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Wolf Creek Pass/San Luis Valley Ice

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Wolf Creek Pass/San Luis Valley Ice  


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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ben Bruestle on Mar 15, 2002
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Ice Climbing 

No access fees.

Plenty of places to buy beer. The biggie is the Mexican food. Try the Taqueria and Nino's in Alamosa. The Hungry Logger in South Fork is all right. The SLV Brewing Company brew pub has good microbrews and food.

Classic Routes are anything on Wolf Creek or up above Crestone. Try Treasure Falls, Tasty Freeze or Willow Falls.

As far as History: Jack Hunt (The first American on Chamonix's Supercouloir and Local Badass) and Alan Haverfield were most likely the first ice climbers in the area. Jack and Alan have most of the first ascents too. The Rangers at the Sand Dunes have a few also. A few years back, Jack and a Czech kid, Jacob Gajda, put up lots of insane mixed stuff.

Getting There 

It's pretty easy to get into the Mysterious Valley. Just take 285 either south or north, or 160 east or west. Just like if you were going to Penitente.

You can get beta at Casa de Madera Sports in Del Norte, or at Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa. Both are on Hwy 160.

BOOK:"Life By The Drop: Ice and Mixed Climbs Surrounding Colorado's San Luis Valley" by Jack Hunt.

Climbing Season



Weather station 2.5 miles from here

56 Total Routes

['4 Stars',10],['3 Stars',25],['2 Stars',18],['1 Star',3],['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 Wolf Creek Pass/San Luis Valley Ice:
Right Route   WI2+     Ice, 1 pitch, 40'   Zapata Falls
Columbine Falls   WI3 M4     Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1 pitch   Chain Station
North Clear Creek Falls   WI3-4     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 90'   Creede/Spring Creek Pass
Bigcicle   WI4-5     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 80'   Chain Station
Alpha Male   WI5     Trad, Ice   Wolf Creek Pass- West Side
Treasure Falls   WI4-5     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 140'   Wolf Creek Pass- West Side
Browse More Classics in Wolf Creek Pass/San Luis Valley Ice

Featured Route For Wolf Creek Pass/San Luis Valley Ice
Willow Lake Ice.

Willow Lake Ice WI5  CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : Willow Lake
This is the unmistakable, large waterfall at the far end of the lake (the leftmost and steepest flow)....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Comments on Wolf Creek Pass/San Luis Valley Ice Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 8, 2008
By Malcolm Daly
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 6, 2001
This just in from Ben Bruestle in Alamosa: Yes there is ice on Wolf Creek Pass. Treasure Falls is frozen, as is the stuff up at Willow Lake below Kit Carson.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 21, 2001
This whole area is great for tranquility, you most likely won't see any other climbers out. It is also in one of the coldest areas in the state, so come prepared.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 21, 2001
Most the ice is in around Wolf Creek. The Chain Up Station on the east side of the pass is in. Treasure Falls is in. Willow Lake is in. Zapata Falls is in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 31, 2001
The ice a couple miles north of Creede is still very thin. Only one route is climbable and it is M5.

Put in a first ascent at the Gator Farm pinnacle yesterday. It's a 20 footer from a hose over an steel tower. Holly and Ben Bruestle, Alex Colville, and Scott Gibson were in on it. Jay, the Gator Farm guy, seems to welcome more ascents
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Jan 2, 2002
Columbine Falls is in. The start is thicker than usual. A great full pitch grade 3 above the Chain Up Station.

Tasty Freeze is in.

Treasure Falls is steeper than usual.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Jan 6, 2002
Miller's Tale is in. Alpha Male, The Cub, The Den are in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Jan 10, 2002
Jack Hunt's book "Life By The Drop: Ice and Mixed Climbs Surrounding Colorado's San Luis Valley" is finally out. I heartily recommend it to all Colorado and New Mexico ice climbers. It's the best way to finding over 100 climbs that are hardly touched. Ask for it at you local climbing shop/bookstore.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Jan 10, 2002
Refer to your new guidebook "Life by the Drop"

Creede Area: unnamed climbs, mixed at start. N. and S. Clear Creek Falls are most likely in.

Wolf Creek Pass-East Side Moon Valley :not in Park Creek :Salty Dog Climbs not in Champagne Bubbles, Pop a Cork in

Chain Station Area-Lower Tier: in Chain Station Area-Second Tier: only Columbine Falls in Chain Station Area-Third Tier& Left Wing:Out

The High Tea Area: Maybe in next month

Ice-Age Architecture Area: No idea if in or out

Big Meadows: Not in two days ago

Wolf Creek Pass-West Side Topless:in Sheep's Clothing, Alpha Male:in Millers Tale:in Johnny-Come Lately:in Treasure Falls:in Tasty Freeze:in

Alamosa River Canyon: No idea La Manga/Platoro: no idea

Sangre de Cristos: Zapata Falls: in Willow Lake Area: all in
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Jan 20, 2002
Sheep's Clothing is very steep, with very hard, brittle ice. Definitely harder than WI3+.

Alpha Male is in too. It is also brittle, probably due to being on the cold side of the canyon.

Two new top rope anchors have been installed at the top of the ice blobs to the left of Zapata Falls. It makes it even easier to get down. Thanks to MJ for installing these.

"Ice climbing is a desperate, violent sport"--Will Gadd
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Jan 22, 2002
The unnamed flows are in on Hwy 17, west of Antonito. There appears to be a 50' WI4 and two WI3's that are 60' and 100' respectfully.

Plan on stopping in to Jack Hunt's book signing and slideshow on your way home from Wolf Creek Saturday evening, Jan. 26. It's at 6:00 pm at Casa de Madera Sports in Del Norte.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Jan 27, 2002
Park Creek- Weakened Warrior is in, WI5+ Baby Blue is in, 4+ , both are sun baked.

Creede Area-South Clear Creek Falls is in, big and Fat 3+.
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Jan 28, 2002
We went up here this weekend. Did Treasure Falls (altough I had to climb with one hand due to an injury) on Friday, don't miss this climb!! We went up to the Chain Station area on Saterday, and met Jack Hunt (Author of "Life By The drop") he was climbing a stiff looking mixed line to the left of Bigcicle. Jack is a really cool cat, and he gave us some beta on the crags in the area. The book was great, and helped us find plenty of ice. Nice people, fat ice!!!
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Feb 11, 2002
Blue Plate Special is in thick west of Antonito.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Mar 13, 2002
Blue Plate Special west of Antonito is still in, thick and steep.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Mar 24, 2002
Tasty Freeze, Boogie Chillin', Park Creek, Treasure Falls, Sheep's Clothing and Alpha Male are all still in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Apr 1, 2002
Drove by Blue Plate Special on Saturday, 3/30. It still looks fat and blue.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Oct 27, 2002
Scouted out Wolf Creek Pass today. Temps were in the 40's with about a foot of snow on the ground. All climbs are either bone dry or waterfalls. Give the area a few more weeks to ice up. Good snowshoeing though.
By Anonymous Coward
Nov 9, 2002
East side of Wolf Creek Pass has one climb slightly in, Root Beer in the High Tea area. Big meadows has two really thin mixed climbs too.

West Side of Wolf Creek Pass is still really spotty and just beginning to form up.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Nov 16, 2002
The East side of Wolf Creek Pass is coming in. -Salty Dog up Park Creek is almost in.-Hip Czech is in in the High Tea area. You just have to figure out how to cross the Rio Grande. -Honeymoon Gully is in at the Chain Station. The lower section of Columbine Falls is in. The Second Tier has some thin possibilites as does the Columbine Picnic area.

Everything should be good within 2 weeks.

Still no word on the west side of the pass. Treasure Falls has a couple icicles on it.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Nov 22, 2002
Wolf Creek is slowly coming in. Jack, Holly and I drove the whole pass today.

Alpha Male, Sheeps Clothing, Romulus and Remus are all in on the West Side of the pass. Millers Tale and Treasure Falls need more cold days.

Big Meadows has a few mixed climbs.Unnamed ( next to Plumbers Crack) is in, as is Straight-Line Blast, and Damfino.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 1, 2002
The trail is in to Alpha Male/ Sheep's Clothing.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 6, 2002
Drove towards Wolf Creek Pass today. Saw a bald eagle.

Big Meadows- everything has evaporated except for Damfino.

Park Creek- Salty dog is in and thin.

Chain Station- Bigcicle is finally in. Columbine Falls is almost all formed up.

Lake City- Sherman area is in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 8, 2002
Park Creek- No reports yet.Second Tier of Chain Station-Sometimes a Great Notion is in as a mixed line. Cuckoo's Nest climbs are also in.North Creede-None of the Unnamed climbs are in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 12, 2002
Park Creek-Champagne Bubbles and Pop A Cork are in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 14, 2002
Zapata Falls is in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 15, 2002
High Tea Area: Gully Mon and High Tea are in.Chain Station's Second Tier: Columbine Falls are in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 24, 2002
Treasure Falls appears to be in and extra steep.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 29, 2002
Finally drove all of Wolf Creek Pass today.Park Creek: Champagne Bubbles and Pop a Cork are in. Salty Dogs top is missing. Chain Station: Honeymoon Gully, Bigcicle, and Chimney are in. Columbine Falls is also formed up. High Tea Area: High Tea and Gully Mon are in. Big Meadows: Damfino is in. Wolf Crrek Pass/ West Side:Alpha Male, Sheeps Clothing, The Cub, Romulus, Remus, The Lair, Millers Tale, Dumb and Dumber, TreasureFalls and Tasty Freeze are all in. Topless is missing its top out and See Through has a scarey finish. Sangre De Cristos: Zapata Falls and Willow Lake are in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Dec 30, 2002
LaManga Pass: Blue Plate Special is in.
By IVAN LOCKE
Jan 3, 2003
Somebody buy his man a beer. Thanks for the homework Ben. Climbed with Jack this week, Bigcicle and the chimeney on its right at the Station.Great routes, easy to get to, and good gear. Highly recommended.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Jan 12, 2003
Lake City Area:

-North and South Clear Creek Falls are most likely in.-The road is plowed all the way into Cataract Gulch Trailhead.-Wet Muppet is in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Feb 3, 2003
North & South Clear Creek Falls are in. Alpha Male and Sheeps Clothing are in.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Feb 5, 2003
La Manga Pass/ Platoro Area- Unnamed Flows near Antonito are in, Blue Plate Special is in, Diamond in the Rough is in. This should give New Mexico climbers a little something closer to home.
By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Mar 9, 2003
Alpha Male, Sheeps Clothing and the Cub are all in and fat. The trail is packed in to the former two climbs also.
By Anonymous Coward
Nov 10, 2005
Ben,

Anything on the West Side in yet? Romulus?

Thanks.

J
By Karsten Delap
From: North Carolina
Jan 8, 2008
Climbed Zapata Falls WI3 (near Sand Dunes). Main flow was in great shape! Very plastic! Flow to the right was very bullet. Interesting to see the two distinctions so close. Great setting and would recommend to anyone. WI 2/3. The road had 4 to 6 inches of snow and would recommend 4 wheel drive. The hike from the top parking lot took 10 min!