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Ames Ice Hose 

WI5 M6 R

   
Type:  Trad, Mixed, Ice, 3 pitches, 520', Grade III
Consensus: WI5 M6 [details]
FA: 1/76 by Lou Dawson, Steve Shea, and Michael Kennedy
Season: Winter
Page Views: 14,042
Submitted By: Bryson Slothower on Sep 15, 2005

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Thin first pitch, spring 2004.

Description 

I think this route is a three-star-classic on a worldwide scale.

The Hose may not have a postcard view or alpenglow ambience, but the climbing is spectacular, and there is always plenty of air below your heels. This route is dangerous at the bottom and will humble most any dry-toolin' psychopath, but at the top it gets fat and widens out to a steep slab of blue ice clinging to the black wall.

Approach: 1 hour. Start at the power plant and find a trail which heads towards the lower Ames Falls (don't take the right fork down to the base of the Ames Practice Area and base of Ames Falls), and walk past the top of them to the railroad tracks which run through the canyon. Follow the tracks away from the highway until you are at the bottom of the drainage where the climb forms up on your left. You can see ice from where you need to leave the railroad tracks. Follow the steep gully to the base of the climb.

Pitch 1: 120' WI4+ to M6 VS Yikes. Conditions vary greatly on this pitch and it can be anything from a difficult mixed climb with no pro to a WI 4+ pillar. When I belayed Mike Ivie up this pitch in 2000, it was WI5 with some sections of thin ice and was reasonably well protected, this is not usually the case. If there is no ice or if it is too thin to climb, head up to the right of the ice (or wet spot) and bring some small wires and some huge nuts! There is a bolted anchor at the base of a gully that diagonals up and right. There can be a protected nook from which to belay on the right.

Pitch 2: 200' WI4-5 Head up the gully to the right to a large ice covered ledge below the spectacular upper pitches, and belay from screws on the right side of the ledge. Be very careful not to knock ice on your belayer at the base of the gully!!

Pitch 3: 200' WI 4-4+ *Classic* Follow the best looking line up the massive ice flow in front of you. Save some screws for the top and belay off of a tree on the left hand side of the flow when the ice turns to snow. On a warm day, this pitch can run with water.

Descent: 3 double rope rappels starting from the tree and following the left hand side of the climb. The 2nd rap is off rock slings on the left or V-threads if you have 60m ropes. You may reach a 2 bolt anchor with 70s. The last rap is from the bolts on top of the first pitch. Allegedly, there is a walkoff far left, but it looks arduous.

Protection 

A few stubbies and a bunch more screws for the upper pitches, small wires and TCUs for the first pitch. Please do not add any bolts to this climb!

References 

In Alpinist 18, p. 20, there is a writeup by Michael Kennedy about the FA.


Photos of Ames Ice Hose Slideshow Add Photo
Rick Wyatt, first pitch in 1978...note the old screws.... He never placed any, it was too thin.
Rick Wyatt, first pitch in 1978...note the old scr...
Guy soloing Ames Ice Hose (1/8/07).
Guy soloing Ames Ice Hose (1/8/07).
Andrzej starting second pitch <br />Jan 2006
Andrzej starting second pitch Jan 2006
Standa on third pitch <br />Jan 2006
Standa on third pitch Jan 2006
Ames Ice Hose in March 2006. The approach took us 3 hours of wading in deep powder and the 1st pitch was definitely M6 R (no bolts, we climbed it to the right).
BETA PHOTO: Ames Ice Hose in March 2006. The approach took us ...
Conditions on 2/17/07 - Check out the party climbing the last pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Conditions on 2/17/07 - Check out the party climbi...
Ice Hose mid-November '04.
BETA PHOTO: Ice Hose mid-November '04.
Ames Ice House  <br />Standa at first pitch  <br />Jan 2006
Ames Ice House Standa at first pitch Jan 2006
Zach starting the second pitch.
Zach starting the second pitch.
From half way up the steep gully (2nd pitch) on Ames Ice Hose. I set up the belay a little short of the headwall due to having been hit in the face by ice (I was a little disoriented but finished the climb, leading the 4th pitch also). Pic taken on slide film in Jan. '98.
From half way up the steep gully (2nd pitch) on Am...
Near the base, much of the lower route in the narrows is visible.
BETA PHOTO: Near the base, much of the lower route in the narr...
Pitch 1 was a steep, non-swingin', hookety, shorts-soilin' blast!  As usual Jack hikes it.
Pitch 1 was a steep, non-swingin', hookety, shorts...
Looking up at the 2nd pitch.  We moved up and out of the shoot to the right side of the upper ice wall. There is a pin and cracks for pro.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the 2nd pitch. We moved up and out ...
Flex on pitch 2. March 2008 <br />Photo by Eric Dixon.
Flex on pitch 2. March 2008 Photo by Eric Dixon.
1st pitch was in.
BETA PHOTO: 1st pitch was in.
Better look at the entire route, Jan. 2009.
Better look at the entire route, Jan. 2009.
Eric Lashinsky at the top of pitch 1, Jan 2009.
Eric Lashinsky at the top of pitch 1, Jan 2009.
First belay station 9 Jan 2010. You can see all the way up to the third pitch.
BETA PHOTO: First belay station 9 Jan 2010. You can see all th...
Final approach. Took us 30 minutes to get from this spot to the base of the climb. On the climb we were hit with frequent powder slides. March 2006.
Final approach. Took us 30 minutes to get from thi...
Looking down pitch 2, halfway to the belay.
Looking down pitch 2, halfway to the belay.
Looking down from top of 2nd pitch.
Looking down from top of 2nd pitch.
Looking up the last pitch on Ames Ice Hose.
Looking up the last pitch on Ames Ice Hose.

Comments on Ames Ice Hose Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 13, 2012
By Ben Hoyt
Jul 23, 2002

The 2nd pitch can be more serious than the 1st, again conditions-dependent. At the end of November 2001, we climbed the M6 variation to the 1st on the right, then about 80 feet of the 2nd pitch. This involved two good pieces of pro, a cam and a 17 cm screw inside of a cave in the back of the gully (offwidth size cave), with no ice and no pro for the next 50 feet. I would have guessed M6+ X. I've also seen pictures where this pitch looks WI4. Awesome route.
By MN
Dec 15, 2004

It would be nice not to see any current conditions...(photos) posted about this route as the first and second pitches don't stand up to a lot of ascents thin, patchy, sometimes discontinuous - i.e. normal conditions). After seeing the full on cow trail on the approach and several parties vying for position the other day, it appears that some of the ice park craziness is starting to spread into some of the more quieter ice locales of the San Juans. Nothing wrong with that but...stupid internet....
By Spanish John
Jan 31, 2006

It seems some a-hole decided to add a shiny new bolt to the rock start to the first pitch. The bolt was placed right next to a bomber stopper placement. The tool actually had the balls to tie the fixed stopper that was in place to the new bolt. The whole pitch takes good gear wherever you want it, and where the bolt is placed does not really protect the leader from hitting the ledge at the start for very long. I'm all for clipping nice new bolts on mixed routes, but this is a long established route that sees dozens upon dozens of ascents each year. Mugs would be roling over in his grave. It's probably already been chopped.
By Spanish John
Feb 2, 2006

Dude who bolted it is Chuck Burr. Lives in T-ride. If anyone has a problem with the bolt, you are ecouraged to call him. A good opinion on this can be found at skywardmountaineering.com, Vince calls it like he sees it and hits it on the head. The Hose isn't the ice park and shit.
By Ferrato
Oct 23, 2006

I made a solo ascent of this route in February 1997 ('98?), I went up the ice bit at the bottom, so I haven't done the mixed start. This is one of the best "long" routes I have done in CO (along with Bridalveil), a good, steep, relatively remote and serious route. I am not really clear on why this alternate start keeps receiving a new bolt. A friend of mine did this mixed start last season and informed me that the 1st bolt had been chopped. Also, that the dry-tooling was pretty reasonable. Am I missing something here?
By Jim Amidon
Oct 23, 2006

This is in the top 5 climbs I've had the pleasure of climbing.

When it's in, "get on it" >>>>
By phil broscovak
Oct 29, 2006

Is this new bolt true or is it a troll? Did Chuck Burr go against the opinion of the whole climbing community? What is this guy thinking? Say it ain't so!
By Trevor Nydam
Dec 8, 2006

The FA was done in January 1976 by Lou Dawson, Steve Shea, and Michael Kennedy. Volume 18 of Alpinist has a great description written by Mr. Kennedy.
By -mn
Dec 18, 2006

Pretty drippy 2nd pitch on 12/15 - never seen so much water on this route. Guess all that rainfall in Oct. Should be huge come Feb. Definitely prefer the patchier conditions on this route as it makes for some wild climbin'! Thanks to the person who pulled the bolts, however the holes need to be patched as they are butt ugly. I'll take a hike up there in the spring-summer and do it unless someone beats me to it. Hopefully those feeling the need to bolt this have given up. - Miles Newby
By Brejcha
Jan 24, 2007

alpinist.com/doc/ALP18/first-a...
By Mike Willig
Feb 19, 2007

Conditions on 2/17/07 are very fat. We climbed it in 2 pitches with 70s. It's a rope stretcher to make it to the belay ledge on the first pitch if done this way. 2 raps from the top (with 70s), and you're back on the ground. Absolutely sweet climb!
By Brad Brandewie
Dec 13, 2007

More photos and a TR at piquaclimber.com/past/amesiceh...
By Chris Wright
Feb 10, 2009

Does anyone know what kind of rock the Ice Hose is on? I've not climbed much in the area nor do I know much about geology, and I had no idea what that stuff was. From afar it almost looks granitic, but up close I couldn't have told you if it was quartzite or limestone. Anyone know?
By Jeff Bevan
Feb 23, 2009

Although this was my first ascent of this classic I'd say it was very fat. There has been a bit of traffic on it so it shows the wear and tear making it easier than what I am sure it is most winters. Top of the upper slab is where the freshest ice is and consequently the most attention to your feet. The first pitch is fat and cruiser. Must do climb!
By Chris Wright
Feb 25, 2009

Apparently the rock is Rhyolite, which according to Wikipedia "can be considered as the extrusive equivalent to the plutonic granite rock, and consequently, outcroppings of it often bear a resemblance to granite." Good to know.
By Stuart Paul
From: Denver, CO
Feb 24, 2010

When you park at the power plant, park all the way on the right in front of the trees and not in front of the buildings.
By acouncell
From: Estes Park, CO
Jan 12, 2012

Good shape all the way, pretty hacked up on pitches 1 & 2 but still good climbing. Definitely a classic. Lots of tat on the anchors, lots of anchors, could probably use a bit of a clean up? Also, we accidentally left a pair of BD Punisher gloves at the very top; set them down next to the tree anchor and then rapped off, totally forgot them. We'd be psyched to get them back. Cheers!
By Ryan N
From: Palo Alto
Oct 13, 2012

Got dragged up this in January of 2012, and it was in pretty good shape. The first and second pitches remind me more of mixed climbing even though it's ice. The last pitch I tried to lead but bailed. It's freaking entirely vertical for 100+ feet. At the WI4 rating, it's probably true but very intimidating. I would suggest being very comfortable on WI5 lead before you think about taking on this classic.