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Horseshead

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Blondie T 
Breeder's Cup T 
Charlie Horse T 
De-Virginizing Stud Pony T 
Eagle's Beak T 
Fall of the Republic T 
Feeling Loopy T 
Funky Gold Patina T,S 
Glue Factory T 
Goverment Mule T 
Kentucky Derby T 
Neighsayer T 
Oh Wilbur T 
Playing Timmy Sticks T 
Pokey's Arete T 
Ponyboy Arete T 
Preakness T 
Sea Biscuit T 
Tijuana Donkey Show T 

Horseshead  


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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: s.kimball on Mar 10, 2010
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Description 

This prominent 250 foot spire on the west flank of the Palisades can be seen for miles from Drake and the eastern plains. It is quite an adventure just to arrive at its base. Best approach is from Cedar Park. Take FR128 past Combat Rock into Cedar Park proper, eventually making 2 rights onto Snowtop Dr. Park at an end pullout across from a Forest Service access with views of Cedar Park Slab to the north and within a few steps to the south, a stunning panorama of both the Front Range and the Big Thomson Canyon below.

Getting There 

Get you bearings, where from the plateau top you can see the pyramidal Horseshead due east. No trail exists and it is very rugged, but one must walk east across the plateau, cross a deep draw (drop down) then negotiate a barrier of rock walls (some 4th class) before thromping up a steep gully that leads to a ramp at the west toe of the Horseshead. Allow 1 hour if the path of least resistance is followed.

Per Lew Strong: Take Storm Mountain past past Combat Rock until the "T". Take a right. Drive about 1/4 mile, passing 2 bear statues on pedestals. Take a right on Snowtop Drive. On my odometer, I went between 1.0 and 1.1 miles to a left turnoff. It is marked by a prominent "No Trespassing" sign (every part of the road, parking, approach, and climb is unequivocally on public land). Drive up about 50 yards to the forest service entrance. Walk straight down the double track for perhaps 1/4 mile. Shortly after passing a 6 foot diameter boulder in the middle of the road, you will note a sapling with a large cairn. Walk straight east on a faint trail. The route finding crux is staying on the contour on slightly rocky ground. At the ridge, trend left on some rocky ground as you drop down the dirty hillside. Watch for cairns, and head somewhat left at the bottom before crossing the talus. Cross the talus, and find more cairns before proceeding across another patch of forest and rock rib. Head up the next gully. It is all marked by cairns. Any deviation from the trail will put you in 4th class hell. The elevation gain and loss is the same coming and going.

With the trail improvements, the approach may take as little as 30 minutes.

Per Nat T.: when you get to the little sapling that has a big cairn in front of it, go right down the hill in between two pine trees. DO NOT continue on the trail up the hill to your left. The trail is faint at times but is pretty well-marked with cairns

Climbing Season



Weather station 6.1 miles from here

19 Total Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',1],['5.7',1],['5.8',4],['5.9',2],['5.10',8],['5.11',3],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Horseshead:
Glue Factory   5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   
Ponyboy Arete   5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
Neighsayer   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 225'   
Kentucky Derby   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Goverment Mule   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   
Eagle's Beak   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 200'   
Breeder's Cup   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   
Tijuana Donkey Show   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   
Browse More Classics in Horseshead

Featured Route For Horseshead
Pokey.

Pokey's Arete 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a  CO : Estes Park Valley : ... : Horseshead
Get ready to channel your inner Gumby and ride ol Pokey! From the bolted belay above the first pitch of Neighsayer/Kentucky Derby/Breeder's Cup step left and approach Pokey's Arete.You can place a finger size cam in a crack to the left before committing to the arete above. Climb up and sling the first pokey for pro, and another slightly less than perfect pokey above.Step up into a stance at the base of a bulge then reach up and clip a bolt. Climb through th...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Comments on Horseshead Add Comment
Show which comments
By highstreet
Apr 4, 2010
That's all private property. Hike in from the road below and allow 2-3 hrs.
By Scott Matz
From: Loveland, CO
Feb 21, 2011
If you stay south and hug the ridgeline, it's national forest. You'll see an old fence that marks the Private P. more towards the north.
By Lew Strong
From: Loveland/Vail, CO
Jan 22, 2012
The approach to Horseshead has been worked out by unknown climbers, to whom I am grateful. It took us 35 minutes at a leisurely pace. No 4th class at all. The effort required is comparable, or easier, than getting to the Monastery.

Take Storm Mountain past past Combat Rock until the "T". Take a right. Drive about 1/4 mile, passing 2 bear statues on pedestals. Take a right on Snowtop Drive. On my odometer, I went between 1.0 and 1.1 miles to a left turnoff. It is marked by a prominent "No Trespassing" sign (every part of the road, parking, approach, and climb is unequivocally on public land). Drive up about 50 yards to the forest service entrance. Walk straight east down the double track for perhaps 1/4 mile. Shortly after passing a 6 foot diameter boulder in the middle of the road, you will note a sapling with a large cairn. Walk straight east on a faint trail. The route finding crux is staying on the contour on slightly rocky ground. At the ridge, trend left on some rocky ground as you drop down the dirty hillside. Watch for cairns, and head somewhat left at the bottom before crossing the talus. Cross the talus, and find more cairns before proceeding across another patch of forest and rock rib. Head up the next gully. It is all marked by cairns. Any deviation from the trail will put you in 4th class hell. The elevation gain and loss is the same coming and going.
By 1rsties4life
From: CO
Jan 27, 2012
We did all of the trail work, and I am glad to see it is getting used. It took a lot of man hours to make that happen combined with a lot of sweat and beers. The first time I went to Horsehead it took a little over 2 hrs. to find. About 35 minutes seems correct these days with the trail work.
By Guy H.
From: Fort Collins CO
May 4, 2012
Thanks for the trail work. It is now a casual 30min hike, with some uphill both ways.
By Nat T.
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 24, 2013
Climbed here yesterday, super fun!, and thought the approach could use a little updating. When you get to the little sapling that has a big cairn in front of it, go right down the hill in between two pine trees. DO NOT continue on the trail up the hill to your left. The trail is faint at times but is pretty well-marked with cairns, please add more where you see fit like we did. This path doesn't see much traffic :), so it gets overgrown in places.

Thanks to those who established this trail, it would be a real bear trying to bushwhack your own way there. If you stay on the trail, it's a pretty straightforward approach, 30-40 min.

Follow the trail to the right of the sapling into ...
Follow the trail to the right of the sapling into the tall grass where you will find a hidden cairn.