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Blue Mesa (near Gunnison)

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South Rim 

Blue Mesa (near Gunnison) 


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Location: 38.4391, -107.37745 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 26,961
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Matt Ledges on Jan 12, 2004
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Blue Mesa Smear & Blue Balls from CO Hwy 92 - late...

Ice Climbing 

The Blue Mesa area offers a handful of quality climbs that are worth adding to anyone's list. Tucked into the narrow Black Canyon of the Gunnison the lack of direct sunlight and cold temps keep many of these climbs in throughout winter. Overlooking Morrow Point Reservoir the setting is spectacular. Steep canyon walls and emerald green water provide the backdrop for some truly enjoyable climbing. Somewhat out of the way, you will likely have the climb, if not the entire area, to yourself. Climbing in Blue Mesa makes a great way to break up the drive from the front range to the Ouray/Silverton areas.

One of the longest, if not the longest, ice climbs in the state lies in this area.


Getting There 

It should be noted upfront that it is necessary to cross private property to get to most of these climbs. Most routes can be scouted from CO Highway 92, approximately 4.5-5 miles west of the turnoff from US Highway 50 (which is about 30 minutes west of the town of Gunnison). The first and most obvious climb on the south rim is Blue Mesa Smear with several others forming less consistently to the west. Once you identify your landmarks through your binoculars get back on US 50 heading west for about 4.3 miles from the intersection with CO Highway 92 and take a right on old US 50 (labeled 50E in the gazetteer) near the base of a small hill. A couple hundred yards down the road you will pass a ranch house on the right. If you see someone home, ask permission to walk on their property. 200 yards or so past this house the road wraps around the small hill somewhat protecting you from the line of sight from US 50. Park here. For some, the crux of the climb may be committing past the many posted signs and climbing over the barbed-wire fence lining the road. All of the climbs will take you through a small sage-brush mesa to the north, leading down to one of several drainages. Two ropes are needed for the rappel.


6 Total Routes


['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Blue Mesa (near Gunnison):
Blue Mesa Smear   WI4-5     Trad, Ice, 1 pitch   South Rim
The Real Blue Creek   WI4-5     Ice, 2 pitches, 460'   South Rim
Browse More Classics in Blue Mesa (near Gunnison)

Featured Route For Blue Mesa (near Gunnison)
Route '268'.

268 WI4-5  CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : South Rim
This outstanding free standing pillar is a hidden jem of Colorado water ice. When it forms all the way to the ground #268 is like a little Rigid Designator but without the crowds or interstate noise. Nestled in the west side of the beautiful canyon halfway to the Morrow Point Dam on the Gunnison River (about a mile north of Newberry's Store in Cimarron, Co). Named for the old #268 narrow gauge train engine that graces the approach to the ice, this climb presents a unique...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Comments on Blue Mesa (near Gunnison) Add Comment
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By Andy Johnson
Jan 18, 2004

It should be noted that the current owner of the private property here does not take kindly to climbers on his land. There are many stories of climber's vehicles being towed and or tires deflated, keyed, etc... In the past, the current owner's mother owned the land, and she did not mind climbers on the land. However, things are supposedly different now. I may be wrong, but I am pretty sure I am not.

By A concerned citizen
Jan 20, 2004

This is a great area to climb, however crossing the private property has landed a few friends in jail and carries with it a hefty fine, so don't tresspass stupid! I have also spoke to a few people who have sought permission to access the area and were turned away quite hostily (Climbers go away!). I have heard of people bringing a boat to the base of Chipeta falls and rowing across from there. This is really the only acceptable way to access this climb, but the bottom line is don't tresspass and don't bother these people. This really shouldn't even be on this web site. Sorry.

By alpinglow
From: city, state
Jan 20, 2004

If you drive just a bit past the private property you come to a drainage that meets the highway. I have hiked this all the way to Curecanti Needle. Some crags back there, public access to the ice, and a long slog to Curecanti.

By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Jan 20, 2004

Dear Concerned Citizen,

I differ with your opinion. This is exactly one way how a web site with information obtained collectively can be used to best serve the climbing community. It is a way climbers can learn from the experiences of others. Perhaps, in certain circumstances, when information is used wisely, it can reduce the friction between landowners & climbers. Thank you for your input, CC. Thanks, Matt. LP