|West of Peak to Peak - Middle St. Vrain
This is a fickle climb that invites an explore on the slopes above Camp Dick. It has only been visibly "in" 2 of 6 looks. Nonetheless, it's an interesting wander. Find this treat lying above the South-facing slopes just NW of Camp Dick just up road from Peaceful Valley in the Upper St. Vrain drainage just off the Peak to Peak highway.
From the intersection of CO Hwy 7 and CO Hwy 72, go a few miles south to the Peaceful Valley turnoff heading west. During the winter, this road is blocked off. Apparently, some folks snowmobile up the road, but the majority of folks are skiing and snowshoeing up this road. Camp Dick lies just less than a mile up this nearly-flat road. Go just past Camp Dick, look North, spy this swath of ice just right of a pretty chunk of granite. Wander basically north, across the creek, across of boulder field, up the slope to the ice. It seemed like it had minimal avalanche risk. Note, it looks bigger than reality from the road. Expect to use more time off the road than on the road. Pick a cloudy day. This chocolate treat has a low melting point.
This is a freeze up of a [decent] flow of water over a rock slab. This climb has 3 short near-vertical steps of perhaps 10, 10, and 5 feet separated by lower angled ramps of hollow ice with a variety of choices for exact line for the lower 2/3 of the climb. Beware that the ice can be thin to non-existent over the tops of the steps. In the conditions we climbed it, you hop up onto the small ledge system above the last step. From here, move right and hop up a series of ledges. Some frozen moss/dirt exists here, but otherwise don't swing. There is a #0.5 & #1 Camalot slot in the middle of the running water of the second ledge. There are slots under the rock overlap near the top for the #0.75 Camalot and yellow and red Aliens. A delicate move of smearing crampons on the rocks slabs with a pick in a clump of frozen dirt as you reach up for the vegetation above feels like the crux. The first climbers through this vegetation had thoughts of calling this climb "Jungle Love." The anchor is a slung tree with a link and a rap ring, 110 feet.
A 60m rope works to reach the ground with rope stretch on rappel.
For anyone who likes to whine, don't bother checking this climb out.
There may be a mixed line formed on the next rock formation to the east.
Lean conditions - 4 ice screws (probably mediums) plus cams #0.5, #0.75, #1 Camalots plus red and yellow Aliens. Fat conditions - 7-8 ice screws.
2 pairs of gloves for warmer conditions.
|By Deb Thompson|
Dec 22, 2005
From the road, it looks fat and blue with extra tiers of ice below the usual start. Note, it does face south.
|By Bernard Gillett|
Mar 10, 2003
Deb's right about choosing a cloudy day for this route; make sure it's been cold for a few days prior to a visit as well. I've seen it in pretty thick only to fall down a couple of warm days later. On the other hand, it does re-form quickly with cold weather as it appears to be spring-fed. We thought the crux at the top (which also had no ice when we climbed it) was more like M3/3+... I don't recall moving right at the top (straight up?), but the crux is just as Deb described - short, but pretty skimpy holds on a bald slab. Can descend to the east, then down a little icy gully back to the base. The FA was probably done years ago (we did it in 2001, but I'd bet it's been climbed way before that).