The four-star crack climbing at Cathedral Spires summons dreamers with big wall Indian Creek and Yosemite routes in mind. Here, you’ll find Colorado’s finest 5.9 crack climbing, but not without enduring the area’s tricky hike-to approach.
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Getting to Cathedral Spires
The ten rock formations that make up Cathedral Spires lie just outside of Conifer. After parking, be prepared to hike an hour or more over steep scree to reach the best climbs in the area, though some of the 128 routes can be found without such effort. Most climbers hike towards Cynical Pinnacle, Sunshine Wall, The Bishop, or The Dome to begin their day. A select few others head towards Poop Point, because why not?
You may feel out of place here if you show up with sport climbing gear. Though Cathedral Spires does have some sport climbing, its highest rated routes cater largely to trad climbers in the 5.9 – 5.11 range. Cynical Pinnacle’s Center Route features arguably the best multi-pitch 5.9 trad climb in the state and sits high on the list of classic Colorado climbs. Bring a hefty rack of fist-sized cams, tape gloves, stiff shoes, and an adventurous spirit to conquer this four-star route and the 127 others around it.
Cathedral Spires has a fragile ecosystem that houses the historically endangered Peregrine Falcon, one of the world’s fastest birds. DDT and pesticide use threatened the survival of the species in the mid-20th century, but the birds have rebounded strongly since regulations curtailed the use of the toxic chemicals. To protect the Falcons’ habitat, camp in designated areas only, and plan your climbing trips around raptor nesting season. Visit in late summer/fall or sunny days in late winter/early spring. Seasonal closures begin March 1st and run through July 31st.
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