Impressions of Class 4
Overall my first class 4 climb/scramble was a very good experience. I had a very good, experienced partner that helped me through the tough sections very well. We were able to have a safe, exciting and fun trip that allowed me to experience higher class climbing for the first time.
After landing in Denver on Friday and visiting with friends Saturday my buddy Jack and I decided that Sunday would be a great day for a quick climb. After leaving my old home-town of Conifer, we drove about 15 minutes to as far as I know an unnamed trailhead. There were tons of cars in the parking lot, most of which we decided were climbing The Dome and the other various spires in the area. We took off after our late start at around noon and were greeted with this view of our goal from near the parking lot.
View from near the trailhead
After climbing up a loose, but nice trail in perfectly dry conditions for a while, we came to a trail junction. The left trail goes to The Bishop and The Dome, both popular rock climbs in the area. The right goes towards Cathedral Spires, which is where we were headed. After ascending this trail for about five or ten minutes Jack cut off the trail and we began our 1000+ foot bushwhack up a giant scree slope. After reaching the top of this slope, we got to the saddle between a hill and our destination. This is where the climbing begins.
Remaining route seen from the saddle
After hiking up the first little portion of rocky outcroppings, we reached the point where the trekking poles went on the pack and we broke out the good old hands. This was my first class 4+ climb and Jack was very good at helping me with route finding and things of that nature. I say 4+ because most of the route was class 4, but there were three or four crux moves, which Jack said, were low class 5. I felt I handled the rock climbing section of our climb very well, and before we knew it we made it to an awesome little cave.
Myself at top of cave
Once we topped out of the cave, we came to a fairly level area with some pretty awesome vertical relief to the right. Looking up I saw the true summit, looking gnarly about 10-15 feet away. Jack led the way and helped me with hand/foot placement to get up the hardest move of the route and attain the summit.
Myself on the larger summit block
One weird thing about this climb is there are two summit markers. The larger summit block, which I am seen standing on in the picture to the right, has the register, so we hit up this one first. The other summit was a bit smaller, and very airy. The two summit markers looked like they had been there for a really long time. However, the date on the larger summit was dated 1977. The one pictured was the one on the larger summit block, near the register.
Jack on the other summit Summit marker
The views from the summit were amazing for a relatively short peak. The rock formation seen in the next picture is very popular and known as Cynical Pinnacle. There were also some great views of one of the states more famous mountains, Pikes Peak. It seemed to be more snow free than most years for February.
The way down was pretty uneventful, I was however happy being able to down climb class 4 facing outwards, as I was not sure how that was going to play out before we went on the climb. Overall this was an awesome climb, and a great introduction to higher class climbing. The rock was very solid up high, making the technical moves much more secure, and not to mention the awesome views and exposure made it an exciting trip. I would highly recommend this climb!
Jack towards the end of the route