The stellar ice conditions some predicted for this year, thanks to a relatively wet summer and snowy fall, have so far not materialized. Ephemeral classics like the Smear of Fear on Longs Peak apparently aren’t going to happen this year. But the usual spots are beginning to form up, and ice is being climbed around the state. Be careful, though: The warm weather this week may have weakened or wrecked a number of routes.
Front Range: Alexander’s Chimney is thin but getting climbed. There seems to be lots of ice this fall below Notchtop, and the east face is thin but in. All Mixed Up is…mixed. Total Abandon and Blind Assumption on Pikes Peak have been in for over a month—the trick is catching the road when it’s open.
Summit/Vail: Officer’s Gulch may have a climbable route or two, and the Ninth Hole and other side gullies in Vail looked OK from I-70 a week ago. The bigger routes still have a ways to go, but you don’t really need ice in Vail, do you? Mt. Lincoln has a bit of climbable ice—and undoubtedly plenty of people.
Redstone: Nothing yet, but word is some climbs may be ready by this weekend.
Southwest: Lots of stuff coming in around Eureka and Silverton: Stairway to Heaven, Direct North Face, and others look decent. Second Gully looks good. Whorehouse’s first pitch appears to have fallen and will need to rebuild. Hosers Highway and others are said to be ready. Lower Ingram has been climbed in Telluride, and Ames and Bridalveil are said to be forming. Not much reported around Ouray.