North ridge boulders
Departing from the Bear Trap Ranch southwest of Colorado Springs, this route begins as a pleasant hike through the woods, steadily gaining elevation to a saddle between a rock outcrop and the summit block of Mount Vigil. Initially, the scrambling is low-key, not exceeding 3rd Class. Soon, however, the hiker/scrambler is faced with a 5th Class face. While the climbing is not particularly challenging (low 5th Class), the exposure is intense. One more pitch of exposed climbing brings the climber to the crest of the north ridge, where the climbing again eases to 3rd Class over big granite boulders.
Planning Map:Pikes Peak Atlas
or Trails Illustrated #137 Pikes Peak | Cañon City
Importante Note: On 1 December 2011, I was graciously granted ownership of this page by SP member shanrickv. I have made dramatic updates to several sections. SP member astroclimber is next on-deck to update the route description and essential gear!
Getting There: Driving Directions
Stream near the trailhead
The trailhead for this route is located on National Forest Service land leased for what is know as the Bear Trap Ranch. Presently, after 60 years of stewardship, InterVarsity is unable to continue caring for the ranch. Updates on the status of the assets within the lease can be found here. Access by the general public to this trailhead could be in jeopardy, pending decisions made by the new asset owners. InterVarsity historically was very cordial in allowing public access to the trails within their lease. For more information on how to be involved as a member of the climbing/hiking community, click here. It is STRONGLY recommended that you contact the ranch prior to visiting the leased property.
Bear Trap Ranch
8655 Old Stage Rd
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
• From Penrose Blvd. behind the Broadmoor, turn west on Old Stage Road. Follow the paved road for roughly 1 mile through a residential area.
• At the end of the residential area, the pavement ends and the road makes a sharp hairpin turn to the right.
• From here, continue roughly 6 - 6.5 miles on the graded Old Stage Road.
• Turn left to enter Bear Trap Ranch (presently, the sign indicating the turn for the ranch has been removed with only the wooden posts remaining).
• Drive under the large over-the-road "ranch-style" sign. Turn a sharp left at a Y to reach the headquarters. The headquarters building is a 2-story log structure on your left.
Getting There: Hiking Approach
Trail Sign |Trailhead: The unsigned trailhead for Vigil Peak can be found behind the Worden Wrangler’s Lodge in Bear Trap Ranch. If facing the two-story registration headquarters, the trailhead will be well-hidden immediately behind you.|Ranch Registration Building
Credit to previous page owner shanrickv
for many of the details in the approach description:
• Overall, the trail leading to Mount Vigil is very well maintained and difficult to lose until the final 200 vertical feet.
• After a short time of foot travel, you will encounter a large rock formation to your left and the trail will continue to the right.
• Go .16 miles to a fork in the trail at 9500 ft. An extremely nice hand carved wood sign marks the junction with the Vigil Peak trail going to the left and the San Luis Peak trail to the right.
• Follow the Vigil Peak trail until it fades out at the first of two rock outcroppings that are to the west of the summit. Stick to and sometimes bushwhack along the northeast face of the first outcropping to the left (east) until the sharp summit spur of Vigil comes into view to your left.
• Make your way to the base of the west side of this spur by doing some light scrambling over large boulders. Shortly, you will encounter a Class 3 chimney that provides an obvious passage through the rocks and nice warm-up for what lies ahead.
Route Description: Climbing
At the top of the chimney you will find the class 5.3 crux. A large ledge with exposure angles off to the climbers left.
Step out onto the ledges and find the first bolt on the lip slightly above eye level (indicated by the blue circle in the photo). Continue left along the ledges and up over the lip. From here continue up the class 3 / class 4 ledges to the first repel anchor. The route contains one bolt and two sets of anchors. A few medium stoppers or cams are between the first bolt and first anchor and the first anchor and the second anchor.
The first anchor sits nestled in among several boulders providing a good belay stance. From the anchor move out onto a ledge at climbers right then up an easy low class 5 scramble to the top anchor.
From the second anchor the summit is an easy class two walk up between boulders. The summit will be up to the left.
The top of this route involves some low class 5 moves and class 4 scrambling. Although it can be free climbed that is not recommended by the authors. The route has one bolt and two bolted anchors. The remainder of the route is easily protected with cams or stoppers.
You will need a dynamic rope at least 8 mm minimum in thickness, and at least 30 meters in length, cams or stoppers.
Appendix: Route Description for Scramblers
This scrambler's route description was contributed by fellow SPer shknbke
. This route description was part of the original route page as managed by shanrickv
and I'm including this a beneficial additional information.
• From the base of the spur, consider your route carefully.
• Climb a 10-15' stretch of solid, low class 5 rock. This can be done without rope as long as you are comfortable with some exposure. The ranch has slings setup near the summit for the steeper west face. The drop to climber's right is 50' or more, while there is a lot of air to the left. A spot here is recommended.
• At the top of this pitch, traverse to the right of a protruding wall on a narrow ledge.
• From here, the climbing eases to class 3 scrambling. Pay attention to your ascent route so you go down the same way. Climb through a narrow keyhole and you will soon be on the summit ridge. Stand on the tallest boulder to claim your prize.
• Return the same way, utilizing a spot on the class 5 section if necessary.