The Maiden is classic spire on the southern end of the Flatirons. Locally famous not only because of its stature, it might be best known for its descent which requires a 100 foot free-hanging rappel to a narrow and exposed saddle called the Crow's Nest.
Roughly a dozen routes have been established on the Maiden ranging from 5.6 to difficult 5.11. Most ascend the unusual Standard Route, a 5 pitch 5.6, which seems to involve more traversing and downclimbing than upward movement.
The Maiden is most easily approached from the southern Mesa Trailhead, located just east of Eldorado Springs. To find the trailhead, take CO Highway 93 south out of Boulder for about 2 miles (or north from Golden) to the junction with Eldorado Springs Drive. Turn west and drive for approximately 1.5 miles. The southern Mesa Trailhead is on the north side of the road, opposite of another Boulder Mountain Parks and Open Space trailhead on the south side.
The parking lot is large but will still fill up on warm weekends. The trail system in the Boulder Mountain Parks and Open Space is well marked and maintained. Use maps posted at the trailhead and/or follow the trail signs to the Mesa Trail. Follow the Mesa Trail north for several miles to its northern junction with the Shadow Canyon Tail, also marked by a stone water trough constructed on the east side of the trail. Turn left on the Shadow Canyon Trail and walk a few hundred feet. Veer right off of the maintained trail onto a faint climbers trail that passes through an old quarry and up a steep slope to the eastern ridge of the Maiden. Once past the quarry the trail becomes more obvious.
The Maiden may also be approached from high in Shadow Canyon but this access route is less direct and subject to seasonal raptor closures.
Though most of the surrounding rocks are seasonally closed due to wildlife the Maiden is always open.
A classic 5-pitch route first climbed in the 1940s. Though only 5.6, both the leader and follower should be comfortable at the grade since the climb’s traversing nature will put both at risk of serious falls. People especially nervous about exposed runouts are advised to climb in parties of three so they can be belayed from two sides.
P1) From the far west end of the rock, ascend a beautiful but virtually unprotected 50 ft. face to gain the crest of the Maiden's west ridge. The view from this perch is spectacular. 5.4
P2) Scramble down and east along the exposed ridge to the low point, known as the Crow's Nest. Again, this pitch is difficult to protect and a fall by the leader or follower may send them a long way down the north or south faces. 5.0
P3) From the Crow's Nest follow ledges down and across the shadows of the north face. Climb a short corner (crux) and belay at a tree. Watch for rope drag but leave sufficient protection for your partner(s). 5.6
P4) Continue traversing left and slightly down to a right-facing corner, step around this to the east (climbers' left) and climb up to a belay in an alcove. 5.4, harder variations possible
P5) From the alcove climb up through a slot and gain the low angle east face. Continue up the east face to the summit. 5.4
Descent: From the west side of the summit rappel 120 ft west from bolts/cables to the Crow's Nest. Almost the whole rap is free-hanging and touching down on the Crow's nest can be tricky on windy days. From the Crow's Nest rappel south from bolts another 120 ft to the ground.
Standard to light rock rack, prusik cord for escaping falls from the traversing pitches, two ropes (or one 70 m).
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