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!!
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.
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.
By chris thompson
Dec 10, 2007
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
From: Westminster, Colorado
Feb 15, 2008
Today's "hot" sun seemed to cook this route. Seemed 5+, P1; 4+ P2, but it may not last long.