Montezuma's Tower & North Gateway Rock

June 10, 2009

Delightful scrambling and easy climbing in Garden of the Gods

The Thing's East Face

Montezuma's Tower

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.

Placing some protection on The Thing

Starting up the tower

Hoot making the first few moves to gain the north ridge of Montezuma's Tower.

The Thing's East Face crux

Hoot leading the first pitch

Hoot leading the first pitch. The earliest opportunity for protection is a bolt still well out of reach. 

The Thing, second pitch

Finally, the bolt

Hoot prepares to continue on after clipping the first eye bolt.

Third Flatiron

Airy ridge

Kevin scrambling up the airy ridge with a belay from Hoot.

Cloudy morning in the Flatirons

Approaching belay station

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!

Dominic on The Thing

North Gateway Rock's Tourist Gully

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.

Third Flatiron

The garden

Garden of the Gods basks in the evening sunlight after a thunderstorm.

Willy B

Starting up the Tourist Gully

Kevin near the beginning of the Tourst Gully.

Needle's Eye

Hoot in the Tourist 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.

Willy B approach

High in the Tourist Gully

The views of the park from the upper part of the Tourist Gully were fantastic, especially with the dramatic lighting.

Dominic leading the first pitch

Wide ledge

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.

South Face ramp

Hoot on a sub summit

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.

Willy B's Swing Time

View from the true summit

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.

Dominic on Willy B

Happy Hoot

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.

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