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Routes in U.S. 36

Unknown T M3
Type: Trad, Mixed, 50 ft
FA: pre 1988
Page Views: 324 total, 6/month
Shared By: Ben Collett on Feb 10, 2013
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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This route provides a passable diversion when traveling to or from more dignified activities in the park. At least it is off the beaten path.

Climb the rotten chimney with an interesting chockstone bushwhack through some willows and end up on 20 feet of fun ice that conveniently ends at a tree that provides a nice anchor.


Turn off on the road towards Button Rock Reservoir. If you are lucky, there will be a dribble of ice on the left high above the dirt road where it crosses the creek for the second time. Hike steeply up to the ice in about 10 minutes.


A couple of small to medium cams and an ice screw or two.


Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
This is a forwarding of an email that Jim Detterline provided:

Thanks for sharing this ice climb news with me. It brings back old memories!

I first climbed it on March 11, 1994, but this was not the first ascent. According to my journal, I was told of this route by Lawrence Stuemke, former CMS guide who had done a lot of new rock routes in the Estes Park area at that time. A guy that I named only as "Andy" working at Komito Boots gave me the specific directions to this climb, which no one seemed to have a name for. Hence, it is not named in my journal or slides, as I assumed that someone else had named it since someone else obviously climbed it before I did. So Greg is correct; it is a much older ascent. And this is not surprising, as the route is prominently visible, when in condition, from Highway 36 just uphill from Shelly's Cottages (the turn-off for Buttonrock Reservoir).

On my first visit in 1994 I rated it WI2 5.3 40'. Greg also is correct about the climb's source, a leaky irrigation pipe. The best condition that I found it in was on January 19, 1997, when the route grew to WI3 60' with improved water supply. On that day, it was a sunny 54F and I led it without my shirt. I will attempt to scan and attach some photos from that date (climbers are Bernie Holien, Michelle Brown, and me). For at least the past 5 years, there has been no ice there. Perhaps the pipe was fixed? I didn't have time to look through my more recent journals to figure out when I did my latest ascent, but it has been a while now. So I am not surprised that the climber responding on the web site thought that that it seemed to have a lot of manky rock around and that caused him to believe that he had gotten a first ascent. The wet nature of this chimney is probably also responsible for making the rock flaky.

I did climb two other low-angle flows in the woods just west of the Shelly's Cottage ice climb, and also off of the Buttonrock Reservoir road. Both of these routes were only WI1 and full of bushes - just an exercise for the heck of it.


I am not sure as to how to respond on the social network thing, but if you feel that my information may be valuable, you are certainly welcome to post it for me.

Thanks, Jim. The history is great. Feb 11, 2013
Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
Greg Sievers   Bozeman, MT
There are a couple things we can tune up here:
1. The 'area' stated as So. St. Vrain is not Hwy 34. It's Hwy 36.
2. This is a very old ice climbing route. I climbed it back in about 1988 or so, and I was far from the first.

The old aqueduct up on that bench used to leak a lot, and the winter I climbed it there was an ice runnel almost reaching to the gravel county road, and not wanting to waste a day on WI2, we climbed it after work, in the dark. Feb 11, 2013
Ben Collett  
The amount of detritus that we pulled off would seem to indicate that no one had climbed this before. Hopefully Jim spent his time climbing something more worthwhile. Feb 10, 2013
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
There is a chance that Jim Detterline has done this. He's told me about a number of short ice pitches he had done along the way between Lyons & Estes Park. This sounds like one of them. Feb 10, 2013