Clear Creek Canyon (CCC) is aptly situated along Clear Creek, just west of Golden.
Several sites along US 6 in Clear Creek Canyon between Golden and Black Hawk produce surprisingly fun ice climbs in a casual setting. Some of the climbs in the upper canyon form consistently every year, while others at lower elevations form up less frequently. All the climbs except for those in the Aqueduct area are formed by natural drainages that feed Clear Creek. All climbs are on the left side of the road, on the opposite side of the creek on the northern aspect where they are shaded from the sun most of the day. Therefore, the ice tends to be clear water ice.
The easy access of these climbs from the road and their proximity to the Denver Area, make these climbs some of the most popular and crowded climbs on the Front Range. Be patient and considerate of other parties on the ice. Wear your helmet, belay out of the way of the path of icefall, call your falling ice, and always be aware of other parties. All of the climbs in Clear Creek Canyon are capable of being toproped, but also make for exciting beginner leads. Even if you arrive first, donít hog the ice with grid topropes that you arenít climbing on. Allow others to solo or lead past when you are not occupying your lines. These climbs are an incredible resource that we all can share.
According to Dylan Waller, there is a south-facing ice climb that forms in Mayhem Gulch in certain conditions.
From Denver, head out on 6th Ave. and exit into Golden. Turn left on US 6 into the canyon. Pullouts can be found along the highway, and most approaches are about 5-10 minutes.
From Boulder, the best way to reach Clear Creek Canyon is to take CO Highway 93 (Broadway) straight south for about 25 minutes into Golden. Then take a right, heading west on Highway 6 into Clear Creek Canyon.
Per Brian Tessier: From the intersection of US 6/6th Ave, CO 58 and CO Highway 93 in Golden. Head west on US 6 towards Central City and Blackhawk. Aqueduct flows on left before tunnel #1. Beer Gardens on left at 2.8 miles. Coors Lite on left at 3.8 miles. Mickey's Bigmouth on left at 4.3 miles. (+/- on the mileage).
FYI, CO State Patrol has been put on notice by their head person due to too many complaints for those who drive US 6 through CCC. So, they have up to 4 patrollers ticketing speeders at a time. The speed limit is 40 mph through the entire canyon!
Tickets for 55 mph cost 4 points and $170.
This is a work in progress...finally, eh? Thanks for your patience.
By Leo Paik Administrator From: Westminster, Colorado Nov 20, 2001
Don't lick your picks or eat the ice from the aqueduct from Clear Creek. I got Giardia from this across by doing this from some routes across from the 1st tunnel last year. The worst part about it was that I didn't get symptomatic until I was just below Chasm Lake on the way to do Alexander's or Smear.
For those who can't quite get up to the Park, we'll save ya the look see. Clear Creek's traditional flows uphill (Mickey's?) and downhill (Coors?) from Little Eiger are virtually dry. Couple of icicles on the downhill one. There is a bit of ice at the 1st tunnel making for a couple 25-30 foot TR dribbles (M5 and a bit ice to a rock overhang) but it won't tolerate too many ascents. Unfortunately, it seems all the water is diverted from the aqueduct into the creek upstream from the climbs.
I went rock climbing on 11-17 in Clear Creek and I was able to check out the ice climbing spots. What I saw was very little ice and that it was mostly wet rock.
By Leo Paik Administrator From: Westminster, Colorado Jan 23, 2003
1/23/3 update: With Matt's report, was itching to see Clear Creek. Believe it or not there is some ice up on the N side just past the 1st tunnel. Not worth the effort, mind you. The 1st flow (WI2-) in the trees is actually in. The ice is not solid over the river. The long flow (unknown name) from a number of years back is not in. The 2nd flow (Coors...) is meager. Matt told me he did play on some dry tooling heinous (for me) stuff up on the upper pitch about 2 weeks ago. The 3rd flow (Mickey's) has ice. However, pitch one is not in good lead condition. Perhaps a delicate TR. Yeah, and that boulder with the 2 bolts does not seem well anchored/frozen in. The 2nd pitch is in much better, as a wide flow tapering to a runnel. Not like 2 years ago where it was a fat curtain. WI3-. Oh yeah, next one up there should bring a link or two. One of the anchor rings has a crampon or tool chunk taken out of it. Didn't notice til I had to rap.Maybe a bolt anchor would be better (if anyone out there has a decent drill).
Climbed Coors Lite today. The bottom was really fat probably the fattest I have seen, the short middle section was wet, and the upper section was not in great shape - pretty beat up and old, brittle ice. The left side is not really in and the right side can be hooked. Be careful not to break off the few remaining ice cycles on the left side of the upper section.
I went up last night and discovered that the pipe is gone?!? No more farmed ice above Mickey's??? Anyone know why? It's just the original cascade again.... It's in enough to climb... but it's not as fun as it used to be with the pipe pouring water everywhere!
Climbed Clear Creek this morning. The ice is filling back in with snow melt. The water was running pretty good on the left side of the upper falls and was very brittle on the right side. DId 7 pitches before the third group showed up.