Delightful scrambling and easy climbing in Garden of the Gods
Montezuma's Tower is a dramatic fin in Garden of the Gods. The easiest route up it is its airy North Ridge (5.7), the ridge facing the camera.
Hoot making the first few moves to gain the north ridge of Montezuma's Tower.
Hoot leading the first pitch. The earliest opportunity for protection is a bolt still well out of reach.
Hoot prepares to continue on after clipping the first eye bolt.
Kevin scrambling up the airy ridge with a belay from Hoot.
Kevin approaching the belay station. Unfortunately a scary thunderstorm chased us off and we had to bail from the top of the first pitch. We will return!
The thunderstorm was short lived and the skies cleared quickly. We decided to scarmble up the Tourist Gully to try to reach the summit of North Gateway Rock. The route getd its name from the numerous tourists who scramble up it and need to be rescued when they can't get back down. We found it to be a very worthwhile, fun scramble and it did indeed provide easy access to the top of the rock.
Garden of the Gods basks in the evening sunlight after a thunderstorm.
Kevin near the beginning of the Tourst Gully.
Hoot ascending the Tourist Gully. Given the park's strict regulations against scrambling we were unsure of the proper protocol here. It is illegal to climb more than 10 feet up any rock without a rope and other necessary equipment. We felt roping up would be a bit silly so we just wore our harnesses, helmets, and carried the rope up with us. It was mostly 3rd class with perhaps a few unexposed 5.0 bouldering type moves.
The views of the park from the upper part of the Tourist Gully were fantastic, especially with the dramatic lighting.
At the top of the gully there's a convenient ledge that makes a nice walkway to easier terrain where one can gain the ridge above.
A few low 5th class moves gave us access to this sub summit. Hoot can be seen on the left side of the rock fin. We eventually decided this was not the true summit - it was the one further north.
View south from the summit of North Gateway Rock. The other summit we investigated is the high one behind Hoot. It appears to be the second highest point and looked to be only a few feet lower. I scrambled across the easy but exposed ridge between the two while Hoot and Kevin scrambled back down to the ledge and followed an unexposed ramp up to the true summit.
Hoot on the summit of North Gateway Rock. He's done a fair amount of climbing in the park but had never been up this route.