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.