The South Face of Petit Grepon, the spire just left of center.
Photo by jwclimbs
Petit Grepon is an amazing Eiffel Tower shaped pinnacle and the most spectacular of the Cathedral Spires of Rocky Mountain National Park. Nestled between two other great spires, The Sabre on the east and the Shark's Tooth (12,630') on the west, the 800' spire is a draw for climbers around the world. It is located in the eastern section of the park about 3 miles west of Longs Peak and just northeast of Taylor Peak (13,153') on the continental divide. The pinnicle shape, small 10' x 30' summit, and designation of the moderate South Face (III, 5.8, 7-8 pitches) as one of the "50 Classic Climbs of North America" make this an extremely popular climbing objective. The South Face route (aka East Face route) has been called "perhaps the most popular alpine climb in the country" by Charles Vernon and "one of the most popular, if not the most popular route in RMNP" by Josh. The route makes a grand tour of the South Face and crosses over to the East Face, finishing with great exposure. When the South Face is overrun (on most fair weather weekends), climbers will find the Southwest Corner (III, 5.9) to be a challenging and attractive alternative. A 5.10c (8s) 3-pitch start variation of the Southwest Corner is also available. The Pen Knife (II, 5.6) is on the north side, and while easier, is still vertical and extremely exposed making it a worthy objective.
The first ascent of the South Face occurred in 1961 and was by William Buckingham and Art Davidson. The first ascent of the Southwest Corner was by Bob Culp and B. Beal in 1970.
A less demanding climbing alternative to Petit Grepon is the Shark's Tooth, a nearby spire to the northwest whose summit offers excellent views of Petit Grepon. Sharkstooth includes several climbs such as the South Prow (III 5.7-8), Northeast Ridge (III 5.6) and the East Gully (II 5.4).
On the hike to Petit Grepon and Sharkstooth, you will pass three lakes: The Loch, Glass Lake and Sky Pond . These lakes are often filled with large trout and The Loch provides great views during sunrise.
Getting ThereFROM GLACIER GORGE JUNCTION TRAILHEAD:
FROM ESTES PARK TO GLACIER GORGE JUNCTION:
Red TapeENTRANCE FEE (MANDATORY):
BIVY SITE FEES (OPTIONAL):
When To ClimbPetit can be climbed most years April through the first snow fall of the year. The approach may have lots of snow but most of the routes are south facing and very steep thus allowing them to dry very quickly. The climb should be started early to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms.
DescentThere are new rappel stations on the east side of the peak. When on the summit walk to the northeast end and you'll find two new bolts. Using two 60M ropes you can make a rap straight down to another set of new bolts. From there you make another full rap to some older slings. Now if you look south on the grassy ledge below, you will see more slings. Get to those and follow the sling sets down the south face of the peak to the base of the climb. Remember, this only works with two 60M or longer ropes.
Weather Underground: Niwot Ridge / Corona Pass (Estes Park)
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- 1000 Highway 36
- Estes Park, CO 80517-8397
- Visitor Information: 970-586-1206
- Backcountry: 970-586-1242
- Campground Reservations: 800-365-2267
- Fax: 970-586-1256
- Email: ROMO_Information@nps.gov
- National Park Service, RMNP page
Petit Grepon main page. They have two routes up as of 23 Mar 2002: South Face and SW Corner.
- Meeting new people on the South Face
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