Ice Climbing Lake City 2008
Home Up Live Music 14'ers Log 13'ers Log Lost Creek Wilderness Wedding & Belize Pictures & Stories Wish List

02/16-18/2008

Closer then Ouray, no crowds, long routes, cool little town.
After hearing murmurs about the new ice park in Lake City, we took advantage of the long w/end and headed down there to see for ourselves. We knew we were driving through central Colorado when we came across a herd of cattle being rustled down the middle of the highway! It was pretty funny, they were all following a tractor with a giant bail of hay on the back while a couple cowboys and herding dogs kept them in line!
Pulling into Lake City early afternoon on Saturday after the 4.5hr drive, we checked in at the Alpine Moose and realized we were the only guests (red rum, RED RUM, RED RUMMMMM!). We stopped in town to fill out the required waiver and drove the whole three blocks south to the ice. Noticing a huge wall of ice and only one other car, we wondered if we were in the right spot! Four guys from Crusty Butt were there and laughed that we spoiled their lonely climbing all day. Jaws hanging down at the long routes, we picked one out and I did the short hike around and up above the ice to the anchors. Their setup is quite similar to Ouray… tapping into the city water tank along with PVC and shower heads provides all the ice needed. There are some trees way back, but several spots where anchors/bolts are drilled into the rock. Bring long slings! Even with about 30ft of slings and a 60M rope, we relied on the dynamic properties of the rope to get us both tied in. Quite comical to watch, I’m sure.
Blue skies, warm sun, and wonderful vertical ice…. We almost felt guilty for having too much fun. The routes are LONG and just about completely vertical. Far from beat-out and plenty of room to belay. There were even a few plastic chairs to chill out on!
Sunday morning we checked out the ice up at the old mining townsite of Henson, 3 miles up Engineer Pass. Sure looks different then running up there in the dark during the San Juan Solstice last June! The early morning blue skies covered up with clouds and lead to snow flurries. We found our way back to the ice park, having the entire place to ourselves. Several more arm-burning laps and we headed back to the hotel for lunch. Bruno, at the Alpine Moose, cooked up the finest beef burgundy I’ve ever tasted. The chocolate covered strawberries for dessert were a nice treat and we felt spoiled and out of place. He told us all about the herd of deer that are his friends and the 3-legged coyote that we saw hanging around outside.
Sunday afternoon found us back trying out yet another route, the virgin ice and slight overhang near the top had me puckered up a bit… but it ended up not being a problem.
Monday morning…. Hanging out at the Mocca Moose chatting with the locals about the ice and upcoming “Ice Competition” the w/end of March 1st. Great folks that were real friendly and more then happy to show us their favorite climbs on a map and how to get to them. So much for the tropical weather… it was minus 5. But a few more laps got us warmed up before heading out of town and back to the Front Range.
Check this place out, what a gem! They are talking with BLM and working on a plan to expand the ice even more. And their March 1st Ice Competition sounds fun!
Soooo, recap…. Great ice, no crowds, Mocca Moose coffee shop, Alpine Moose restaurant/hotel = one mighty fine ice climbing weekend!

Lake City 2008-02 01.JPG (152403 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 02.JPG (244858 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 04.JPG (248319 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 07.JPG (254168 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 10.JPG (273202 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 11.JPG (289239 bytes)

Lake City 2008-02 13.JPG (217849 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 15.JPG (184284 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 16.JPG (254632 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 17.JPG (224303 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 19.JPG (176672 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 23.JPG (205276 bytes)

Lake City 2008-02 26.JPG (207605 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 27.JPG (216441 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 32.JPG (167988 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 33.JPG (177800 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 35.JPG (186203 bytes)        Lake City 2008-02 36.JPG (271433 bytes)