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Dolphin Head 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 120'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,128
Submitted By: saxfiend on Sep 4, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (19)
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BETA PHOTO: Line for Dolphin's Head (see it at the top of P1?)...


This obscure route doesn't get a lot of attention but is well worth seeking out. See if you think the namesake feature really looks like a dolphin's head.

Climb the face following crack systems and easy jugs, then angle up and left to the "head." Pull this roof move and finish at a ledge.

The old Kelly guide lists this route at 5.6, a bit of a sandbag.


Starts about 100' left of Welcome to Moore's on a clearing above the cliff trail. Scramble climber's left to a rap station (webbing and rap rings slung on a big chockstone).


Small to medium cams and passive gear; build a gear anchor at the top.

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By boo
From: Estes Park
Mar 7, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

This route is totally 5.6. To make it 5.7 is taking it out of context with the rest of Moore's Wall.
By Dave Wise
Jul 19, 2009

Excellent route. The start and the finish are fantastic and well worth it. The middle section is lackluster 4th class/easy 5th and covered in lichen, but the beginning and end of the climb make up for it.
By dave Hause
From: carrboro, nc
Nov 28, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Are we talking a dolphin head or a porpoise head? I don't see anything up there resembling either. Walk off the top out.
By Matt Westlake
From: Durham, NC
Nov 28, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Look at the topo photo with the lines drawn to see the dolphin head. Find where the it says "dolphin head". Where the line breaks it's kind a like the dolphin beak is laying over it pointing right. Once you see it'll be obvious.
By Benandstuff
From: Winston-Salem, NC
May 16, 2016

The new Lineberry guide makes mention of two rap stations, one on either side, but we were able to find neither, and were forced to make a crappy second pitch to the top, where we had to bushwhack way too much to get back to Sentinel buttress.
By Russ Keane
Jul 4, 2016

Decent climb. Never saw the dolphin head. In fact, I had no clue where I was supposed to go, but now looking closely at the drawn topo I may have been correctly on route. You go up the little finger crack from the ground, follow the depression up and left and get underneath the huge roof, keep going left.... then you get underneath this cool looking "pull" to get over the bulge. Gear belay here, as you are going to have stupid rope drag and bad communication all around if you don't stop here. Decent comfy belay, bring your partner up, then set up for the fun move over the lip. Looks way harder than it is. Cruise your way up to the very top (long, boring, but beautiful) and find a tree. Scramble left across the gully, then down, to the rap station which is multi-colored ribbons around a chockstone on the other side of the gulley.

The climb felt 5.5 to me. I've been exploring all the Moore's 5.6's and this one felt easier. Good movement though, and a somewhat alpine/adventurous feel to the line.
Oct 9, 2017

Pretty cool route, wish it were easier to get down. Some low angle wandering climbing leads to a small roof (aka the Dolphin Head). I've always climbed this in one pitch, but the drag can get pretty bad if you don't place gear strategically and runout the easy slab traverse. I've never been able to find the rap station though, and have always done the bushwhack to the top. I think I know where the station is that Russ described, so I'll have my eyes peeled next time.

Russ, the bulge you built your anchor under is most likely the Dolphin Head. From the ground you can see what looks like a profile of a dolphin head with it's nose pointed climber's right. I believe you either use it for a hold or as a gear placement for pulling the roof, I can't remember exactly.
By Matt Westlake
From: Durham, NC
Oct 11, 2017
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

For the best experience and idea of how to find the rap station I recommend climbing Southern Exposure first. It ends at the rap station that is climber's left of Dolphin Head. You can't reach it without downclimbing and moving left a bit after pulling the actual bulge/the Dolphin's Head. Look at the Topo photo, it's marked there unless someone has chopped it since last time I was up that way - it's been a while.

And by the way, take care pulling the bulge move. If you don't find the good hold and try to pull through the gear, when slung long, is far enough below that you can hit the ledge below. At least one party broke an ankle here so climb smart!
5 days ago

Thanks for the beta Matt!

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