All Locations > Colorado > CO Ice & Mixed > RMNP - Mixed/Ice > Glacier Gorge T… > Andrews Creek & The Gash
Chockstones of Unusual Size (C.O.U.S.)
M6-7 Mod. Snow
Avg: 2.2 from 5 votes
|Type:||Mixed, Snow, Alpine, 800 ft, 4 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||Andy Grauch and Chris Sheridan, Winter 2010|
|Page Views:||1,764 total · 18/month|
|Shared By:||Chris Sheridan on Jan 24, 2010|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
DescriptionThis is perhaps a new route in what seems to be an ever growing sub-genre of mixed climbing. As Scottish winter climbers have learned to embrace rime covered rock, Colorado climbers have extended the expression "It doesn't have to be in, to be in" to discover a whole set of enjoyable winter climbs with little to no ice.
Typical to this style of climbing, Chockstones Of Unusual Size climbs steep gully snow separated by drytooling cruxes past, as the name would suggest, very large chockstones. Though not as sustained as its neighbor Brain Freeze, the route has some really fun climbing.
Kick steps up to a deep and sheltered cave below the first chockstone.
P1: climb the vertical rock on the right side of the cave up to the bottom side of the chockstone, then traverse out and around the lip of the roof and exit on ice (I had to hang a few times, but this pitch will likely go at M6-7). Later in the year, it forms a more substantial pillar and may allow you to skip the drytooling all together on what could be a stellar, WI4+ pillar.
P2: simul-climb steep snow for a few hundred feet up to a second cave below yet another very large chockstone.
P3: chimney up the very back side of the cave till you reach the top, then work your way out towards the chockstone until you can squeeze through a small opening behind the chockstone (M4). When we climbed this section, Andy tied into the middle of the rope and led through the opening, clipping just one side of the rope. He then used the other side of the rope to haul packs through the opening. Set a belay anchor in another cave about 20 feet above the top of the opening, but you may want to extend the anchor down to the top of the opening to facilitate hauling packs. This pitch is lots of fun.
P4: exit the cave on the right and climb one last enjoyable drytooling section to the final snow slope (M4).