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Tastee Freeze

M4, Mixed, Alpine, 500 ft, 3 pitches, Grade III,  Avg: 1.6 from 5 votes
FA: Dave Wolf, Ben Collett, March 2009
Colorado > CO Ice & Mixed > RMNP - Mixed/Ice > Bear Lake Trail… > Emerald Lake /… > Hallett Peak -… > E Buttress


For a route of moderate grade, this route is remarkably continuous, steep and entertaining. It also has a very short approach (about 10 minutes from Emerald Lake).

From the col climb about 45 meters up turfy fun and through a little section of chimney. Belay on a ledgy alcove about 40 feet below the roof. Climb up to and through the roof and onto easier ground above. Either belay at a fixed nut or a bit further up. Climb a last, surprisingly long pitch up to the trees on the ridge.

We descended the ridge towards Bear Lake until we could drop through "the Terrain Park" back to the trail. Midwinter, however, it might be more wise to rappel the route.


This route is located on the wall on the south side of Emerald Lake that is on the north side of the ridge between Tyndall Gorge and Chaos Canyon. Level with where the trail meets Emerald Lake is a section of more continuous cliff with a shallow, left-trending gully on its left side. About halfway up you'll see a roof in it. The route follows this gully. From the terminus of the trail hike straight up the hill and start on a small col at the top of the scree field.


A single rack of rock gear up to a #4 Friend-sized piece.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

A climber on pitch 1 of Tastee Freeze, Feb./Mar. 2019. The route follows the spindrift. The dihedral variation to pitch 2 (red) looks inviting but becomes very loose halfway up. Not recommended.
[Hide Photo] A climber on pitch 1 of Tastee Freeze, Feb./Mar. 2019. The route follows the spindrift. The dihedral variation to pitch 2 (red) looks inviting but becomes very loose halfway up. Not recommended.
The route.
[Hide Photo] The route.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Chris Plesko
Westminster, CO
[Hide Comment] This route is a bit loose in the upper half and knocking off small stuff (mostly) was unavoidable. We did pull off one fairly large rock but you can shelter the belays just fine. A couple thin pins might provide better pro on P3 blasting through the choss. Most of my pieces were in suspect rock.

The crux P2 roof is really fun and well protected and if the top cleaned up I would give it more stars. It's a nice short approach moderate for the park but not one you'll come back to again and again.

We fixed rap stations at the top and 20 feet above the roof for double rope raps and scrambled off from there. You could down lead if needed. It would be great if these stuck around so the route is climbable during high avy danger. The stations are pretty solid and sheltered from rockfall (2 trees and 2 nuts) though some additional tat might be nice to pack just in case. Apr 13, 2011
Bogdan P
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Pitch 2 dihedral variation is loose and not recommended (red line, beta photo).

Route enchains well with a dream chutes ski descent (…). Coconut Bliss and Dairy Lite are alternatives worth exploring.

SKI BETA (on a powder day):
Begin the descent moving east from the route topout on Lake Haiyaha side of the ridge in the forest, following ridgeline closely (the ridge can form cornices overhanging Emerald Lake side, so just stay below those on the safe side). After a bit (on the order of 100m, low angle), the ridgeline is broken by a cliff. Cross over to left/north side of the ridgeline (Emerald/Dream Lake side), traversing an open hanging snow slope just below the ridge (35-45 degrees, cliffed out 50-100 feet below), and angling down and skier's left. The traverse bypasses the small cliff that breaks the ridgeline and allows you to rejoin an unbroken section of ridgeline which descends to the saddle in a 25-35 degrees 150 foot section of ridge. Dream chutes begin at far end of the saddle. We skinned across the saddle point, but a better route than ours may be possible for continuous descent. The only sketchy part is the traverse which if it slides would carry you over a small cliff. If sketchy it seems possible to bail through the forest to Lake Haiyaha before the traverse, so commitment is low, but may be worth skiing the hanging snow field on belay in case it does slide. It would be easy to anchor to trees on either end. Mar 3, 2019