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Type:  Ice, 1 pitch, 100', Grade IV
Original: WI6 [details]
FA: ?
Page Views: 2,359
Submitted By: Douglas Lossner on Jan 19, 2010

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Getting ready to get the rope to the top.

Lots of private land. Oil and Gas. Be careful when choosing trailheads. MORE INFO >>>


First of all, I found fixed anchors at the top of this climb?? I would sure like to know if this climb was led before or if these anchors were there for top roping, or? Really sorry to put a name on this climb if it was already led? I could not find info anywhere. This climb was soaking wet, and the front of the pillar was unclimbable slush and unconsolidated icicles. The left side also had a slush section making it unclimbable. The only line this day was the right side, and it was a narrow line with very sparse pro with an X factor fall possible. From the ground, the top cone was so hollowed out it looked like it was possibly unclimbable also. There are two cruxes. The middle of the climb, overhanging for thirty feet with absolutely no pro. Possible 80 foot ground fall, giving it its 6 rating. The second crux was the top cone and roof moves. The cone was so hollowed out, it created a very dicey move around the roof, followed by no pro to the top anchors. A lead I will not soon forget. The roof moves were protected with a screw and a v-thread placed very close to one another. If you plan on doing this climb, be prepared for a long day. 5 hour round trip hike. This is a south-facing climb, so conditions are probably always going to be dangerous. Since our outing went without incident, it was totally awesome.


I noticed this climb about ten years ago as a quick glimpse to my right while driving towards Grand Junction right after mile marker 71. Just the top half of the climb visible and you have to know what you are looking at. It took me so long to finally try and bag it because of the obvious logistical problems; access, approach, south-facing. Approach was from frontage road right by mile marker 71. Kelly Gulch was the access drainage. 1.5 miles in the drainage we accessed a ridgeline west out of Kelly drainage for 1.5 miles. Steep with snow and scrub oak. Very gruelling.


Only two small sections of the entire formation would take screws or v-threads. Two bolts with chains at the top.

Photos of PsycoticBitch Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: NO! It's my turn!
NO! It's my turn!
Rock Climbing Photo: Damn, that cone sure is hollow, and it's deep, too...
Damn, that cone sure is hollow, and it's deep, too...
Rock Climbing Photo: Dawn Wieker's glad she been stretching also.
Dawn Wieker's glad she been stretching also.
Rock Climbing Photo: Betty Thorson, "I sure am glad I've been doin...
Betty Thorson, "I sure am glad I've been doin...
Rock Climbing Photo: Too late! Matt Cova pulls around the roof. Could t...
Too late! Matt Cova pulls around the roof. Could t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Is it my turn!
Is it my turn!
Rock Climbing Photo: Oh yeah, chop away those pesky icicles.
Oh yeah, chop away those pesky icicles.
Rock Climbing Photo: Now what?
Now what?
Rock Climbing Photo: Overhanging, no pro, possible X factor fall, this ...
Overhanging, no pro, possible X factor fall, this ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Dawn Wieker and Betty Thorson. Bad Ass mountain wo...
Dawn Wieker and Betty Thorson. Bad Ass mountain wo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Matt Cova, our trail blazer. Thanks for breaking t...
Matt Cova, our trail blazer. Thanks for breaking t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Brett White coming out of Kelly drainage.
Brett White coming out of Kelly drainage.
Rock Climbing Photo: THE CREW. Betty Thorson,Fruita. Dawn Wieker, Brett...
THE CREW. Betty Thorson,Fruita. Dawn Wieker, Brett...
Rock Climbing Photo: The first full view of PsychoticBitch from the rid...
The first full view of PsychoticBitch from the rid...

Comments on PsycoticBitch Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 10, 2010
By Ryan Jennings
Jan 20, 2010

Really?? I thought WI6 typically was "X" or at least darn close to. And what's the difference between 6 and 6+? I used to think WI6 was the top of the scale but now I see people putting up WI7+s! What is that? It seems ice can only get so hard. As I've always understood everything extremely physically hard, poorly protected, unbonded, rotten, hollow, thin, running, etc. is WI6.

I haven't been there so anything I say is irrelevant, but I think I would have considered the climb "out of condition" if I arrived to find it in the condition you describe. Had I climbed it in this horrible condition, I certainly wouldn't have given it a rating in a database based on my horrible conditions ascent. Shouldn't a climb be rated at the rating it would be in good conditions. Good conditions being perhaps a bit more formed and colder to allow the ice to take screws.

To me this rating is for the conditions you found it in that day. What were the temps by the way? Seems like it just needs colder temps if it was running so much. If I went there on a colder day after a series of cold days, could I expect it to be WI6+X or is it really just another sick WI5 pillar?

I don't mean to discredit you. It does look like you had an insane lead, but I have a hard time seeing this climb as a WI6+X or any other for that matter. What happened to good ol WI6=insane! Of course I haven't been there so....
By Douglas Lossner
From: Delta, CO
Jan 21, 2010

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your comments. I agree totally, ice ratings are becoming very subjective. From my experience, WI6 is unclimbed overhanging ice which requires tenuous negotiation through fresh icicles, but pro is available to prevent ground falls. PsycoticBitch had all of those, but a ground fall was possible because of the complete absence of pro from 35ft. to 80ft. not to mention a cone that could swallow you up. As for being just a hard WI5 lead when perfectly formed, sure. I don't think she would be perfectly formed very often however. Her front pillar conditions came about over her current lifespan from beginning to now. She is south-facing and probably gets sun baked for a few hours everyday making protection on the face of the pillar marginal to non existent. For purposes of not sandbagging anyone into going back there, I personally would not want to downgrade below WI6. Thanks again, Ryan : ) Note: I do stand by my WI6+ rating for 1/18/10.
By Douglas Lossner
From: Delta, CO
Feb 14, 2010

Looks can be very deceiving. Interesting comments from people who were not on the sharp end of that thing.
By Douglas Lossner
From: Delta, CO
Feb 18, 2010

Hi Doug, The difficulty of the ice where I would have taken a ground fall(between 50 and 80 ft.) was solid 5. Overhanging, unprotectable, mushrooms and icicles(My facemask paid for itself again). Stemming into pillar proper was not possible because it was mush and unconsolidated icicles that disintegrated on contact. Feet were deffinitly a serious issue. I sure was happy to get to that no hands rest below the roof. Yee-Ha! The V-thread and the screw were pretty nice too! As for taking away from my experience, that is not possible. I've been in this ice business for 28 years and I've learned, difficulty can change in an hour, and I certainly can't rate a climb from a photo or from the ground. The rest of the team was blown away saying "it sure did not look that hard from the bottom!" They rarely do. Have a great day :) The "Gambler" sure looks like an awsome climb!.
By Douglas Lossner
From: Delta, CO
Feb 18, 2010

Sorry I got so long winded on the last comment. Let me make it a lot simpler. I thought WI5-5+ with the possibility of an X factor fall was WI6?
By Ryan Jennings
Feb 20, 2010

Let's not forget you originally rated this WI6+X! Now you're down to 5-5+? Did you not realize you were asking for it with a rating like that? It takes a pretty bad ass climb to get that rating let alone a WI6 rating. I agree either the photos don't do this justice or this is just blatant over rating.

As I stated before your ascent appears only as hard as you describe because you decided to climb it in extremely dangerous conditions. Had it been climbed in regular conditions it certainly appears to be a WI4-5.
By Douglas Lossner
From: Delta, CO
Feb 28, 2010

Hi Ryan, Again thanks for your comments. Anytime someone rates a climb at an insane level you get people (this is for you too Doug S.) who think they can down rate it just from a photograph? Doesn't make sense to me. How do you know Ryan, that was not the BEST condition it's ever been in? Check this out for instance. Go to Rock and Ice, March 2010 edition. On the back of page 2. Aaron rates Morning Glory WI6. I see plenty of pro so far and several hands free stances, not to mention endless stemming moves. Why don't you go and school him from your computer. I respect the man's rating, because I wasn't there. It's a beautiful climb, and if I ever go climb it I can rate it whatever I want, but not till after I lead it. As for asking for it, I did that the day I was born into the human community. We are a crazy species who likes to be contentious about everything. Feel free to say anything you want, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I still find it perplexing that you think you can rate something from your desk while surfing your computer? I was out there on the "sharp end" in 5+ terrain 80 ft. up with no pro. And you saw the cone after that. Ice ratings are about as subjective as it gets. It takes commitment to lead a WI6, and I'm finding that the most courageous part comes when you rate it. Peace, Douglas :) Note: Aaron, AWESOME what you are doing in Cody!
By Douglas Lossner
From: Delta, CO
Feb 28, 2010

Oh, by the way. In my book, there is no ice difficulty greater than 5+. I was taught that beyond 5+, ratings are based soley on RISK. Again, what are the definitions of ratings? There are so many different opinions. When it comes down to it, all that really matters is working as a team to keep each other safe, having fun, and the crew making it back home to their families and a hot shower.
By Ryan Jennings
Feb 28, 2010

OK. Alright, calm down. You don't have to get all heated up. We're just having a conversation on ratings here. I am still a bit concerned though, you really don't feel WI6+X was a bit much? Don't worry, I've driven by your climb often enough. I'll get back with you when I've climbed it.
By Douglas Lossner
From: Delta, CO
Mar 1, 2010

Hi Ryan, Not heated up at all. Like all climbers, I can't even keep up with new ice ratings. Now we have someone trying to get a WI10 established, where does it end? In my rating of 6+ X, I did not realize X was a no no in ice ratings? In rock, if you are going to take a ground fall that will most likely kill, you we put an X next to the rating, no matter what it's technically rated. It seems like that X did not set well with you? I don't think she is going to be in for the remainder of the season, but when she comes in next year I would be glad to guide you on the approach. I posted another climb I rated WI6. Area Unaweep/Quarry Pillar, check it out (comments welcome). Again Ryan, I was not heated, I just know how to get my point across. Peace, Douglas :)
By Bryan Gilmore
From: New England
Dec 10, 2010

Who cares... did you have fun? Good, that's all that matters. If Ryan doesn't think it's a 6 then he's better than you, that's all. Now move on.

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