The urban climbing crowd shows up (dogs and boom boxes in tow) year in and year out to repeat climbs in a select section of the City of Rocks National Reserve. In reality, the better trad climbs are spread out all over the place and some of my favorites are located in the far reaches of Castle Rocks State Park. Kingpin and the Foil represented another one of those spectacular days where my partners and I not only had multiple walls with some classic routes to ourselves, but never saw another person on the approach. The Foil and Kingpin (which share the same destination) offer up a beautiful aspen and wild flower lined hike up Johnson Creek. Johnson and Stines Creek fork off of each other as they form the natural western border to Castle Rocks. There are few rock features west of the creek. Johnson Creek is fed from snow melt from the summit ridge-line above. A significant rock (perhaps 2nd in size only to Castle itself) is the Chessman and to reach the Foil and Kingpin you have accomplished most of the hike necessary to reach the Chessman which is the highest (elevation wise) climbing objective in the park. However, most of the routes on the Chessman are south facing. The Foil and Kingpin are shrouded in the trees and offer a variety of sun and shade options.
Both of these objectives offer exceptional moderates. The Foil’s highlight is a slot through its south end that is named the "Gateway". There are five routes in this section, one on each side of the stem chimney as well as a good 5.10c bolted route on one of the arêtes. A worthy route on the east face (the guide calls it a north face but it faces more east than north) route is a mixed line called “It’s Always Saturday”. This is a challenging lead for the grade (5.9).
Expect approximately a 45 minute hike. Park at the main trail head for the Castle Rock massif itself. From the parking area, head northwest on any number of trails skirting Castle Rock to the east. There is quite a bit of signage not to mention trails going ever which direction. You are looking to follow Stines and Johnson Creek northwest on an established trail. Stay on the east side of the creeks. Make sure to follow Johnson Creek versus Stines Creek when they fork (Johnson is the most east). You cross it a time or two but most of the time stay on the east side. You pass through a human sized gate (2015). The entire trail was in good shape in 2015. On your right is a needle feature located on the Kingdom. Continue on the trail northwest of the Kingdom. Hike northwest until you come to a fork or T in the trail that was signed for the Foil in 2015. Turn left at the fork which heads SW. Fairly immediate you pass Kingpin’s west face on your left (these two features are just meters apart). For “It’s Always Saturday”, go off trail between Kingpin and the Foil and the route will be on your right. For the 5.11 sport routes and/or the Gateway routes, stay on the right side of the Foil. The Gateway is at the far end (south). It is a true slot that goes through to either side, a cool feature.
Route Description(s)Gateway Section, South End
East Face (called North Face in the guide), Left to Right
West Face, Left to Right