|Old Stage Road
The Old Stage Road, connecting Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek, traverses the canyons, valleys, and ridges formed by the lower southern flanks of Pikes Peak. This seldom climbed area offers great climbing, solitude, and a sense of adventure to those willing to put forth the effort. If you require a two lane paved trail, accurate "beta intensive" topos, stainless every six feet, and a reassuring set of lowering chains then this is probably not the place for you. However, if you don't mind some bushwhacking, vague topos, looking up at a line and saying "yeah, I think we can do it", rapping off of webbing slung around a block, hairy downclimbing/scrambling descents, and other pastimes of that sort this might be your kind of place. The rock quality at St. Peters and in the Mount Big Chief area is very good to superb. The rock in the Cathedral Park/ Ambigously Uncertain Crag area is rumored to be grainy and loose.
The most well known crags on the Old Stage Road are found near the St. Peter's Dome overlook pullout. This area is host two testpieces from the early 1960's. The Martyr (5.9+) and Pearly Gates (5.10-) were put up by Steve Cheyney, Peter Croff, and Bob Stauch, and while moderate by today's standards, were pretty burly back in the day. The Martyr is on the Aiguille de St. Peter and consists of steep finger/thin hands/hands crack climbing on beautiful rock with sweet exposure. Pearly Gates lies on a separate steep slab (formation name is also The Pearly gates) several hundred feet to the west and consists of a thin finger crack running up the left side of the slab. There are also several bolted routes put up by Mark van Horn that range from 5.9 slab to 5.12- arÍte climbing, as well as gorgeous steep cracks with old ring pitons. Directly above and to the south/southeast of these two rocks lies the Sanctum, host to numerous cracks that were climbed in the 1970's by Stewart Green, Billy Westbay, Dan McClure, and Doug Snively.
Further West along the Old Stage Road, lying above Rosemont Reservoir, is a valley which contains a sizable formation of beautiful granite. I believe that this valley lies between Mount Rosa and Mount Big Chief, perhaps somebody might be able to verify/correct this statement. For those who aren't afraid of an approach, there are some spectacular looking lines here. These include a very tall acute dihedral with a great looking hand crack in the back, a lazer cut dual finger crack system up vertical bliss, some crazy looking stuff that tunnels behind an enormous obelisk/chockstone, a thin seam up a flawless slab, and a lot more. I am definitely going back as soon as I can find another partner to dupe.... I think that a lot of people hike up to this thinking it is St. Peter's due to the fact that it is approximately 18 miles from the Broadmoor Hotel (this is the mileage given for St. Peter's in Bob D'Antonio's Classic Rock Volume #4).
Approximately [?] mile further west lies a miniature variation of the third flatiron on the hillside above the north side of the road. This formation has a prominent long offwidth crack up the face just to the right of center. On the upper tier of this formation is an excellent finger crack in a small corner. Once again there are some pitons here that hint of adventures many moons ago.
Several miles to the west of the last formation is Cathedral Park/Ambiguously Uncertain Crags. This is an amazing collection of granite spires and domes, and is home to a modern day scarefest put up by Darin Lang and Kreighton Bieger. I believe the name of this route is "Where's Bob?" and can be found on this website.
These are just a few of many sizable formations on the south side of Pikes Peak. This area holds a vast collection of probable first ascents and possible epics. To those that check it out, have fun and let us know how it treated you. Good apres climb necessities (food and beer) can be found at a number of places in Colorado Springs. These include Phantom Canyon Brewery, Chipotle, La Casita, etc.
To get to the Old Stage Road, drive to the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs via the following:
From Denver, take I25 to Colorado Springs, exit on Tejon and take the obtuse left at the T, straight ahead 2 blocks to Nevada, Right on Nevada for several miles to Cheyenne Road, Right on Cheyenne Road, Left on Cresta, Right on Mesa, follow this around approximately 2 long blocks and it will intersect with the Old Stage Road. Take a right on the Old Stage Road and note your odometer.
From the south, do whatever it takes to get to the intersection of Cheyenne Road and Nevada Avenue/Highway 115. Then follow the remaining instructions given above.
23 Total Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',8],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Old Stage Road
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Old Stage Road:
Featured Route For Old Stage Road
Pearly Gates 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a CO
: Colorado Springs
: ... : Saint Peter's Overlook
Pearly Gates is the namesake route on the Pearly Gates formation. This formation is a very attractive 250' long slab just west of the Aiguille de St. Peter (The Martyr) and is clearly visible from its summit.The (two) climbs on this slab start from a bolted belay on a ledge about 75' off the ground and are best approached by scrambling down the gully just West of the Aiguille de St. Peter. As you're heading down, head left around onto the face as soon as you are able and you'll see this ledge....[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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Beautiful left-facing dihedral on the dome above B...
Photo by Locker.
Photo by Locker.
|Comments on Old Stage Road
|By Darin Lang|
Jun 12, 2002
I don't know if it was a "modern day scarefest", compared to what real climbers are doing these days, but "Where's Bob?" has its share of runout terrain and questionable rock. To give credit where credit is due, Bernard Vachon should be listed ahead of my name above as a FA.
|By Brian Sorden|
Jul 2, 2002
Um, forgive me if I am incorrect, but isn't most of this area still on private land?
|By Dan Russell|
Jul 25, 2002
Most of the climbing I'm aware of isn't on private land, but a little is. The Martyr area isn't, neither is Big Chief. Some of the stuff above that ranch (Bear something...) might be, a sweet looking dihedral and some other stuff, but I haven't tried going up there yet.
|By Adam Hicks`|
May 4, 2003
Bear Trap Ranch. Just above it on the southside is that crumbly pinnacle that I think holds the dihedral you're talking about, Dan. I've known a few families that lived up at Bear Trap, and, as far as I know, as long as you're humble and exceptionally nice and honest they wouldn't have any problems letting you go climbing up there. I can't remember if the crag in question is on their land or not, but one must surely cross their land to access it. I will submit one piece of advice: be aware that Bear Trap Ranch is commonly known as a Christian camp. Good luck! I only know of one person who's climbed up there.
|By Adam Hicks`|
Jul 26, 2003
I wanted to mention something: A few years ago some pals and I made it to that valley above Rosemont and climbed the right hand crack leading up behind the enormous obelisk/chockstone spoken of here. We have done a few variations for finishing it, some better than others. Also, at Cathedral, my pals and I have climbed a few lines. If anyone would like to find out more about these lines, go ahead and e-mail me and if you're not too smug I'd be happy to provide details about our sojourns.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Nov 29, 2005
The area past St. Peter's Dome all the way to Cripple Creek is predominantly in Pike National Forest, so access issues will mainly be relegated to parking and erosion considerations. The real area tradition is to leave the routes unnamed and unrated and mostly shared between friends, although that could change if climbers in the springs ever get over Garden of the Gods and try their hand at the equally scary Pikes Peak granite. The climb Adam Hicks mentioned is above Bear Trap Ranch to the north and can be accessed from GoldCamp road. A very solid handcrack of indeterminate...but very worthwhile difficulty awaits those adventurous enough to explore here. Thanks again Mr. D'A for respecting the traditions here in your guidebook, St. Peters is 18 miles up... tee hee! firstname.lastname@example.org
Mar 5, 2006
Almost all of the climbing is on National Forest, but last time I was up there I was told by the locals that to get onto the National Forest area, you have to cross land owned by a Christian camp, they are nice enough people, and don't mind letting the climbers walk across their land, but if you see them be sure to ask them about it, and thank them for their generosity. The largest mass of rock is in the Cathedral Peaks area, some of which was climbed by Harvey Carter, but most of the rock has not yet seen a climber.
|By Nathan Hoobler|
Sep 25, 2006
The crag behind Bear Trap Ranch (assuming that it's same one everyone's discussing) is called Mt. Vigil. We've climbed there a couple of times. There's a short, easy trad climb up to summit (5.5ish?). It starts from the highest place you can scramble and has a LOT of exposure to east. Once on top, there are several bolts to rap off and top rope from. The toprope climb is probably in the 5.7 range and can be made more interesting with several variations from the bottom. Unfortunately, the climb tends to be quite wet. Our first time up, we rated it a 5.7L (for lichen).