This is a non-descript name, but it is one of the very finest friction areas in Colorado. The routes are generally stellar, usually run out, and pure friction. This is the old school: no shiny sport bolts here. Most of the routes were put in ground up and hand drilled back in the day, so beware.
Note: Several routes have been updated recently, please see the comments below.
Turn off US 285 at Pine Junction, and drive south about 10 miles on 126 Rd to Buffalo Creek. Go east for about 2 miles on a gravel road (96 Rd) and park in an obvious designated parking area. Hike up a washed out mining road until the crag is in sight, and look for a climber's trail leading off right and up a ridge and into a jumble of boulders. A cairn may mark the beginning of the trail. Follow the trail carefully, or you will end up thrashing around unduly in the boulders.
Browse More Classics in The Dome
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Dome:
5.10b Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 250 feet
Featured Route For The Dome
: South Platte
: ... : The Dome
The Dome's historic ultra classic. There is mandatory excitement around the roof on the 2nd pitch (as described here) - no way to dog this one. Start near the center of the face at an obvious easy crack.P1: Climb the crack (5.5, gear) to its top [optional belay], then friction up to join Topographical Oceans for the first three bolts of its second pitch (5.9). Veer left, then climb up and right to a belay at an arch.P2: Climb right around the arch-roof (5.9) with courage, then follo...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
BETA PHOTO: THE DOME. Sorry about being lazy about typing in a...
The Dome taken from Sunshine Wall, Feb '09.
Not satisfied by slab hiking, Too Tall Tim decides...
Make sure you find the trail....
The Bishop and the Dome from Sunshine Wall.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Oct 15, 2002
On Dome Rock, above, I would highly recommend Topographical Oceans. I've seen it rated anywhere from 5.9 to 5.10c (the 10c being a very dicey alternate route on the last pitch). It's a 4 pitch climb with a big traverse in the middle with the infamous South Platte 1/4" bolts, which always make it interesting for both leader and whoever is brave enough to follow. It is a calf burner, for sure, since almost the entire climb is low angle slab with tiny crystals to stand on, but it's really a SP classic, in my opinion.
I would also suggest scouting any of the less popular routes in SP to make sure the bolts are still there, since there is/was a bolt cutting war going on in this region for quite some time. There's nothing worse than getting to a really thin crux to find out that your bolt is gone and there's no place for gear, aside from maybe sitting at your desk wishing you were climbing.
|By victor villarreal|
Oct 15, 2002
Topographical Oceans is an insane route in a gorgeous area. If you are like me and not partial to slab climbing in any way...stay away!!!!! The runouts are hideous (30 to 40 feet) with horrendous swing potential even for the second. The final pitch is just plain stupid, basically a blank, near-vertical face... never again...nice lead though, Derek!
|By John McNamee|
From: Littleton, CO
Oct 23, 2002
To find the Dome, park in the Cynical Pinnacle carpark and head up a well-formed track. About 10 to 15 minutes up the track on the right you will see a cairn and a wooden stick marking the branch track. Follow the track up an open ridge and through a maze of boulders. If you miss cairns keep going up the ridge until almost opposite The Dome and then turn for it. If you approach it too early, there are some big boulders to navigate around.
Recommended routes are Bolts to Somewhere, a nice 10a one pitch climb that shares the same belay as the last pitch on Topographical Oceans. All the bolts are there and the crux is down low in the pitch. This is the route going left, whereas Topographical Oceans final pitch goes right and is significantly harder, by a couple of grades. I found the crux to be clipping the bolts. Two 60m routes allows you to rap from the top of these climbs to a midpoint rapp anchor (two bolts) and then the ground.
Bishops Jaegers is an all-time classic. Run outs are pretty standard for slab climbing, and the falls aren't too bad, it's a head thing. Just don't have any exposed skin showing. If you are recovering from an injury or want a change of pace, The Dome is good place to climb.
|By Doug Redosh|
From: golden, CO
Aug 27, 2003
The guidebook shows a parking area distinct and south of the Cathedral Spires parking area. However, there were two "No Trespassing" signs posted, though they looked rather old. Is this the standard approach, or do folks start hiking at the larger Cathedral Spires parking area?
|By Joe Keyser|
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Aug 28, 2003
Doug, park at the regular Cathedral Spires parking lot. The big pullout (biggest pullout almost directly below the crags) in between the Dome, and the Sunshine Wall/Cynical Pinnacle. Then, hike up the drainage on a path trending slightly left, and the Dome should become obvious from there.
|By Tod Anderson|
Aug 28, 2003
The best place to park is at the standard spot for the Cathedral Spires, follow the defunct road, then head across to the Bishop. This avoids some of the private property although climbing access IS ALLOWED by the landowners (the signs have probably been there for a long time). As an interesting note, local public land managers and other officials think they can close the Bishop for raptors and have even ticketed people for climbing there during closure periods, but they have no jurisdiction over the Bishop.
From: Englewood, CO
Jul 9, 2004
HEADS UP ON THE APPROACH!! follow the obvious trail strait up from the parking area for a while. Be aware of a fork in the trail after a while. Its not that obvious, but look left, for an old "road" that seems to head back in the wrong direction. This is actually the right trail up to the Dome. I, unfortunately continued up the valley on the right hand side of the creek and crossed left way up the hill. This put us far to the right with no trail throught the heinous boulder field. We actually couldn't even see the Dome for a long time and thought we were lost. How can you not see a 400 ft. dome of rock from below? I don't know either but we almost bagged the whole trip right there. Moral: GO LEFT AT THE FORK UP THE OLD ROAD!!
|By Darren Mabe|
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 3, 2005
ALL protection bolts and anchor bolts on Topo Oceans are 3/8" now. Looks like ASCA put the work in -- stainless bolts and hangers. This was long overdue and VERY much appreciated.
Also looked like Dos Equis, Connections, and Bolts to Somewhere are also rebolted with stainless hardware, by a different party (in process as of 1/02/05). And there may be others. Good work and thank you.
|By Luke Clarke|
Sep 4, 2005
The climbers' trail is not marked and was easy to miss as of yesterday (9/3/05). It cuts right after you have walked up the old mining road 10-15 minutes (your mileage may vary but I clocked it on the way down). The single track trail you want heads up a ridgeline fairly directly toward the Dome. It's worth finding because it sneaks through and under some large boulders. Thrashing through these wastes significant time and energy. The cutoff comes about five minutes past the sucker fork in the road mentioned above, if I am reading that comment right.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Nov 8, 2005
please be careful attempting to rap to the L of Bishop's Jaggers with a single 60m rope. someone installed the first rap (didn't get the chance to check lower stations) for 70's. don't rap off the end of your line!
|By Kevin Stricker|
From: Evergreen, CO
Nov 9, 2005
As for the above comments on the rappel on Bishops Jaggers, no bolts were added to this climb, but I did replace the all 1/4" anchor bolts with ring bolts. Most of the routes on the Dome cannot be rappelled with a single 60 (70 does work often though). The only route you can rappel with a 60m from the top is Pornographic Motions, which is still a bit short on the last rappel (swing to the right). Have Fun!
|By Buff Johnson|
Dec 22, 2008
If anyone has a bad day here, please tell dispatch you are in the Cathedral Spires Park in JeffCo; in addition to the formation that you are on.
|By Princess Mia|
Jun 27, 2011
SUPER CLASSIC OW!!!!!
Prairie Dog Crematorium. I think the name says it all. It is the leftmost route on the south side of the Dome. Very obvious if one hikes up and over the pass to the left of the east routes, down the other side for a few hundred yards and there it is on the right. A big, ugly, nasty, and sooooo beautiful OW!!!
The old guidebooks are not very clear in the pics, and it may be easy to think the route is the dihedral to the right. But no, that one is only 5.9. Prairie Dog Crematorium is way too obvious as the leftmost route.
Now the old guides say pro TO 6".... Could someone please tell the good people writing the new book to not copy and past this old description as it should really say pro FROM 6"...lol.
Well here is the skinny: the approach pitch (whichever way) and the last pitch can use a standard small rack, BUT the meat of the climb, the 5.10 OW needs 6" to 12", Bigbros highly recommended for the crux as it is 12" and slightly overhanging.
After topping out, if you feel up for it, the ultimate linkup is to do Tube Terror, another wonderful South Platte OW. You will have the right gear with you. Nowhere near as hard as Prairie Dog Crematorium, but it is a bit spicy.
As for getting of either: well, the walk to the left is a royal nightmare, so I recommend from the top of Prairie Dog Crematorium walk right on a huge and easy ledge to the obvious gully by the trees and find a 100 foot rappel under a big boulder. From there it is easy to scramble back to any route along the wall. As for Tube Terror, walk right and down following an easy ramp system to the same gully and rap.
Enjoy this amazing OW outing!!!!!