Unaweep Canyon as seen from Mother's Buttress.
is a large granite wall in Colorado's Unaweep Canyon
and is one of the most popular climbing spots in the canyon. Unaweep is home to a number of trad climbing routes and top rope opportunities. The massive formation breaks into three distinct sections: the Upper, Middle, and Lower Mother's Buttresses. The Lower Buttress
has some of the easiest climbs in the canyon as well as the opportunity for top rope climbing, which is rare in Unaweep. As a result, Lower Mother's Buttress is one of the most popular spots in Unaweep. The Middle Mother's Buttress
has more challenging trad routes than Lower Mother's, and the Upper buttress
is home to several multi-pitch climbs such as Questions and Answers (3 pitches, 5.10+, grade III), considered one of the best multi-pitch routes in the canyon.
K.C. Baum and his climbing partners pioneered, named, and rated most of the climbs on the major walls in Unaweep, including Mother's, but new routes are still being put up today. Baum's guidebook entitled Grand Junction Rock: Rock Climbs of Unaweep Canyon and Adjacent Areas
covers this wall. This book is a valuable resource to get you oriented in the area.
Mothers Buttress are up to 500 to 650 feet high and contain the highest concentration of routes in Unaweep Canyon, both crack and face.
It was also one of the first crags developed in the canyon.
Getting ThereMother's Buttress
is accessed from a small pull-off on the side of the road, 3 miles west of the Divide Road turnoff on Highway 141.There is a small parking lot - about 4-5 cars only, but you can also park on the shoulder of the road. The parking lot has an informative post and Access Fund sign. A small trail splits through the barbed wire and heads northeast towards the cliffs. Approach time approximately 10 minutes. You can see the cliffs of all Mother's Buttress right from the parking lot and Highway 141.
Approach to Mother's Buttress Getting started on Mint Jam (5.8+) Welcoming Party (5.7+) No Name Route (5.9+) Checking out routes
Along with the Sunday Wall
, Mother's Buttress is one of the most popular climbing spots in Unaweep Canyon
. There are a number of reasons for that. First of all, Lower Mother's offers a wide selection of moderate routes (5.7+ to 5.9) a grade which is somewhat under-represented in Unaweep. Secondly, Middle and Upper Mother's have some of the best climbs at the 5.10 to 5.12 grade in the canyon and also offer two of the best multi-pitch routes in Unaweep (Questions and Answers, 3 pitches, 5.10, Grade III; and Doppleganger, 3 pitches, 5.11, Grade II). And thirdly, it seems that the cracks of Mother's Buttress are perhaps straighter and more continuous than other walls in the canyon, so the climbs are all of excellent quality and make good use of natural pro and crack climbing skills.
An overview of Mother's Buttress A map of the main routes on Mother's Buttress
|Flight Without Wings||5.12||1 pitch||Upper Mother's Buttress|
|Questions and Answers||5.10||3 pitches, Grade III||Upper Mother's Buttress|
|Titus Groan||5.10||3 pitches, Grade III||Upper Mother's Buttress|
|Doppleganger||5.11||3 pitches, Grade II||Upper Mother's Buttress|
|Centurion||5.11||1 Pitch||Middle Mother's Buttress|
|Days of Wine and Roses||5.11||1 Pitch||Middle Mother's Buttress|
|Dirty Harry||5.11a||1 pitch||Middle Mother's Buttress|
|Flora Dora||5.11b||3 pitches, Grade III||Middle Mother's Buttress|
|Free Falling||5.11||2 pitches, Grade II||Middle Mother's Buttress|
|Jagged Edge||5.11-||1 pitch||Middle Mother's Buttress|
|On Golden Pond||5.10a||1 pitch||Middle Mother's Buttress|
|Rise of the Phoenix||5.10a||1 pitch||Middle Mother's Buttress|
|Alex's Tower||5.8||1 pitch||Lower Mother's Buttress|
|Cow-a-Bunga||5.8||1 pitch||Lower Mother's Buttress|
|A Fine Line||5.8+||1 Pitch||Lower Mother's Buttress|
|Guide's Route||5.9||6 pitches, Grade III||Lower Mother's Buttress|
|Lord of Wisdom||5.10+||1 pitch||Lower Mother's Buttress|
|Mint Jam||5.8+||1 pitch||Lower Mother's Buttress|
|No Name Route||5.9||1 pitch||Lower Mother's Buttress|
|Welcoming Party||5.7+||1 pitch||Lower Mother's Buttress|
***NOTE: These ratings come mostly from Baum's climbing guide. I've heard more than one person complain that some of the climbs in this book are underrated. I felt the same way my first few times climbing here. What I decided later, however, is that it was the really more the style of the Unaweep rock that I had to get used to. Many of the routes require very different techniques than the sandstone splitters and limestone face climbs I was used to. Still, I sometimes have difficulty on some Unaweep climbs that are the same grade as climbs I can comfortably climb in other places.
The Unaweep Canyon area has long been plagued by private property/access issues. Because of this, many great walls here have yet to be fully explored. The Access Fund
has opened much of Unaweep to climbing, but be very respectful of private property and carry out ALL types of waste you might produce.
Mountain Project's Mother's Buttress