Type: Trad, Ice, Alpine, 550 ft, 4 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 24,743 total · 112/month
Shared By: Chris Zeller on Jan 5, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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This is one of the most famous ice routes in the park, an excellent moderate multi-pitch route in an alpine setting. The route follows the large, obvious flow directly above the bowl on NE face of Thatchtop, ascending four pitches of mostly thin water ice. Despite the name, under normal conditions there is actually very little mixed climbing involved although some mixed protection placements may be necessary if the ice is in thin condition. The flow is fairly wide with infinite route possibilities.

The main line follows the center of the flow with the most consistent ice.

P1. The first pitch ambles up low angle slabs that are often in thin condition and difficult to protect. Clip a fixed pin in a crack on the right to beef up your placements. Lead up to a ledge just below the steeper ice and belay from a mixture of nuts and screws depending upon conditions.

P2. The second pitch climbs several short, steep pillars (that may be hollow and chandeliered) interspersed with low angle sections. Lead up to a ledge, just before the route turns into a steep snow climb.

P3. Pitch three hikes up steep snow with little pro to the base of a 70-85 degree pillar. Get a few screws in the ice early, the climbing isn't hard here but the exposure is substantial. The snow slope steepens as it joins the pillar. Set a belay below the pillar if using screws or below the steepening snow in some cracks in the rock.

P4. From here, there are three options: ascend the main pillar, move right and climb a shorter, steeper pillar or escape left by following the wide ledge on talus or snow and join the descent route. The direct route up the pillar can be difficult to protect in thin conditions, but mostly it provides smooth, thick ice with the best protection on the climb. Follow the pillar up a couloir to a notch and move left to the decent route. If you follow the pillar on the right, ascend rock at the top of the route, then move left to join the top of the main pillar and the decent route.

Descent: Follow the shoulder of Thatchtop left over a ridge and descend a Class 2 talus slope on the opposite side. Pick your way down until you are just above the bowl. Pass through a notch in the ridge and follow a Couloir down to the bowl below the base of the climb.


Screws, nuts and pitons. Bring several shorty screws as the ice is often thin. Some long screw placements can be found as well.

Toprope Protection

This route is not well suited for top-roping.


You mention "Notchtop" a couple of times in your description of All Mixed Up on "Thatchtop". Notchtop is a couple of miles north. Oct 10, 2001
Scott DeCapio and I climbed the route this morning, and despite winter misery up high in the park today (snow, wind, cold! waahh!), the ice was pretty good. I've only climbed it once before, last February, and there is considerably more, and better, ice on it now. Protectable by screws (don't forget the 10 & 13 cm ones though). The multitude of variants and climbs to the right looked good as well, and more interesting, but we were too interested in continual movement (warmth). Oct 24, 2001
Did this on [Sat. Conditions] were a bit thinner than in the picture, but still plenty thick enough. It was rather cold and there was a fair bit of spindrift. The climb was great, but the weather could have been more pleasant. Dec 3, 2001
All Mixed Up is in ..... thin in a few places.....but ready to be had. John Parsons Dec 2, 2001 Dec 6, 2001
Did it on Saturday (12/15/2001). The trail in was good, the ice was mostly good, although the very top requires some sticks in frozen moss, which held just fine. The descent was brutal because of the three inches of snow that fell while we were on the route. Our descent in the increasing darkness took us down a gully that dumped us at the base of the last pitch! We were able to skirt around without having to climb back up the gully until we found the correct ramp back to the base of the climb. It took half an hour of stumbling around in the dark to find our buried packs. It would have been a good idea to carry a headlamp on the climb, the descent is slow when covered in snow. Dec 17, 2001
Climbed this route yesterday. Thin, brittle, and hacked up from many ascents but still good fun! Jan 5, 2002
The route named *All Mixed Up* is found on the NE flank of Thatchtop, not Notchtop.

From the town of Estes, take Hwy 36 west towards the Beaver Meadows entry to RMNP. After the entry fee booth drive approx. 1/4 mi into RMNP, turn left onto Bear Lake Rd. (sign may point to Moraine Park). Continue for approx. 8.5 miles to the Glacier Gorge trailhead / parking lot. Hike the Glacier Gorge trail to Mills Lake where the route becomes visible to the SW. Careful when crossing the lake; the ice near the inlet and outlet can remain thin despite frigid temps. A rough trail, and I use the word loosely, leaves the SW quadrant of the lake. Feel the warmth as you ascend the steep, forested slope. Plod along, eventually arriving at the base.

Danger: assess the avalanche risk before launching. There's a slope above the last pitch that gets windloaded and regularly runs; climbers have been blasted when this thing sneezes. The final pitch, in particular, is a funnel (look at the photo!).

The last pitch is the attraction; 75 degrees and receptive to your stemming-ways. After topping-out on the last pitch, belay amongst the rocks up and right. Do not plop in the snow lest you find yourself riding a slide. Perhaps remain roped whilst traversing this as well.

Descent: While climbing, scope the descent gully off to climber's left (S), pointing back towards the base of the route. From the top of the last pitch, head south, crossing the av-prone slope. Eventually pick your way down the rocky terrain heading NE and into the gully you astutely identified prior to your ascent. If time permits, consider another pitch in the area, especially *The Middle Finger Of Dr. Wazz* (WI5 and exactly why the notoriety associated w/ Dr. Wazz's middle finger?), which appears as a curtain approximately 1/4 mile to the N of All Mixed Up. Nov 18, 2002
Brice W  
Tried to climb All Mixed Up on Sunday. The trail up from Mills Lake was broken, but by lighter people than us, apparently, because we broke through in many spots. We climbed the first pitch and bailed because the columns going over the steps on the second pitch were not really formed yet. In some places on the first pitch the ice was thick enough to take a 13cm screw, in others there was just unconsolidated snow covering rock. If you are a good mixed climber, though, like the guy soloing in front of us, it wouldn't be bad at all. The final pitch looked pretty fat.

On the hike back we talked to a guide who'd been up at Black Lake. He said the Slabs and the West Gully were fat. Nov 18, 2002
My patrner, TM, and I just returned from a Mixed Up Moonlight Adventure. We had a blast. Face shots for hours. Actually, it was more like a sand blast,...ice and snow crystals to the face, for hours.

It was very, very windy. Knock you over windy. Grab you partner as you get tossed, windy. Better have twp solid placement, windy.Scary windy.

Skied in and out from the lake.

Ice is in. Trail from lake to ice is in. Snow slopes seemed relatively stable. We bailed before the top due to fierce winds and daytime jobs.

Oh and did I mention the wind? Nov 19, 2002
I went to do this route last week and had a rather unpleasant exprience. There was new snow so the trail from the car to the route needed breaking, no big deal. After ditching our skis on the lake, my brother and I switched off wading through the sometimes waist deep snow and got pretty worked doing it. As we neared the climb another team quickly approached via our nice trail through the snow and were only minutes behind us as we racked up near the base. They were able to catch us because of the trail we broke and they admitted just as much. Anyway, we started up the first pitch and they decided to solo this pitch and reached the belay just as I did. I got hammered by ice when one of the guys decided to climb DIRECTLY above my belay (there were several options to climb). We spent the next couple of pitches getting peppered by their ice, a few times it being quite dangerous. I know this is a popular route and anyting goes in the name of speed in the mountains but I thought it was pretty rude since they knew we had busted or arses breaking trail. What do you folks out there on the cyber-morality-climbing-jury think? Legitimate move or not? Dec 2, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
AC, I have been in similar situations and crowding on an ice climb can get unsafe quickly. Sounds like the party that passed you was rude and careless, but I don't think it realistic for you to expect them to stay behind you because you broke trail. Ideally (IMHO) they should ask for your permission to pass, although things might get ugly if you flatly refused. Instead perhaps you should say "OK, go on ahead if you are soloing (or faster), but please be careful not to knock any ice on us!". Also, I think it is perfectly reasonable to yell up at them to take another line if they are knocking stuff on you, although I've been in this situation myself and know that they can easily get far enough ahead that they can't hear you.

You have to expect crowds on this route. Fortunately, as you mention, there are several lines at the bottom which can spread the traffic out. In this case it is downright rude to pass somewhat and continue up where you will shower the lower party with debris. At least they didn't fall on you. Dec 2, 2002
Climbed it on Nov. 28'th, 2002. Had excellent weather with very little wind. First pitch was Ok, with some thin sections. 2nd pitch was really thin and looked like it had melted out some over the past week. The line we picked ended up turning into a serious meandering mixed route with very bad pro. Definitely would bring some more short screws, nuts, small cams, etc. 3rd pitch was some more thin ice and then the snow slog to the base of the WI4 section. 4th pitch was still thinner than we had hoped for, but turned out to be the best pitch of climbing. Managed to get several 17cm screws in all of the way without bottoming out. The ice was pretty good on the thicker right side of this pitch, but the top was very thin and required driving the tools into some frozen dirt & grass clumps to top out. Dec 3, 2002
Take a headlamp... walking down to the packs in the dark kinda bites. What a great climb!

Climbed 12/7. 1-3' snow on approach from Mills upward, but the boulderfields are more clear nearer the route. First pitch is thick and long, better condition than the route photo shows. Second pitch is nasty thin - a rotten 1/2" ice cap on 6-12" of hoar, and sometimes (sometimes) an inch or two of ice below that. Ice pro is scarce and shaky - all of our placements were Screamered and they still probably would have blown. Lots of traversing was required on P2. Due to extra traversing we had to simul on P1 and P2 to get to belay stations. P3 was beautiful, thick until the top (moss and grass to top out), 3+ first half, 4 last third, right side beautiful. We blew lots of rotten ice down the route - I can't imagine being below another party in these conditions. Thinner than usual (so says my partner). Dec 9, 2002
Correction. The 'Details' section above the photo (for the route description) describes the North Face of Notchtop. The photo does show All Mixed Up. Have a look at Steve's description (11.18.02) for AMU details. And The Middle Finger of Dr. Wazz is about one-quarter mile north of AMU (the text got chopped in that post). It's in plain site from Mills Lake and the base of AMU. EZ approach pitch then the Dr. will see you. Very worthwhile.

As for AC's remark (12.2.02) of busting trail only to be passed and pelted by another party: we are reminded that ingrates remain. Expecting someone to not send ice down, however big or small, is unreasonable regardless of what they say. Gravity dictates that the lower person protect thy buttocks. Besides, you know what it's like when you need a good stick. Swing and bombs away. Dialogue can work wonders. Pleasantly engaging them in a brief chat to exchange plans and wants IS reasonable. Expect nothing and you won't be disappointed. Try cashing-in your trail-busting chip. Maybe they will offer something (food or a puff) in exchange for the pass. An initial good vibe might be contagious. ac Jan 29, 2003
In anticipation of the coming season (mmmm...icy): Yes, breaking trail up to the base of All Mixed Up means you own it! That is the most grueling approach you'll ever do after new snow. If anyone disagrees with you, well, just take comfort in knowing that the beveled teeth on Black Diamond's picks also make removing your tool from someone's skull a breeze too. Now: some helpful beta on this climb: bring goggles! That snow slope above the final pillar sends down terrible spindrift if there is any wind at all. I've led that pitch before and had both my eye lashes fuse shut on me - kinda irritating. Sep 25, 2003
I agree, fellow AC, it is undoubtedly a brutal approach with fresh snow. I don't even bother going unless I know the trail has been freshly broken (wind fills it in quickly, so by "freshly" I mean the same morning). But it's a good route that goes fast once on it, so please let me know when you'll be heading up this winter. Thanks. Sep 25, 2003
Climbed the first two pitches on 1/10/2003. It was extremely thin- about an 8 foot travesre with no ice. There was another party there and having had a bit of a trafic jam (get passed the thin area) we bailed before the last pitch off the snow ramp, because we wanted to descend in the light. The last pitch looked really good and the party in front of us said that it was.All in all a cool climb- would be awesome if there was more ice. Jan 21, 2004
David Conlin  

Route in great shape now. Had the route to ourselves on a Saturday! We found the "crux" pitch to be easier than the second pitch, fairly low angled and solid placements.

P1 - WI2 (soloed)P2 - WI3+, steep moves between ledges, difficult to protect well.P3 - steep snow (soloed) P4 - "crux" WI3, more sustained than previous pitches, but [relatively] low angled with solid placements and good pro. Was expecting much harder.

Gear: 6-8 screws of various lengths + small nuts/RPs for the belay below the crux pitch. Bring screamers! Oct 31, 2004
For starters, I don't even climb. But I am very honored the climbing community of Colorado has taken such a strong liking to my brother Joel and I's movie. I think it is great that it sheds light on some touchy, ethical subjects that seem to be tearing apart a tight community. I dropped in on the loggin' time thread as well, and found Ron Olsen to be quite a boring individual who has nothing else to do with his life except rant and bitch about how this site is not being used to tell him exactly what size stopper he needs above the belay on pitch 2 of Calypso. He has this formula for log in and user identification that would somehow solve the problem of the useless ranting. Really who cares. If you don't like my movies or even laughing once in a while at all the climbing wanna be geeks on this site with nothing else to do except entertain themselves with useless run on comments like the one you are reading right now, THEN DON"T READ THEM. Hey Rob, your comments and concerns don't address the problem, they only contribute. HEE! HEE! Nov 1, 2004
Climbing ice below other parties is something [I've] seen only in Crowdorado. The last couple weekends weve found extremely crowded conditions both here at all mixed up and at [Alexander's Chimney] the weekend before, with 20+ people fighting for dibs on 2 routes ([Alex's] and Martha). Since we werent first, we retreated to [Peacock Pool] instead of risking getting pummeled by dinner plates. Climbing below others is kinda nuts when routes go up gullies and chimneys.

All [Mixed Up] was no different, we arrived with another party early and started up [parallel] lines. Since ours was a little tougher and they climbed the std. route as one pitch we opted to finish with the fat standard line (they finished while we were on p1 to the right). By this time many parties were below, and the race was on for who got the standard finish.

I did start a significant wind slab slide walking off the top of [All Mixed Up] and am happy to be here today as the snow cracked above me and i somehow held my ground as many blocks slid past me and down the route. Luckily, no one was on the last pitch, especially solo, as that would have been bad. But then again, its dangerous to climb below others, if you put yourself in that situation, you suffer the consequences. Be careful, its crowded. If you show up late, its probably best to alter plans and climb something else, or be potentially subject to falling objects, including snow avalanches. Nov 17, 2004
...Ever climb on a popular route in the Canadian Rockies or Chamonix? Try climbing Polar Circus or the any Weeping Wall route on a weekend. You are likely to be sharing the route with several other parties, speaking different languages who are more than willing to climb right on your ass and not give a rip what kind of ... you are dropping on their heads. The best thing you can do is simply worry about yourself and not even let what other parties are doing affect your climbing. Getting an early start and being able to do the approach at a good pace helps to aleviate many problems. Also, try climbing harder routes. It is rare to see anyone on the the harder ice and mixed routes in the RMNP or Ouray/Telluride. We actually have it pretty good here in Colorado. People may think it's crowded, but it is no where near as bad as it gets in other places. Nov 19, 2004
You're right ac, I've never left the state, in fact, I don't even climb, I just snowshoe up the trail to watch the crazies Nov 20, 2004
Chris Byrne  
Climbed on 11/19/04.Route is still in great shape and protects well.At least 3 distinct lines on the first 200 feet. All open snow slopes on this route are wind slabs of variable depth.Most were stable, although the snow in the gully above the final pitch was spooky. The stability of these slopes couid become more of a hazard with the storm that hit over weekend.Also beware of marauding ravens - one bird opened the zipper on my partner's pack, pulled out all the contents, and then sh*t on the pack. Nov 21, 2004
Some dink was up here today hogging the route with a manifest demonstration of incompetence at the grade. As a result, only one party had the opportunity to make it to the top. Come on people, a couple of leads in the Ouray Ice Park doesn't make you big bad backcountry ice climber! Have some consideration for your fellow climbers and either put in the miles before hopping on a classic or go during the week if you're not sure you're up to it. I don't think his girlfriend/belayer was very impressed either. Dec 5, 2004
This route is at least 100 yards wide now with at least four different variations of about the same difficulty that can be climbed simultaneously without extra hazard. Plus there are at least three other routes just right of the main flow and then two other multi-pitch routes a couple more 100 yards to the east. Enough ice for about 10 people to enjoy without getting in each other's way. Get there first or deal with it, eh? Dec 5, 2004
Climbed on 12/27/2004. Trail was well-packed all the way. Excellent conditions, abundant ice, unexpectedly hard for such mild temperatures. We did the climb in five pitches, breaking the second pitch in two to stay behind and away from a party of three above us, the only others on the route that day. Pro: 8 screws, a few stoppers and a couple of TCUs for belay in rocks at top. Dec 29, 2004
Chris Zeller
Boulder, CO
Chris Zeller   Boulder, CO
Thanks for catching my typo/brain fart. Indeed All Mixed Up is on Thatchtop. Fixed. Jun 8, 2006
Ross Swanson
Pinewood Springs
Ross Swanson   Pinewood Springs
  • ** A 70m rope worked really well. ***

Added a fixed pin on rock wall above last pitch.
--Ross Dec 18, 2006
Route is fat, wide and fun. Approach is deep powder, bring snowshoes. Climbed it yesterday, the lowlands were frigid but with an inversion we enjoyed 15-20 degree temps, no wind and some sun. Don't stay home cuz you think it's too cold up there!! Only us and another party of 2 had the whole route on a Sunday. Rapped the route off a tree to climbers right, frozen boulder and an ice pillar, seemed much easier than the walk off which the other party took. Jan 14, 2007
All Mixed Up is in good condition. We did the route on November 6th, 2007. This is actually the best time to make a bid for this classic, with virtually no snow slogging on the approach. Have fun! Nov 10, 2007
Climbd All Mixed Up on Dec. 19, 2011 for the 2nd time----after a 10 year hiatus.

WOW...!! It is a long way up to the route and breaking trail is for "the burly" only.

The first two pitches were (and usually are) thin offering regular in 1/4in purchase, especially pulling the bulges. Pitch three is easy WI4-. A 70m rope allows the route to be done in three pitches.

This route is a big day for weekend warriors and a great route for those that like alpine mountain routes. Car to car is 6-12 hours with most time being approach, descent, and return to the car. The actual climbing is relatively short---about 2-3 hours.

The descent on climber's left is not obvious and seems to go on forever...not recommened at dark even with headlamps. Dec 23, 2011
Krister Sorensen
Centennial, CO
Krister Sorensen   Centennial, CO
I climbed All Mixed Up in RMNP on Jan. 2nd, 2012, only one other party was climbing that day, and they were climbing above us. Though it was a calm morning, the winds picked up in the afternoon. When we got down off the climb, our packs were blown away, and we started our search for them. About 100 yards down the hill, we found our packs with rocks stacked on top of them. The climbers above us that had descended before us had retrieved our packs and kept them safe for us to find. We were so thankful mostly because my car keys were in my pack. I found out today from a friend of mine who guides for CMS that Jack Roberts climbed All Mixed Up that day, and now only two weeks later he has passed away. Outside of a few email exchanges a few years back, this is my limited interaction with Jack, yet he was able to leave such a positive impression. I wish I could thank him in person for saving our packs from the notorious winds in RMNP just two weeks ago, but I guess this is the next best option. Thanks, Jack.
climbing.com/exclusive/base… Jan 18, 2012
M Smith  
You can just barely link p2 and p3 with a 70m rope. Makes for a more fun pitch than doing each separately. Nov 22, 2012