Type: Trad, Ice, 1500 ft, Grade IV
FA: unknown
Page Views: 7,156 total · 53/month
Shared By: e Dixon on Nov 22, 2007
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

42 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick


The Direct North Face is a Silverton area classic that follows a series of ramps and steps up Peak 12,579'.

Start by heading up the drainage, directly to the base of the first steep curtain/pillar. Depending on the conditions, this can be short, easy ice steps (WI2) or snow slogging (easy to solo or simul). Climb the first pitch of steep ice up to a ledge (~70', WI4) and an optional belay. Continue up more steep ice (~100', WI3/4) to a large terrace. Some snow slogging leads to the base of the next pitch of ice. Climb moderate ice (~75', WI3) up to the next ledge system. From here, it is a lot of snow slogging and a few short ice steps that lead to the summit.

Descend the route by walking off to the left after any of the steps, or V-thread and rap off.


Follow FR 585 for about 4 miles. The Direct North Face is the next route after passing Cataract Creek. It should be easy to spot off to the left of the FR 585.


A selection of screws.
Jason Nelson
Jason Nelson   SLC, UT
This is usually one of the first climbs to form up in the Ouray/Silverton area. It's good to do this early season so that you can drive to the base, and hopefully avoid avy danger too. It's never been that fat (as in the photo) when I've done it, and that snow chocked gully below the ice has a couple hundred feet of fun WI2-3 to get you warmed up with. Oct 31, 2008
Trask   Broomfield
Hey there Jason.....so am I correct in assuming that you have already done this route this Oct. and that it IS in??? Nov 5, 2008
Trask   Broomfield
Did this climb with my brother Slade on the 22nd of Nov. 08 and man was it warm. A little wet on the last two pitches (come now heir doctor surely you have no objections to and early morning shower) or something like that...after we got off we went and checked out some things in Silverton and Stairway is lean, Whorehouse Hoses is sweet looking. Gully 1 and 2 are really lean, but people were getting a 3 in the afternoon start on it. Sweet. Nov 24, 2008
Adam Derick Andrade
Silverton, CO
Adam Derick Andrade   Silverton, CO
DNF is in!!! Nov 11, 2010
Princess Mia
Princess Mia   Vail
The ice is fantastic right now. Just cruised the whole thing yesterday. A few sections are thin with somewhat exciting top-outs. I used a few stubbies to save the head. The walk-off (skier's right) is obvious with a well-defined trail. It is super steep and does require lots of sliding down through thick saplings... but overall not a bad descent. Nov 16, 2013
Garret Nuzzo-Jones
Salt Lake City, UT
Garret Nuzzo-Jones   Salt Lake City, UT
Skipped the first "pitch" of thin ice and slogging to start at the WI4 pillar. Awkwardly placed bolted anchor can be found above that pillar, on the left. Past that next pitch, there is a tree with tat, which was pretty deeply buried. Nov 20, 2013
Mychal M
Dolores, CO
Mychal M   Dolores, CO
Lost during walk off descent: Black Rab down jacket, Cassin X-Dream ice tool. The jacket is in a grey stuff sack. If anyone happens upon any of these, I would be overjoyed to get it back, please shoot a message if you come across either.

Conditions as of 12/3/16: DNF is in to the top, just short of the high bowl below the summit. Pitches are wet, and ice was more fragile than we wanted, but it still made for a good all day outing. Road was not doable in a Subaru Outback, high clearance and chains would have saved us about 9 miles of hiking. Dec 5, 2016
Dom R
Bend, OR
Dom R   Bend, OR
Pretty sure there are two more WI4ish pillars after the last WI3 that is given in this description. The way I remember it is: gully slog up to the first WI4 curtain, climb that to the ledge, and climb the next 100' pitch into about 100' of low angle ice. Climb the WI3 pitch (last pitch described above), then continue like 80', then there's like 300' of low angle ice. Then there's a WI4 pillar to some more low angle ice. Then climb a steep Ice curtain (WI4ish) to more low angle ice/snow. From here, you can continue up ice steps to the summit or walk off left. Other than the 300' low angle ice section, you can make it from one ice pillar to the next in a 70m rope length or less. If you look at the roadside view photo on this page that Trask posted, the two extra pitches I'm talking about are the steep pillars at the top of the photo above the long section of low angle ice. All of that being said, I suppose you can walk off many places on this route, so how long it is is up to your interpretation.... Dec 10, 2017