The Pope's Nose Rock Climbing
BETA PHOTO: Closeup of The Pope's Nose.
Colorado's Largest Granite Dome
The Pope's Nose is 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.
ROUTE SUMMARY IMAGES
Kris French on the first ascent of Arkansas Route by Mountainproject contributor Eggman.
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.
Image by mountainproject.
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.
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.
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 For the Durango area.
Weather station 12.4 miles from here
7 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in The Pope's Nose
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Pope's Nose
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Pope's Nose:
Featured Route For The Pope's Nose
Chalice Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
: ... : The Pope's Nose
In 1968, a group of backpackers traversing the San Juan Mountains hiked under the Popes Nose. Seventeen year old assistant guide Jim Galvin, well trained by his mentor Tap Tapley, was able to recognize the outstanding quality of the smooth dome. Jim Galvin and Michael Burdick had already done a lot of alpine rock climbing and recognized that Colorado's mountains were practically untouched. They also knew that part of mountaineering during the Vietnam Era was making the "Easy Rider" crossing o...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose from Flint Creek Trail. KT Photo, ...
BETA PHOTO: Topo by Dave Kozak from Southwest Rock, 1985. We ...
BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose from the route we climbed on the w...
BETA PHOTO: The Pope Nose from Southwest Rock, 1985 by David K...
BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose and the wall to the right that we ...
BETA PHOTO: Approaching the Pope's Nose, which can be seen in ...
Photo of the route we climbed on the wall to the r...
BETA PHOTO: Approaching The Pope's Nose. We climbed the wall t...
Far away shot of the Pope's Nose and the surroundi...
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.
By Ben Kiessel
Jun 21, 2015
We did the descent yesterday and were pleasantly surprised to find it easier than expected. We did no rappels and didn't downclimb anything harder than 5.0. It took 1 hour to get from the top all the way to Flint Creek.