From the town of Moffat in the San Luis Valley...Drive 11.8 miles to the entrance of Baca Grande Chalets Grants. This is Camino Baca Grande Road. (turn right). Follow this road 3.6 miles to the trail head. You will cross Crestone creek at .8 miles and Willow Creek at 2.2 miles. The next creek you get to is Spanish Creek. This is where to begin. Follow the trail just past the Monastery Sign. There is a Buddhist Monastery here so please pass by quietly and respectfully. The trail follows the creek for the most part.
Hike up the beautiful, lush valley along the Spanish Creek. BRING BUG SPRAY! The mosquitoes WILL KILL YOU. We were attacked by hundreds of thousands of them.. this is no joke. With all the scary diseases out there.. don't mess with this one. The trail is dense and relatively easy to follow. If you do get off trail, just keep heading up the valley along the river and you will find the trail again. Things get a little obscure again at a large burn area. There is a large deadfall area here and the trail is marked well with cairns. It can be tricky to stay on route in the dark like we did so just keep your head up when looking for the next cairn. We camped just below tree line. From tree line its a simple line to the base of the Prow. You know what it looks like, just scramble up to the base of it to begin your climb.
Scramlbe 3rd class to the base of the fin. This route is very commiting and there are very little options for retreat. Once you're on, you're on.
Pitch 1 of the route is about a 60 foot 5.6 ridge that can be simul-climbed. It ends at an obvious overhanging headwall. This is where the second pitch, and the crux, starts. Pitch 2 climbs up this head wall, one or two 5.8 moves. Some guide books say to go right once above this headwall to avoid a bulge. As long as you don't go too far right for too long this might be ok. I think it would be best to just stick to the ridge. I went too far right and ended up on some of the scariest 5.11 unprotected face climbing I've ever seen. 60' run-out on sloping holds with 1000 feet of air below you = not too fun. (unless you are sick in the head) The rest of the pitches follow the ridge to the summit. mostly 5.6 to 5.7 moves all the way. The rock is solid and the exposure is real. Towards the top the climbing eases off to a 4th class knife ridge and meets with the trail to Challenger Point. From here, belay from next to the trail and take the headwall directly in front of you to the summit. (easy 5.6) This is a GREAT, fun climb.
BRING BUG SPRAY BRING BUG SPRAY BRING BUG SPRAY!
There are millions of these little demons on the approach and you WILL REGRET not having BUG SPRAY.
ok that's out of the way.
Bring a small rack of cams. You won't need anything over a nubmer 4. mini cams are real useful here. We brought one 200 foot rope, 10 cams, 10 quick draws and a small rack of stoppers. A few slings completed our collection. Light and fast is your best bet on this climb. Get off before the lightning gets you. Also, the lighter you are, the easier the 5.8 overhang crux is.
Be prepared for long runouts. The rock is solid, but there is not an abundance of available placements. With such exposure and long runouts, even though it's a 5.8 it's a serious climb.
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