|McGraw Ranch Trailhead
This is definitely an obscure line that won't raise an eyebrow among most ice climbers. Still, if you were looking for an easy route in an uncrowded setting, a micro-explore, or just wanting to tick off one more route in RMNP...this may be a line for you.
Pick a cold, cloudless day during a cold stretch, if you can...although in the December it doesn't get sun.
This climb has a steeper bit for the first 30 feet or so on a thinner-than-it-looks shell, then it kicks back with a few short, low-angled rolls separated by flat stretches. Yes, it really is mostly a 30 foot climb, but you won't be finding a simple walkoff until you get higher. Also, the left side of the start is a wee bit steeper an perhaps has better ice. The middle and right sides are lower angle, but you risk punching through.
Walkoff to the left on a ledge system that is used by non-climbers, too.
This is 3.2 miles up the Cow Creek Canyon drainage out of McGraw Ranch (~7700'). The first 1.8 miles are fairly flat as you pass under Sheep Mountain. You will pass the 1.2 mile mark where a trail goes south to Gem Lake, then at 1.4 miles the Rabbit Ears backcountry campsite, then at 2 miles, you get to a sign that points right (NW) towards Bridalveil Falls. You will pick up most of the elevation gain on this part as you go back and forth across the creek. You will gain ~1100' overall.
The first 2 miles are often fairly devoid of snow. The last mile or so can hold snow, but non-climbers may stomp it down enough to often obviate the need for snowshoes. The last bit after the hitchrack can be slippery on the rock slab if it is covered with snow. A short detour left into the drainage gets you around that.
This climb probably required stubbies on the first stretch, then you can get longer screws in above on the flatter sections. You can supplement with a few bits of gear on the compact rock on the right. We used a medium wire and a red or orange Alien.
Upper and lower bits of the climb.
Bridalveil's lower bit.
The upper bit is quite low angle.
Sunless in December.
|Comments on Bridalveil Falls