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Routes in Moraine Park/Fern Lake Trailhead

Jaws Falls T WI4
Silent Water T WI4
Windy Gulch Cascades T WI2+
Type: Trad, Ice, 160 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 8,067 total, 42/month
Shared By: Julian Smith on Feb 2, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Description

Jaws Falls, or just plain "Jaws", is one of the nicest moderate ice climbs in the state. In the middle of the route, a big cave forms with teeth like daggers of ice hanging from its mouth. Hence the name. Thin, brittle ice leads up to the base of the cave. Climb out of the cave (crux) and cruise easier ground up and left to a big tree with rap slings. 170' If the ice conditions are thin. Alternate belays and variations to the climb can be found on the right. With 1 200' rope, you can rap from the tree at the top down to the ledge on the right. 1 more 90' rap will get you to the ground. 2 ropes would be safest. Park at the Fern Lake trailhead and hike west along the trail to Odessa Gorge. You can't help but notice Jaws on you right about 2 miles up the trail from the parking area in 2002. Information in some climbing guides will give distances based on a parking area further up the road, but this was closed to vehicle traffic in the winter of 2002. Use "Colorado Ice Climber's Guide" by Cameron Burns - 1997 or "Rocky Mountain National Park - The High Peaks" by Richard Rossiter - 1997 as an example of references. Enjoy.

Protection

Bring a rack of ice screws. If the ice on the 1st pitch is thin, bring a little gear.

Toprope Protection

Nope.

Sun aspect

Eds. Note, this climb can be quite variable if it is a sunny day. Beware, this climb has been known to fall down in less than a day. However, it does go into the shade in the later afternoon.
Brice W
 
Brice W  
 
As of Jan 2010, there is an intermediate anchor consisting of two beefy bolts in the rock 30m up. The anchor is on the left as you climb or rap. Jan 25, 2010
Brice W
 
Brice W  
 
In fat conditions (like winter 2007-08) this felt 3+, about the same as Pumphouse in Vail, but longer. Great route, it goes in a nice long pitch. Traversing over to the tree rap anchor at the top was a bit exciting as my last screw was way below me. There is a small, but decent ledge to traverse on, but I didn't find many good pick or hand holds. Aug 7, 2008
Christopher Roberts
Boulder, CO
Christopher Roberts   Boulder, CO
I was up at Jaws yesterday 1/9/2003 and the bottom part of the falls is not in at all the top part is kind of in. You can hike around back and lower someone in and get about 50 feet of climbing or if you are a mixmaster the bottom would go. Jan 10, 2003
When Jaws is thin, but still cold and safe, there can be a terriffic mixed line on the right side. Look for a cracky, corner thing through a steep bulge on the right side of the big curtain. You'll know you're in the right place if you get good pro. Short but very steep cranking off good tool placements in the crack lead to easier ground. Good pro, too. About M5-M6 when I did it. Aug 31, 2002
Julian Smith
Colorado Springs, CO
 
Julian Smith   Colorado Springs, CO
 
Sorry, but I forgot to mention the sun. If you find yourself basking in warm sunshine at the base of the climb, bear in mind that large, exciting blocks of ice will exfoliate from the upper part of the route from time to time. Feb 5, 2002