St. Mary’s Wall (Volantis) Climbing
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|Page Views:||341 total · 33/month|
|Shared By:||Chris Deuto on May 23, 2022|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC|
The amount of alpine stone in Colorado is simply astonishing. It’s incredible to me that even turning just a bit off the beaten path can yield an entire new crag with tons of potential here in the alpine. As a resident of St. Mary’s Glacier for my whole life, I’ve known about this zone but only recently felt that it’s time to publicize it.
Volantis, as I like to call it, is a giant, multi-pitch area with three distinctive outcrops. Each tower offers a different personality, but the climbing is overall classic, and the position outstanding. It’s amazing that even the furthest routes here are less than an hour hike from the car, yet completely above treeline.
A $5 parking fee must be paid for St. Mary’s, but the stream of tourism mandates this.
From Idaho Springs, take exit 238 marked Fall River Road just a mile west of town. Drive all the way up the winding paved road, and park at one of two dirt lots underneath the always busy St. Mary’s Lake Trail.
There are two ways to access Volantis. The shorter approach takes one through a private road, but this shouldn’t be an issue provided climbers continue to obey parking rules. From either lot, hike up Fall River until the pavement ends, where a sign reads “Private Road.” Hike along this first road, staying left at the tiny, 4WD grade. This should quickly end, and a social trail leads across a marshy stream and through a few seconds of bushes until depositing one at the top of an old tailings pile. At this point, Tower One should be almost directly above. The pile is a great place to stash backpacks before hiking to a respective tower.
The longer approach allows for sightseeing at the lake and is a great way to access the top of the wall. Good beta for those who don’t like to rappel would be to take the short approach up and the long down. Anyway, from the lots hike up the large St. Mary’s Lake Trail. The lake isn’t very far from the car, and Tower One is clearly visible behind the lake and the bottom of the glacier. Hike along the lake and either drop down to the bottom of the towers or go above.
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