Ice near Silverton. Photo: OurayIceClimbing.blogspot.com
Silverton is still the place to be, with many of the area’s classic routes in prime condition—and, without much snow on the roads, you could drive close to the climbs this week. But change is coming, with deep cold blanketing the state and more snow on the way. As nighttime temps dip below zero, the till-now skimpy waterfall ice in East Vail, Redstone, Loch Vale, Ouray, Telluride, and other hotspots will be growing fast, and the winter season should be fully in swing by this time next week. One challenging climb is already in great shape: Stoneman in RMNP.
These nose-hair-curling temps will forestall the formation of melt-freeze routes like the Hessie Chimney, which was seen to be dry this week despite snow above the climb, and they likely spell the end of routes like Total Abandon on Pikes Peak (which was already anemic last week) and the suddenly popular routes on Mt. Warren, below Mt. Evans. Such high-altitude ice climbs quickly sublimate in dry midwinter conditions. But they were good while they lasted!