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Pygmy Mastodon Boner

5.12b, Sport,  Avg: 1.9 from 33 votes
FA: Eric Candee
Colorado > Rifle > Rifle Mtn Park > Skull Cave

Description

This is the rightmost route in the Skull Cave and one of the single worst pitches in North America. If you think I"m exaggerating then go have a crack at it . . .

Climb past the grey cold-shuts through the hollow, overlapping flake/blocks into a corner below a capping roof. Turn the roof then lower off the last bolt -- or downjump -- or something.

Before climbers re-named it, the Skull Cave used to be named Old Maid's Kitchen, which is what the town locals still call it. Apparently an Old Maid of sorts used it as a kitchen to cook for some menfolk. Not much else is known.

If you think of the cave as Old Maid's Kitchen and choose not to climb here, you'll probably have a blast. If, however, you insist on seeing it as the "Skull Cave," then prepare to lock horns with a seeping, subpar climbing venue replete with sharp, barnacle-lipped pockets, oozing clumps of toxic moss and huecos filled with venomous spiders and various bits of nameless filth.

Just think of the Old Maid soloing this route in her cookin' shoes as you fumble desperately for a dirt-covered sloper at the lip of the cave and success will be yours!

Protection

7-8 quickdraws and a rope.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Bryan Ferris on Pygmy Mastodon Boner. Photo by Michael Levato.
[Hide Photo] Bryan Ferris on Pygmy Mastodon Boner. Photo by Michael Levato.
"Pygmy Mastodon Boner."
[Hide Photo] "Pygmy Mastodon Boner."
Bryan Ferris on Pygmy Mastodon Boner. Photo by Michael Levato.
[Hide Photo] Bryan Ferris on Pygmy Mastodon Boner. Photo by Michael Levato.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
[Hide Comment] The worst route in the country? How about the route right next to it which I am reluctant to admit to having wasted hours of my life falling at the crux. How about the redoubtable Astroglide at the Crystal Cave? Sure it's a pile but let's be reasonable. Nov 15, 2001
[Hide Comment] Yes, this is a sucky line.Dirty with weird clips -usually in-situ, rotten looking quicks.

In spite of its impressive appearance, Skull Cave doesn't offer much for most climbers.The 13's are sick hard, and the 12's are lame and dirty.Pile Driver is just about the only attraction here for me. Aug 19, 2004
[Hide Comment] Good story. Remind me not to move to Rifle! Aug 20, 2004
[Hide Comment] And let's not forget the bolts that are half-correded from multiple seasons of water seepage. Makes every bolt feel like a time-bomb. Aug 20, 2004
[Hide Comment] Yeah, yeah. But the name is wicked cool. Aug 20, 2004
[Hide Comment] This route is really not that bad, It's somewhat large moves on big jugs. It is not worth just blowing off, there are much worse routes in the canyon. People exaggerate way to much on how bad it is. It's really not that unpleasant at all. Jul 27, 2008
Monomaniac
Morrison, CO
 
[Hide Comment] Apparently I'm crazy, but I actually like this route. I thought it had some cool moves and relatively nice rock (for the Skull Cave). My big complaint is that it doesn't have a finish; it just stops arbitrarily with a strenuous clip, and then "Take!" Jul 27, 2009
Peter Beal
Boulder Colorado
[Hide Comment] A lot of routes at Rifle seem to end like that whether you wanted it to work out that way or not. Jul 27, 2009
Amos Patrick
Estes Park
  5.12a/b
[Hide Comment] I am surprised at the trash talk this route gets. I thought is was pretty fun, even with the stupid ending. Aug 23, 2009
Jay Samuelson
Denver CO
  5.12a
[Hide Comment] I thought this line was pretty fun as well. Not much of an ending, but still decent. Plus, there's never a line. Jul 20, 2010
Train4life
Boulder, CO
  5.12b
[Hide Comment] I thought this route was very cool! It has a lot of trickery, but for Rifle, it probably is not that great of a route. As for the ending, there are anchors, and I just get the kneebar at the end off the jug. This makes clipping the anchor casual! Oct 19, 2015
Julius Grisette
Carbondale
[Hide Comment] What's the FA story of this route? Phillip Benningfield is credited in the 2008 book. Jul 16, 2018