Saturday, January 16, 2010


Climbed Stairway to Heaven - the day after Whore House Hoses - on another picture perfect high pressure day. It was a few degrees below zero when we started, but warmed up pretty quickly as the day progressed.

The crux third pitch was a bit funky with chandelier ice that offered sinker tool placements, but marginal crampon sticks - a bit of gardening required from the footwork to get into solid ground. The steep section of chandelier ice was pretty well unprotectable in those conditions, but it only amounted to around 3-4 body lengths until you were back into the goods.

This year offers a bonus 6th pitch of Grade 2/3 ice for those interested in stretching the climb out.

The walk-off after the 5th pitch is a calf deep boot track all the way to the couloir. Catch it before the next big snow.

Respectfully submitted,

Grey Squirrel

Friday, January 15, 2010

San juan Ice Conditions Update

Warm weather has changed some routes, so I thought I would post and update.

Ice Park: Fat City

Dexter Creek Slabs: Good Condition

Bride's Veil aka Skyrocket: Not recommended. Was good for a bit, but fragile and hollow now. the top may have fallen down.

Fall Creek/Talisman: Some guys climbed the Ribbon, Birdbrain, and Talisman. Looked sporting, probably not a good idea for the average mortal. But if you fancy yourself a hardman with something to prove...

Skylight climbs: Good shape, some are wet and growing fast.

Horsetail is good, Bear Creek is getting super hollow with the warmth.

Engineer climbs that were in are getting slushy.

Eureka climbs are fat and moderate.

Ames Ice Hose is thin but picked out, fairly standard for the route.

Bridalveil is getting more traffic, standard WI5 conditions.

Not sure about Silverpick and the Bone, probably in though.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Give a call if you have questions.

Cheers, Clint 970-325-4925

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Whore House Hoses

Popped over the pass to Eureka today to sample the superb multi-pitch terrain. We saw a party hiking up towards Stairway so elected to climb Whore House Hoses instead.

The climb is in very fat shape along with a nice packed trail right to the base. The first pitch is pretty well bucket steps, but veer right above the 'avocado leaves' and you'll find some superb WI5 ice. We climbed the left side of the final pitch and found perfect plastique conditions and nice steep climbing - probably WI5 minus.

Perhaps my favorite moderate in the range. Great ambiance and currently in excellent condition.

Also included is a photo of Stairway which looks blue and plastic.

Respectfully Submitted,

Grey Squirrel

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lower Ice Park Conditions: Lower Bridge to Shithouse

Made a walk through the lower park on Wednesday. The ice is super fat everywhere, and the classic mixed routes are climbing well also. Here is the photo tour to get a sense of conditions.

View up from the Lower Bridge, You can see the Brass Tacks area up to the Pick of the Vic. The lead routes that are hidden between are getting more and more consoldated with traffic.
The Boat Ramp and ice on both sides at the Lower Bridge is in great condition.
Lots of pros hanging around climbing mixed routes.Stone Free, TicTac, Dizzy, and the Scottish Gullies
TRing Dizzy with the Vision, one of Ouray's most popular old comp routes.The modern drytooling training route Le Sauccisson, many folks' "first drytooling route". It get infectious when you're watching all these pros right around you, and noone seems to be climbing the ice!Right now you can navigate the bottom all the way from the Lower Bridge to the Shithouse Wall, pretty nice access in the bottom this year. Here is the view of the Fingers as you approach from upstream.
The Thumb and Index all merged together, pretty sweet.The Ventana Buttress showing Icelandic Dream M7+ and Ventana Pillars. The next buttress down, Poodle Sex is not touching, although there are some cool alpine style gullies instead. Fresh descent ropes in the Fingers gully.
The Stump Wall. The Folsom Finger, not quite making it, but some great mixed routes in there instead.
The Park overall is in its best shapes in years.
Enjoy, CC

Ouray Area Conditions

Here is the latest on the Ouray conditions.

Skylight: A bit thin on some routes, but the standards are good to go.
Ribbon, BirdBrain, and Talisman are not in.

Horsetail/Bear Creek: Both are great right now. That rare opportunity to tag both in a short day.

Sun Splash and Solar Circus are holding ice, but look to be getting sun affected.

Engineer Climbs appear not in, although Abraxas could probably be climbed.

Stairway, Highway, and Whorehouse are fat city. Watch out for hidden ice dams on the rollovers. Its easy to punch through to some chilly water on stepping off some belays.

Ames is hanging tough, and super fun.

Bridalveil continues to be weird this year, only one reported ascent I know of.
Ingraham is reporting touching, not sure about Silverpick, would imagine its climbable though.

Santa Claus Pillar is reported in good condition.

That's all I know off the top off my head. Hope its useful!

1/6/10 CC

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ouray Ice Park

The Ouray Ice Park is fantastic shape, and ready for the Festival!

I spent the last couple days climbing in the park with some super nice folks from Texas. They picked it up really fast! Below is Parker smoking up Pick of the Vic early on his second day of ice climbing. Impressive! Good technique helps! Perfect Triangles.

We took a little lunch on the Upper Bridge and watched this gentleman crash his way up Root Canal, WI5 Funky! The conditions in the Lead area will make you work right now!

It was getting busy, so we headed down to the Ventana area where we found this sweet and steep WI5+ pillar formed up and feeling solid. I was pretty impressed to see these guys do as well as they did on it. I climbed it afterwards and found it to be continually off-balance and thought provoking. If you are registered for an Advanced Ice clinic at the fest, you might get coached up it as well. It is fantastic.

We've got a few more projects to finish before the fest, but its going to be good one. Lots of pros in town already getting a feel for our unique rock and tuning up for the comp. Good time to watch some serious climbing go down!

Cheers, CC