Niwot Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 40.05400°N / 105.646°W
Additional Information Route Type: scramble
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: class 3
Sign the Climber's Log


From the Long Lake trailhead, take the Jean Lunning trail several hundred meters to the unsigned Niwot Ridge trail. Head south on this trail and ascend through treeline to Niwot ridge. At first this is a broad grassy ridgeline. Be careful to stay on the trail as it passes through an alpine ecology research area containing many sensitive experiments. Continue west several miles along the broad grassy ridgeline until it becomes a narrow, craggy ridgeline. Be sure to stay on the north side of this ridge because 1) the best routes are along the north side and 2) the south side is in the Boulder Watershed and trespassers will be fined $1000.

Route Description

Once along the narrow, craggy ridgeline there will be no trail. To avoid class 4+ climbing one must stay to the north of the ridgeline, except when it seems necessary to attain the ridge. At first the route continues along a series of grassy ledges. Farther on the route crosses several steep, scree-filled gullies as well as steep rock faces. It is important to be careful and patient while finding a route through here. The high point of the ridgeline before Navajo is Niwot Peak. This can be ascended up a small gully and then some large talus, briefly along the south side of the ridge. From Niwot Peak it is easy to descend into the saddle above Airplane gully. Now one must ascend a class 2 talus slope to the summit block. The preferred route to the summit skirts below the summit block to the north and ascends it via a blocky class 3 trail. An altenate and more direct route is to ascend a small class 3 chimney on the south east side of the summit block just above the class 2 slope. The easiest descent can be made through Airplane Gully, a description of which is found on the main Navajo page.

Essential Gear

This is a long route with no water for much of the way. A descent via Airplane Gully may require snow gear through July.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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