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Big Thompson Canyon Ice
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Upper Falls T 

Upper Falls 


Type:  Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 35'
Original: WI2 [details]
FA: unknown
Season: Late fall to spring
Page Views: 2,906
Submitted By: Andrew Gram on Nov 19, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (14)
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In great condition, 2/24/11.


This is the highest of the two largest ice routes in Big Thompson. It is a little harder than the lower falls, and usually comes in later and melts out sooner. A fun pitch, and not as crowded as the lower most of the time.



Toprope Protection 



This lies about 7 miles downhill from Mall Rd. in Estes Park. Near mile marker 72, on the south side of the river. This necessitates a potentially-hazardous river crossing.

Photos of Upper Falls Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: kk on the headlamp solo
kk on the headlamp solo
Rock Climbing Photo: Jim Detterline
Jim Detterline
Rock Climbing Photo: Kyle climbing Upper Falls.
Kyle climbing Upper Falls.
Rock Climbing Photo: My first ice lead.
My first ice lead.
Rock Climbing Photo: Deb's 1st ice lead - Upper Falls.
Deb's 1st ice lead - Upper Falls.
Rock Climbing Photo: Deb on the left side (steeper) of the Upper Falls.
Deb on the left side (steeper) of the Upper Falls.

Comments on Upper Falls Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 11, 2012
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Feb 14, 2002

This is a wide flow perhaps with 40-50 feet of climbing with a couple trees set back about 85 feet from the base of the main climbing. Pass the lower falls (sometimes dry) on the W side on a trail. Perhaps 400 vertical feet up the drainage. Not visible from the road. There is a short 10 foot step of WI2 to get to the main flow which can be bypassed on the left. The main flow is wide enough to accomodate multiple symbiotic parties. WI2-3 lines. Never vertical. Long slings (approx 48") are useful to sling the big tree. Walk off right. Beware crossing the ice above the 10 foot step without crampons. This area is wind sheltered. Nice place for a first lead. No road noise here. Anyone know if there are other similar ice gullies downsteam above the bits of blue abutting the river?
By Anonymous Coward
Feb 18, 2002

Was up there this morning. The lowest section (WI 1-2) is melted-out. The middle and the upper are in nice shape. The middle falls are short (maybe 15') of steep (not vertical) WI 2. The upper falls are WI 2-3, depending on the line. The right hand side of the upper falls offered some nice mixed climbing past a shallow cave. A few of the lines have some short vertical sections, but the vertical sections are rarely longer than maybe 12-15 feet.
By shad O'Neel
Mar 3, 2003

This is in big 'n' easy as of 3/1/03. Short step maybe 10 feet of steep ice, rest is grade 1 rollers. The lower area [isn't] in at all.
By Michael Lozon
Mar 11, 2003

Pretty fat - maybe the biggest I've seen in a few years. Full curtain varies (small void in middle) from WI2-3. Great after-work romp. Catch it quickly though, weather forecast for this week is springlike, so it may turn to slush.
By Tom Walker
Jan 4, 2007

Has anyone been to Big Thompson this year? What are ice conditions like?
By Ross Tichota
Feb 2, 2007

I was up there last night and the upper flow is in. The ice is great, super plastic, sink the tools to the hilt with one go!
By Buster Jesik
Feb 3, 2008

On the right side there is some crazy, ancient, ice peg thing sticking out, anyone know anything about it? It seriously looks to be about 500 years old.
By Sean S.
From: Thornton, CO
Feb 3, 2008

The peg was there this morning, it was an old pound in ice screw, another climber there today dug it out. And yes, that thing looked even more ancient when it was out.
By Dr. Thompson Jr. Jr.
From: Estes Park, Colorado
Nov 4, 2009

Hiked up to the upper on my way up the canyon this morning (11/4) to see if it was forming at all after the recent big storm. As to be expected, no ice yet. There must have been some hellatious wind though, there are several downed trees full of green needles. A hand saw may prove useful.
By kyle kingrey
From: Loveland
Dec 21, 2011

Was not in two weeks ago. Quite a few new trees down.
By Chad R. Johnson
From: Loveland, CO
Dec 25, 2011

It's in and only going to get better this season.
By kyle kingrey
From: Loveland
Feb 27, 2012

The maze of logs piled up on the approach to the upper falls has been cleared. On the 19th of Feb., there was a rescue at the Big T ice climb, and many trees had to be removed in order for S&R to get the individual down the mtn.
By Spencer Dries
From: Golden, CO
Feb 29, 2012

Kyle, is there any more info on the accident? I hope the person and/or party involved is okay.
By kyle kingrey
From: Loveland
Mar 2, 2012

From what I heard, a gal lost her footing while lowering and swung into the ice, hurting her hip enough to need a rescue. She was climbing with a group guided by CMS.
By Steve Hoskins
Dec 11, 2012

Has anyone been up there yet? Is it in?

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