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!
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.
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
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.