||Ice, 1 pitch, 200'
|Consensus: ||WI3 [details]|
|Page Views: ||966|
|Submitted By: ||Chris Wenker on Mar 2, 2011|
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BETA PHOTO: The Cleft (WI3), Camp Bird Road, Ouray, CO. Photo...
From the road, you will first need to kick step and/or snow wallow up a couple hundred feet to the base of the ice pitch. Belay in a shallow alcove on the right. At the start of the ice, a length of black irrigation pipe was frozen into the route.
Both Burns (1997:177) and Roberts (2005:158) say the route is 200-250 feet long. For us, The Cleft actually only hosted about ~50 feet of ice, and then involved snow wallowing to the end of the rope. Maybe in a different year there's a longer stretch of vertical ice.
As you approach the Skylight area (but before you get to the Skylight
climb itself), The Cleft is the first big gully on the right just past the Poser's Lounge drytooling rockshelter.
From the road, looking way up into the Cleft you can see a large tree growing nearly horizontally out of the left canyon wall. The climb ends somewhere underneath there.
A couple of screws, maybe a light rock rack in thin conditions.
About 30 feet up the ice pitch, there is a steel cable strung through a little rock overhang on the right; some leaver-biners on the cable suggest its past use as a rap station. But this station is located only about 1/2 of the way through the ice pitch.
Instead, both Burns and Roberts say to rappel the route off trees. But, at ~50m, getting over to the obvious tree on the left looked sketchy in the snow conditions we found. That tree would make a solid rap station if you can reach it (but I didn't see any slings on it).
Alternately, at 60m (directly below the overhead powerlines), you may find some blobs of ice; you can v-thread or bollard those. Otherwise...keep going up to some other unseen trees?