Type: Trad, Mixed, Ice, 520 ft, 3 pitches, Grade III
FA: 1/76 by Lou Dawson, Steve Shea, and Michael Kennedy
Page Views: 22,662 total · 138/month
Shared By: Bryson Slothower on Sep 15, 2005
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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I think this route is a three-star-classic on a worldwide scale.

The Hose may not have a postcard view or alpenglow ambience, but the climbing is spectacular, and there is always plenty of air below your heels. This route is dangerous at the bottom and will humble most any dry-toolin' psychopath, but at the top it gets fat and widens out to a steep slab of blue ice clinging to the black wall.

Approach: 1 hour. Start at the power plant and find a trail which heads towards the lower Ames Falls (don't take the right fork down to the base of the Ames Practice Area and base of Ames Falls), and walk past the top of them to the railroad tracks which run through the canyon. Follow the tracks away from the highway until you are at the bottom of the drainage where the climb forms up on your left. You can see ice from where you need to leave the railroad tracks. Follow the steep gully to the base of the climb.

Pitch 1: 120' WI4+ to M6 VS Yikes. Conditions vary greatly on this pitch and it can be anything from a difficult mixed climb with no pro to a WI 4+ pillar. When I belayed Mike Ivie up this pitch in 2000, it was WI5 with some sections of thin ice and was reasonably well protected, this is not usually the case. If there is no ice or if it is too thin to climb, head up to the right of the ice (or wet spot) and bring some small wires and some huge nuts! There is a bolted anchor at the base of a gully that diagonals up and right. There can be a protected nook from which to belay on the right.

Pitch 2: 200' WI4-5 Head up the gully to the right to a large ice covered ledge below the spectacular upper pitches, and belay from screws on the right side of the ledge. Be very careful not to knock ice on your belayer at the base of the gully!!

Pitch 3: 200' WI 4-4+ *Classic* Follow the best looking line up the massive ice flow in front of you. Save some screws for the top and belay off of a tree on the left hand side of the flow when the ice turns to snow. On a warm day, this pitch can run with water.

Descent: 3 double rope rappels starting from the tree and following the left hand side of the climb. The 2nd rap is off rock slings on the left or V-threads if you have 60m ropes. You may reach a 2 bolt anchor with 70s. The last rap is from the bolts on top of the first pitch. Allegedly, there is a walkoff far left, but it looks arduous.


A few stubbies and a bunch more screws for the upper pitches, small wires and TCUs for the first pitch. Please do not add any bolts to this climb!


In Alpinist 18, p. 20, there is a writeup by Michael Kennedy about the FA.


It would be nice not to see any current conditions...(photos) posted about this route as the first and second pitches don't stand up to a lot of ascents thin, patchy, sometimes discontinuous - i.e. normal conditions). After seeing the full on cow trail on the approach and several parties vying for position the other day, it appears that some of the ice park craziness is starting to spread into some of the more quieter ice locales of the San Juans. Nothing wrong with that but...stupid internet.... Dec 15, 2004
It seems some a-hole decided to add a shiny new bolt to the rock start to the first pitch. The bolt was placed right next to a bomber stopper placement. The tool actually had the balls to tie the fixed stopper that was in place to the new bolt. The whole pitch takes good gear wherever you want it, and where the bolt is placed does not really protect the leader from hitting the ledge at the start for very long. I'm all for clipping nice new bolts on mixed routes, but this is a long established route that sees dozens upon dozens of ascents each year. Mugs would be roling over in his grave. It's probably already been chopped. Jan 31, 2006
Dude who bolted it is Chuck Burr. Lives in T-ride. If anyone has a problem with the bolt, you are ecouraged to call him. A good opinion on this can be found atskywardmountaineering.com, Vince calls it like he sees it and hits it on the head. The Hose isn't the ice park and shit. Feb 2, 2006
I made a solo ascent of this route in February 1997 ('98?), I went up the ice bit at the bottom, so I haven't done the mixed start. This is one of the best "long" routes I have done in CO (along with Bridalveil), a good, steep, relatively remote and serious route. I am not really clear on why this alternate start keeps receiving a new bolt. A friend of mine did this mixed start last season and informed me that the 1st bolt had been chopped. Also, that the dry-tooling was pretty reasonable. Am I missing something here? Oct 23, 2006
This is in the top 5 climbs I've had the pleasure of climbing.

When it's in, "get on it" >>>> Oct 23, 2006
Is this new bolt true or is it a troll? Did Chuck Burr go against the opinion of the whole climbing community? What is this guy thinking? Say it ain't so! Oct 29, 2006
The FA was done in January 1976 by Lou Dawson, Steve Shea, and Michael Kennedy. Volume 18 of Alpinist has a great description written by Mr. Kennedy. Dec 8, 2006
Pretty drippy 2nd pitch on 12/15 - never seen so much water on this route. Guess all that rainfall in Oct. Should be huge come Feb. Definitely prefer the patchier conditions on this route as it makes for some wild climbin'! Thanks to the person who pulled the bolts, however the holes need to be patched as they are butt ugly. I'll take a hike up there in the spring-summer and do it unless someone beats me to it. Hopefully those feeling the need to bolt this have given up. - Miles Newby Dec 18, 2006
Conditions on 2/17/07 are very fat. We climbed it in 2 pitches with 70s. It's a rope stretcher to make it to the belay ledge on the first pitch if done this way. 2 raps from the top (with 70s), and you're back on the ground. Absolutely sweet climb! Feb 19, 2007
More photos and a TR at piquaclimber.net/past/amesi… Dec 13, 2007
Does anyone know what kind of rock the Ice Hose is on? I've not climbed much in the area nor do I know much about geology, and I had no idea what that stuff was. From afar it almost looks granitic, but up close I couldn't have told you if it was quartzite or limestone. Anyone know? Feb 10, 2009
Although this was my first ascent of this classic I'd say it was very fat. There has been a bit of traffic on it so it shows the wear and tear making it easier than what I am sure it is most winters. Top of the upper slab is where the freshest ice is and consequently the most attention to your feet. The first pitch is fat and cruiser. Must do climb! Feb 23, 2009
Apparently the rock is Rhyolite, which according to Wikipedia "can be considered as the extrusive equivalent to the plutonic granite rock, and consequently, outcroppings of it often bear a resemblance to granite." Good to know. Feb 25, 2009
Stuart Paul
Denver, CO
Stuart Paul   Denver, CO
When you park at the power plant, park all the way on the right in front of the trees and not in front of the buildings. Feb 24, 2010
Estes Park, CO
acouncell   Estes Park, CO
Good shape all the way, pretty hacked up on pitches 1 & 2 but still good climbing. Definitely a classic. Lots of tat on the anchors, lots of anchors, could probably use a bit of a clean up? Also, we accidentally left a pair of BD Punisher gloves at the very top; set them down next to the tree anchor and then rapped off, totally forgot them. We'd be psyched to get them back. Cheers! Jan 12, 2012
Ryan N
Bellingham, WA
Ryan N   Bellingham, WA
Got dragged up this in January of 2012, and it was in pretty good shape. The first and second pitches remind me more of mixed climbing even though it's ice. The last pitch I tried to lead but bailed. It's freaking entirely vertical for 100+ feet. At the WI4 rating, it's probably true but very intimidating. I would suggest being very comfortable on WI5 lead before you think about taking on this classic. Oct 13, 2012