Type: Trad, Ice
FA: unknown
Page Views: 8,154 total · 14/month
Shared By: Andrew Gram on Nov 7, 2017
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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This is as fun as WI2 gets. Walk past The Shroud and Tony's Nightmare to an obvious, long gully in a rocky section of the canyon, about 20-30 minutes and past a prominent side canyon. The route consists of three steep steps separated by long stretches of snow groveling and low angle ice. The first tier is the crux and is about 45 feet long, and the remaining tiers get easier and shorter. The gully is about 400 feet long or so, but only three stretches are technical.

This route is probably easiest to solo, because it isn't sustained, which is how I did the route, so I don't have good belay beta. The walk off isn't much fun-lots of bushwhacking and scrambling on the east side of the route. There are no fixed rap anchors in the gully.

Eds. beware of avalanche conditions here.


A few screws, maybe some rock gear for belays.

From Rob Griz: There are 3 anchors on this. The first is on the right, 2 bolt. The second is on the right on the tree. The third is on the left wall, 2 bolts, as you climb up. All are about 30-40 m apart.

Toprope Protection

Multipitch gully, so no toproping here.
First tier is in! Lot's of low angle ice up to a fun, thin mixed section at the 2nd headwall. Went about 3 pitches or so until it dried out. There is ice higher that looks fat but will require a fair amount of rock climbing to get to. Please climb early! Many parties getting on after noon.... Nov 5, 2001
Climbed 3 Tiers last Thursday. The first two pitches are in thick, though they get a little thin where it goes horizontal. The third pitch was thin, and so was the fourth. It was a nice fun solo, good for first day out. Candlestick/Ice Hose looked to be in from the road. The Shroud and Tony's were both mixed, though perhaps doable. Watch out for avalanche danger if you go this week; the past weekend's dump could make things gnarly. Nov 11, 2002
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Not sure if this made in via conditions reports, but it seemed useful info: by word of mouth, there have been at least 2 avalanches involving climbers on Three Tiers this fall (2002). Both groups survived. One swept a climber a ropelength or so down the climb. Be careful. Lots of snow out there this year. Nov 17, 2002
Matt Ledges  
Climbed this one yesterday. Although the snow was coming down there was very little accumulating high up. Avalanche conditions that day were minimal to non-existant. The second tier has formed up rather nicely - fat and blue. If you stay to the left here its a solid WI3 for about 70ft.

Also walked by the Shroud and the left side is about as fat as it ever gets for this time of year, the center curtain is touching down in several spots and the right looks solid. Didn't see anyone else the whole day.

Fat, blue and plastic. Snow shoes are recommended, but not required. Jan 2, 2003
If you keep going past the three teirs, the climbing becomes more interesting. Climb a 60ft rock face (5.5) their are two bolts on a good size boulder after the rock but seem suspect. The next pitch starts on slabby firglass to a 40 degree snow & ice field. Pitch 3 is the crux due to the lack of ice & protection. This has always been my favorite part of the climb. After this short section belay at a tree or continue up 50 or 60 feet of WI3 to a log belay. From here the climb becomes more committing due to the retreat facter. I have seen ice beyond this point, but it seemed very thin and unprotectable. However I did climb some 200 ft of rotten rock to the summit I will never repeat. I recommend climbing this very early or late season.If you go for the summit push, you can traverse into "around the corner" gully system and get down safer. This will be a long day & rewarding.M-5-WI3. Aug 20, 2003
Jeff Dwyer  
Climbed here on Sunday 11/21/04. Not bad. Still a little thin and the climbing is nothing hard, but hey, you can't really complain about getting in a lead before Thanksgiving! Nov 29, 2004
Eran Viimeinen
Eran Viimeinen   Colorado
21 Nov 06: I think the descriptions for this climb are inconsistent. Here is what I found (reference my photo's).

Recommended for a long easy/moderate day. Expect a little rock climbing/scrambling (4th/5th class) and some serious snow slogging (beware of Avi conditions!). We climbed this route and found 5 pitches of ice. In order: Solo WI2-, Solo low 5th class, P1: WI2, P2: WI2-3, P3: WI3-4, P4: WI2-3, P5: WI2-3. Every pitch is full-length (200 ft.), and then some. Bring a 70m rope, plan to simul-climb, or set annoying belays.

You can see P2 & P3 from the road as you approach (see pictures). P4 is 500+ ft. above P3 via a snow gully. It is hidden up and left. There are easier and harder ways to climb most pitches. The ice was good, and if you're masochistic, you can probably climb to the summit.

We rapped after P4 (200 ft. rappel), then exited left above P3. I would recommend exiting left immediately after P3 (crux pitch) unless you plan to summit. After walking up just a little, you descend into the gully containing "Unnamed Gully", "Unnamed Curtain", and "Round the Corner". Choose your descent carefully so you don't cliff out. Also, beware of Avi conditions on this descent!

Avalanche Danger: I have not taken a course, so my best guess is that it is 'okay' right now. I could see how this area could become VERY DANGEROUS. We snow-slogged up to our knees/thighs in some places at ~30 deg angle. Nov 22, 2006
Jeff Bryan
Cortez, co
Jeff Bryan   Cortez, co
My photos are from mid November 2007 with almost no snow. This is a great early season warm up if we HAVE MINIMAL SNOW. Walk off left and you will hate the downclimb no matter what. Sep 10, 2008
Shane Zentner
Shane Zentner   Colorado
As of 11/22/2008, all three tiers have thick ice. The last pitch was almost an entire snow climb with little ice at the start. The descent is not too bad if you can locate the tattered red sling, down and climbers left when you reach the end of the snow. We climbed the route in (4) sixty meter pitches and used everything from 10cm-19cm screws with no rock protection. A great way to start the season. Nov 25, 2008
Rick Casey
Fort Collins, CO
Rick Casey   Fort Collins, CO
Climbed first two pitches Dec 6, 2008 with partner Eric Rich. Lots of snow, thick ice, but running water & thin ice on the crux of 2nd pitch you had to step over; still, enough ice for solid screw. This route looks much better earlier in season when there was less snow, if it's been cold enough to set up well. There is a solid rappel station at top of second pitch now, because we added a sling and a rap ring there. If you have twin ropes, you could rap to the bottom. Otherwise...we rapped back to the top of P1, where my partner belayed me off of solid ice screws on a sketchy pitch out of the gully (climber's left) across steep, loose, snow covered rock, trying to dry tool under the snow (lots of fun...not!). Thank God there are some rap rings in the trees, after about a 60-70 foot traverse directly left from belay at top of P1 (not fun for the second either!), complete with rap ring, that allowed to reach stable snow below. Dec 9, 2008
eric pennell
Evergreen, CO
eric pennell   Evergreen, CO
Found a radio on Three Tiers Nov. 25. If you can identify it, I will ship it to you. ericpennell@hotmail.com Nov 26, 2009
Dale D
Parker, CO
Dale D   Parker, CO
Soloed up just past the third step today. Thick ice the entire way. I even found the rap tree on my way down - slings and rap ring are in good shape. Dec 11, 2009
Three Tiers in fat right now. Climbed the first pitch then rapped off due to a party of 4 climbing one at a time above. Small tree on looker's right had a sling and rap ring. On closer inspection, water knot was not finished and I was able to pull the webbing through the knot and rap ring on one tug. Pretty scary as someone rapped off it right before us. Take care in rappeling, remember to inspect the anchor. Dec 19, 2011
Roj H.  
Chris, when were you on the route? We toproped the first pitch on Monday early afternoon. There was also a party of 4 who climbed all three pitches that rapped down as we got started. They all rapped down off of that webbing / rap ring and at the end of the day I also rapped off it. I definitely checked that the water knot was tight and tugged and bounce tested it before coming down. My guess is that we showed up after you had already fixed the webbing, can you confirm? Just curious. Dec 24, 2011
Hey Roj, sounds like you were up there after us. We went down after waiting for a little bit for them to clear the second pitch. Dec 27, 2011
Rob Griz
Rob Griz   Frisco
There are 3 anchor stations on the route. First is on the right, 2 bolt. Second is on the right on the tree. Third is on the left wall, 2 bolt, as you climb up. All are about 30-40 m apart. Please use them to avoid all the tat I find each year at the base. Learn to use cordless threads with your rope, they are just as strong, easier on your wallet and better for the enviro. Thanks! Nov 19, 2012
A 70m rope will make your life MUCH easier if you choose to use the rap stations. A 60m sorta works but forces you to do some down climbing on each rap to get to the next anchor with rather large fall potential. If it's your buddy's 1st (2nd, 3rd, etc.) time ice climbing, (s)he will not be happy.

More importantly, if it's a weekend or busy day, walking off is probably a much better idea for everyone than rappelling. The six(!!!) parties on Three Tiers today was enough of a Charlie Foxtrot to begin with, and three parties rapping while the others climbed made it much worse. The way down is more straightforward than a lot of the descents in Eldo and a couple short raps from trees tame the slabs (bring webbing). If no one is below, you enjoy the bolts, but if there's a party (or 2 or 3) coming up, it's easy, faster, and safer for everyone to walk off. Dec 8, 2012
kyle kingrey
kyle kingrey   Loveland
Climbed Three Tiers on 11/30/12.
Lost (dropped) a BD screw! If found, please let me know :) Dec 10, 2012
Charles Truslow
Charles Truslow   Boulder,CO
No ice at all as of 11/4/14. Nov 5, 2014
Alex Vidal
Boulder, CO
Alex Vidal   Boulder, CO
Climbed this yesterday, and it is in surprisingly good condition given the overall dryness of the area. Makes for a fun, early season jaunt. Nov 10, 2014