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Ouray Highway 550: Gravity’s Rainbow

Snow is Flying and Ice is Forming!
December 28, 2012
Ouray Highway 550: Kennedy’s Gulley
January 1, 2013

Gravity’s Rainbow

Every few years the weather provides us with enough cold and overcast days in a row for a few finicky San Juan classics to form.  At a New Years party, Mark “Coach” Miller  and I were discussing the weather and ice conditions when we both realized Gravity’s Rainbow might be perfect the next day. After agreeing to give it a go early the next morning,  I quickly realized it was time to exchange my beer for water and get ready for New Years Day on Gravity’s Rainbow.

We climbed three awesome pitches. Mark styled the steep pillar and thin smears of the first pitch and was kind enough to give me the second and third  pitches so we could share the steep climbing. The position and exposure of the last pitch high up on Highway 550 between Hayden Mountain and Mount Abrahms was an exhilarating start to the New Year. On the way down we replaced all the rappel anchors so go get it while the gettin’s good!

“These are not the droids you are looking for….” -Ice Jedi Mark Miller.

There are a number of really cool, rarely climbed lines up on Highways 550. Though close to the road the setting gives the routes a decidedly alpine feel. The guide book can be a bit confusing as to which is which up there and some of the ratings are wrong so  stop by the shop and ask for beta. The climbs can be tough to catch as many of them have south facing sections. However, some, like Over the Rainbow and Abraxas, are a bit more dependable. You can see them all pretty well from the road and the approaches are short. Come check it out with SJMG!

Looking up towards the final pitch