The ice in Big Thompson Canyon is some of the more popular ice in Colorado. The easy approach and very nice moderate climbing make this a good place to learn to climb or lead. There are two, regularly-forming, distinct pitches here with a short but fun step along the approach. In addition, there are more ice climbs that can form in the vicinity of the Beige Siphon Tube and the next 1.5 miles upstream with the right conditions. Definitely can be a fun place, especially for locals. It may not be worth the drive for non-locals.
Big Thompson Canyon is along US 34 between Loveland and Estes Park. To reach the ice, look for the handicapped fishing access sign. The ice is fairly high on the hillside on the south side of the canyon near here. Crossing the Big Thompson is the crux in early season before the river is frozen over.
Pitch one: Climb the Ice slab up the middle for 50 feet, then up the steeper left side for 20 feet (a couple of options at WI2+). Will take screws. Walks up the drainage to the next falls. (90 feet?)Pitch two: Mutiple variations up short steep sections broken with good stances. The flow is 30 feet wide, we went up just right of center trying to take the steepest part (WI3). This pitch is 80 feet.A nice climb if you don't mind the long steep hike. This climb is in the sun most of the day (a...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
12-28-04-falls are in really good. Surprisingly I was able to walk across the river without any difficulty. Ice was very plastic and hardlly chopped up at all. I'm sure this will change with any colder weather.
Climbed at Big Thompson on 2/19/06. Lower section still not in and will not come in at all this year. I'm curious as to why the lower section comes in great one year and not at all the next? Upper section in good..left side has the best ice, middle section is slowly forming and right side is thin.
New area found! Approx 200yds past the Dam Store on the left side of the road about 100yds up, a nice section of ice has formed up due to the recent cold snap. 3 distinguished sections of ice have formed up nicely. WI3 to 5 for 30' to 50' I climbed the main section WI4 for 35' on 2/20/06 with Allen Simons and Joe Stiles. This area is melting rapidly. Pictures to come soon.....
Climbed the upper falls at Big Thompson ice today. There is enough ice on the Big Thompson River so you can cross over to the gully that leads to the ice. The ice was in pretty good for the upper falls and no ice was present for the lower falls. If the cold weather stays for several more days, the ice on the left side should get much thicker due to the water running down the ice. The right side of the upper falls was quite brittle.
Well, two things are probably happening here: Until last week, it had been relatively warm up here with temperatures not dropping below freezing at night. Usually these falls do not come into shape until the end of Dec. even when it is cold and wet outside.
As well, we are in a drought; despite what the media and developers say about our water problem. Bear Lake at 9500' in RMNP is showing a total of 7.5 inches of water there for the entire year. Less than 20 inches is considered a "desert ecosystem", and we had little or no moisture up here between January and July this last year with some good rainstorms in the summer that unfortunately don't reach everywhere and in the end leave little water for consumption, ice, forest health, etc.
And the forecast is for a low moisture winter again....
I haven't been to the Big Thomson Flow yet this season, but I went a few times last season... There's a log to get across the river... it's a little sketch, but it's doable. The approach is very steep but it's quick. When we went last time, my friends were able to do both ice and mixed climbing. Enjoy!
Rumor has it Big Thompson is in and not too bad of shape. I was talking to a couple of guys from Fort Collins this morning while climbing and they said it was in and in good shape. Have not been there this year yet to confirm it.
Climbed lower and upper falls evening of 3/16/12. Warm weather made for exciting river x-ing. Lower falls was in but sounding a bit hollow. Upper still in but a lot of melting going on. It was 55 degrees up there at 7pm.