Type: Trad, 1000 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Joe Bernfield, Dave Hansen, 1970
Page Views: 5,893 total · 46/month
Shared By: James DeRoussel on Jun 30, 2008
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

22 Opinions

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Access Issue: Access is via PRIVATE land and may be CLOSED! Details
Access Issue: There is no public access road provided by the BLM to the Coyote Mountains Wilderness Area. Details


The Elephant's Trunk is a long, fun adventure route in a backcountry setting that is hard to beat. The most moderate established route in the area, it is mostly 5.5 or less, but varying rock quality and tricky pro will keep you on your toes.

The route follows the striking left profile of Elephant Dome.

Start at the foot of the buttress below the left end of Elephant Dome.

P1) Climb easy fifth class buttress on okay rock for a pitch (5.6), until the terrain flattens out and you can walk over to the bottom of Elephant Dome proper. This should put you in a large saddle/notch at the left end of Elephant Dome.

P2) Climb moderate face, generally following the vague arete, for a rope's length to belay ledge.

P3)From belay, step left to a few steep moves (5.7) past a bolt then back right over crappier rock and up to another good ledge.

P4-6) Follow easier climbing two to three more pitches to summit.


While there are other options, the commonly accepted descent these days is to rappel off fixed gear down the W/NW side of Elephant Dome. Look for the first bolted station at the bottom of a gully. WARNING: Hazards abound on this descent. Be cautious of loose rock when pulling rope between rappels. This rappel also has a well-deserved reputation for stuck ropes. Doing this in the dark would be stressful to say the least.

The rappel puts you in the canyon between Elephant Dome and Table Dome. From there it is a 20 minute hike around the same buttress you started on, and another few to get back on trail.


Approach as described for Mendoza Canyon, but head for the far west end of the Elephant Dome, not the east end as you would for B-Cubed and Elephantiasis. A large buttress descends from the left end of the dome down to the desert floor. Aim for the toe of this buttress.


Standard Rack
Jerry Cagle
Tucson, AZ
  5.7 PG13
Jerry Cagle   Tucson, AZ
  5.7 PG13
The station for the second rap is somewhat difficult to find. Look right and don't go too far down before starting to look for it... Sep 7, 2008
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
Based on the comments about the descent described above, I'd have to recommend the east side descent (described under B-Cubed). The east side descent has the distinct advantages of 1) requiring only one (60M) rope, 2) very low possiblity of stuck ropes (and would be very easy slab climbing to unstick them if need be), and 3) puts you on the ground very near your packs instead of having to go down, around the formation, and up again. Oct 6, 2008
dale polen
arivaca, az
dale polen   arivaca, az
great climb! Walk down gully between two domes and rap off bolts on slab. One old rap station needs repair but not necessary to get down. Great day on loose rock and wonderful exposure and views. Its mostly common sense. Feb 5, 2009
Tucson, AZ
JMayhew   Tucson, AZ
Even though I've never had troubles rapping off the "back," I would also highly suggest the low-angle Waterfall Raps on the East side for most parties. If you hike up to the base of those raps and leave your pack, there are several easy ways to access the main Trunk Route (see pic above.) Jan 16, 2012
Sheryl Miller
Tucson, AZ
Sheryl Miller   Tucson, AZ
We climbed this route Nov. 2011 and ended up making 2 unknown routes (one verticle and the 2nd traverse) to get to the Elephants Trunk from where we dropped packs on the ledge, proceeded from there on up. Great day of 7 pitches. We also scrambled down the east water run off of B-Cubed to get to the 2 sets of chains for the rap down which we did by headlamp. Beautiful area and a fantastic rock. May 9, 2012