Type: Trad, 900 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Gary N, NM, 5/2013
Page Views: 2,721 total · 40/month
Shared By: Gary N on Jul 2, 2013
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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In my opinion, this may be the best route on Tradistan Tower. I may try to head back up and see if there is a more direct start. Nonetheless, This route has got quite a bit to offer: massive dihedral, crack climbing, roofs, overhangs, face climbing, off-width, squeeze chimney. Mmmmm mmmmm.

From the approach trail, you can see the massive cave in the massive dihedral. This is what you're looking for. Start up the massive dihedral in-between 'No Country For Old Men' and 'Nuggernaut'. After a full rope length, you'll see a red sling with a quick-link on it. I belayed on the huge ledge to the right.

From here, we moved the belay more to the right, about 30'. There was an exposed step around to a small stance to get started again. Be sure to head right here. Do not continue up towards the purple sling a short distance up. Head on up, trending slightly right perhaps. This pitch ended with a small overhang in a v-slot like feature.

At this point, I remember heading up a short crack in a blocky, right-facing dihedral and making a step around left. I continued heading up, doing some face climbing. I finished this pitch after another small overhang.

1.5 to 2 more pitches of fun face climbing up and slightly left will put you at the base of Da Cherry on Top! This is the money pitch. It is a huge piece of solid and amazing rock. It is a left-facing dihedral with an off-width to squeeze chimney. Get on up this thing, and you'll be right near the rappel route, and the summit.

Descent - follow cairns from the summit southeast-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. You may want to leave your shoes/packs at the base of the 'Nuggernaut'.

This is an adventurous route, as is Tradistan Tower. Don't fret too much about finding the exact route I tried to describe above. Just make sure you end up at Da Cherry on Top somehow. Enjoy the climbing and adventure.


From the approach trail, you can see the massive cave in the massive dihedral. This is what you're looking for. The route is in-between 'No Country For Old Men' and 'Nuggernaut'. Also look for the beautiful chunk of solid rock on top of Tradistan Tower. It is a huge, left-facing dihedral.


Traditional gear. A double set from medium C3s to #3 C4s, one #4 C4. Bring lots-o-nuts and trad draws. I found small to medium nuts to be very helpful. All anchors must be built with traditional gear, so bring some cordelettes. Bring two 60m ropes or a 70m rope and tag line.


Jaaron Mankins
Durango, CO
Jaaron Mankins   Durango, CO
We climbed a separate route from this one about 5 years ago that finished on the same sweet dihedral as this route at the top. What a dihedral! Plenty of different options. Aug 9, 2013
andrew albosta
Durango, CO
andrew albosta   Durango, CO
Excellent job, dudes, 'specially for outta towners. It's tough to even get the locals out here. Shows what is cool about not sharing info, has a way of preserving the "adventure". Everybody wants a cherry on top, gotta be careful what you claim 'round these here parts. Way to keep it real manky and really excellent show, guys, I love New Mexico! Aug 11, 2013
Santa Monica, Ca.
YDPL8S   Santa Monica, Ca.

New Mexico? Aug 13, 2013
andrew albosta
Durango, CO
andrew albosta   Durango, CO
Sorry, doode, was just enjoying some tasty green chile at the time. I guess to make this relevant, anybody going to the Pine River or the Greater Vallecito area should definitely stop at the Vallecito Lake Country Market. They serve some delicious food, and the owner has won local awards for his roasted chiles. The Mexican pizza with green chili is a favorite, and manky can vouch for the grande breakfast platter six to power you through your nugger adventure. Best breakfast burros in La Plata County, for real. Hope that clears any confusion concerning my love for New Mexico. Aug 22, 2013