Stairway to Heaven
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BETA PHOTO: Photo taken early morning 2/14/04.
This is a classic, stepped moderate...beautiful, big, fat, blue! and 900+ feet. Just pick very stable snow conditions for this one. Go up the road past Silverton to Eureka as far as it is plowed. This obvious line lies across the drainage. Contour 20 minutes to the base. Belay out of the line of fire.
P1. 1st pitch is 60m of fat blue gets you to a good stance. 55m gets you to a tree belay.
P2. Fun, thinner variations right exist on the 2nd pitch.
P3. 3rd pitch is 55m of steeper, big blue leads to a semi-hanging belay.
P4. 4th pitch is 60m starting with lower-angled waves and then snow lead you to the base of the 5th pitch. Great place to soak up rays here.
P5. 5th pitch stretches 60m of beautiful, photogenic blue (can be wet). Steeper lines to the left. Here you can walk off left, v-thread, or....
P6-7. Head up 2 more WI3 pitches above. Beware on the walkoff of unstable snow. Goes into the sun in the afternoon.
Consider a spare key, should you wind up being the last party out & the cold temperatures make your car key brittle....
Bunch of screws & lack of brains.
1st pitch 2/00.
2nd pitch 2/00.
3rd pitch 2/00.
The start of P3. The crux of the entire climb on ...
Stairway 3rd Pitch
5th pitch 2/00.
6th/7th pitches 2/00.
You can see the potential avalanche danger from sl...
STH in great shape on Feb 14th, 2004.
Photo taken from First Gully on 2/14/04. Photo by...
BETA PHOTO: Jan.'06 good ice, 1 wet pitch.
STH on Sunday Nov., 6th.
No Avalanche Danger!
BETA PHOTO: Conditions 12-8-06
All ice in, minimal snow on app...
BETA PHOTO: March 10, 2008.
Stairway from top of 2nd Gully.
BETA PHOTO: Stairway to Heaven of Left, Highway to Hell on Rig...
BETA PHOTO: Phat condition 2/15/09.
Stairway from across the valley.
Boots Barto starting the first pitch.
Lenticulars above the San Juans.
Climber on the 4th pitch on a busy day. Can you sa...
K.N. going up the Stairway (3rd pitch).
Joe Tebbe leading, pitch 1, Stairway to Heaven, 2-...
V-thread rap, good stuff, lol.
"Stairway to Heaven" WI 4, Joe Tebbe leads pitch ...
Thomas Kelly on approach, early 2000.
|Comments on Stairway to Heaven
From: Durango, CO
Feb 12, 2013
Climbed this amazingly beautiful line on Feb. 7th. The first pitch was a little thin and looked like it would be difficult to protect with screws, so we hiked around left to the base of what I understand is the 3rd pitch. The ice on this had a thin layer of crusty ice followed by a 3" snow layer followed by solid - a little scary to climb/protect but doable for those well versed in leading WI4. After that, the ice was BOMBPROOF and spectacular the whole way up. Avy conditions were a little high still this time of year, and with the snow piling up higher each week, be cautions - as always. We skirted/slid down the avy gully for a quick exit, but what can I say, I'm a little foolish at times and this is not advised.
|By Julian Smith|
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Feb 19, 2002
Stairway to Heaven is in really good. The ice is in good condition, with the upper flow being nice plastic. The middle flow, maybe 3rd pitch or so, is the crux of the route, but is easiest on the right. The snow is pretty deep on the approach. The decent was not too bad with regards to avalanche conditions. I screwed up and left my climbing gloves at the base. Don't know who the other folks were that I shared the route with, but if you picked them up, please drop me a line. Many thanks. Cheers.
|By evan freeman|
From: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Dec 3, 2002
As of 12 days ago Stairway was thin and running with water. I climbed the first pitch mixed... hopefully it's fattened up lately, but the weather has been warm.
|By evan freeman|
From: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Dec 9, 2002
Climbed it last Thursday. It's not as fat as the photo in the guidebook, but is fully in and a nice outing. The crux pitch is indeed vertical for a ways...
|By Anonymous Coward|
Dec 14, 2003
Stairway was in great shape Sunday-not too wet at all! Not a lot of snow makes the descent real easy....
|By Matt Ledges|
Feb 16, 2004
Tim and I finally sent this one on the 14th after being turned back last December. Everything came together, just one of those days...Blue sky, warm, no wind, quality ice, first party (of three) on the route. Snowshoes were helpful, though there wasn't much of the white stuff on the route. P1 starting to get a bit hacked out. P3 was the crux, felt like 4+. Could only get one good screw 8 feet into the 40 foot vertical start to the right. Lefthand start per Jack was the same. A bit chendeliered here, lots of air pockets. Tense. P5 fat, blue, plastic. A much welcomed finish. Reasonable walk-off and a sustained glissade down. Still smiling!
|By Tim Judkins|
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 16, 2004
Matt and I approached STH by crossing the drainage on a bridge near the cabin. We headed up from there and traversed northeast-ish to the climb. It may have been a bit quicker, but the normal approach is probably safer in terms of avoiding slides.
From: Garden of Gods
Feb 22, 2010
As of 2010 February 19, SWTH is in FAT!!! Unfortunately we picked a bad weekend to head down there. Avi danger went from considerable to high. We started climbing Whorehouse, but got hammered by very heavy spindrift that knocked me off.
|By Mark D.|
From: Santa Fe
Apr 21, 2010
This is a great route! Maybe it was the day, but when you have 300 meters of fat ice in mid April things are pretty good. T-shirt weather and sticky placements. Still steep though on Pitch 1, 3, 5.
|By Joe Tebbe|
Mar 3, 2011
This was my second back country lead on ice. The conditions were great!
I lead pitch 1 & 4, Tom lead pitch 2, and Mark lead pitch 3. At pitch 4, we decided to rappel because of ice melt from afternoon sun. Next time, start earlier in AM later in the season.
Jan 2, 2012
We got a bit of a late start heading up at 12:30 pm, but it ended up being a good day.