Posts in Things To Do
Rock Climbing Areas of the Million Dollar Highway
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Rock climbing in the area around Silverton includes a lot of alpine routes along with a mix of shorter sport and trad routes. A great guidebook pictured above is Climbs of the Million Dollar Highway by Jason Nelson. There is no more thorough guide covering this area and it includes very helpful directions on finding many of the crags and routes included; which can be difficult in remote areas.

Ridgeway, Ophir, Silverton, and Ouray all include climbing areas. Ouray better known for ice climbing has plenty of summer options for climbing great rock. There are about 40 established routes right within the Silverton area between a handful of crags including Cunningham Gulch, Eureka area, The Stripe, and Trainrobber Wall, and Ice Lake (South Mineral Creek). Climbing is best from late spring to fall. Summer temperatures are mild in the alpine environment, but beware of thunderstorms and freak snowstorms at higher elevations throughout the summer.

Cunningham Gulch

The crag is located at around 11,000ft. The area is located North of Silverton off CR-2. Mountain Project lists 14 sport routes ranging from 5.9-5.12c/d along a wall known as the Masters Wall’s. The routes range from 12-30m

Eureka

The Eureka climbing areas is located near the namesake mining settlement that once inhabited the area. To get there travel further up CR-2 about 10 miles outside of Silverton. This crag is broken up into three distinct walls; Eureka Pillar, Goldrush, and the Sandanista wall.
This area includes the 180m, five pitch Hardrock Miner (5.8) route that travels up the Eureka Pillar. Our friend and almost General Contractor, Jared Ogden talks about this area in his 2004 article After The Gold Rush - high country cragging in western Colorado for Climbing Magazine in 2006. Jared specifically calls out Washington Bullets (5.10d), Rock and Roll Animal (5.12a), and Mass Wasting (5.12c) for their quality.

The Stripe and Trainrobber Wall

Is a less than vertical crag just a hop and skip from downtown Silverton along the Animas River. It includes 19 routes ranging from 5.7-5.12c. The Train Robber wall is just a little ways past the Stripe and includes two unnamed 5.10 sport climbs that don’t appear on Mountain Project along with the 5.11b Train Robber (Trad).

Ice Lake

This crag is also referred to as South Mineral Creek on Mountain Project. The hike to Ice Lake is entirely worth it just for the view of this iconic alpine lake. The crag is located along the Ice Lake Trail short of the lake itself. Here you will find about 20 routes ranging from 5.8-5.12a.

Climbing Guide

We highly recommend shelling out for Climbs of the Million Dollar Highway. It can be purchased on line or from Ouray Mountain Sports.

Driving Imogene Pass

Imogene Pass is a 17.1-mile trail connecting Telluride and Ouray. This trail is rated as moderate and is doable in any high clearance 4x4. The pass reaches a height of 13,114ft which is the second highest driveable pass in Colorado and the highest in the San Juan Mountain region. Along the way you will pass through the old mining town of Tomboy from the 1880s and pass by mining ruins and relics left over from the gold rush days. It is pretty incredible that this place use to be home to year round residents.

While not as exposed as some of the other trails in the area such as Blackbear Pass; Imogene includes beautiful views and a unique archway carved through rock by miners from a long gone era. Like many of the trails in the area Imogene is not a technically difficult drive, but the exposure is ever present consequences for an error would be significant.

If you or your vehicle aren’t up for driving this yourself, Jeep tours are available from outfitters in Ouray, Silverton, and Telluride. There is just nothing like being up in this high mountain passes with their thin crisp air and stunning views (for the passengers).

Running the Hardrock 100

Or maybe just come to watch and support the incredible competitors who take on the hardest ultra marathon.

The Avon and the Hardrock 100 race have a storied past. It has been a gathering place for the Hardrock Tribe since before we ever came in to the picture and we are honored to be a part of the community moving forward.

The Hardrock is a 100 mile ultra marathon through some of the toughest terrain imaginable. It was designed to be the most difficult 100 mile race in existence and when it was first held in 1992 there were serious questions whether it was even doable. That year just 18 runners completed the circuit that starts and ends in Silverton traveling through the neighboring mining towns of Lake City, Telluride and Ouray.

The course covers 66,100 feet of elevation change passing over the summit of Handies Peak at 14,058’ at an average elevation of of over 11,000’, This is a grueling high alpine race— the air is thin and many years there is still snow along the course during the July event.

The current course record is 22 hours and 41 minutes by Killian Jornet in 2014.

For most runners it’s a battle of attrition to finish within the 48-hour cutoff time; the average finishing time is just over 41 hours. -Brian Metzler, Trail Runner Magazine

Entrance to the Hardrock is by lottery and only by those who qualify. The race is limited to about 150 competitors and the lottery sees over 2000 registrants per year.

Whether you are running or supporting please stop in to The Avon and say hello. We look forward to welcoming the Hardrock Tribe each year.

The hardrock miners of Colorado experienced adversity on another level through the hardships they faced in the San Juan Mountains. When the mines closed and the jobs dried up the town of Silverton was in search of a new identity. The Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run epitomizes the community aspect of mountain running perhaps due to the grueling nature of the course and the adversity the runners face. The mentality of everyone vs. the mountain exists especially at Hardrock. Friends and runners gather to challenge themselves each July and a town is reborn. A production by Matt Trappe Photo & Film In association with Louder than 11 Edited by Matt Trappe Louder than 11 Additional Editing by Jess Carfield Score by Fizzix Productions Post Produced by Louder than 11 Produced and Directed by Matt Trappe Film made possible with support from Ultimate Direction, Hoka One One, Clif Bar, Feetures! and Competitor Magazine.