American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Hayden Spire, East Pinnacle, Dumbest Idea in the Park

United States, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Justin DuBois
  • Climb Year: 2010
  • Publication Year: 2011

Chris Trimble on pitch 8 of Hayden Spire. Justin DuBois

In early July, Chris Trimble and I had the brilliant idea of climbing the prominent north ridge of Hayden Spire’s East Pinnacle, which looks great from high on Trail Ridge Road—except that it’s a long way away. We convinced ourselves it wouldn’t be so far if approached from the Flattop Mountain Trial, and so, bluffing with a pair of twos, we hiked in and then dropped down 1,500' into the spire’s cirque. From the lowest point of the north ridge, staying mostly along the crest, we climbed to the top of the pinnacle in nine roped pitches, plus lots of scrambling (up to easy 5th class), and with a 100' rappel off the first tower. It’s pretty clean, with three excellent pitches and the rest being, well, mountain-y. We scrambled off and slogged back toward the Divide and the Flattop trail, returning to the trailhead after about 22 hours and 25 miles roundtrip. We couldn’t find any history of the route having been climbed before, so we informally named it after a friend’s statement upon our return: “That sounds like the dumbest idea in the Park” (1,400', 9 pitches, 5.9).

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