Type: Mixed, Ice, Alpine, 900 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: E. Zale, B Collett, November 2009
Page Views: 6,075 total · 53/month
Shared By: Ben Collett on Nov 8, 2009
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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This route climbs much better than it looks from a distance. In fact, it compares favorably to many of the classic routes in RMNP. It contains a considerable amount of pure ice climbing as well as plenty of properly mixed climbing.

The first hurdle in the gully is a short easy mixed section that exits into a snowy section of the gully.

Pitch two follows a nice section of grade 3 ice to a very narrow ribbon of ice in a corner. Getting established in the corner requires some delicacy. We belayed on a small ledge immediately after getting into the corner. The next pitch was easy but fun low angle ice and mixed terrain. Stop where the rope is no longer warranted. From this point, one can scramble another 250 feet or so to the start of the upper gully.

The upper gully seems sensibly climbed in two pitches. The first ending on a nice ledge to the right of the ice. The second is a short pitch ending at the top of the ice. From here, one can scramble to the top of the buttress.

To get off the route, head up and left to a col in the ridgeline. From here, one can drop down the other side of the ridge to the road and follow that back to Echo Lake.


This is the furthest left gully on the buttress above the first Chicago Lake. From Echo Lake, hike the Chicago Lake trail until at the first Chicago Lake. Walk across the valley to the gully.


Nuts, cams, 3-5 ice screws. We found pins particularly useful- especially knifeblades and small Lost Arrows.
Jason Gilbert
Jason Gilbert   Lakewood
Looks great! Any idea how long the hike is? Nov 15, 2009
Overall should be about 4.5 to 5 from Echo Lake; it's a somewhat tempermental area usually considered for early season if you can get ideal conditions.

I don't think this area holds snow as well as other alpine areas to build good ice as it can be prone to being windstripped and/or sunbaked all around this valley. The pics offered do look like great fun, though.

Cell phones can be hit/miss; having a Spot device isn't all that bad an idea going in here. Nov 15, 2009
Leo, I think you guys were behind us. We were hoping that you didn't get out of there too late. That seemed like a bigger day than some of the alpine stuff in the Park.

I think Ben's second pitch was where we first broke out the rope. Then a long pitch of simul-climbing, with some thin ice. The rock corner going up and left into the thin runnel of ice seemed pretty hard. Getting established onto the ice was sketchy, and even then there was some insecure climbing on rock to get to the belay. (This was our third pitch.) I guess all in all we either belayed or simul-climbed for five pitches, with a significant amount of cruiser and fun alpine terrain. Quite exhausting where the snow was deep.

What a beautiful and remote-feeling cirque! Our water had frozen by the time we finished the route, but the late afternoon sun was sufficient to warm us up from what turned out to be a cold day. Awesome day, and hats off to Ben and partner for such a quality find. Nov 25, 2009
David Carter
Salt Lake City
David Carter   Salt Lake City
Climbed "The Road" on 11/29/2009. Great route. We found the mixed sections to be a little easier, around M3. We were able to link pitches 2 & 3 with a 70 meter rope, and then linked the two pitches in the upper gully.

Currently there is a little less ice than in the pictures posted here, but plenty to make the route worth getting out to. The ice is probably a little easier right now, as it is a little stepped out. Not as much snow on the route as the photos from a week ago.

Shortcut on the descent- we walked the Evans Road for about 3 miles, just passed the marker for mile 4 on the road. When we came to a switch-back overlooking Echo Lake, we took a snowshoe path through the trees that headed directly to the lake. It was entirely on snow, and probably saved us about 3 miles and an hour of walking the road. Nov 30, 2009
Not to take away anything here -- some really cool climbs are in this area if you can hoof it and score some luck; a tempermental area at most times.

Discussion as this may have been by John Peleaux and/or Bill Robbins in the late '60s to '70s. Either one were aggressive FAs of this area. Atkins was active here also, but everything he saw was already pinned. Dec 5, 2009