The Staircase is probably the most popular route in Elevenmile Canyon, and it's one of the few routes you might have a line waiting for. Located on Arch Rock, the Staircase follows an obvious terrain feature above a crack that looks like a staircase
. This route is an excellent "first lead" as the route literally sucks up stoppers and hexes. This route is also very aesthetic - it climbs high above the river below and leads to the top of Arch Rock with a great view of the canyon and the Pikes Peak region.
Arch Rock (see main page) is 4.0 miles from the kiosk at the entrance to the canyon. Parking is scarce. There is a great spot suitable for one or two cars at the base of the crag. When that is full, park 1/4 mile upriver at a campground.
Hike from the road on use trails straight up to the rock wall. This may involve some scrambling and/or bushwhacking. There are a million trails here, so just pick one and keep going. The Staircase is on the left side of the crag - below the obvious "staircase
The Staircase can be done in two or three pitches, depending on the length of your rope and your preference. It may be advisable to do three short pitches because river noise really impedes conversation with your partner. Assuming three pitches:
Scramble up a Class 4 slab until you reach a crack system. Follow this increasingly steep crack system to an obvious ledge appropriate for an anchor.
Continue up the crack system to a belay area in a small notch below the actual "staircase
." Place anchor here.
Pull up through the "staircase" and climb through a notch-like crack big enough for your body. Beyond the crack is easy Class 3 and 4 scrambling to the top. Enjoy the view.
Walk off this one to the right along a very obvious and worn trail. The walk off is probably long enough that one might want to clip their tennis shoes or sandals to their harness to ease the walk down.
Bring mostly medium to large stoppers, cams, and hexes. There is no fixed protection anywhere on this route, so bring enough gear to set two or three trad anchors. A few long slings will help.
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