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Ice Climbing in Eureka Canyon, Silverton

Level 1 AIARE Avalanche Course in Durango and the San Juans
January 5, 2010
Ski Guide Training for Southwest Adventure Guides
January 14, 2010

Last week long time client Valari W. joined us for 3 days of ice climbing in the San Juans.  We spent 2 days in Silverton’s Eureka Canyon climbing a few of the classics, most notably Whorehouse Ice Hose and Stairway to Heaven.

Descending the upper bowl after climbing the 3rd pitch of Whorehouse.

Descending the upper bowl after climbing the 3rd pitch of Whorehouse.

Both climbs are in super shape, with many choices in terms of which line you’d like to climb.  We climbed the left side of Whorehouse with was in WI 3+ condition, with just about perfect ice conditions on the pitch.  The right side looked like tricky WI 4+/5-, with some potential hollow spots near the steep section at the top.  Stairway is in FAT condition, and good threads were in place for an easy descent of the route via a few rappells.  There have been many parties on the route recently and if conditions stay the same the route is going to be picked out before you know it.  The middle pitch is still quite steep and feels like WI 4.

Cool view on the 2nd pitch of Whorehouse.

Cool view on the 2nd pitch of Whorehouse.

All in all it was a great couple of days with good climbing the entire time.  Ice conditions are fantastic right now, though still a little thin in Cascade Canyon.  Hopefullly the continued cold temps will firm things up nicely for the bulk of the season.  Stay safe out there!

ND

First pitch of Whorehouse Ice Hose.

First pitch of Whorehouse Ice Hose.

Topping out the 1st pitch.

Topping out the 1st pitch.