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Glenwood Canyon Ice
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Alcatraz 

M11

   
Type:  Trad, Mixed, 2 pitches
Consensus: M7- [details]
FA: Rich Purnell
Season: mid-late winter
Page Views: 2,554
Submitted By: rich purnell on Jan 1, 2005

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Alcatraz. Note the climber in red.

Description 

One of the biggest and best quality mixed lines anywhere - steep climbing to an ice dagger. The rating is somewhat confusing but if you climb or are aspiring to climb at the high end of the current m-system then this route is a must do! Park at the Shoshone Hydro Plant in GW Canyon. From there you will see the climb or roof high on the south hill. Depending on the weather you may be able to cross the river at Shoshone or you will have to walk up river possibly 1 mile to cross then hike back down the RR tracks. There is a blue rope tied to a tree to mark the approach gully, 3rd class scramble to start. Allow 2 hours for the approach (dep. on weather) bring jugging gear as there is a jug for the last 300' gully.

Protection 

14 very well spaced bolts. No anchors so down climb the ice dagger or put in a screw and lower.

A little history 

This was a route that I actually noticed and wanted to climb in 1995 (my first ice year). It took many years before I actually had the talent to start the project. After my send of the famous M13 route 'The Game' in Canada early in 2004, I knew that I was ready for this and thought that Colorado desperately needed a BIG route as well. Anyway, in the late winter of 2004, I tried to access the ledge the route sits on, but was thwarted by the big cliff below it (tried twice post holing for hours uphill). In the summer of 2004, Eric Malmgren and myself climbed a pitch of choss to reach the ledge and started drilling that day. We ended up fixing over 300 feet of static line for the approach, almost a whole spool. It wasn't long till I was on the project by myself due to Eric being demotivated by the sight of all the blood that I spewed after my front point pierced my forearm (he had a lot of work to do as well). For the rest of the summer, I made the 300 mile round trip from my home in Denver alone. Most of the time my damn drill died out after 2 bolts, so it took many many trips just to bolt the thing. Imagine driving for 3 hours one way, then hiking for an hour just to drill in one to two bolts. Then, there was always the fiasco of finally getting to Shoshone but not being able to cross the river or waiting for the locomotive to pass by so you can access the trail. Oh and list goes on. Anyway, it's a great BIG route (biggest cave I have ever stood in) with great moves and an amazing setting. We even noticed bald eagles here on occasions. This route was originally graded by the comparison to the routes in the Cineplex, thus it is hard and wild and worth the trip.


Photos of Alcatraz Slideshow Add Photo
Alcatraz from Shoshone Hydro.
Alcatraz from Shoshone Hydro.

Comments on Alcatraz Add Comment
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By Anonymous Coward
Feb 16, 2005

Biggest routes anywhere? Isn't it only one pitch? Leave a screw?..... Ever heard of a V-thread? Why no anchor anyways?...... You already slammed home 14 bolts, what's another couple? It is a nice lookin' route though. Congrats!
By ac
Feb 17, 2005

Will Gadd downgraded this from M14 to M11; he did say it is a fantastic route though.
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 31, 2005

M11, M14 all mixed climbing is aid anyway....
By rich purnell
Jun 22, 2005

THE [Will Gadd]?
By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Feb 15, 2007

At the moment, the database doesn't seem to allow for grades above M11. We can fix that with time....
By seth0687
From: Fort Collins
Dec 26, 2008

The Alpinist calendar for this year still rates this climb at M14...does anyone have any beta on this? Not that I can climb this, but just curious for info's sake.
By Michael Schneiter
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Dec 27, 2008

What kind of beta are you looking for that isn't already included above?