 31st. The sport area has no closure that I am aware of.... Have fun!!
There are several new routes in the alcove that lies immediately to the west of Digital Tower. Some are on the west face of Digital Tower itself and others (8 total) are on the east-facing wall adjacent to that. Any information regarding the names, ratings, etc. would be most appreciated.
There a bunch of books now available at Thrillseekers for those on the south side of Denver and they were also shipped to Mtn. Chalet in the Springs and should be available there sometime during the week of July 26th.
David, there's only part of one DH crag in the Rock Climbing Colorado book, and of the 60 or so crags there, it's among the lower 1/4 in overall quality. A quick scan of the book at one of the local shops should be enough for you to decide if it's a worthwhile purchase.
South Platte Ranger District- considering that most of the crags in the closure area are adjacent to Jackson Creek Road and camping areas, wouldn't it make sense to close that road off to motorized vehicles, especially the bikes? I'm sure that BRAAAPPPP BRRAAAAPPP BRRRRAAAPPP from sunrise to sunset every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday doesn't help the peregrines.
David - be careful using the Climbing Colorado by Green. It's full of misinformation, like sometimes when it should be 1.5 miles in the book, it will say 4 miles... careful, I threw mine away after several discrepancies leading to ruining several climbing outings. It really shouldn't be on any shelves.
The road is now open to Devil's Head, about a month earlier than normal, but you have to go in via Jackson Creek Road as the north gate to Rampart Range Road is still closed for tree removal. The amount of snow is trivial, even on north facing slopes. See pictures for a couple of season opener shots.
Despite the link on some of the DH routes to a raptor closure, none of the routes listed on MP are affected by that closure. In fact, none are even within a mile of the closure boundary. Jackson Creek Road and the activity there are actually closer to the raptor closure area than the routes listed on MP. For reference, there is a crag listed in the old Hubbel book, labeled as Devil's Head that is within the area affected by the raptor closure.
The climbing here is absolutely stellar - amazing, fine-grained, grippy granite that is highly featured and often coated in beautiful map lichen. The setting is scenic, there are always shady climbs, and there are few other climbers.
If you're used to the stout, old school, grading and ground up bolting in other areas of the S'Platte (Turkey rock, Wigwam Creek) you may be (pleasantly?) surprised by the softer grading and lack of runouts.
Considering the recent Climbing Magazine article and the incomplete information contained in it, one could be misled to believe that there is no current guidebook available for Devil’s Head; when in fact, there is a recently published, comprehensive, full color guidebook for the entire area – Rampart Range Rocks. Rampart Range Rocks is available in almost all outdoor retailers in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico. It should be noted that ALL OF THE PROCEEDS from this book go back to the climbing community primarily in the form of new routes and maintenance of existing ones.
Furthermore, there is an existing core community of climbers dedicated to the area, some of whom who have been climbing there for decades. Everyone is pitching in to help with stewardship of the area and new additions to the group are always welcome.
SEASON OPENER - As of 4/13/12 the road is open to Devil's Head. Be advised that the very north end of Rampart Range Road is still closed for a tree cutting operation, so you have to go up Jackson Creek Road instead. As usual the USFS kept the road closed as long as possible, so there isn't any of the winter snowpack left & the trails are all in great shape, enjoy.
If you enjoy the climbing at Devil's Head, you should pick up a copy of Rampart Range Rocks! It is a great guide and the proceeds go DIRECTLY into continued development and maintenance of routes at The Head. About 20-50 new routes are established every year by the head crew. Support their efforts and expenses with a purchase of Rampart Range Rocks!
Tom, the picture of the guidebook you posted is the one from a few years ago. There is a new one out. Here is a picture of the cover.
It seems weird that there is this arguement about who has done more for the community, Haas or Anderson. Both have done a lot, from developing new routes (both guys doing sport and trad), replacing bolts, building new trails, creating guidebooks, etc., and both have dumped money from their guidebook sales back into the area and both have spent their own hard-earned money to improve the area. Is it really a debate of who has done more for the community or even a specific area? Seems silly to me as each man has probably done more for the community than 90% of the other members of the community. It also seems childish to me, considering these posters that are defending this book were also the ones called out for organizing an attack on Haas on the internet a few months back. None of you did ever answer a basic question I posed and it is this:
Would you rather use a guidebook with correct information or incorrect information? It's that simple. I for one do not want to use a book that INCORRECTLY states:
bolt counts route lengths or even where the route actually goes!
Both authors have a different styles in presenting information, but those three things above are facts and should not be different between the two guides (or this website for that matter). I've used the new Haas guidebook, and I have not found any errors in it (that doesn't mean there aren't any). The same cannot be said for the Anderson guide, which has at least one error on almost every page where I've climbed at. I posted this concern before and the "DH Crew" attacked me for it. I took it down to "lighten the mood", but since this seems to have started up again, I for one think there are some saftey concerns with using the Anderson guide. Yes, I could take and lower to get more draws and things, (and I do climb with an extra draw or two), but that seems like a silly counter-arguement. I guess the point is if I'm going to pay for information, I'd like to be paying for CORRECT information.
And on the being paid for hardware argument - see the last thread the DH crew started to slander the new book, but to reiterate the general question on that thread as well, since when did we start paying people to bolt routes? You do it because you want to - it's not a job like it is in Europe. Also, it's been very well established one individual didn't even bolt half the routes here. One last thing, which is truly meant to be a point and not simply to start anything, but that cost would be a lot lower if so many cracks weren't bolted. Just saying.
They don't do it to get paid you douche. The point is that with buying Tod's book all the proceeds go right back into development and maintainence. With your pathetic spray all over MP lately, you've implied you have been all over DH, at least enough to know to state this: "which has at least one error on almost every page." To be so well informed, you clearly must have utilized the various trails and clipped lots of bolts. All of which were products of personal expense; both financially and with all the sweat and getting ripped up by the thorn bushes that clogged every approach to every wall. Yet you have the audacity to fling this shit around without contributing one iota of effort to the place. You are a vile little turd.
This was a sleeping dog until Jason posted up his link; which originally included the book cover. He took it down quickly, but it was noticed. This whole stinking mess arose from FP's aggressive nature in trying to corner the market on beta. No one from the Head Crew thought twice about this until it was forced upon them.
The reasonable stance I thought everyone adopted was go ahead and buy Jason's book, there's no reason not to. But also, if you want to spend some time exploring DH, show your support to those who made it happen by buying Tod's book also.
Delta Bravo, or should I say Mike Lane, I am more than willing to contribute to a trail day. When has an official one ever been scheduled? Is this something you’re willing to organize? Maybe you can call everyone a douche or vile little turds when they sign up. Really good for getting referrals for your plumbing work too I bet. I would also be willing to pitch in some money for replacing old bolts. But no matter how much work someone does for an area, it still doesn’t change the fact that a crappy, error-filled book is still a crappy, error-filled book. I have climbed almost 50 routes here and can post up the errors I found in Tod Anderson’s Rampart Range Rocks guidebook on every route on this website if you’d like. It would take a while, though, as there’d be quite a few comments to make.
It is clear to me that you are 100% the attacker. I did find a few bolt counts in Tod's book were off, but I'm talking a handful of routes, and this certainly did not lead a climber into dangerous territory. It is sport climbing, you can always lower and grab more gear.You are way overboard with your "error on every page" crap, so shut that up right now as that is completely out of line and downright lying. Also, Dave J, Tod did bolt well more than 1/2 of the routes there, so you are incorrect. Ask around.
Why couldn't FP just have left DH out of their guidebook and not have caused this shitstorm. SP has plenty of rock, and I'm sure that FP has a good guidebook and a fat one to boot. What did they contribute to DH in parallel to SP that it was soooo mission critical to include DH? (It's in the area? Really?) It still lingers and stings when Tod's post above 'Hey everyone, DH is open!' and then FP's ad right below it "HEY, BUY MY BOOK!!"
I have both books, my BIG complaint, with the Rampart Range guide, is THERE IS NO PAGE INDEX FOR ROUTES, THERE IS A GRADE INDEX WITH NO PAGE NUMBERS AND ONLY AREAS WITH PAGE NUMBERS, WTF!!!!!!!, SO SIMPLE TOO ADD A PAGE #s. Other than that, it's a good guide, is lighter then Platte guide by more then half its weight, plus it's $14 less.
The Platte guide has a grade index with page #s, a route index with page #s, and areas, at $38.95, pricey.
Luv how 90% of guidebook authors are sending jobs to CHINA or Korea. FYI guidebook authors, University of Wisconsin Press, can print a 366 page guide that retails for $20 or less, $16.95 on Amazon, made in USA, Climber's Guide to Devil's Lake.
I wondered about the China thing too, then I found out from Wolverine that books are something like 2-3 times more expensive to print in the U.S. So, which would you rather have, a book printed here or a book that's $80+? Also, the Boulder Canyon book says it's printed in South Korea, but Fixed Pin's book to Table Mountain is printed in the U.S. I agree, no alphabetical index and no page numbers in the grade index is annoying, but not as annoying as one third of the sport routes having wrong bolt counts, not to mention other errors like where routes go, etc. Kind of reminds me of Bob D'Antonio's Boulder Canyon book in that respect. Yeah, Tod's book is $14 less, but it also has 1,200 less routes in it. I guess it's cool if you only want a select guidebook to the area. Here's a review to the new South Platte book by Matt Samet as well www.climbingterms.com/tagged/South-Platte-guidebook.
I own and enjoy both of them. To be honest with you, I think the overall layout of Devil's Head is complicated enough that being able to use both books is helpful. This weekend we only saw 2 other pairs of climbers - both of whom were trying to get there bearings.
We usually look at both books to get an overall game plan and then carry Tod's book (as it is lighter and I am quite lazy).
Commenting on the China thing - get used to it. America is headed down that road (right or wrong), and there's probably no going back.
Ike Rushmore, it's been well established. You are a troll, or in your words, you're only "five months old". Start posting as your real self. I'm not really friends with Jason or the other two authors, although I did climb with Jason once or twice about 5 years ago - a real standup guy. Regardless, I just think you guys need to get called out on for your childish, disrespectful, and immoral actions. EDIT: many of the posts by the DH crew and trolls like Ike Rushmore have been deleted
Eva, the road is not open yet. The Forest Service is waiting for "the area to dry out to a point where resource damage is minimized". The phone number for the ranger district is 303-275-5610. Call them often and bug them to open the gate.
2013 Road Opening, Update 5/9/13 (source, South Platte Ranger district): Rampart Range Road is scheduled to open today. 2] Devil's Head Campground opens Memorial Weekend (possibly the weekend before, but that is up the concessionaire ph # 720-445-1485)
South Platte Ranger district, 303-275-5610, the PHONE has not been working for a long time. If you get a FAST BUSY SIGNAL, IT IS STILL NOT WORKING, CALL THE PIKE FOREST SERVICE HEADQUATERS, FOR UPDATES, 719-553-1400.
5/8/13 - it is still not working, you will not get a busy signal know, just some guy's private cell phone.
Luis, Yes, the road is open. There are no closures due to the fires; however, there is a fire ban which affects all the free camping sites. It was not smoky last weekend, but I'm not sure about current conditions (will find out tomorrow...). Free camping can be found all along Rampart Range Rd with the site just past Mile Marker 10 being the only one you can walk to the crags (Wypeyur Buttress and the rest of the Lower West Side). Pay camping available at the Fire Tower trailhead.
I just thought that I would post up and encourage everyone to keep their eyes open as you fly down Rampart Range Road lest you are able to mitigate a similar situation that my partners and I had to deal with last Saturday. We were coming home from Radio Head and were about to drive around the prominent hairpin turn before hitting the fire lookout intersection, and we came across a pretty raging but unattended campfire. It appears as though someone left two big (3+ foot) logs over hot coals and the wind whipped the fire up. We poured what water we had left to get the fire out and then spent some time digging and stirring to get it "out-out". Anyway, it may be a good idea to carry a bit of extra water and keep your eyes open for this kind of thing.
Also, to the climbers who threw their cigarette butts all over at the base of Crandall Hammer Arete (in the last week or so), you are douchebags. The rest of us aren't your mother, pick up your own sh*t.
There are several areas that get good sun this time of year, the obvious being the Solarium of course, along with Wipeyur, Jungle, Crimpfest, Arena, and Crag Ranch. Since most of the walls face either east or west, you can flip flop to stay in the sun by switching crags about mid-day. Hope this helps.