Type: Trad, Ice, 80 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 7,351 total · 12/month
Shared By: Chris Zeller on Nov 7, 2017 with improvements by Kevin Donovan
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Silverplume Falls forms a wide amphitheater of 60-80 degree ice at the head of the ravine. The formation consists of a short, lower-step followed by a short ledge and finally a longer steep section that is the main section of the climb. The area is wide enough to accommodate several parties, and many variations are possible. The ice, however, is usually thick and homogeneous with all routes fairly similar. Some easy mixed climbing can be had to the edges of the climb. The ice is on the southern aspect of the mountain and has a fair amount of sun exposure. Therefore, the ice forms a soft, white, foamy consistency rather than the clear hard ice on northern aspects.

Descent: rappel or scramble down rock to the right of the route. Depending upon your comfort level, steep and loose rock may warrant roping up here, but the scramble is certainly less than 5th class.


Screws, the ice is usually thick enough to take long screws.

If the left pillar is lead in leaner conditions, a #2 Camalot can be used in the angling crack.

Toprope Protection

Screws, bolts and slings. The area above the climb is a gravel sandbar of mining tailings, and there is actually very little top-rope protection available.

There are 2 boulders with 3 bolts each and chains. The right boulder seems larger and more stable. The left boulder is close to 30m (requiring a 60m rope). The right boulder is close to 35m (requiring a 70m rope).

Use several screws as a backup if there is enough ice.


Jim D.  
Silverplume - The ice is in and good, with 3-4 short routes to choose from (WI3 or so). Could use some more moisture and cold though, as in once section, the ice was thin enough to see/hear water flowing briskly underneath, even though it was 16F and cloudy. Dec 13, 2001
Jeff Dwyer  
We checked out the falls on Tuesday 12/11 and it was a blast - our first Colorado ice. We toproped the center of the climb and the ice was good. We could see and hear the water rushing underneath the ice and it was a little thin in the middle, but overall it was still great. Had a little trouble with placing screws in the wet ice in places. The weather was great but it got cold once the sun set. Easy access and fun! Dec 14, 2001
Brice W  
We climbed on Saturday, 12.15.01. The ice was fine for climbing, though like the description says, it is white and relatively soft. I don't think I'd want to take a whipper on some of the screws I placed. There were some thin spots (2-6 inches), but it was easy to find placements for 17cm and even 22cm screws. There are some spots where the water is running under a thin layer of ice. The route started to get sun around 10:30am. This is an area where early starts are a good idea. An update on the anchors: There are three bolted anchors in the rocks at the top of the climb. I think two have two bolts and one has three. As of Saturday they weren't covered up with ice. Dec 17, 2001
Julian Smith
Colorado Springs, CO
Julian Smith   Colorado Springs, CO
Silverplume Falls are in good shape. Definitely not as fat as the picture in the Cameron Burns Guide. Lots of nice blue plastic. The left and middle were running with a little water. Jan 6, 2002
Was out there Saturday morning. Arrived around 8AM. It was wet! Starting up the first 10 feet of the climb I was kicking in slush 4 [inches] or so. Water running hard from center to left side. Right of center was not bad. Couldn't believe how wet it was considering the cold lately (not there I guess!). [Definitely] a great time though! Jan 21, 2002
Jeff Dwyer  
Climbed here again on 1/24 in the late afternoon. Ice was a little soft and slushy in places, also where ice had formed over top of snow, but still great climbing. Tricky to place screws in a few spots. The flow is almost down to the parking lot, so access is really easy not. Jan 25, 2002
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
Climbed Silverplume on 2/24 The curtain had melted into 3 distinct pillars at the top. Lots of the ice was rotten and scary, but not too bad all things considered and the current cold snap may be helping. Feb 27, 2002
Peter Gram
Portland, OR
Peter Gram   Portland, OR  
I don't know how recent the anchors are, but when I climbed Silverplume a couple of weeks ago, there were three sets of bolt anchors at the top. Mar 6, 2002
climbed in the warm sun yesterday:) getting up early paid off - by 10:30 there were 5 groups trying to share lines on the falls. a couple inches of white foamy ice had to be hacked off before you got to the good stuff, but the ice beneath was surprisingly plastic. makes for a glorius day of fun climbing. we also decided to head upstream to look for more ice. nothing but short sections of slush. see you in [Ouray] in 2 weeks!!! Mar 10, 2002
"Climbed" here on 12/15. Currently, a vertical slush pile. I don't know if someone did some flow diversion over the summer, but the left/center area that used to be thin is WAY (too) fat and the usually phat right side is WAY thin; NOT an improvement. One of my buds broke through to the hip at the top of the climb while waiting to be lowered and got a boot-ful of water (lots of water running underneath the ice). We opted to bail at this point. Dec 15, 2002
Brent Roaten
Anchorage, AK
Brent Roaten   Anchorage, AK

The area is still a vertical slush pile as of 1/10/03. There are a couple of lines worth doing but I wouldn't trust screws to hold a fall under these conditions. Jan 13, 2003
Jim D.  
Anyone have any recent beta on this? Feb 19, 2003
Climbed these routes 2/3 and 2/8. 2/8 in the dark! Haven't been climbing ice long, seemed good. We went left and then right. The thin line on the left needs more time. Was really fun by head lamp, yeah ice climbing's cool. Feb 12, 2004
Headed up to SILVERPLUME with a large group this Friday (Jan. 27th). As of last week, the ice was pretty thin, so we will do our best to share if you decide to come. If you are looking for solitude, you may want to venture somewhere else. Otherwise, we'll see you there :) Jan 25, 2012
Nick MB
Boulder, CO
Nick MB   Boulder, CO
Checked this out December 20th--fun area! We drove past it the first time and spotted the frozen falls while driving back down the road. If you cross under the bridge and to the south side of I-70, you've gone too far. The drainage is actually right in front of that bridge.

Two okay bolts, in a boulder, with a chain at the top of the falls; good for a top-rope but for only a few lines in the center of the falls. Dec 29, 2016
Peter Thomas
Denver, CO
Peter Thomas   Denver, CO
12-21-18 the anchor in center has been replaced with 1/2" SS bolts, screw-links, and rap rings. The anchor on the climber's right was replaced with 3/8" SS bolts and hangers. Both were in bad shape. The threads on the center anchor stripped, and I was not able to pull the old stud. Will go back to drill/patch it as soon as I can. Sorry to leave an eyesore.

The anchor on the climber's left has good bolts/chains, but the boulder seems suspect. Dec 21, 2018
Nate Allen
Denver, CO
Nate Allen   Denver, CO
Went up today, and conditions were pretty good. We saw you out there replacing the anchor a couple of weeks ago Peter and got to use it today. Stellar work, man, thanks a ton! Jan 6, 2019
Scott E
Scott E   Colorado
The boulder on the left looks sketchy as can be. I wouldn’t anchor to it. Feb 3, 2019