St. Vrain Falls
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St. Vrain falls, Feburary 17, 2007. Fun, easy lead...
This little, low-altitude ice can form up to provide a fun, easy-access, beginner climb. It is easily found and easily viewed. It lies a mere 5.4 miles West of Lyons on CO 7 (in the Narrows). A brief creek crossing is required but with low water this entails a mere hopping of a half-dozen small boulders. The climbing starts virtually out of the river, hopefully, you can flake out your rope on ice inches above the creek. However, due to its low altitude, the ice can be poorly bonded to the rock or even melt out mid season. Some ice can form perhaps 100 feet upstream. It is somewhat reminiscent of the ice of Clear Creek, in particular, the occasionally-forming 1st flow.
This can be done as a 1 or 2 pitch climb. There are 3 trees for possible belays and/or rappels. The first section goes at an easy WI2 and flattens out to a nice potential belay spot at 100 feet up. Down and left is a tree used for a 90 foot rappel to the creek. There is a boulder with a sling around it. An ice screw and slinging a small boulder can work for an anchor. The next step is likely the crux as the ice steepens and narrows for perhaps 10 feet. In warm, leaner conditions, this can feel like WI3-. If you don't want to put a screw in this narrow pillar, you can place a green Alien to the right in a slot. At perhaps 150 feet, there is an optional belay tree on the right with a nest of slings. You can continue another 50 feet as the ice narrows in a groove to another tree above. There is a bit of lower angle ice above. It did not appear worth the bushwhacking.
To exit, you can rappel any of these trees or downclimb. From the 3rd (top) tree, it is a 100 foot rap to the 1st belay. A careful traverse on sloping dirt brings you to the 1st tree or there is a slung boulder on the left. It is 90 feet to the creek. Watch your rope if you are heading elsewhere to satisfy your appetite.
Fat conditions: ice screws.
Lean conditions: 2-4 stubbies (13 cm) in lean conditions plus 2-4 mediums (16, 17, or 19 cm). Optional green Alien.
A 60m rope is nice.
From Denver, head NW on US 36 through Boulder to Lyons. Head South and then West on CO 7 at its intersection on the West side of Lyons. Drive 5.4 miles up S. St. Vrain canyon. There is ample parking at a pullout on the N side of the road. Walk 2 minutes to the climb. If there isn't ice to walk across the creek, you can do a boulder hop to an ice/snow shelf. Poles can be useful for that.
BETA PHOTO: 1/4/3.
On 3/9/12, it took medium screws on the lower bit ...
Deb whacking away above the crux.
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