Posts tagged Summer Activities
Rock Climbing Areas of the Million Dollar Highway
SRP_1302.jpg

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.