Type: Trad, Mixed, Ice, Alpine
FA: unknown
Page Views: 11,521 total · 58/month
Shared By: David A. Turner on Sep 25, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Dark Star lies in the chimney system to the right of the Flying Buttress on Mt. Meeker. It's hard to see the route until you are right underneath it.

Eds. note, it is often difficult to determine which route is Dark Star and which is Right Chimney. It appears this line here is likely Right Chimney.

Hike up snow slopes, to the right of the Flying Buttess. These are obvious in the attached picture. Head toward the deep recess. Climb a short, difficult section to get to the base of a chimney. Climb it. The first time I climbed this pitch it was filled-up with ice, turning it into an offwidth with great sticks in the back. The second time I climbed this pitch, there was not as much ice and the climbing was a bit more mixed and difficult. An excellent pitch.

Climb up the easier snow/ice gully for a full rope length. Continue up the steepening gully until you are blocked by overhanging rock. Figure out a way to get past this section, usually by climbing out left. Also an interesting pitch.

Ascend up to the summit. Descend via The Loft.


Ice screws and some rock pro.
I am thinking about doing this climb in early May. What kind of rock pro would be ideal for this climb. Tell me more if can remember more about Darkstar. Mar 4, 2003
David Conlin  
In as of 7/11/04. 3 parties on route today. More ice than mixed, but the ice was of variable quality. Melting fast!!!! We found 4 pitches of climbing. Steepening snow fields (soloed) lead to two choices: the left line is steeper and more direct, while a line to the right is hidden behind a ridgeline, but I am guessing it is significantly easier, as we were passed by another party who opted for the right line. We took the left line, Dark Star Direct.

P1. Climb the narrow gully system which consists of easier sections of snow interspersed with steeper steps of ice and mixed.

P2. We only had 50 m ropes, so had to cut the first pitch shorter. With 60 m you could finish the steep gully (or by starting the first belay higher). Surmount the steep step/roof using mixed techniques and end on a large snowfield. The option of skipping the first pitch by going right, rejoins the route here. Climb easy snow up to the bottom of a flared chimney system.

P3. Climb the chimney on great ice. Set a belay when you run out of rope and/or find a good belay.

P4. Continue up the chimney past a chockstone on the right, up, and past another on the left (crux).

Overall, we thought the route went at about AI3, M4. Bring more rock than ice gear. A set of nuts, a few cams (4), a few pins, and 2-3 ice screws would suffice. Jul 11, 2004
Julian Smith
Colorado Springs, CO
Julian Smith   Colorado Springs, CO
David has some very good comments regarding Dark Star. There is an action photo posted that shows the right-hand start as opposed to the left-hand start. The right-hand variation is pretty easy, maybe WI-2 with a mixed move or 2. How hard is the left-hand start, Dark Star Direct? Jul 12, 2004
David Conlin  
Nice photos! Julian, you must have been the party that passed us. I would say the left-hand start goes at about AI3-, M4. I am pretty inexperienced with this whole M-climbing biz, though, so not too familiar with ratings. The crux of this pitch is definitely the M and not the AI. Earlier in the day/week it might have held more ice, as it appears from the photo posted by Rick. By the time I was on it, one section was very mixed and difficult for me. Jul 12, 2004
I am thinking of climbing this sometime at the end of Sept into October. Does anyone know how the conditions are this time of year or how they are now? Aug 24, 2004
Scott Vanderplaats here. I just climbed this route last Saturday and I don't think what you have pictured here is Darkstar. I believe these pics are of the route right chimney. Darkstar climbs a chimney line to the right of this couloir, it is hidden from view until you are up close to the base. Of course, the name of the route doesn't really matter, it was fun whatever you call it. I would like to add though, I think the rating on this page is a little high. My partner, Jarret, and I climbed the so called 'Darkstar direct' and I' think its closer to M4-. The route was in good condition. Mar 9, 2005
This is not [Darkstar], this is [Right Chimney]. Mar 9, 2005
I soloed Right Chimney on Mount Meeker on 5/29. This route has a thorough write up onclimbingboulder.com but is wrongly named and rated as Dark Star, everything else in the discription is correct.

Conditions were thin but adequate for great climbing. The direct start was firm snow and rock, then the upper section had ice in the back. Crux moves were mostly rock and snow around [chockstones]. There was no visible feeder snow above the route, so I wouldn't expect the ice to get much thicker, better to do it soon rather then wait for better conditions. The descent was a blast as it was possible to slide from The Loft almost all the way to Chasm Meadow.

Many parties climbed Dreamweaver that day and mentioned very nice conditions. About thirty feet of ice split between two sections. Thought I only saw it from afar, Martha looked to be mostly melted out, while the real Dark Star was just rock and snow mushrooms.


CRSheridan@hotmail.com May 31, 2005
Mick Follari
Mick Follari   Boulder
I also soloed this in June '04, when it was mostly ice-covered rock with some nice solid ice sections. In those conditions, I'd also say not harder than M4...some scratching on rock in crampons and picks, some solid ice, some cracking off the rock. Another voice to say it's not Dark Star, that branches off right near the bottom and is visible once you are atop the snow back in there. Recommended! May 17, 2009
Jason Killgore
boulder, co
Jason Killgore   boulder, co
Climbed this (right chimney) yesterday and found generally good conditions. Mix of ice and snice in crux corner, with somewhat limited rock pro. Last pitch has a crazy chockstone ice tunnel that is not to be missed. We had a pretty sparse rack (purple & yellow TCUs, red Alien, gold Camalot, 5 nuts, 3 pins, 3 screws). In the future, I'd probably ditch all but one screw and instead bring a single set of cams from purple TCU to red Camalot, a full set of nuts, and 4 pins, mostly KB.

TR here: zclipped.com/?p=39 Jun 22, 2009
topher donahue
Nederland, CO
topher donahue   Nederland, CO
I'm not sure about the Right Chimney, but I do know the photos posted here are all from Dark Star. There are three thinner/harder and really good unnamed smears that form occasionally on the smooth wall to the right, but the main deep chimney cleft with the classic ice climb is Dark Star. The harder lefthand start is certainly better when it is in condition.

One of the funnest adventures I ever spent in the Park: approached Dark Star by climbing the Flying Buttress direct, climbed Dark Star in the best conditions I've ever seen it in, and then from the top of Dark Star we traversed over to the top of Lamb's Slide, across Broadway and climbed the Casual Route to finish the day. A world class Chamonix-esque outing. May 4, 2012
Tom Halicki
Boulder, CO
Tom Halicki   Boulder, CO
Rossiter calls this Right Chimney in the new RMNP guide. What he calls Dark Star is not listed on mountainproject. The new guide has a photo marking what Rossiter considers Dark Star and none of the photos under this route description are from that line. Basically, after going up the initial snow slopes right of the Flying Buttress, go behind the buttress to the right. The photo I've attached is from what Rossiter considers Dark Star. I make no claims; I'm just pointing out the contradiction, which is also raised by the conflicting comments of Chris Sheridan and Topher Donahue. I defer to my betters.
Jun 27, 2015