Mayflower Traverse (aka, The Rock Fountain) (5.1–5.4)

On Sept. 28, 2019 Katie Larson and I climbed Atlantic Peak, traversed all five Mayflower needles (gendarmes, towers), climbed Fletcher and descended the unpleasant gully west of Fletcher back to the car. Many climbers do the route unroped, but for us we had traditional fifth-class pitches as follows: Tower 2: 5.1; Tower 3: 5.4 and then rappel to the south; Tower 5: 5.1, 5.3, 5.3 (short). One can call all these pitches fourth class, in the sense that the crux moves of each are short and solid. But my ratings above ratings. This route is considered to be dangerous because of loose rock. But this quote from a solo climber ( is spot on: “Dave Cooper in his Colorado Scrambles book calls it arguably the most dangerous of all the routes in his book. We found out that Cooper says this for good reason yet we both had a lot of fun. The intense scrambling, routefinding, and technical rock climbing at over 13,000 is just way too much fun.”


The five towers are on the left skyline, with Tower 3 prominent in the center. The descent gully (an excellent ski route) is just behind the rear cabin. Fletcher in left center; Drift on right with snow in the famous ski line. (Photo by Katie Larson, taken as we approached our car after the 10-hour day) 


Tower 2 is gained by an easy (5.1) climb straight up the center. 


Stan Rappelling off Tower 3. This section can be downclimbed. (Photo by Katie Larson). 


Tower 5 is the most difficult. Many parties climb a 5.6 or 5.7 crack at the far left. We followed the base of the white dyke, and then up the face to the ridge line. Easy ground shows up as soon as one crosses that ridge. 


The five towers in late afternoon. Note Tower 2.5 just north of tower three. One passes this one on the east side.

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