RedThe East Ledges Route
Yellow dots The two rap stations for the descent.
photo by Erik Stensland - used on Summit Post with permission.
Getting ThereSee the "Getting There" section of the main page. You will want to access this route from the Continental Divide to Hayden Spires south.
Route DescriptionStart by scrambling along the south ridge (3rd class) until you are just below the large summit block of the spire. You will now be at the base of a ~20 meter headwall that you must climb (4th/low 5th). It seems that some rope up for this wall, and some don't. You be the judge.
Once atop the wall, head to your right (NE) and descend slightly, hugging the wall that will be to you left. There will be a series of thick flakes and ledges that will lead you to the summit (5.3+). Again, this is a severely exposed stretch of climbing where a fall would most certainly be fatal.
Some guide books claim this is a 3rd class route (which is completely untrue), so we downclimbed this route without a rope. This was very scary considering the consequences of a little mistake. Point being: don't fall for the 3rd class route claim.
Essential GearMost of this route would be easy to protect while climbing. I'd just bring a standard RMNP rack. There are some cracks along the way that would take up to #3 camalots (you should also have a full set of nuts/stoppers).
Prepare for a long day...plenty of water and food. You are above treeline for 99% of this hike, so prepare for that as well. There is no quick escape from bad weather either, so be well aware of what the sky is doing.