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Routes in East of Peak to Peak - S. St. Vrain

Dead Men Chipping T WI4+ R
Road Rash T,S WI5+ M6
Skidmark Left T,S WI5+
Skidmark Right T,S WI5+ M6
St. Vrain Falls T WI2-3
Vrain Strain T WI5 M5 R
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Type: Trad, Sport, Ice, 100 ft
FA: Jeff Lowe? Malcolm Daly? Mark Wilford? Duncan Ferguson?
Page Views: 1,581 total · 11/month
Shared By: Ryan Jennings on Dec 5, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Kevin Cooper, Howard Burkhardt and I put up three new ice routes on this crag this last weekend 12/1/2006. Perhaps they have been done before. If not they are now called "Skidmark Left, Skidmark Right and Road Rash". All three climb 1-2" thick ice and use existing bolts and natural protection except for Road Rash which required the addition of one bolt above a loose flake. They form most years for a few days. Skidmark Left is the black water streak of Alley Cat Street and uses this routes protection. Skidmark Right is just right of Alley Cat Street and uses mostly natural pro with a long reach right for a bolt 30ft? up. Road Rash starts left of a left-facing corner (100ft? right of the other routes) and starts out steep up and slightly right to some sketchy flakes that must be stood on to reach the new bolt before commiting to a slab that takes you to a small overlap which leads up a left leaning/facing corner. All three routes are WI5+M6 or thereabouts and 80-100ft in length. Enjoy!

This was originally submitted as a comment in the S. St. Vrain rock section.


Skidmark Left is the black water streak of Alley Cat Street and uses its protection.


Bolts & natural protection.


Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
Greg Sievers   Bozeman, MT
I thought Skid Marks left was an outstanding verglas route. one of the best sport ice routes I've ever done. To have bolts was awesome, especially when climbing on 1/2" to 1" ice. What a brilliant find. I would have to give this one 3-stars and maybe even 4. Thanks Kevin & Edward for letting me have the tasty seconds. Bummer Rambo had to settle for thirdies :) Jan 22, 2007
I hate to bum you guys out, but I believe these routes were done by Duncan Ferguson in the 70s, but I may be mistaken about the exact location of the ones he and JLowe did.. Feb 13, 2007
Tom's memory is pretty good.

Duncan, Mark and Jeff Lowe did the first ascent of most of these routes when they all worked at the Latok factory in Lyons back in the 70s.
There were a couple of winters where the ice was thicker than it seems to be this year and those guys cranked out lots of FAs. Just like the route, "Pink Dreams" actually goes by the name East Face of the First Flatiron" and was first climbed in the 70s by Bob Culp and other climbers. Many of the FAs posted in the South Vrain were done prior to this winter. Not to pop anyone's bubble but that's just the way it is.
There were a lot of prolific, motivated and talented climbers in this area back then. Paul Sibley, Jeff Lowe, Mark Wilford, Duncan Ferguson, Mal Daly, Bob Culp, and others. The history of this area is a little muddled and I'm trying to figure it all out. I'm not sure that anyone can actually state that they have done a first ascent anymore, those guys were so active. Still it's good to know that there are young guys who are out there gettin' after it and are motivated to go out and explore routes away from the beaten path.

Jack Roberts Feb 14, 2007
Ryan Jennings
Ryan Jennings  
The statement around here has always been that: if it forms, Duncan and clan have almost certainly done it. I would love to here from these masters themselves about what conditions were like when/if originally ascended. It was our purpose in posting these routes to see who might have climbed them in the past, as we were quite certain we were not the FA. Something so close had to have been climbed at some point in the past.

My belief would be though that if climbed during those years these routes would have been much fatter than they typically form. I don't believe the bolts of Skidmark Left were added until much after the 70s, making this route quite insane in the lean conditions that it is now possible to climb it in. Of course, that group always seemed quite insane to me, and perhaps they were up there soloing 1-2" thick ice. We'd have to hear from them to really know.

FA or not these routes are fun, form most years, and are moderately protectable (especially SM Left). Enjoy! Feb 17, 2007
I had always thought these climbs were probably done before we did them, but maybe not. Duncan may have climbed some of them before us, I don't know. I never climbed ice in the St Vrain with Duncan, at least that I remember, but Malcolm and I did some, and Wilford, and some others that I'm trying to recall. Skidmarks Left looks like one of my morning solos on the way to work - maybe in slightly fatter conditions, but not a lot. To the right of what you call Skidmark Right is a groove to a roof and corner, which was the best route in the area, as I recall. I don't think I ever remember the exact line of Skidmark Right ever being iced well enough to climb.

In the several years I lived in the area, I did maybe ten or twelve different ice routes, about half of them on those slabs and overlaps, about half solo - sort of high-ball x-rated moderate bouldering!

I'll try to round up photos, etc. to be more specific.

Cheers to you all. -Jeff Jul 1, 2007

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