BETA PHOTO: The Pope's Nose from Flint Creek Trail. KT Photo, ...
The Pope's Nose is the biggest granite dome in Colorado. A bit higher than either Sundance Buttress on Lumpy Ridge or Big Rock Candy Mountain in the South Platte. The summit elevation is about 11,700 feet, almost alpine! Plenty to do for the next generation of Durangutans.
The first route on the wall climbed up the central recess and was called Chalice Wall; done in 1970 with a bivouac, Mike Burdick, James Galvin, and James Yurchenco.
In 1979, Scott Vischer and I hiked in over a long weekend and bagged the second and longest route, Central Buttress, left of Chalice Wall. We didn't make it all the way on day one and rapped down to camp. Got it on the redo next day.
June of 1980, Glen Banks, Mark Dalen, Paul Horak, and I all teamed up to climb a new route with steep blank rock, a midway roof, and fortuitous thin cracks up a remarkable summit rib. We fixed ropes, and each got to lead two pitches. We called it Contraceptive Cracks.
Shortly after, Dan McCool and company put up two more routes; Thunder Road and Brain Damage.
Kennan Harvey and Jeff Hollenbaugh climbed the big clean wall left of Contra, Cabin Fever.
Most recently, during the summers of '03 & '04, three more routes were done by Mountain Project contributor DES and company, with some tantalizing beta posted on the Durango Page.
From the Los Pinos River Trailhead, hike twelve miles up one of the longest, flattest, mountain-wilderness valleys in Colorado. Where the Los Pinos meet Flint Creek, turn left. Less than two miles up Flint Creek is the Popes Nose. A steep aspen forest must be climbed and slippery slabs dodged on the way up to the base of the wall.
A long slippery scramble down the climber's right, or east side.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Pope's Nose:
This is a great wilderness rock climb on clean granite. It doesn't get much better in the Weminuche! (or anywhere in the San Juans for that matter). It has a free climbing crux down low, some tricky aid up high, and lots of memorable moments in between. It should go free.Start in "fern gully" just uphill of Contraceptive Cracks....[more]Browse More Classics in CO
Thanks, Ken, for offering info on this mythical formation. I have hiked by it several times, and every time I swear to come back and climb it. Thanks especially for sharing the photos. It is always great to see a glimpse of climbing history.