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The Pope's Nose

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The Pope's Nose Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 37.57016, -107.40019 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 7,314
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Monty, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ken Trout on Jan 16, 2011
Forecast:
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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.

Rock Climbing Photo: Kris French on the first ascent of Arkansas Route ...
Kris French on the first ascent of Arkansas Route by Mountainproject contributor Eggman.


ROUTE SUMMARY IMAGES

Rock Climbing Photo: Updated image from Southwest Rock by David Kozak, ...
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.


Rock Climbing Photo: Best estimates.
Best estimates.


APPROACH
Rock Climbing Photo: Flint Creek. Image by mountainproject. Contributor...
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

Rock Climbing Photo: 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!

Rock Climbing Photo: 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

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]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',3],['5.10',3],['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]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Pope's Nose

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

Featured Route For The Pope's Nose
Rock Climbing Photo: Arkansas Route.

Arkansas Route 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b C2  CO : Durango : ... : The Pope's Nose
This is a great wilderness rock climb on clean granite. It doesn't get much better in the Weminuche! (or anywhere in the San Juans for that matter). It has a free climbing crux down low, some tricky aid up high, and lots of memorable moments in between. It should go free.Start in "fern gully" just uphill of Contraceptive Cracks....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of The Pope's Nose Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The Pope's Nose from Flint Creek Trail. KT Photo, ...
BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose from Flint Creek Trail. KT Photo, ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo by Dave Kozak from Southwest Rock, 1985.  We ...
BETA PHOTO: Topo by Dave Kozak from Southwest Rock, 1985. We ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Pope's Nose from the route we climbed on the w...
BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose from the route we climbed on the w...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Pope Nose from Southwest Rock, 1985 by David K...
BETA PHOTO: The Pope Nose from Southwest Rock, 1985 by David K...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Pope's Nose and the wall to the right that we ...
BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose and the wall to the right that we ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the Pope's Nose, which can be seen in ...
BETA PHOTO: Approaching the Pope's Nose, which can be seen in ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo of the route we climbed on the wall to the r...
Photo of the route we climbed on the wall to the r...
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching The Pope's Nose. We climbed the wall t...
BETA PHOTO: Approaching The Pope's Nose. We climbed the wall t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Far away shot of the Pope's Nose and the surroundi...
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.
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.

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