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The Squid 

WI5-6 M6-7

   
Type:  Mixed, Ice, Alpine, 2 pitches, 140', Grade III
Consensus: WI5-6 M6-7 [details]
FA: Duncan Ferguson, Douglas Snively, 1977
Season: November-March
Page Views: 4,907
Submitted By: Roy Leggett on May 3, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: The Squid formed as a pure ice route. January '05.

Description 

This is one of The Parks classic ice and mixed routes. Reference Glenn Randall's "Vertigo Games" for some history and cool shots. In that book (1983), The Squid is referred to as "perhaps the most spectacular single ice pitch in Colorado".

It can form as a pure ice route, or as a difficult mixed route, with two significantly different variations. The difficulties can range anywhere from Grade 4+ ice, to WI6 M7.

I have climbed the route as a pure ice route and have also done the right side mixed variation, though left mixed variation is more commonly "in" and usually climbed.

As a pure ice route, P.1 is an amazing pillar/curtain with sustained steep ice. However, due to the amount of sun that the route gets, it also often aerated and chandeliered ice.

P.2 is a moderate 40' pitch to the top of the wall.

As a mixed route, it is a difficult and somewhat runout, traditionally protected climb. The right side variation was perhaps the hardest and scariest single pitch I have ever climbed (Spring '05). Head up the wall beginning in a crack system 20 ft to the right of the dihedral. Runout M4/5 climbing leads to a downward overlap/flake that heads straight left back to the hanging ice. Climb difficult pick-locks, torquing and stein-pulls in the flake, with sparse feet (M7/7+). You will have to place the gear behind you as to not eat up the tool placements. This put us right at the beginning of the hanging ice (see photos). Strenuous campusing on ice was required to establish on the ice proper. SICK-BIRD!!


Location 

This route is located on the south face of Flattop, between Dream and Emerald Lake. If it is in, get below it and head uphill. Be aware of avalanche conditions on the approach slopes. ~1.5 h approach.

Descend by walking left (west) from the top.


Protection 

As an all ice route: Ice screws and a light rock rack for the belay atop P-1.
As a mixed route (right side): Rack to 2", heavier on the tips to finger sizes (grey to yellow TCU), ice screws.
Left side mixed (M6?): Rack to 4 inches....?, Screws.



Photos of The Squid Slideshow Add Photo
Steve Su about to gain the ice. March '05.
Steve Su about to gain the ice. March '05.
'98 The Squid subliming away and baked out.  Screws that day wouldn't have held a mouse.
'98 The Squid subliming away and baked out. Screw...
Roy Leggett on the start of pitch 1 (Jan '05). Very chandeliered ice on this day. Photo by Steve Su.
Roy Leggett on the start of pitch 1 (Jan '05). Ver...
GS finishing the wetpumpfest. 12-8-07
GS finishing the wetpumpfest. 12-8-07
John Marrs getting it done in the '80s! <br />Straight shaft tools and good ol' Chouinard ice screws! (Check the screw wratchet on a sling.) <br />The Squid, WI 5. CLASSIC!
John Marrs getting it done in the '80s!
Straight s...
Pulling wet candle sticks, and chandelier. GS on 12-8-07
Pulling wet candle sticks, and chandelier. GS on 1...
Just past the crux section of the Squid.
Just past the crux section of the Squid.
Blue skies, no crowds, warm enough to climb with out gloves, but not dripping. <br /> <br />Is this really RMNP in January ??
Blue skies, no crowds, warm enough to climb with o...
Yeah and little to no wind to speak of.
Yeah and little to no wind to speak of.
Roy Leggett on the difficult traverse into the ice (March '05). Photo by Dan Gambino.
Roy Leggett on the difficult traverse into the ice...
Starting the climb on a very cold day in '08.
Starting the climb on a very cold day in '08.
Looking back up The Squid after rapping back down.
Looking back up The Squid after rapping back down.
Squid nastiness. <br /> <br />Photo by Sarah Malone.
Squid nastiness.

Photo by Sarah Malone.
Comments on The Squid Add Comment
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By chris thompson
Dec 10, 2007

CONDITION REPORT 

On December 10 (2007), the Squid was in good shape. Although not as brittle as before, it still felt 5+ the way it was formed. Watch out for the snicey pitch above the crux(!)

By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Feb 15, 2008

CONDITION REPORT 

Today's "hot" sun seemed to cook this route. Seemed 5+, P1; 4+ P2, but it may not last long.