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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.
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
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Blue Mesa (near Gunnison):
Featured Route For Blue Mesa (near Gunnison)
Potters Clay M6- CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : South Rim
There are two lines on Potters Clay, the first one on the right side of the falls is the easiest mix ground at only M3 and 100 feet of climbing. But the main line that runs up the black rock straight up the climb is weighing in at M6 and 90 feet. There is very little pro (small nuts size 1 & 2) up this line. The upper part of the climb can treat you to a sweet pillar of vertical slush if conditions are good or a sick mixed roof with good pro if conditions are normal. There is a rappel station up...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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