Type: Trad, 900 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Some old school dogs.
Page Views: 7,627 total · 79/month
Shared By: Jaaron Mankins on Jan 17, 2011
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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This is a nice, long moderate with excellent belay stances and fun, varied climbing. It is one of the more continuous lines in the area. An old pin was recently found about 750' up this climb at the bottom of a nice dihedral variation.


The route faces northeast, and follows giant, left-facing diherdral for the entire climb. Start at the bottom of the dihedral and get it on. To get down, find bolted anchor at the top of the tower on the south side. A combination of double and single rope rappels will drop you right back to your packs. The rap line is climber's left of route and alternates between bolted stations and natural anchors.


A double set of cams with one #4 Camalot plus nuts. Trad anchors for most belays. Rap off combination of bolts, nuts, and trees for descent.
Really great for beginners to multi-pitch and trad. Straightforward route with the exception of the traverse left at the second pitch...which is pretty obvious now since you read it. Posted a short description and video here - takeslack.com/nuggernaut/. Oct 2, 2012
Gary N
Durango, CO
Gary N   Durango, CO
A fun route. I prefer this route over No Country For Old Men. The Nuggernaut offers what I believe to be a more direct line/route finding and more sustained climbing at about the 5.7-5.8 level. Five good pitches of more technical climbing vs. 3 pitches and some scrambling.

A little descent beta: follow cairns from the summit south-east-ish to a bolted rap anchor. Make one single rope rap to a large tree with webbing. From here, make a double rope rap to a small, singular tree with webbing. Another double rope rap will get you to a bolt and fixed nut (webbing/cord could use an update). From here, make a double rope rap to a large terrace with a two bolt anchor. One more double rope rap will get you to the base of the Nuggernaut. Apr 24, 2013
Cañon City, CO
S.Mckinna   Cañon City, CO
Rap info was nice to have. The rap to the smaller, singular tree is 200+. If your rope is shortened much, you might have an easy, super short downclimb. We used a single rope with a tag line (Reepschnur rappel), it worked well, but I definitely had to pull hard! Rap stations get a good amount of sun, so the tat gets faded. Bring good amount of webbing just in case. Jun 4, 2013
durango, Colorado
spicyjam   durango, Colorado
So climbed this yesterday, at least part of the route, and really think there should be more beta on the climb before saying this climb is for beginners. First, I want to say before planning to climb this make sure you give yourself ALL day for this climb. The approach is one hell of a steep approach. From hiking on loose boulders to difficult trail finding, there are a few rock pillars guiding, but I found they only helped a little bit. So this said, you don't want to find yourself walking down the approach after dark! The difficult trail finding becomes even more difficult at night, and it's pretty dangerous hiking down a boulderfield at night. Also it's easy to find yourself bluffed out! So make sure you have a headlamp or, better yet, leave yourself at least and hour of light to get the approach.
So now to the climb! The rock was pretty bomber and for the most part well-protected, but I'm not sure about the route finding? So this is what we did:

P1) What we did was climb the start of Nauggernaut with the prominent, left-facing dihedral that follows a well-protected crack up to a belay ledge that is inside an alcove (160-170 ft, 5.8).
P2) You keep following up the same crack above the alcove, and you will pass 2 rap stations: one is a piece of webbing blocked in a crack with a rock (this rap needs to be replaced soon!); and the second rap I just replaced, and it's a large sling over rock which should hopefully last a while. So we climbed up past the second rap to another large ledge right under a large cave (70 ft, 5.8).
P3) This is when I think we lost the route. We traversed left on a prominent ledge to anther large ledge that had several cracks leading up (50ft).
P4) We climbed a crack that was on the left face of this wall, and it looks like a well-protected, short crack that's next to a small, right-facing dihedral that you can sort of smear on. This crack was really dirty and made us think it's probably never been climbed before. At the top of this pitch is another large ledge and nice tree to belay.(5.9+/5.10a dirty, 50ft).
P5) Start this pitch by slowly ascending up really easy 5.2 climbing to a really prominent crack. Here you can face climb and protect with the crack on your right side. Well-protected! Climb up and belay at a huge tree at the top (110 ft, 5.7).
This is where our journey ended due to light constraint, but there are definitely more options to the top!
To descend, just rap down the same path you went up. There is at least 2 double rope raps, so make sure you bring 2 ropes.

Hope this information helps the next person that climbs this route!
And if you have climbed it, feel welcome to add more beta, thanks. Aug 17, 2013
Cañon City, CO
S.Mckinna   Cañon City, CO
Reads like you missed the P2 traverse. The start of that pitch is pictured above with Andy traversing and the topo posted is accurate also. The raps described by GaryN are spot on as well. There is definitely many ways up this thing. If you make it to the top, follow Gary's description down. Aug 22, 2013
Nate Hathaway
Durango, CO
Nate Hathaway   Durango, CO
I found a pair of shoes near the base of Nugg. Make-model-size and you can have them back. Jun 15, 2014
Kevin Frederick
Lusaka, ZM
Kevin Frederick   Lusaka, ZM
Nice climb. You can climb many different minor variations, and if you're confident on 5.8. The faces next to the dihedral are lovely and offer just enough protection. A standard trad rack was fine. Tri-cams were most useful.

Approach: about 1.5 hours total. After leaving the valley trail at Indian Creek, follow cairns as much as possible; they mark about about two-thirds of the ascent. From the valley to the base of the climb is almost exactly 1000 feet and took us about an hour at a plodding pace, nursing a bad ankle and bad knee. I would bring trekking poles next time! In lieu of trekking poles, we used sticks to help with balance on the steep terrain.

Descent: as Gary N. noted above, follow cairns to a double-bolt anchor with chains next to a large tree. Make a single rope rap to another set of bolts with chains. Make a double-rope rap from there, past another set of bolts, to another double-bolt anchor with chains. Repeat. Nice double bolts with chains all the way down. The bolt-and-fixed-nut station mentioned above now has two bolts. Possibly rappable with a single rope, but I wasn't paying enough attention to be sure and some of the intermediate stations have nylon tat.

To the nice guy at Gardenswartz Outdoors, we did remove your stuck BD nut. Email me if you're dying to have it back. :-) Jul 18, 2014
andrew albosta
Durango, CO
andrew albosta   Durango, CO
So, the Nuggernaut descent has been improved. The entire descent can be made on one single 60m, although some will find a 70m more comfortable. Make sure you knot the ends as some anchors are at the VERY end of the cord. Thanks to the party that placed some new anchors before we got around to it. Please, for any new development, CAMO your anchors! We have been trying to replace webbing anchors (trees, rocks, etc) with bolts and chains as there are lots of varments living on these cliffs that seem to really have a taste for nylon. the chrome chains and hardware are surprisingly visible from the trail. To get to any of these cliffs, you must cross private property, and while no one has seemed to care yet, let's not give any reasons. This area has tons of potential and there are actually already way more routes than what is listed on this site, watch for more info soon...and yes, while a lot of the ratings seem moderate, this is far from a beginner area! Mar 9, 2015
Steven Groetken
Durango, CO
Steven Groetken   Durango, CO
Awesome route! Make sure you wear a helmet, this line doesn't get climbed any where near as much as those in town, so there is a lot of loose rock. My partner kicked off a microwave-size piece on the second pitch, and there were a good amount of hand-size pieces laying around in bad areas. Also, I would suggest a 70m rope. There's brand new rappel anchors, (thank you to the team that put those in!), but they are right at the end of a 60m. One rap station is about 7 feet below the end. Easy downclimb, but you definitely have to be mindful. We considered doing double rope raps, but the rock is so fractured that we were scared the knot would get stuck. The topo posted on here is super helpful, just don't miss the P2 traverse at the left of the boulder. Sep 21, 2015
Lee Frazer
Durango, CO
Lee Frazer   Durango, CO
How many rappels are there w/ a single 60 or 70 m rope? Aug 19, 2016
The route faces east-southeast. We did 7 1/2 raps with a 70. A single 60 would be too short. Sep 5, 2016
Greg R
Durango CO
Greg R   Durango CO
Raps can be done with a 60m and some downclimbing. Take a 70m! and some slings to feed the rodents where chains are missing. Jul 10, 2017
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
arjunmh   Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
The single line, 60m rap beta was great. Thank you! We did it with a single rack and a 60m rope with no problem and had a blast. Easy approach and wonderful exposure on a nice, mellow route. Sure, some poor rock but nothing unexpected for the rock type, and overall it is really clean climbing and good pro, even with just a single rack of cams. Well worth the gorgeous drive and hike! Jun 7, 2018