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Routes in Glacier Creek Drainage including Black Lake area

Black Lake - West Gully T WI3-4
Black Lake Slabs T WI2-3
Duncan's Dinky Drip T WI4-5
Reflections T WI3-4
Stoneman WI4+ PG13
Yellow Tears WI5
Type: Trad, Ice, Alpine, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: unknown
Page Views: 14,416 total, 74/month
Shared By: George Bell on Nov 6, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Description

This is one of my favorite ice climbs in RMNP, and I've done it several times. The approach is long and skis are recommended for a fast exit (provided there is enough snow and you are a decent skier, it's possible to go from Black Lake to the car in less than an hour).

This is the easiest-looking and farthest left ice climb you can see from Black Lake. It is on the east-facing wall between Black Lake and Stoneman Pass. It starts as a big, low-angle slab of ice. This route always seems to come in early and fat. Pick a sunny day with little wind and you will have a great day.

The first pitch is moderate, leading toward the steep second pitch.
The second pitch is the crux. This climb often forms very wide with a lot of options. Generally the farther right you are, the easier it is.

You can stop after the second pitch, traversing right to a bowl and then down (prone to slab avalanches), or continue wandering up 1 or 2 more easy pitches on easy, lower-angled ice.

The fastest descent is to the north, traversing into a steep bowl below Arrowhead Peak. However, this slope is dangerous during high avalanche conditions, beware! A much longer but safer descent is to traverse south to the flat area below Spearhead and come down to Black Lake in the same place as the summer trail.

Protection

Ice screws only!

Toprope Protection

Not convenient to TR.
Kevin Gillest
Arvada, CO
Kevin Gillest   Arvada, CO
We climbed West Gully at Black Lake, Dec. 27th 2015:
- Temp was -10 leaving the car at 5am.
- Car-to-car time 10 hr.
- 3hr car-to-base of route.
- Broke trail about the last 1 mile to Black Lake with 12" new snow, the snow from Black Lake to the base of the route was 24-36".





- No top out on P3 due to excessive snow.


- Rap off of top of P2 was approximately 200 ft or 60m, used existing V-threads.
Dec 30, 2015
Went up again to All-Mixed-Up today (Nov. 18) and BOY! has it changed up there in the past two days. Lots of melting and not much freezing. A lot of the ice that was there a week ago has disappeared and not even left a wet spot it is so warm.

AMU itself is still standing but just barely. If you go up, take more rock gear than usual. We got in a few good screws but the ice on the overlaps is just about history. The approach is easier as a result of all the melting. Nov 18, 2008
Gorgeous route. Ice is fat as of Thanksgiving 04'. Beware on the descent. We finished the climb and traversed right (when looking at the climb from Black Lake) over snow-covered, rock slabs. Bad idea, we came within 5 ft. of a moderate slab avalanche. I would recommend the longer, safer descent. Dec 2, 2004
Will Butler
Boulder, CO
Will Butler   Boulder, CO
I climbed this route on Saturday. The ice was in fat on the west gully and all throughout the Black Lake area. Avalanche danger was a major threat however on the descent so be careful. Incredible route. -Will Butler Nov 29, 2004
Was up by Black Lake on Wednesday December 24th of 2003. West Gully is in but has considerable debris at the base possibly from recent avalanche. See picture. Dec 25, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
 
George Bell   Boulder, CO
 
There was some confusion in my mind between this route and "Stoneman". In Neil Kauffman's photo, "Stoneman" is the right-hand flow, which runs more over a face than a gully. I have adjusted this route description to remove any ambiguity. Jan 13, 2003
The main gully is in better than it was last [March. It] has a small step about half way up for 20-25 feet of steep climbing, close to vertical. It's in about WI3 shape. There is a nice steep line formed nicely to the climbers right of the gully. Looks to be a nice grade 4 line. [All Mixed Up] looked thin with some rock scrambling involved. In general there is way more ice than last year in [Glacier Gorge]. Jan 13, 2003
Climbed the West Gully 12/14. Ice is in good condition with the right hand curtain nicely formed. Lots of ice in the general area. The North walk-off has lots of wind loaded slab, be careful. The approach snow coverage is thin for skiis and skiis/snowshoes aren't needed until after Mill's Lake. Dec 20, 2002
Julian Smith
Colorado Springs, CO
Julian Smith   Colorado Springs, CO
The West Gully is in fine shape. Fat blue plastic is all you will encounter. Black Lake Slabs are still in fine shape as well. No snowshoes or skis are needed, but the snow does get soft in the late afternoon. Mar 31, 2002
West Gully is looking really nice. We were at Black Lake 3/17 and it looks as though the crux of the route is the snow fan at the base. If the crux is WI4 it's super short. The slabs at the top are blue and sweet looking. There are some crazy bulges for the Black Lake slabs. The trail is packed out all the way to Black Lake. Mar 18, 2002
We climbed the West Gully on 02/23. It was a surprisingly nice day up there...little wind, some sun, and relatively warm temps. the climbing was fun, lots of WI2 w/ some WI3+. We did the standard descent by circling around climber's right back to the base. The snow slopes had us really thinking. We had beacons on, but it is a long and rocky ride to bottom...

The trail was packed, but we skied anyway. made getting out quick and fun. If you are w/o floation, expect postholing from the lake to the base.

To us, All Mixed Up looked to be in thin shape (especially relative to when we did in Dec)....the West Gully is definitely fatter than AMU. Feb 27, 2002
Climbed the West Gully on 02/23. It was a surprisingly nice day up there...little wind, some sun, and relatively warm temps. The climbing was fun, lots of WI2 w/ some WI3+. We did the standard descent by circling around climber's right back to the base. The snow slopes had us really thinking. We had beacons on, but it is a long and rocky ride to bottom...

The trail was packed, but we skied anyway. Made getting out quick and fun. If you are w/o floation, expect postholing from the lake to the base.

To us, All Mixed Up looked to be in thin shape (especially relative to when we did in Dec)....the West Gully is definitely fatter than AMU. Feb 26, 2002
That "anonymous coward" Paul and I did a recon mission up to Glacier Gorge for some WI3 at altitude (Black Lake Ice) on 02/22/02. The main trail and short cut slog did not require snow shoes or skis, but expect a bit of post-holing to the base of the climbs (but nothing too bad). West Gully, All Mixed Up, and Pipe Organ are in and look absolutely tasty! Nothing harder than WI2 on Black Lake Ice though (BOOOOOO!!!). Did I mention that West Gully, All Mixed Up, and Pipe Organ are in and look absolutely tasty??? Feb 23, 2002
Was up over the weekend. West gully looks good, a bit avalanchy at the bottom. Slabs are fat and fine. In great condition. Enjoy Feb 4, 2002
Julian Smith
Colorado Springs, CO
Julian Smith   Colorado Springs, CO
The West Gully is looking really fat. Too bad the winds were to high to enjoy it. Black Lake slabs look fat as well. Dec 16, 2001