The Front Porch is a large flatiron on the northeast slopes of Dinosaur Mountain.
It belongs to the Front Stratum, the easternmost, rather discontinuous sandstone stratum of the five that make up the Flatirons.
There are three established routes on the east face of the Front Porch: From left to right, East Face South Side, East Face Center, and Tiptoe Slab. The northeast ridge is mostly used as a descent route.
From the NCAR parking lot, follow the Walter Orr Roberts trail to the intersection with the Mesa Trail, continue past the intersection on the popular Mallory Cave Trail. Once the trail crosses a gully, proceed for about 100 feet. A faint trail departs from the main path angling right: This is the Porch Alley Trail, which rises steeply to the base of the Front Porch.
The trail contours the Front Porch on the left (south), goes around the Lost Porch and the Back Porch--also on the left--and finally rejoins the main trail west of the Box. It provides a less crowded, but equally beautiful alternative to the Mallory Cave Trail for those who want to reach the top of Dinosaur Mountain. For the climbs on the east face of the Front Porch, however, one leaves the Porch Alley Trail as soon as it reaches the base of the rock. It takes about half an hour to reach the Front Porch from the NCAR parking lot.
The Porch Alley Trail reaches the southeast corner of the Front Porch. Walk north along the base of the east face for less than 100 feet to a conspicuous rib to the right of a wide gully that splits the face. Climb this rib to the summit.
The start of the rib is quite easy, but higher up you have to pick your line carefully to keep the difficulties at Class 4. (Given the angle of the face, blank slabs and bulges can be rather unnerving.) The climb is about 500 foot long.
From the summit the easiest descent is along the northeast ridge (Class 3). Stay close to the ridge until you can spot an easy descent to the base of the east face. Other descent options exist, but I have not tried them. Refer to Roach's Flatiron Classics
or Rossiter's Rock Climbing the Flatirons
for those descent options.
Experienced climbers often solo this route. A rope is recommended for the less experienced and is mandatory if you want to rappel to the west. A light rack suffices, but keep in mind that the rock does not afford many opportunities for protection.
External LinksMountain Project's Front Porch page