Hermosa's West Coast seems scrappy at best when viewed from the road, but after the 20+ minute approach, standing under these cliffs, one can appreciate the vertical, overhanging starts and dynamic, varied climbing to this 80 foot cliff band 300 yards long. Most of the routes are traditional, but often have bolts as well. The largest roof routes in Animas Valley are located here as well as the most adventurous climbing one will find locally. There are a mix of aid routes turning the 50 foot overhang of Khumbu's Cove to 5.7 bolted slabs. But this place has only a few routes for novices. From Jake's Gully a long traverse contouring around the ridge leads through the trees and scrub to the Pinnacle area. Offering many airy hard bolted routes, this spire can be seen from 550. Tim Kuss and Joel Schiavone and others are responsible for most of the climbs here. Further along around the corner, the Hang Em' High area has some nice strenuous crack routes as well...All three areas have great climbs on some great rock. Flashback to 1988... Having just arrived from discovering and then creating routes at Footsteps Rocks, The Promontory and Trinidad Head, California, Matthias Holladay asked local hardman Joel Schiavone where some good new route potential might be located. Joel then told him about the Pinnacle Area of Hermosa. This continued the development of said pinnacle and started the development of new routes at the Hang 'Em High and West Coast Areas.
Travel north on US Hwy 550 out of Durango. After passing through Hermosa (beer, gas, calzones) about 8 miles turn left on County Road 203 and then take a right on County Road 201. Take CR 201 up the winding hill. Past the 1st cattle grate you come to, park in the large gravel lot on the left (free car camping) and find trail to ridgeline. To do this from the parking area, access is before the grate on the left, find the gate and obvious USFS induced clearcut. Flat thru the scrub, wind around trees until the base of the ridge is reached, small switchbacks incline up to a level trail for a nice walk on the crest of the moraine. This stroll takes one to the last steep bit up to a big Juniper on the right. Either contour right toward the Khumbu Gully/Cove (optional route to base with lots of boulder hopping/scrambling) or switchback up indistinct trail left through the scrub, surmount small outcrop, scramble between and over crystalline boulders, more switchbacks to the base of the lengthy cliff band with a proud conifer and dihedral of the Bowsprit Area. You will likely be the only party there.
The first few moves of many routes begin with a shale band which although chossy, provides good holds to reach the overhanging start of a solid sandstone conglomerate. There are crystalline cracks, clean nubbins on high friction orange/black streaked faces, and many horizontal fissures of oval pockets.