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  Lion's Den, Button Rock Dam
Lion's Den Overview
MouseOver then click on the map to jump to the rocks

The Lion's Den is located on the southern boundary between
Ralph Price Reservoir (AKA Button Rock Dam) and the Hall Ranch
Open Space. It sits atop a ridge several hundred feet above
the Longmont Reservoir.

Getting There:

Welcome To Button Rocks Sign
Welcome to Button Rock Sign
From the town of Lyons go right at the junction of Highways 36 and 7 heading towards Estes Park. At 3.7 miles, turn left at the Shelly Cottages sign onto the Longmont Dam Road (County Road 80). Follow the dirt road to its gated dead end and park. Pass through the gate and walk up the dirt road, past the River Wall climbs and spillway falls from the Longmont Reservoir, for approximately 1/2 mile (10 minutes from the parking lot). Keep your eyes peeled on the telephone/utility lines. They start out on the road side of the St. Vrain River, cross momentarily to the far side and then cross again to the road side. The telephone pole where the lines cross back to the road side is the marker for the trail starting on the left side of the road.

This is the old original portion of the Sleepy Lion Trail which still sees use from locals who remember when a trailhead sign marked the access. The land managers have moved the official trailhead for the Sleepy Lion Trail up the road about 1/2 mile. Follow the trail steeply up the hill, past 6 switchbacks (the ship's prow is just above the sixth switchback), through the woods, into a clearing, back into the woods and once again into a clearing with a clear view to the river and dirt road below. Look for where the cairn was marking the left turn onto the old ranching roadbed. Follow the ranching road for a couple hundred yards into a large meadow/clearing. You can see the Lion's Den boulders on the uphill side of the clearing.

The Climbing
Linoleum V2, The Corridor
Chip on Linoleum V2, The Corridor

The climbing here takes place on generally good varied-sized granite blocks that sport; flakes, cracks and chickenheads. There's plenty of incipient cracks so incipient crack technique is necessary on many problems at Lion's Den. Highballs are quite common so make sure you bring your pads! The area has seen very little traffic so far and some of the holds are still friable.

  Paulaner Wall
Lager V2
This wall is by the 4th Hairpin on the hike in. Most of the problems are Highballs.
Not much else is known about it.
Paulaner Wall Over View
Lager and Pilsner Hefe to Weizen

  The Egg
Poached V4
This 15 foot tall round rock is just north
of the Big Cat Block and right behind
The Corridor. The problems are short
and powerful. The landings are good!
  1. Poached V4
  2. Scrambled V4
  3. The Egg Roof V7
  4. Over Easy V8

The Egg Roof V7 Over Easy V8

Big Cat Block, west side
Big Cat Block, west side

Big Cat, east side
Big Cat, east side

 Big Cat Block
This high boulder has 10 problems on it
and is centrally located in the main area. The west side has a half dozen Highballs ranging from V5 to V7. The Big Cat V4 and Scaredy Cat V5 are stellar! The east side has 4 high warm-ups. The landings are so-so!

1. Scaredy Cat V5: Up the crack to the
     little tree.
2. The Big Cat V4: Bust up through the
     layaway and up.
3. Le Samet Corner V6: Just another
     Samet Highball!
4. Lion Bitch V7:
5. Knee Bar Pussy V6:
6. Punch the Kitty V6:
7. Alley Cat V0:
8. Tigger V0:
9. Catfish V0:
10. Cat Scratch Fever V2:

Warm Up Block
Warm Up Block

Warm Up Block
Warm Up Block

 The Warm Up Block
Even though it's only 10 feet tall, the Warm Up Block shouldn't be missed. With a flat landing, 4 short vertical problems and a V5 Traverse, this block makes for an excellent warm up.

The Tooth Rock is right behind the left side of the Warm up Block. There you'll find, Canines V0 - V3, an obscure short little inside corner that moves up and left. Rollerball V0 is around here somewhere but we're not sure exactly where.

  1. PW Traverse V5
  2. Moss Boss V1
  3. Choss Boss V0
  4. Crack 'n Up V1
  5. Slab Master V3

  Main Area
Beh's Slab

 7. Hyperion Proboscis V7
 8. Hyperion Lunge (run & jump)
 9. Hyperion Arete V3
The Corridor
  1. Schwank V0
  2. Linoleum V2
  3. Hall Pass V1
  4. Late Bell V2
  5. The Main Line V1
  6. Beh Slab V0
Hyperion Proboscis Hyperion Arete

  1. Project V?
  2. Secret Squirrel V2:
  3. The Boneyard V2: climb the crack.
  4. Bonehead V4: right of the crack.
  5. Happy Meal V3: jump start on the far left side.
  6. Hamburger V6: easier if you exit left.
  7. Tom's Tavern V0 - V2: up flakes.
  8. Extra Cheese V3:
  9. Cheeseburger V4: tough exit - V6 if you low
    traverse from the right.
  10. Super Size It V2: slopers straight up.
  11. Greg's Dada V0 - V2
  12. Mariacher Factor V3
  13. Beh Slab V0: start low then highball finish
    moving left.
  14. Inside Moves V2:

Samet HighBall Wall, right side
Samet Highball Wall, right side
Samet Highball Wall

Although the crag is more than 75 feet tall, Matt Samet actually tried to highball the obvious crack on the right side but gave up when his half gallon of red wine ran out.
There are two obvious lines here. They are probably better suited to roped climbing. And will probably go free at 5.11. Waiting for you!


Solitary Spirit Block and The Prow
Solitary Spirit Block
Solitary Spirit Block

The Prow, above the 6th. hairpin
The Prow

The Solitary Spirit Block is down the hill from Hyperion Proboscis and is directly above The Prow a few hundred feet.
  1. Solitary Confinement V2
  2. Solitary Spirit V3
  3. Seldom Seen V1

The Prow sports a terraced landing and nearly a dozen problems. Although it can be difficult to find, it is well worth the effort.
  1. Shackleton V0
  2. The Caird V0
  3. Lost At Sea V0
  4. The Pressure V0
  5. Poop Deck V0
  6. Barnacle (project) way Highball!
  7. Walk The Gangplank V7 Highball!
  8. Ice Locked V7
  9. Hoosh Pot V1
  10. Blubber V0 (the downclimb)
  11. The Endurance V4 low traverse
    R to L from #7 past #10

Caterwaul Grotto and Cougar Cache Wall
These gems are hidden in trees on the ridgeline behind the Samet Highball Wall. The Caterwaul currently has 4 lines. The top of the Highball, Right Now V4, might still have a loose flake at the top! The Cougar Cache Wall has lots of variations, (i.e..) l to r, r to l, r to l then up, etc. It makes for a good workout wall, and it would be stellar if two blocks were removed from the base. The problems on Cougar Cache Wall were put up by Paul Pomeroy and make for a great warm up.

  1. The Howling V5
  2. Sweetness V2
  3. Right Now V4 Highball!
  4. Ichiban V5
Cougar Cache Wall
Cougar Cache Wall

CaterWaul Grotto Rock
Caterwaul Grotto

  The Catacombs
Lager V2
This collection of boulders are down the
hill below the Samet Highball Wall.
Paulaner Wall Over View
Lager and Pilsner Hefe to Weizen

  More Catacombs
Lager V2
Paulaner Wall Over View
Lager and Pilsner Hefe to Weizen

Like Clear Creek, the area is saturated with rocks, but not all of it is good.
At almost 6000 feet elevation Lion's Den is quiet and remote and makes for a great change of pace. The cool formations have seen very little traffic (so far), and there is possibilities for more rocks to be unearthed. The area is dog-friendly, but it needs to be leashed on the road.
The trails in are faint and it's very easy to get lost or not find the rocks.
It's brutally hot in the summer and the ticks are bad. It can be snowy and windy in winter. Some of the rock is questionable and even good holds break off! Some of the highballs have questionable landings.
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The Cheese Burger Area The Catacombs Caterwaul Grotto and Cougar Cache Wall The Samet HighBall Wall Solitary Spirit and The Prow The Main Area The Warm Up Block The Big Cat Block The Egg