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Zapata Falls

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Zapata Falls  

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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Evan S on Jan 6, 2009

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Columbus Day

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The Great Sand Dunes from the Zapata Falls trailhe...


Zapata Falls is a relatively small waterfall that freezes up regularly near the Great Sand Dunes in south central Colorado. There are three routes, none of them very long or above WI3, but the setting is unbeatable. The left and center routes share a pair of rap bolts, and the right one has its own. The waterfall usually gushes madly under two or three inches of ice, so beware of this and DON'T CLIMB DIRECTLY ON IT YO!

Getting There 

From Alamosa take highway 17 north until you hit Lane 6N, go right (east) to a T junction with 150, turn right (south) and look for the well marked turnoff to the falls, park and hike 1/2 mile in. Alternately, just take 150 north from 160 to the turnoff. From the north, get off of 285 on to 17 and head down to Lane 6N.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.5 miles from here

3 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Zapata Falls:
Right Route   WI2+     Ice, 1 pitch, 40'   
Browse More Classics in Zapata Falls

Featured Route For Zapata Falls
Me on the right route.

Right Route WI2+  CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : Zapata Falls
This is a highly textured route with a lot of features and steps directly left of the actual waterfall. Be sure to stay off the thin ice holding in the water, could be really bad for your belayer if you busted it open. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Zapata Falls Slideshow Add Photo
Looking in on the "cave".
Looking in on the "cave".
The two flows inside the slot at Zapata Falls.  Ja...
BETA PHOTO: The two flows inside the slot at Zapata Falls. Ja...
Looking back through the 'slot canyon' like entran...
Looking back through the 'slot canyon' like entran...

Comments on Zapata Falls Add Comment
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By Umph!
Feb 3, 2009
I wondered about those falls in the winter - looks cool, thanks for the beta!
By Evan S
From: Erie, CO
Dec 18, 2009
This definitely is not a "destination," but if you're on your way back from WC pass or Lake City or have been at Penitiente during a sunny spell, it's for sure worth stopping by, it's a five minute walk from the car.
By Steve Marr
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jan 26, 2011
I agree with Evan's comment above - not a destination area, but definitely worth the stop and the trip up the path. The setting alone makes the climbing worthwhile. There's not much ice back in the slot, and you can climb just about every conceivable line in a couple hours. The water flowing under the crystal clear ice on the right side of the main flow was unique. Fun place to climb in a very unique setting.

Location: 37.619500° N, 105.553500° W
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