Climbing the Cathedral Spires – Cynical Pinnacle

Cynical Pinnacle, The Center Route

For the guides at CMS, the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. Our “office” has been out of commission due to the flooding and we’ve been forced to relocate. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, short-term accessibility of climbing areas is a very minor issue. However, it remains our livelihood, so we’ve been forced into contingency mode. To be quite honest, many of us thrive in these situations and enjoy a break from the routine. Guiding rock climbing in the Cathedral Spires has been such a break for me.

Cynical Pinnacle

The Center Route is a 3-4 pitch 5.9+ or 5.10- directissima up the South Face of Cynical Pinnacle; a striking pillar of granite in the Cathedral Spires area of the South Platte River valley. It’s been praised as the finest crack climb of the grade in Colorado. I see it as a little slice of old-school Yosemite right here on the Front Range. The complete, 5.9+ version of the climb tackles steep cracks from perfect hands to chimney; ending on the eastern shoulder of the spire. For those maxing out at the grade, this is usually enough jamming to justify forgoing the summit.

Center Route on Cynical Pinnacle

Fortunately, topping out is possible, via an airy 5.10- variation to the last chimney pitch. Yard on quickdraws up the short bolt ladder (or climb a glassy 5.12 slab) and you’re at the top of the Cathedral Spires. Three rappels take you back down to the ground, where you wonder how the heck 300’ of 5.9 worked you over so much.

I’d recommend the Center Route (and many other five star crack climbs in the Cathedral Spires) to folks who are psyched for a new experience in a less-visited zone of Front Range climbing. It’s also great prep for fall trips to the Utah desert or Yosemite!

Bring stiff shoes, long pants, tape gloves, a hefty rack of hand-sized cams, and your big guns!

If you’re still interested, contact us, we’d be glad to set up a guided climb or just get you the beta that you need. Here’s to this fall’s climbing, and discovering more hidden classics in our backyard!

Mike Soucy
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Mountain Guide
CMS Senior Guide

Mike Soucy, IFMGA Certified Mountain Guide