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The Pope's Nose

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Arkansas Route  T 
Brain Damage T 
Central Buttress T 
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The Pope's Nose 


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Location: 37.5579, -107.3989 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 12,035
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Ken Trout on Jan 16, 2011
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BETA PHOTO: Closeup of The Pope's Nose.

Introduction, Approach, Description, Descent, & Animal Alerts 

INTRODUCTION
The Pope's Nose is the largest granite dome in Colorado, a bit bigger than either Sundance Buttress on Lumpy Ridge or Big Rock Candy Mountain in the South Platte. Unlike most of the San Juan Mountains, the rock is good.

Convincing anyone that the Pope's Nose is worth thirteen miles of hiking may be cruxy. My aim is to help convince your skeptical friends.

The Yosemite-like smoothness and difficulty of the Pope's Nose tends to surprise the few climbers who visit. It is still a place to bring aiders and maybe even a ledge with a rain-fly.

Kris French on the first ascent of Arkansas Route by Mountainproject contributor Eggman. <br />
Kris French on the first ascent of Arkansas Route by Mountainproject contributor Eggman.


ROUTE SUMMARY IMAGES
Updated image from <em>Southwest Rock</em> by David Kozak, 1985. <br /> <br />Insectophobia should be renamed Moldy Hobos and will be once I have time to redraw the routes.
Updated image from Southwest Rock by David Kozak, 1985.

Insectophobia should be renamed Moldy Hobos and will be once I have time to redraw the routes.

Best estimates.
Best estimates.


APPROACH
Flint Creek. <br />Image by mountainproject. <br />Contributor SamP.
Flint Creek.
Image by mountainproject.
Contributor SamP.

From the Los Pinos River Trailhead, hike twelve miles up one of the longest, flattest, mountain-wilderness valleys in Colorado. A mile before Flint Creek the trail starts climbing. Soon after the left turn up Flint Creek the Pope's Nose can finally be seen (photo above). Less than two miles up the Flint Creek trail there is a nice campsite below the Pope's Nose. Finally, a steep aspen forest must be climbed and slippery slabs dodged on the way up to the base of the wall.
APPROACH MAP
Pope's Nose approach map.
Pope's Nose approach map.


DESCENT
First scramble off the summit. Then descend Fern Gully to the slippery aspen forest (climber's right of summit). One party reported finding a rappel anchor that they could not safely get too (near the bottom). There is some consensus that this descent is awful!
Photo by mountainproject contributor Gary N.
Photo by mountainproject contributor Gary N.

It might be longer, but descending the west side, climber's left, seems worth a try.

ANIMAL ALERTS
Moose and bears inhabit this wilderness. One textbook notes that the Wemminuche Wilderness is the southernmost pocket of grizzly bear habitat.


Climbing Season


6 Total Routes


['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',3],['5.10',2],['5.11',0],['5.12',1],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Pope's Nose:
Central Buttress   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A0+     Trad, Aid, 10 pitches, 1200'   
Browse More Classics in The Pope's Nose

Featured Route For The Pope's Nose
Central Buttress.

Central Buttress 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A0+  CO : Durango : ... : The Pope's Nose
INTRODUCTIONFor climbers who like long routes, wild places, good granite, and for whom a little A0+ is acceptable, this could be the best 5.9+/5.10- trad route in the San Juan Mountains. On the other hand, none of the pitches are as beautiful as Honey Pot on Ophir Wall (or as hard). Even worse, the short stretch of A0+ on funky bolts is in serious need of re-drilling. Morning shade can make for a chilly start too.ROUTE DESCRIPTIONThe route climbs the left side of a Yosemite style ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of The Pope's Nose Slideshow Add Photo
The Pope's Nose from Flint Creek Trail. <br />KT Photo, 1980. <br /> <br />Red - Contraceptive Cracks. <br />Yellow - Chalice Wall approx. <br />Green - Central Buttress. <br /> <br />
BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose from Flint Creek Trail.
KT Photo, ...
Topo by Dave Kozak <br />from Southwest Rock, 1985. <br /> <br />We used to work together @ Forrest Mountaineering.
BETA PHOTO: Topo by Dave Kozak
from Southwest Rock, 1985.

We ...
The Pope's Nose from the route we climbed on the wall to the right.
BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose from the route we climbed on the w...
The Pope Nose <br />from Southwest Rock, 1985 <br />by David Kozak. <br />The first guidebook for Durango. <br /> <br />From the left: <br />Thunder Road IV, 5.9, A3. <br />Central Buttress, IV, 5.10, A0. <br />Chalice Wall, V, 5.9, A2. <br />Contraceptive Cracks V, 5.9, A3. <br />Brain Damage, II, 5.9+. <br />Brain Damage. <br /> <br />The descent arrow makes me think: "Go down the other side?"
BETA PHOTO: The Pope Nose
from Southwest Rock, 1985
by David K...
The Pope's Nose and the wall to the right that we climbed.
BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose and the wall to the right that we ...
Approaching the Pope's Nose, which can be seen in the very background of the picture.
BETA PHOTO: Approaching the Pope's Nose, which can be seen in ...
Photo of the route we climbed on the wall to the right of The Pope's Nose.
Photo of the route we climbed on the wall to the r...
Approaching The Pope's Nose. We climbed the wall to the right.
BETA PHOTO: Approaching The Pope's Nose. We climbed the wall t...
Far away shot of the Pope's Nose and the surrounding formations.
Far away shot of the Pope's Nose and the surroundi...
Comments on The Pope's Nose Add Comment
Show which comments
By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Feb 10, 2011

Thanks, Ken, for offering info on this mythical formation. I have hiked by it several times, and every time I swear to come back and climb it. Thanks especially for sharing the photos. It is always great to see a glimpse of climbing history.