Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 38.81269°N / 108.61891°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Toprope
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Sign the Climber's Log


Unaweep canyon
Unaweep Canyon as seen from Mother's Buttress.

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 There

Mother'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 ButtressApproach to Mother's Buttress
Mint JamGetting started on Mint Jam (5.8+)
Unaweep ClimbingWelcoming Party (5.7+)
Lower Mother s Buttress ClimbingNo Name Route (5.9+)
Checking out the routesChecking out routes

Climbing Overview

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.

Mother s Buttress OverviewAn overview of Mother's Buttress
Mother s Buttress RoutesA map of the main routes on Mother's Buttress

Flight Without Wings5.121 pitchUpper Mother's Buttress
Questions and Answers5.103 pitches, Grade IIIUpper Mother's Buttress
Titus Groan5.103 pitches, Grade IIIUpper Mother's Buttress
Doppleganger5.113 pitches, Grade IIUpper Mother's Buttress
Centurion5.111 PitchMiddle Mother's Buttress
Days of Wine and Roses5.111 PitchMiddle Mother's Buttress
Dirty Harry5.11a1 pitchMiddle Mother's Buttress
Flora Dora5.11b3 pitches, Grade IIIMiddle Mother's Buttress
Free Falling5.112 pitches, Grade IIMiddle Mother's Buttress
Jagged Edge5.11-1 pitchMiddle Mother's Buttress
On Golden Pond5.10a1 pitchMiddle Mother's Buttress
Rise of the Phoenix5.10a1 pitchMiddle Mother's Buttress
Alex's Tower5.81 pitchLower Mother's Buttress
Cow-a-Bunga5.81 pitchLower Mother's Buttress
A Fine Line5.8+1 PitchLower Mother's Buttress
Guide's Route5.96 pitches, Grade IIILower Mother's Buttress
Lord of Wisdom5.10+1 pitchLower Mother's Buttress
Mint Jam5.8+1 pitchLower Mother's Buttress
No Name Route5.91 pitchLower Mother's Buttress
Welcoming Party5.7+1 pitchLower 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.

Red Tape

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.

External Links

Mountain Project's Mother's Buttress page
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