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Monument Lake

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About Monument Lake:

Situated on scenic Hiway 12, west of Trinidad, Colorado, Monument Lake is a small, man-augmented lake carved by seasonal runoff into the heart of the ridges above Stonewall.

At its south end is a small resort, with cabins and hotel rooms, as well as tent sites and RV connections. The Coyote Den, a small bar above the amin office, is hosted by Mississippi, Cynthia, and one or two other maniacs of my aquaintance. Tell 'em Mike Gray sent ya.... hell, if they don't throw ya out or charge ya double, they might just buy you a beer.

Above the lake's eastern shore rises a steep ridge several hundred feet high. At its summit, the core of Dakota sandstone is exposed in a series of rain and wind-sculpted boulders and small faces.

WARNING #1!!!: In summer, this entire ridge houses a population of bears and mountain lions, bobcats and assorted reptiles, as well as hornets and ground wasps. Be smart with your food, your pets, and your self.

WARNING #2: DO NOT CROSS THE FENCE!!! The land beyond the park's boundary is private ranch land. Ranchers have a history of discharging large-bore firearms in the direction of trespassers before asking for identification... or in lieu of. Incidentally, you could cost the next generation of climbers the opportunity to climb on that land, as well.

WARNING #3: yes, I said DAKOTA SANDSTONE. As in soft. As in fragile. As in check your holds and bouder with a partner or pad or both. Multiple spotters are really nice on some of these things... don't be a hero. This is a good scene.. don't frod it up. Keep your dogs on a leash (park rule), keep your impact to a minimum (NO CUTTING ANY TREES, OF ANY KIND, PERIOD), and, of course, pack it in, pack it out.

A small but dedicated cadre of locals has been scouring this place for lines since the late 90's, so don't get your hopes up for an FA. But who cares? There's enough stuff to keep you cranking and fallin and guessing until you're waaaaay too smoked to care about doing anything new... until the next visit.

Nearest town or city: Trinidad
Directions: From Trinidad, wind out scenic Highway 12 towards Monument Lake (follow the signs from the I-25 exit), passing through the impressive but sadly private rampart of Stonewall. Climb the last mile or two or steep highway and turn sharply right, into Monument Lake Park.

Stop at the office to pick up your day use pass... it's only $5.00, and it keeps the Park (which is privately concessioned) in business. Otherwise, the help will just track you down and ask you for the money, likely right in the middle of your send....

Drive to the far (north) end of the lake and park in the first primitive campsite on the right as you enter the woods. Please be considerate of other traffic and Lake users. The trail winds up the hill from the first campsite and disappears into the woods after a short, steep hike. The rock is uphill from the trail, which traverses the entire ridgetop to come down behind the old caretakers' house and zoo. A mile hike along the lakeshore road brings you back to your car.

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Quantity of Climbs: Week