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First Gully 


Type:  Trad, Ice, 4 pitches, Grade II
Consensus: WI3 [details]
FA: ??
Season: Winter
Page Views: 3,044
Submitted By: Joe Keyser on Feb 14, 2004

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Joe leading the first pitch. Photo by Scott.


This climb is across the valley from Stairway to Heaven, and slightly up the valley about .1 miles. When we climbed it, the road was plowed up to Eureka Gulch (about 1 mile before the climb). In this condition, the approach went easily by branching off to the left right from the car, instead of following tracks right, towards STH. Approaching from this side prevented us from having to slog through the bottom of the valley from the STH approach. We walked quickly beneath a few slopes, but they seemed safe enough. Approach conditions vary I'm sure.

The route is about 4-5 pitches of rolling, lower angled ice. Mostly in the WI3 range, but kept us on our toes since the ice was fresh, and thin in some spots. In the conditions we found, there were sections of steep snow, and alpine ice (frozen snow) between the blue stuff. There appear to be a couple different variations after the first two pitches, all fairly moderate but some thin spots.

Look for slung root systems at the end of pitches 1, and 2, and a frozen in sling (frozen to what?!)/piton anchor at the end of pitch three.

Our slow party of three bailed before the last pitch since one of our party was getting cold. The last pitch did look fun, blue and low angled. But even still, the first few pitches were worth while, very scenic and enjoyable. Very good cruiser of a climb. Nothing too hard, scary, or technical, just good fun, and great views.


Several screws, and slings. Bring some rock gear in case the anchors aren't viseable. We used a rock anchor at the end of pitch one and two, but found solid anchors with slings on the way back down.

Toprope Protection 


Photos of First Gully Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff following pitch 3, photo by Scott.  The pitch...
Jeff following pitch 3, photo by Scott. The pitch...
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo showing the route First gully from the base....
BETA PHOTO: Photo showing the route First gully from the base....
Rock Climbing Photo: Second belay.  What a nice day!!!
Second belay. What a nice day!!!
Rock Climbing Photo: Another view of pitch one.  Photos by Scott.
Another view of pitch one. Photos by Scott.
Rock Climbing Photo: The route from the ground.
The route from the ground.
Rock Climbing Photo: 4th pitch - the lower pitches are super easy, this...
4th pitch - the lower pitches are super easy, this...

Comments on First Gully Add Comment
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By Eddy Daly a.k.a. Two Bears
Nov 23, 2004

Climbed 2nd Gully on Sat., 11-20. Ice was quite healthy with only a few thin spots. Upper portion of route wet and soft (a result of a very late start), but firmed up nicely on the crepuscular descent.Stairway looked thin but doable, Highway to Hell likewise. Hosers' coming along. Bad Ass Pencil, Eureka Gulch and the like not there yet. Avalanche danger was non-existant but ther is an avalanche warning in effect for the San Juans as I write, due to recent storm activity. Cheers.
By aaron voreis
Dec 3, 2004

Be very aware of the avalanche conditions in Silverton and all other areas of colorado. You may not get this lucky

accident report:
By Chacal
Dec 2, 2013

This route has bolted anchors as well as a well slung tree atop first pitch on the right.

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