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Upper Falls - Ice

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Back in Black S 
Cheap Thrills T 
Master of Puppets T,TR 
Pencil aka Candlestick, The T 
Slabs, The T 
Thriller T 
Unknown, boulder T 

Upper Falls - Ice  


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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Zeller on Nov 30, 1999
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Description 

Upper Falls includes two main flows approx 20-60 feet in length. The climbs are easily visible from the road as you drive up Boulder Canyon about a quarter mile past Castle Rock. These climbs, provide generally steeper and more challenging ice than lower falls although the routes are shorter. The non-existent approach, easy toprope access and mix of difficulty make for an excellent sport-park close to home. As one would imagine, the area is often very crowed on winter weekends. Be courteous to other parties, wear your helmet and belay in a safe location sheltered from falling ice. Like Lower Falls, all the ice here is formed from cracks in the aqueduct above.

A huge debate ensued in the fall of 1997 when a group of climbers increased the number of climbs here by farming ice by siphoning water out of the aqueduct with garden hoses. The most spectacular of these was a 300 foot icefall on Vampire Rock. The authorities finally found out about the climbs and pulled the hoses out and locked grates over the holes. The Boulder Ice Climber’s Coalition was established to legally farm ice on the routes, however attempts to negotiate with Public Service Company (who owns some of the water in the aqueduct), the city of Boulder and the National Park Service have failed to produce an agreement. As these routes are popular, be considerate of the climbing community by not climbing these routes until the ice has had sufficient time and cold weather to form. Thin ice that is not well adhered to the underlying rock, is very fragile and destroying the base layers by climbing them prematurely can set back the formation of the climbs several weeks.

Regulations 

Eds. As per Boulder County Parks and Open Space staff, this is on Boulder County Parks and Open Space land! Please follow their regulations. Thanks.

Please, no new bolts!!! The rules are clearly posted there. We as climbers need to make this work. There are regulations which have been posted for a number of years at this site. Please be aware before taking action into your own hands.

Getting There 

About 12 miles up the canyon, Castle Rock looms up on the left side at the apex of a right hand turn. Continue past Castle Rock about a quarter of a mile, and park in a small gravel parking area on the right (The climbs are visible from the road 100-200yds. west of the parking area.) Cross the road and walk about 100yds. west. Alternatively, you can park about 200 yards uphill as for Surprising Crag/Sport Park. Follow one of several social trails to Boulder Creek. Cross the creek when frozen or on a large log. Follow more social trails to the base of the climb. Talk about easy access!

Climbing Season



Weather station 2.4 miles from here

7 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Upper Falls - Ice:
Cheap Thrills   WI4+     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 45'   
Master of Puppets   M8-9 R     Trad, TR, Mixed, 1 pitch, 70'   
The Pencil aka Candlestick   WI4-5     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 50'   
Browse More Classics in Upper Falls - Ice

Featured Route For Upper Falls - Ice

The Pencil aka Candlestick WI4-5  CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : Upper Falls - Ice
This was perhaps the most challenging ice climb in terms of pure technical difficulty on the Front Range (outside RMNP). The climb follows an obvious pillar at the extreme left of the climbing area near a large pine tree. The pillar ranges from thin and chandeliered, to fat, to rotten with short overhanging sections throughout the climbing season (depending upon conditions it may be easier than WI5). During most of the season, the climb sports difficult sustained vertical climbing throughout its...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Local Information for Upper Falls - Ice
Photos of Upper Falls - Ice Slideshow Add Photo
Vipers.
Vipers.
BH ice climbing near Castle Rock. Bob Horan Collec...
BH ice climbing near Castle Rock. Bob Horan Collec...
Nice sunset.  Sunset mode suggested by Kira.
Nice sunset. Sunset mode suggested by Kira.

Comments on Upper Falls - Ice Add Comment
Show which comments
By Michael Komarnitsky
Founding Father
From: Seattle, WA
Dec 24, 2001
images.climbingboulder.com/ice...

images.climbingboulder.com/ice...

Two pics of the flows just west of castle rock.
By Old Fart aka Dave Bohn
Jan 29, 2002
Upper area is in. Three main flows are a bit on the brittle side but are plenty leadable. Not as much ice or as many mixed possibilities but still lots of climbing to be had. Please be courteous with use of top-ropes and allow others to work in or lead when it is their turn. No auxilary flow to the east or mixed madness up the buttress but still worth the brutal one minute approach. Plenty of ice for everyone to have fun but watch out for falling debris and wear your helmet! Helmets should be worn by everyone, all the time. Enjoy!!
By Anonymous Coward
Jan 29, 2002
Upper area is in. Not as extensive as years past but still a lot of fun. Ice was somewhat brittle making leads a little more interesting than usual. Top roping still popular but be sure to allow everyone a turn to climb if it gets crowded. No auxilary flow to the east or mixed madness up the rock buttress but still good action to be had. Wear your helmet!! All the time... especially when belaying!! Have fun.
By Rob Quinlan
Jan 30, 2002
Ice climbing in Boulder Canyon is open to everyone who wants to come up and participate. Don't be put off by the attitudes of some climbers who feel the BC ice is somehow "theirs". Come early, bring a good attitude and WEAR YOUR HELMET - especially when belaying. Conflicts between climbers at the BC ice has a long and colorful history - don't add to it with selfish actions. The "ice park" must be open to everyone for it to ever gain acceptance by the governing powers. Share the ice and we all benefit.
By Rob Quinlan
Feb 5, 2002
Anyone looking to get out for some ice action weekday mornings? I am available and flexible for some ice or mixed action in BC, RMNP or elsewhere...e-mail me at RQskyfun@aol.com if interested.
By Rob Quinlan
Feb 26, 2002
Upper Area is still solid and climbable although stepped out and melting in spots. Running water under the ice and hollow hits on middle line are typical. Lower area is still growing from melt-off and holes in pipeline; cold nights repair damage from day before. Left side and middle are in to the top, although thin on top. Ramp looked to be melting away yesterday but it comes and goes...Alcove/curtain on left side is solid and makes for fun stemming and delicate tool placements.
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 4, 2002
Climbed on 3/2/02. Hacked and brittle. Barely worth the approach. Lower falls appeared to be in better condition.
By Andrew Klein
Mar 5, 2002
There are 3 short lines still doable here. Did the one furtherest right yesterday. Way chopped up, probably nothing harder that WI 3 here unless you try some mixed climbing farther left. By the way does anyone know if this is on private property? I saw a no [trespassing] sign after walking off to the right by the aqueduct and down.