Added by Ian Glass
Classic Boulder Flatiron scramble (5.2) hidden away in Skunk Canyon.
Angel's Way is an amazing 8 pitch rock climb scramble (5.2) that is tucked away in Skunk Canyon, hidden from the crowds of Chautauqua. The best part of this scramble is you only need your climbing shoes and chalk-bag. It is similar to the 'Free Way' on the Second Flatiron. I would encourage everyone in doing this climb to: A) Be a confident rock-climber. You won't enjoy yourself if you're questioning every move. You don't want to put yourself in that position. You want to have fun, so know your limits and play within them. B) Consider scrambling up the 'Free Way' (5.0) first to see if you enjoy it. The 'Free Way' is a little easier and a shorter climb. If you get a kick out of that, you will love love love the Angel's Way.
From the NCAR parking lot, follow the NCAR Trail until you reach the Mesa Trail. Take a right (heading North) on the Mesa Trail and follow it for less than .5 miles until you reach Skunk Canyon. You will hike up a small series of switch-backs on the north side of the bottom of the canyon. One of the switch-backs will have a large wood fence/barrier. Cross over the barrier and hike along the established trail that runs long the stream. You will have to bushwhack at times and be sure to KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR POISON IVY! As you continue up the canyon, the trail will narrow and become a little harder to find. You will eventually come to a portion of the trail the requires high-step and some stemming over slippery works. Continue past this section until you come to the third ridge up the canyon. The ridges will be on the right side of the canyon. The trail will lead you up a forest slope to the base of Angel's Way (the third ridge). You will know if you are in the correct spot if the second ridge (to your right i.e. north) overshadows you.
At the base of the third ridge, throw your hiking shoes in your backpack, strap your pack on, and put on your rock climbing shoes. The climb follows the crest of the ridge to the top. Half way up the climb you will come to a lay-back crack. It may seem a little intimidating but it is easily managed and one of the highlights of the scramble.
Eventually you will reach a sharp summit with a sheer drop-off at a 100' gap in the ridge. You will have to climb back down to exit down the east slab. You can a) stay low and bypass this summit or b) check out the view, down climb, and move on to the next summit.
You can call it quits here or continue on to the final summit. To reach the final summit, scramble east of it until you find an easy place to get on the east face. Wander up to the final summit. Enjoy the unique view from the summit and be be very mindful on the down-climb. Look for the most manageable route down, and follow it to the base below the summit of Angel's Way. Once off the rock, follow gully on the south-side Angel's Way as you work your way east to the Mesa Trail (again, watch out for poison ivy).
*NOTE: This climb falls within the Falcon closure and is usually closed from Feb 1 to July 31.
- Hiking Shoes
- Climbing Shoes
- Chalk Bag
- Water Bottle
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Hike the Spearhead
Colorado / Glacier Gorge Trailhead
Beginning from the Glacier Gorge trailhead, follow trail signs towards Mills Lake. At Mills, continue onward past Black Lake, and then continue hiking up into the incredible basin above Black Lake.
Hike Mt. Elbert via Black Cloud Trail
Colorado / Black Cloud Trailhead
Directions: Heading south from Leadville from U.S. 24: West on CO 82 for 10.5 miles to a hidden right turn that leads to a trail head. If you make it to the Mt.