Monday, December 27, 2010


This past Sunday we had the first Kids Ice day of the season.
We all had a super good times.
It was great to see how psyched this kids were about ice climbing.. It will be great to see this great ice climbers 10 years from know. In the end they are going to be the future of the sport right !!!!

The instruction that they had was top notch.
(In this photo Clint Cook SJMG director giving 101 ice technique)

Is never to early or to late to practice, try, or master Ice climbing!!!!!!
If you have any doubts check out this little Ice master :)
Stay tun up and get your ice on!!!!!.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Current Ouray Conditions

Currently the Schoolroom and Kids Wall are open for climbing, and are in ok shape. Colder temps are forecast over the new year holiday so hopefully we will get some new ice grown.

The Skylight area is in pretty good shape and seeing plenty of traffic. The recent wet snow in the highcountry has coated a number of climbs in a thick snicy concoction. We should be able to start venturing out a little further this week, and will post what we find!

Cheers CC

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lots of Ice Climbing!

We had a busy weekend despite the recent nice weather. A number of guides were in different spots, but I had the distinct pleasure of guiding Anthony C. from Australia. Ant had some alpine experience in New Zealand, but this was his first trip to Ouray.

We spent the first day at the Skylight area climbing Slip Slidin Away, Slippery When Wet, and the 1st pitch of the Skylight. Day 2 we went to Whorehouse Hoses and found super good conditions on the whole route. Here are some pics.
Anthony topping out the 70m 1st pitch of Whorehouse Hoses.
Your local friendly mountain guide. Top of Pitch 3 Left.
Ant raps our last pitch.
Right Pitch 3. WI4, a tad hollow in the middle.
Ant raps Pitch 1 as another party heads up the groovy left side.
It's sweet out there! CC

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Some days ago myself (Andres) and my partner Steve House decide to go climb the Talisman.
We had the opportunity to do the first ascent of the season, and for our surprise we find the route being very engaging.
The first pitch was totally dry so we end up taking the right side where we wore able to climb some frozen Mose.
The second pitch it was awesome very hard mixed climbing with a great ice pillar finish.
Here Steve is starting the third pitch. What a great pitch.... Very steep pitch.

All good times with a great climbing partner.Talisman pitch by pitch rating as we find it:
P1: 5.6 R S
P2:M6 WI 5+
P3:WI 5+

Andres Marin, Steve House.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Little Fix

Went out this afternoon for a quick solo of the Ribbon. It's in the fattest condition I've seen in a couple seasons. It has already seen numerous ascents for the season, 2/3 to 3/4 of my sticks were just improving on the hooks already put there by others. The first steep section had holes from 10 and 13cm screws and the upper section looks like it will take at least a 17cm. Sorry no pictures, my hands were otherwise occupied.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Eureka Ice Climbing

I had the pleasure of guiding Charlie from NM on Sunday. He was one of the first guys I took out with SJMG 10 years ago. It was Charlie's first day of the winter season, and we chose the fun Gully 2 in Eureka. The road looked a little spicy so opted to walk in. There were 2 parties on Stairway as we approached. 
Stairway to Heaven III WI4+ (11/28/10)
 The conditions on both Gullies and Goldrush have improved significantly since my last visit. We climbed all the way to the last chains on Gully 2 and then rappelled via chains and threads. We past a friendly party on our way down and one soloist. A fairly busy day for Silverton! 
1st pitch of Gully 2.
Top of pitch 3.
Hoser's Highway looked steep and proud, but very doable. Stairway is good to go. Whorehouse looked really big from the parking lot.

In other areas, folks have been climbing the Ames Ice Hose in quite lean conditions, as well as the Talisman. The Ribbon is seeing regular traffic and BBB is getting climbed despite its lean shape. Skylight climbs are all ok as well. Have Fun!!! CC

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks

We've been out sampling the San Juan powder the past few days, with outtings on both sides of Red Mountain Pass. Conditions are good overall and getting more stable. Hoping we get a bit more new snow today and tomorrow - lower down coverage is a bit thin. Slabs are out there at, above and just below treeline, although there is very little movement in these now. Powder is good and supportable everywhere except in a few isolated locations at roll-overs and next to trees and rocks (as should be expected). Temps have really warmed up the past few days, which makes for even more pleasant outtings! Here's a shot from a warm afternoon at Sam's trees.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Winter in the San Juans


We've all been out skiing and climbing a bunch the last week, and it is starting to feel like the real winter season is almost here. The water is on full blast in the ice park, and there are already some impressive pillars forming. We've guided a number of early season ice climbs in the high country and a few ski tours as well.

I climbed up the Chockstone Chimney and skied the Oh-Boy and Log Cabin tours the last three days, and all were super fun.

The snow and ice are still thin in general, but its hard to complain!

More to come....


Friday, November 19, 2010

The Ribbon

Steve and I climbed the Ribbon this afternoon. It is in pretty good condition and generally gets better the higher you go. The crux seems to be keeping dry feet while crossing the river. Pitch one is a little thin on the protection but the climbing is all there and quite straight forward. Pitch two quickly gets into pretty fat ice and it's bomber the rest of the way. Things were a little wet but not as bad as we expected, considering the high temps today. I'll try to post some pics if I can get them off my phone.

Two local lads were rapping the Ribbon as we walked up. They climbed Bird Brain and had nothing remarkable to report, other than "it's in."

Until next time...

Happy Trails,

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Couple of Birdbrains

11/12/10 PC and I decided to see if Birdbrain was as in as it appeared from the road. The first pitch was nearly dry. The crux pillar was very fragile, but doable. As we got higher the ice became a bit better so that I was eventually able to place a couple stubby ice screws, the rest stayed on my harness as baggage. We did get to the top but calling it in might be a bit of a stretch.


11/10/10 Stairway was still a little thin but improving, so we continued on to Highway to Hell.
It had a couple pitches of thin but low angle ice. This pitch was about grade 4 and took good screws. There is another grade 3 pitch above. The crux of the day was crossing the creek.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

mark in south mineral

Went climbing in South Mineral Creek today on Direct North Face. The steeps were in excellent condition. Need stubby screws for belays unless you can reach the base of the next steep section.
The real crux is crossing the creek at the bottom, not frozen.

Monday, November 8, 2010

North San Juan Ice Climbing

Climbed the 2nd Gully Route in Eureka today. No snow anywhere in the area. Ice was thin but generally well formed, protectable, and fun to climb.
Cory leads up the first steep step.

The final headwall into the upper gully and walk off.
 1st Gully looked to be possible, as did the Highway to
Hell. Everything else was super bony. Went into South Mineral Creek as well. The Direct North Face Route had a bunch of ice but didn't quite look go to go. Snowblind is still forming. The campground couloirs had a bit pf ice and could probably get scratched up if you really get the jones. 
Hopefully this next system will give us another blast of ice generating conditions. 

We will be keeping a ice condition table this winter at 

Happy Winter Season, CC

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ice is starting to form.

Thursday morning I went for a quick scout of how the ice is coming in. In Eureka, First and Second Gully looked in along with Road to Nowhere. In South Mineral Creek, Direct North Face was in the best condition with Campground Couloir close behind. The steep sections looked thin, but climbable, the top outs all appeared rather thin. Checking closer to Ouray on 361 the Ribbon and Birdbrain Boulevard both appear to be in better condition than they have been in a couple seasons. Hopefully I will get time to climb some of these in the next week and if so will try to keep updated.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Skiing in the San juans

Went ski touring today on Red Mountain Pass. Pretty bony still but soft and very fun! CC

Ice is forming in the San Juans

There is a good start to the ice season forming up in the mountains. I was up at Skylight yesterday and the routes have a good bit of wet ice on them. There was a good start to the ribbon and BBB as well. We'll see if it makes it through the next week.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Winter Season is Coming!

Well, the snow is starting to add up in the mountains. It won't be long till we can all start another great season of winter climbing and skiing. I'll get up and make the regular ice preview loop soon and report any ice I find!

In the meantime, keep training. 
I know of one hyper fool who already has like 10 days of drytooling in !

Think Cold Thoughts!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dolomites 2010: Challenge, Adventure, and History.

Artist's rendition of the famed Tofana di Rozes. This beautiful limestone peak has seen many versions of human struggle. A key strategic point during WWI, the Tofana has also been the home to a history of rock climbing development in Italy. It has classic routes from the early 1900's as well as modern desperate free climbs.
Just returned home from the Dolomite Mountains of Northern Italy. It seems like yesterday I dreamed of being able to guide in such a beautiful and historic range. I've led a bunch of trips there now and they all rank super high on my list of enjoyment.

Bill and I have climbed a lot together over the years, and I was psyched to get to show him what are some of my favorite routes anywhere on the planet. Here is our hit list.

Torri di Falzarego
Cinque Torri: Via Miriam on Torre Grande Cima Sud, and Via Olga on Cima Ovest
Tofana di Rozes: Primo Spigolo
Pomgagnon: Punta Fiames - Spigolo Jori
Tofana di Rozes: Pilastro di Ghedina
Sasso di Stria
Crepe du Oucere Basso

The classic training ground of Cinque Torri, complete with hot tub at the hut.
On top of Torre Grande di Falzarego after completing the awesome south arete traverse of both towers. The Lagazuoi is in the background.

12 pitches up the Spigolo Jori.
Bill grins after cruising the stout UIAA V+ crux on this long classic route.
Just another 2000 foot limestone wall. Can't remember the name, looks like a mini Eiger northwall.
Monte Piau.
Thanks Bill. See you next year! 
Ciao, Clint

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Valais Alps 8-Day: Matterhorn, Breithorn, Allalinhorn, Jagihorn, Riffelhorn, and more!

Just returned home from another great trip to the Valais Alps of southern Switzerland. This area is steeped in a long history of alpine sport and a perfect place to enjoy an adventurous mountain holiday!
View of the Matterhorn from our deck on the first day we arrived in Zermatt. A little snowy!
 Jon and Lars came from Colorado for 8 days of climbing on the ridges, crags, and glaciers surrounding Zermatt and Saas Fee. With our eye on the Matterhorn, we starting training and acclimatizing. Our first day we climbed the classic Half-Traverse of the Breithorn.
North Face of the Breithorn. The 1/2 Traverse starts in the saddle on the left, then climbs the three rock steps to the snow arete finish.
The men performed well and we were quickly on top and back to the Klein Matterhorn tram for a ride back down to town.

Past the rock towers with the final snow ridges ahead.

Lars and Jon on the summit with Matterhorn and Dent Blanche in the back.
Day 2: Rock Skills Training on the Riffelhorn!
Beautiful views, good rock, and lots of different routes to work on.
Station Rotenboden: Depart Gornergrat train for Riffelhorn. Our first training route of the day was Skyline 4a on the left edge of the formation.
Route #2 for the day, Thermometer - Egg 5c (french grades!)
Pretty steep for mountain boots on rock, but lots of handholds.
Summit of the Riffelhorn.
View of the Weisshorn from Riffelhorn.
Back to our humble hillside abode in Zermatt. The Matterhorn is getting drier!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Angel Creek Canyoning

Made a nice trip down Angel Creek Canyon this week. Water levels are perfect for exploring the alpine canyons around Ouray. Angel is an idyllic little canyon perfect for the novice canyoneer looking for a quick escape into the canyon reality! Here are some pics of Kevin and I.