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Loch Vale & vicinity

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Alberta Falls Wall 
Loch Vale & uphill 
Loch Vale Gorge 
Parking Lot Ice 
World Cup Wall 

Loch Vale & vicinity  

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Elevation: 10,000'
Location: 40.29242, -105.65711 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 348,715
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Malcolm Daly on Oct 24, 2006
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34° | 17°
Partly Cloudy
28° | 18°
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32° | 25°
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35° | 28°
Snow Showers
33° | 21°
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Wham, Zowie, and Sharkstooth as seen from the Wham...


This is an organizational entry to help clean up the database.

The cliffs bordering the east and north sides of Thatchtop offer the most consistent, accessible and greatest variety of ice climbs in the park. Low angle slabs, thin mixed climbs, free-hanging icicles, top roping and pure ice falls abound here. This is also the most crowded area in the park, and it is not uncommon to see 15-25 parties in the area when the ice is "in". Classic routes are everywhere: Mixed Feelings gives you the chance to try dry-tooling to a free hanging pillar is a fairly safe environment; the Curtains are a perfect top-rope area. If you're lucky, the Glacier Knobs right above the parking lot, will have some long thin smears coming down, and you'll save the hike AND entertain the tourists. Some of these have been entered under World Cup Wall by Greg Sievers.

Farther up the valley, above timberline, you'll find more routes on Thatchtop (Necrophilia has to be the best mixed climb in its category), the permanent snowfields of Powell-Thatchtop (summer routes), the fine mixed routes on Powell, like the Vanquished, routes on Mt. Taylor, possibly routes in the Cathedral Spires area (?), routes on the Cathedral Wall, and routes just above Loch Vale. These are listed under the Loch Vale & uphill section, for now.

Getting There 

From the eastern side of RMNP, drive up the Bear Lake Rd to Glacier Gorge's parking lot, about 1 mile short of its terminus. From here, hike uphill about 0.3 miles. Go left to the 2nd bridge. At this point, you have 3 choices. Efficiency is likely determined by how much snow & which trails have been stomped down. The climber's trails go after the 2nd bridge either at the bottom of the drainage (sometimes the deepest snow, sometimes the best ski) or the along the left side of the drainage, climbing to as much as 100' above its bottom on a summer trail. The longest trail goes along the widest summer trail past Alberta Falls (typically buried in snow, at most WI1) to junction of the trail that splits towards Mill's Lake & Glacier Gorge. The climber's trails join here. Follow the signs towards Loch Vale. For Loch Vale Gorge, hike the trail until you get to a tight switchback, then drop down & left. For climbs Loch Vale & above, continue up the summer trail to Loch Vale & beyond!

Climbing Season

Weather station 9.5 miles from here

60 Total Routes

['4 Stars',9],['3 Stars',17],['2 Stars',29],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Loch Vale & vicinity:
Necrophilia   WI4-5 M5-6 R     Trad, Mixed, Ice   Loch Vale & uphill
Lochluster   WI3     Trad, Ice   Loch Vale Gorge
Free Strike Zone   WI5 M7+     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch, 110'   Loch Vale Gorge
The Crypt   WI4     Trad, Ice   Loch Vale & uphill
R of Lochluster   WI4-     TR, Ice, 1 pitch, 75'   Loch Vale Gorge
Freezer Burn   WI4     Ice, 1 pitch, 60'   Loch Vale & uphill
Timberline Falls   WI3     Trad, Ice, 2 pitches, 100'   Loch Vale & uphill
L of Lochluster   WI4 M4     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch, 110'   Loch Vale Gorge
Central Buttress   WI5 M6 Steep Snow R     Trad, Mixed, Ice, Snow, 11 pitches, 1200'   Loch Vale & uphill
Taylor Glacier        Trad, 1200'   Loch Vale & uphill
Crystal Meth   WI4-5     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 100'   Loch Vale Gorge
Deep Freeze   WI5-6 M5 R     Trad, Mixed, Ice   Loch Vale & uphill
Brain Freeze   M5+ Steep Snow     Mixed, Snow, 8 pitches, 1000'   Loch Vale & uphill
Mixed Left of Mo Flo (aka "Big Girl Pants")   WI4- M5 R     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch, 45'   Loch Vale Gorge
The Petit Gully   M5+     Trad, Mixed, 6 pitches, 800'   Loch Vale & uphill
Wham Couloir   M4 Easy Snow     Trad, Mixed, Snow, 3 pitches, 800'   Loch Vale & uphill
Mixed Feelings   WI4 M4     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch, 100'   Loch Vale Gorge
Quicksilver   M3+ Mod. Snow R     Trad, Mixed, Snow, 1000'   Loch Vale & uphill
Northwest Face Route - Thatchtop or Northeast Gully?   WI3-4     Trad, Ice, 5 pitches   Loch Vale & uphill
M5? hand crack   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a WI4+ M5 R     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch, 45'   Loch Vale Gorge
Browse More Classics in Loch Vale & vicinity

Featured Route For Loch Vale & vicinity
Mixed Emotions.

Mixed Feelings WI4 M4  CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : Loch Vale Gorge
This is an excellent route when it is in condition. Approach as for Loch Vale ice climbs and continue around to the east face of the Loch Vale ice climbing area. Hike up the snow to a point where the traverse crack is obvious. The route traverses out this crack to the right and then climbs up to the ice curtain on its left. You then move right, onto the ice, and go for the top....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Local Information for Loch Vale & vicinity
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East Face of Taylor Mtm taken from Arrowhead summi...
East Face of Taylor Mtm taken from Arrowhead summi...

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By Rodney Ley
Nov 29, 2009
Visited Loch Vale ice flows on Saturday, November 28. Not in on right side or Mixed Feelings (almost nothing touching the ground--if you climb it please be gentle). Mo Flo Than Go was in about 50% of max, a little water here and there, okay spot for two teams who cooperate (thanks guys from Golden). Needs a little more freezing and fattening.