Montezuma's Tower and The Three Graces

June 22, 2009

Two short, exciting, airy climbs in Garden of the Gods

Montezuma's Tower & The
Three Graces

Montezuma's Tower & The Three Graces

Montezuma's Tower (left) and The Three Graces (right) as seen from the parking lot. The approach couldn't get any shorter.  The routes we climbed on each went up the narrow ridges on the left.

Starting up Montezuma's Tower

Starting up Montezuma's Tower

Kevin making the first few tricky moves near the base of the North Ridge (5.7) of Montezuma's Tower.

Kevin on the first pitch of Montezuma's Tower

Kevin on the first pitch

Kevin climbing the first pitch of Montezuma's Tower.

Very narrow ridge of Montezuma's Tower

Very narrow ridge

The North Ridge is exttremely narrow and airy. Our second left in the protection for our third to minimize the pendulum potential.

Pigeons on The Three Graces

Pigeons on The Three Graces

The Three Graces is a popular hangout for the pigeons. I was worried they'd try to defend their territory when we climbed it but luckily they left us in peace.

Dominic leading the 2nd pitch on Montezuma's Tower

Dominic leading the 2nd pitch

Dominic leading up the second pitch with a belay from Kevin. The climbing is steep and exposed but there are plenty of holds.

Kevin climbing the 2nd pitch of Montezuma's Tower

Kevin climbing the 2nd pitch

Kevin starting up the second pitch. It felt a little easier than the first one.

South Gateway Rock and Red
& White Twin Spires

South Gateway Rock and Red & White Twin Spires

South Gateway Rock and Red & White Twin Spires from the top of Montezuma's Tower. The obvious weakness up the center of South Gateway Rock is known as the Tourist Gully because many tourists have scrambled up it and then had to be rescued when they couldn't get back down. We used it to access the summit of South Gateway Rock on a previous trip.  The Red and White Twin Spires are neat little formations with several fun climbing routes on them. A climber can be seen near the top of the white one. These were on the agenda for the following morning.

>North & South Gateway
Rocks

North & South Gateway Rocks

The evening sun lights up North & South Gateway Rocks.

The Three Graces

The Three Graces

The Three Graces, our next objective, as seen from the top of Montezuma's Tower.

The Window Route on The Three Graces

The Window Route

Looking up the north ridge of The Three Graces. A route called The Window (5.2) follows this ridge and then requires an airy stepover move to the true summit on the far left.

Kevin on an airy traverse on The Three Marys

Kevin on an airy traverse

Kevin on an especially airy part of the traverse. A narrow ledge must be traversed and a slip here would lead to a long pendulum. Dominic can be seen belaying him from the top.

Dominic on The Three Graces

Dominic on the summit

Dominic sitting on the narrow ridge near the summit while he belays Kevin from the fixed anchor there. Kevin can be seen on the lower right.

Kevin at the stepover point on The Three Graces

Kevin at the stepover point

Kevin pausing at the airy stepover point. The summit is the point on the left. A bird is in flight further left.

Kevin making the stepover move on The Three Graces

Making the stepover move

Kevin committing to the stepover move. The holds are great but the gap is deep!

On The Three Graces Window Route

Perspective partway through the route

Climbers perspective partway along the route. I took this picture while I was climbing.

Dominic and Kevin on The Three Graces

Crowded summit

Dominic and Kevin straddle the narrow summit ridge. There's not enough room for three people but luckily we had two ropes. I waited for Dominic to rappel down the other side before making the final moves to the summit.

Keyhole Rock

Keyhole Rock

Keyhole Rock in the evening light as seen from just below the summit of The Three Graces.

View down The Window Route on The Three Graces

View down the route from the stepover point

View down the narrow north ridge from the stepover point.




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