REI Community
Cottonwood Creek (Sherman to Cuba Gulch)
Select Route:
Cotton Picker 
Havana Nights 
Open Casket / Closed Casket 
Señor Presidente 
Sherman Climb 

Open Casket / Closed Casket 

WI5- M4-

   
Type:  Mixed, Ice, 4 pitches, Grade IV
Original: WI5- M4- [details]
FA: 
Page Views: 1,371
Submitted By: Jesse Morehouse on Jun 5, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (1)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
The second step of ice, here in WI4+ conditions. ...

Description 

NOTE: While I have climbed most of this route, the below info is from Duffy Dog (FA, 2003). My own experiences are in the comments below.

This is one route with two distinct finishes.

Climb 3-4 steps of 70 to 100 feet each (WI 3+ to 4-) with a bit of uphill, snow slogging in between. Above this there are two options.

On the left is a very wide and fairly steep WI 4+ to 5- a little under 200 foot long. This is Open Casket.

On the right is an ice chimney that is about M4- for about 250 feet which is Closed Casket.

Both flows top out at the same place on the top of the ridge with awesome views.

One 200 foot rap off of a v-thread gets you to the base of the 2 variations. Slog down to the next ice pillar and traversed out to climbers left and 3rd class it all the way to the bottom. You might have to traverse back to climber's right to get past the first ice pillar.

Location 

1-1.5 miles up the Willow Creek Rd from the winter closure. Look for a large slope avalanche path (did you check the avy conditions?) covered with small aspen saplings. Above this is a deep cleft in the rock wall with ice below it and you should just be able to make out ice way above it. This is the route. If you hit Boulder Gulch on your right you went a little too far.

Protection 

Screws and gear.


Photos of Open Casket / Closed Casket Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Lee taking a breather as we near the end of the se...
Lee taking a breather as we near the end of the se...
Rock Climbing Photo: A small piece of the second slogfest.  A very smal...
A small piece of the second slogfest. A very smal...
Rock Climbing Photo: Just below the two finishes.  Left is Open Casket,...
Just below the two finishes. Left is Open Casket,...

Comments on Open Casket / Closed Casket Add Comment
Show which comments
By Jesse Morehouse
From: CO
Feb 16, 2010

We climbed most of this in Feb 2010 and here are a few impressions:

The slog up through the aspens was brutal. I'd recommend snowshoes for that part.

P1 was out but looked like the shortest pitch on the route. We bypassed it on the right because the snow was not as deep there!

P2 (2 hours after leaving the road...) was a fun WI4+ with some interesting bits due to lots of sun hit. It was one of those pitches that looked way shorter and easier than it really was. Very enjoyable. The belay was off cams in slightly crumbly granite climber's left.

Next was the "extreme 40 degree snow couloir" of the Roberts guide or the kind of breezed over slog mentioned above in the description. We found a long moderately steep postholing slogfest that I think took another 2 hours in the conditions we found. There was a small ice step (soloable) about 1/4 of the way up it.

The finishing pitches, the Open or Closed Caskets, were super cool lines. They looked longer than 60m but who knows? We were running out of daylight and chose Closed Casket (I think my case was that you can find fat ice anywhere but cool mixed lines like that were rarer?!?). I got over a small rock step down low with 2 lobes of a 3 camalot as the only pro, then 50 feet up steep loose snow to styrofoam ice which turned into dead vertical thin sublimated brittle stuff over rotten granite that finally made me reconsider the endeavor. I had to downclimb past 2 screws to get to ice good enough to thread and bail.

Then we went home (read more hours of slogging!)

We opted to rap P2 instead of try the walk off since darkness was closing in. From where we set the P2 belay earlier we traversed out around the rocks to some shrubbery (climbers left) and rapped 60m to our packs. Watch where your ropes go- there are a few knot eating cracks up there....

For the walk off I think you would traverse out in the same direction a little higher but the snow looked steep and deep and suspect there, and we didn't explore that option.

Skiing the road out is a lot better than walking it!

Overall, a pretty cool outing with beautiful position, great views, fun and possibly pretty challenging ice but lots of slogging up steep snow for maybe a bit over 1,500 feet ending up just shy of 13,000 feet. Make sure you are in shape!

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About