Prat­i­cal in­for­ma­tion

Vertical (English) - - Special Report -

The de­scrip­tion of Colorado sites cor­re­sponds to the ge­o­graph­i­cal zone cov­ered by Jack Roberts’ topo­graph­i­cal guide “Colorado Ice Vol­ume I”, by Po­lar Star Pub­lish­ing, Boul­der, USA (http://www.jack­robertsclimb­ing.com/ice­book.php). In situ pho­to­graphs and in­for­ma­tion date from a trip made in Jan­uary 2014.

AC­CESS

In­ter­na­tional flights for Den­ver or Colorado Springs, then car hire. Do­mes­tic flights are avail­able but they are ex­pen­sive to­wards towns in­side the Rocky Moun­tains: Vail, Grand Junc­tion, Mon­trose, etc. With the ex­cep­tion of Ou­ray, which can be reached by bus, trav­el­ling to Colorado’s ice falls re­quires a car. Un­less you fall upon ap­palling weather con­di­tions, you don’t need to hire a four-wheel drive. How­ever, you will need win­ter tyres and/or snow chains. They are even manda­tory for cer­tain passes and you can face a con­se­quen­tial fine. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, roads and mo­tor­ways are ex­cel­lent, well-main­tained and cleared, even if white in the win­ter. Trav­el­ling times, in nor­mal win­ter con­di­tions, from Den­ver to: Vail 2h; Glenwood 3h; Ri­fle 4h; Ou­ray 6h; Tel­luride 7h; Du­rango 7h.

SEA­SONS

This moun­tain range is sub­jected to the same tempo as the Alps: although the first frosty falls can be climbed as early as late Oc­to­ber over a par­tic­u­larly early win­ter, the ice climb­ing sea­son in the Rock­ies gen­er­ally be­gins mid-De­cem­ber, to end late March. Cer­tain high-altitude and north­ern lines can be climbed up to late April.

CON­DI­TIONS

As far as we know, there is no up-to-date site on ice con­di­tions in Colorado. http://www.moun­tain­pro­ject.com/ es­sen­tially con­tains ac­counts of climb­ing out­ings via which some in­for­ma­tion on con­di­tions can be gleaned. >Colorado Avalanche In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter :

geo­sur­vey.state.co.us/avalanche >Météo : weather.com ; ac­cuweather.com

Tel: (303) 639 1111 ; www.cotrip.org

AC­COM­MO­DA­TION, FOOD AND EQUIP­MENT

All sites de­scribed are in the vicin­ity of a conur­ba­tion of­fer­ing a range of ac­com­mo­da­tion and cater­ing so­lu­tions (shops or restau­rants). Mo­tels are more ex­pen­sive in ski­ing re­sorts – so driv­ing a few miles fur­ther afield can prove prof­itable. In his topo­graph­i­cal guide, Jack Roberts lists good value for money ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions for each spot popular among climbers. And if you tell them you are a climber, you can even ben­e­fit from a re­duc­tion of up to 20%. Worth a try, no? Tech­ni­cal equip­ment stores also abound and Jack’s topo in­cludes a list.

EQUIP­MENT

A nor­mal rack of equip­ment should gen­er­ally suf­fice, the same as you would need for ice falls in the Alps, cer­tain ap­proaches are more alpine and re­quire a skis/skins kit or snow­shoes + DVA/spade/probe.

SEC­TORS

On In­ter­state 70 to the west of Den­ver. 30 lines of ice and mixed climb­ing with a max­i­mum of one or two pitches. Dif­fi­culty WI 4 to 6+ and M6 to M13+. Not to be missed: RigidDes­ig­na­tor, TheFang, Oc­to­pussy, Fat­man&Robin.

On In­ter­state 70, on hour from Vail. Only 6 lines, but beau­ti­ful and his­toric ones. Not to be missed: Hid­denFalls. Be­ware – the sun can prove danger­ous on Glen­woodFalls, sev­eral ac­ci­dents.

On In­ter­state 70, a good half-hour from Glenwood. Ten one-pitch ice falls and steep and com­plex cigars within a gorge. Not to be missed: all of them!

On In­ter­state 70, barely half an hour from Ri­fle. Half a dozen clas­si­cal ice falls of vary­ing dif­fi­culty and ac­ces­si­bil­ity. Not to be missed: ParachuteCreekFalls.

Red­stone. Twenty min­utes to the south­west of Carbondale on the 133. A good dozen ice falls, most of them rel­a­tively short, but the ap­proach is too. Not to be missed: TheDrool, Red­stonePi­lar.

On the “grand junc­tion” be­tween In­ter­state 70 and High­way 50. Six one-pitch lines lo­cated on Colorado’s red rocks. Not to be missed: MrMesa, sect. Gran Mesa.

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