For most people visiting the Iron Clads, the area is seen as a way station, a summer camping spot before a trip up to Lumpy or Rocky Mountain National Park. This is a convenient place to get the whole gang together before and after largely isolated climbs. A Front Range Camp 4, if you will, where the anticipation and anxiety for a "big" climb is worked out around a blazing campfire or the sweet joy of victory celebrated with stories and friends. For the most part, the climbing is ancillary. It is a nice addition to the camping but not the reason you drove out to the mountains. The climbing is pedestrian at the Iron Clads, anyway. Short and boring, right?
Well, right, for the most part. Poacher's Rock (Punk Rock), surely. But the Iron Clads experience really doesn't begin until you leave your car and campsite and start hiking.
The Quartz Garden can be described as the "other" Iron Clads experience.
Picture a zen garden, complete with Bonzai trees and rock sculpture, in an alpine forest; a flat, sandy plateau surrounded by bulky, hulking mounds of rock; the Continental Divide up the hill (a ways)and the thin air of altitude carrying the sound of the wind alone; a very peaceful, wild place.
There isn't much climbing right on the Garden, save for a bolted tower, but it seems the nexus of energy for the rest of the Iron Clads. By the time you've bushwacked up to the Quartz Garden along non-existent trails and sampled the hidden goods, you've realized how untrampled and exciting this area remains. It is not the trash pit you left at the fire ring. Thankfully.
And quite possibly a reason to drive up into the mountains. Please respect it and enjoy.
Park at the intersection of Bunce School Road and either one of two trailheads that climb up to Saddle Rocks and the Nose. The first is at the intersection of the Bunce School Road and the turn up to Mt. Boner, and the second a little further down the Bunce at a large pullout.
Hike up the hill to the saddle between the Nose (large rock on left) and Saddle Rocks (large rocks on right). Pass through the gap and continue NW slightly uphill through the forest. When you reach a slabby area, climb uphill past the Cube to another saddle with a magnificant view south to Ironsides. Rock walls stick out of the forest on both sides and ahead through the forest is the Quartz Garden.
Just down the hill from Rusted Razor, a good-sized ledge juts out over the rocky gully with a steep, smooth face rising above. Little Wing starts from this ledge and follows three bolts up the pretty face to the top of the rock island. The setting alone affords two stars, but the (current!) need for Derry-do to set up an anchor at the top and its short stature may detract from its overall quality in some climber's eyes.The first bolt is a high one and is compounded by small holds ...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
Did the first pitch of Subterranean Homesick Blues yesterday in howling winds. Does anyone know what the other routes to the right of this one are? I think someone had fun with a bolting gun, there must have been at least 10 new lines.
Since the descriptions of this area are vague at best I'll add a little beta as I just did some reconnaissance.
Just past The Cube about 50 yds or so, look up and right and you'll see a bolted arete.
Walk past The Cube, but stay left and hug the wall as you circle around to an awesome view. Look right to the short, brown face with 3 bolted climbs all of which look easy and short.
Walk past The Cube staying left in the small valley. Don't turn left as in the previous area, but stay straight. You'll continue downhill a bit. Straight and to the left is a rock facing you with 3 bolted climbs.
Continue left past this rock face and look to see a huge slab wall 200-300 ft tall. There are at least 6 bolted routes on this wall (probably more).