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 ADVANCED
South Rim
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Blue Balls 

WI4

   
Type:  Trad, Ice, 2 pitches, 350', Grade II
Consensus: WI4 [details]
FA: 
Season: Winter
Page Views: 598
Submitted By: mtoensing on Oct 25, 2010

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BETA PHOTO: The very start of the first pitch. Variations of s...

Description 

This is a great ice climb close to Gunnison. It neighbors other climbs such as Blue Mesa Smear and The Real Blue Creek ice climbs. A perk of this route as with other routes in the area is low avalanche danger, not to say that is completely safe but very safe compared to other Colorado ice climbs.

Pitch 1- crux pitch, short steep section and then a great section of easier climbing. We did a full 60m pitch to where we left our rap anchor on a tree and belayed there. (WI4 but potential for a harder pitch if you are motivated.)

Pitch 2- Easy, easy climbing about WI 2-3. Belay off of tree near the top where the gully starts.

Location 

This route can be scoped from CO HW 92 near Pioneer Point to see if it is in. Also, from scoping the line, you can pinpoint the correct drainage to descend when trespassing on private property.

Two ways of getting there. First, from Gunnison, drive west on US Hwy 50 and pass the dam and turn off for CO Hwy 92. Drive about 4 or 5 more miles until you reach old US Hwy 50. Get your skis on and jump the barb wire fence with angry "No Trespassing" signs. There is an old orange house out there with very little windows. The drainage is a little on the left, but not all the way left as that is Blue Creek. The drainage on the right is the Blue Mesa Smear. It is best to drive around to Pioneer Point and scope the drainage. The second way of approaching this climb is to drive to Pioneer Point off of CO Hwy 92 and peer over and see if the reservoir is frozen. If it is, descend the hiking trail and cross the ice (ice skates would be awesome, we saw ice skaters down there when we climbed this route) and then hike up the drainage to the ice.

Descend either using v-threads or trees and cross the ice to the trail.

Protection 

Screws.


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By mtoensing
From: Boulder
Oct 25, 2010

This climb is listed in the Colorado Ice book as being WI3 and 50m. This climb is 2 full rope lengths so closer to 120m (I know I put 350 ft on this page, but it is about 400 ft). If you are planning on climbing both pitches, then this climb is harder than WI3, so don't become confused with the guidebook beta.

Also, don't get caught trespassing and give ice climbers a bad rep with the locals. There are other ways of getting there without trespassing.