Peak(s):  Chimney Rock - 11,781 feet
Post Date:  08/22/2012
Date Climbed:   08/18/2012
Posted By:  SarahT

 Chimney Rock  

CHIMNEY ROCK - 11,781 ft
West Fork Cimarron

If you've ever had the privilege of visiting the peculiar West Fork Cimarron Valley in the Northern San Juan Mountains, Chimney Rock has likely caught your eye. If you haven't – do it. This is one of my favorite places in the state. There is no other place quite like it.

I've admired this oddity in the past on several other trips to the area. Last weekend the time came to check it out. Full report HERE.


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions
Dave B

08/22/2012 17:44
I'm glad there are others willing to climb rock of that quality. Nice report.

Kevin Baker

08/22/2012 17:46
Nice to see you posting more TR's, Mrs. Meiser! Thanks for sharing this unique climb. It must have taken a lot of nerve for Dominic to lead that! The Cimarrons rock for sure, and I think Chimney Rock is the coolest summit to look at.


08/22/2012 17:54
I read fairly recently that Chimney Rock is going to get National Monument status. I wonder if that will effect climbing.


Dominic lower me off a pair of nuts.
08/22/2012 18:04
That's an understatement... Eesh.

Brian C

08/22/2012 18:06
Just the motivation I needed! I was planning on heading down there for this and Lizard Head soon. Thanks for the report and nice work!


08/22/2012 18:45
Joining the next person who wants to lead this. Interesting area and description, Sarah.

Steve Knapp

Nice one
08/22/2012 18:50
Hi Sarah, good to see what you've been up to this summer after the 13er list was completed. Looks like some adventure climbing for sure. Thanks for posting it. Pretty unique looking summit area.


Cimarrons kick ass!
08/22/2012 18:53
You are right Sarah and the car camping in the West Fork is some of the best in the state. So much variety in the San Juans and this is an iconic peak and a fine climb. That rock sounds god awful.


Thanks for the report!
08/22/2012 21:21
Thanks for posting this, Sarah. It's the best CR report I've read and the photos were very useful. I chuckled when you said you wrote that it's a good place to work on ”soft climbing” skills, I know exactly what you mean. This peak has been on my short list for some time, I'm still hoping to get down there this Fall. Congrats!


That's how it's done!
08/23/2012 01:23
I took it easy Sunday and hiked up Courthouse Mountain, getting its choice views of Chimney Rock and wondering just how it goes.
Thanks for the lesson.


08/23/2012 02:25
Very nicely done, Sarah! Beautiful layout and professional appearance! The photo from Courthouse almost makes the rock look like the bell tower of a cathedral. Very unique rock formation. But the rock looks awfully crumbly to climb on. Great job in getting it done!


Other Route on Chimney Rock
08/23/2012 19:14
Good job Sarah and Dominic on Chimney Rock. Classic Colorado grovelfest! I did it 5 times back in the 1970s and 1980s (the first time in 1972 with Dave Schultz was the 19th ascent, according to the register then, which was signed by Bob Ormes and other early bad-ass climbers), including a new route that went directly up the east wall above the big chockstone in the lower chimney. No bolts, just a few piton placements and tied off boulders protruding from the wall for pro. Exciting, scary, and 5.8. I'd like to go back and slam a few bolts into it as well as a belay anchor...

Terry, you're thinking of the wrong Chimney Rock. The one under consideration for National Monument status is west of Pagosa Springs. It's a unique archeological area with many ruins below imposing Chimney Rock, which is visible from US 160.


over my head
08/23/2012 18:56
” a man has got to know his limitations...” Harry Callahan.
A little trivia: this rock formation was the backdrop in the final shootout in TRUE GRIT (1969)
my palms are sweating from your astonishing photos, great report.


Trad route?
08/27/2012 20:52
Great TR! I noticed in image #11 the bolted anchor. Are there other bolted points along the route or is this strictly a trad climb and someone was just kind enough to bolt a belay/rappel?


08/29/2012 14:47
Thanks for the kind words everyone.

Brian & Tom - How did I know you'd be interested in this

Matt - Courthouse in an awesome peak too!

14erOHOLIC & Stewart - Thanks for the history lessons!

FOLLOWtheHEIGHT - Yes, this is a trad route. That bolt serving as part of the anchor atop the first pitch is the only one I saw on the route.

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