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The Blue Mesa area offers a handful of quality climbs that are worth adding to anyone's list. Tucked into the narrow Black Canyon of the Gunnison the lack of direct sunlight and cold temps keep many of these climbs in throughout winter. Overlooking Morrow Point Reservoir the setting is spectacular. Steep canyon walls and emerald green water provide the backdrop for some truly enjoyable climbing. Somewhat out of the way, you will likely have the climb, if not the entire area, to yourself. Climbing in Blue Mesa makes a great way to break up the drive from the front range to the Ouray/Silverton areas.
It should be noted upfront that it is necessary to cross private property to get to most of these climbs. Most routes can be scouted from CO Highway 92, approximately 4.5-5 miles west of the turnoff from US Highway 50 (which is about 30 minutes west of the town of Gunnison). The first and most obvious climb on the south rim is Blue Mesa Smear with several others forming less consistently to the west. Once you identify your landmarks through your binoculars get back on US 50 heading west for about 4.3 miles from the intersection with CO Highway 92 and take a right on old US 50 (labeled 50E in the gazetteer) near the base of a small hill. A couple hundred yards down the road you will pass a ranch house on the right. If you see someone home, ask permission to walk on their property. 200 yards or so past this house the road wraps around the small hill somewhat protecting you from the line of sight from US 50. Park here. For some, the crux of the climb may be committing past the many posted signs and climbing over the barbed-wire fence lining the road. All of the climbs will take you through a small sage-brush mesa to the north, leading down to one of several drainages. Two ropes are needed for the rappel.
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Blue Mesa (near Gunnison):
Featured Route For Blue Mesa (near Gunnison)
268 WI4-5 CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : South Rim
This outstanding free standing pillar is a hidden jem of Colorado water ice. When it forms all the way to the ground #268 is like a little Rigid Designator but without the crowds or interstate noise. Nestled in the west side of the beautiful canyon halfway to the Morrow Point Dam on the Gunnison River (about a mile north of Newberry's Store in Cimarron, Co). Named for the old #268 narrow gauge train engine that graces the approach to the ice, this climb presents a unique...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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