BETA PHOTO: The Elephant Buttresses. Most routes start off th...
The four blocky towers known as the Elephant Buttresses lie just to the right of the Dome. They are numbered one through four from left to right. Almost all the routes are trad; no sport routes here. Some routes have old fixed pins; not many have bolts. An irrigation water pipe runs along the base of these crags.
Be careful of poison ivy; this area has it in abundance!
Approach as for the Dome. Park in a small pullout on the right 0.5 miles up the canyon, or in a large parking area on the left. Cross the bridge over the creek and turn right. Follow the new climber's access trail up to the aqueduct. Turn right and walk along a trail to the water pipe; watch out for poison ivy! Continue along the water pipe to the crag you want to climb. The pipe ends at a water tunnel between the Third and Fourth Buttress.
There are several ways to descend from the top of these crags:
The easiest walk-off is to head left (north) toward the Dome, and descend a trail down to the aqueduct just left of the First Buttress.
You can scramble down between the Second and Third Buttress to a tree atop Pine Tree Route, and rappel 90' back to the water pipe.
If the water level is low enough, you can descend to a tunnel between the Third and Fourth Buttress, and walk through the tunnel back to the water pipe. Be prepared for darkness and wet legs/feet!
You can downclimb the steep, 4th-class gully between the Second and Third Buttress; tricky in spots and not recommended for novices.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Elephant Buttresses:
This route is on the Third Elephant Buttress, on the north side. To access it walk along the pipe till you reach a gully between the Second and Third Buttresses. Scramble about 20 feet up the gully to the base of the climb. This climb follows a left facing dihedral that begins about 40 feet up. The route is to the right of Left Wing and starts up a short face to an obvious, chalked finger crack. Make some challenging moves to gain the finger crack (5.10ish) and follow the crack a few moves to a ...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
Ok, I feel kinda dumb for asking this but I was at the Elephant Buttress this night and we headed up a chimney onsight somewhere in the vicinity of the 1st maybe 2nd pinnacle, but I don't think it was the chimney listed in the 2nd pinnacle's list. We headed up a chimney until it got too wide then climbed up a crack on the south side of the chimney. The chimney itself was probably .7- but the crack was reaching into the .9 territory. Does this sound familiar?
Actually after looking at the picture again I realize I wasn't really on a ROUTE. We ended up chimneying up the crack kinda directly between the 1st and 2nd buttress, then squirming up the crack on the right. Weird route. Anyone know if it's got a name?
There is currently a very nice, large and extremely clear photo of the Elephant Buttresses at the Boulder Library as part of the ditch exhibit. All of the popular climbs are very visible. It's worth a look. The history of the Silver Lake Ditch and the other ditches is very interesting. There's a working model of the two "tram lines" used to move the pipes during the 2008 rebuild of the pipe below Elephant Buttresses.