|Chalk Creek Ice
This is a local spot for beginners and those wishing to escape the madness of Vail or Lincoln. Anyone else, don't go there. Close to the road, it lies, but protected from winds and vehicular noise from US Hwy 24. North of Leadville and south of Copper Mountain lies this frozen waterfall on private land. About 40 feet of vertical, and usually only 1 flow. You can usually judge the crowds by the cars parked at this pullout. Note, snowmobilers will use the area, too.
In the morning, you can gear up in the sun. In the afternoon, the sun can still be accessed up the slope a bit. The ice forms as a shell of the flowing water underneath. Beware, it can be thin. It can be brittle when cold in the morning, ask Joe. Previous years like 2001-2 have had a curtain form to the left of the flow with some guidance. Scratch marks on the rock to the right and left suggest mixed climbers have played here. The anchors above are two trees, one (10 feet back) of which is quite slender, perhaps 20 feet back from the ice. There are 2 slings and 2 rappel rings on the larger tree. A 50m rope is adequate for climbs here. Lead it or set up a TR with an approach up the gully to the sides. Note, some folks have gotten cliffed by wandering up the wrong line. A few laps of climbing and it's time to move on.
2-4 ice screws, longs slings for the anchor. 50m rope is more than adequate. The surrounding rock is shattered
Long slings for the anchor, 50m rope is more than adequate.
This area lies about 100 miles from Denver.
From Leadville, head north on Hwy 24 towards Copper Mountain. As you approach Climax Mine & Fremont Pass, stop about 3.4 miles short and just past some power lines that cross the road.
From Denver, take I-70 to Copper Mt, S on 24, pass the Climax Mine/Fremont Pass 3.4 miles. You go through the switchbacks downhill and about 0.1 mile short of power lines crossing overhead.
I-70 to Copper Mt, S on 24, pass the Climax Mine/Fremont Pass 3.4 miles. You go through the switchbacks downhill and about 0.1 mile short of power lines crossing overhead, there is a pull out on the W side with the Forest Trail #134 marked for snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, hikers. Head uphill/N on the trail perhaps 100 yards. Look for tracks crossing into the woods at a soft angle to the L. Hike down briefly into the streambed with lots of loose debris (somewhat reminiscent of the Silverplume) and then 200 or 300 yards upstream.5-10 minutes at most.
|Comments on Chalk Creek Falls
|By Joe Keyser|
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Dec 16, 2002
As Leo said, be careful of [brittle] ice. It should go without saying that ice climbing involves delicacy, and good [judgment], even if you are on a cruiser. However, this weekend I was leading this and a good-sized chunk dislodged from what seemed solid low angle blue, after one strike. The ice dislodged from well above where I struck. It was very early, and the sun hadn't touched it yet. Smashed into my face, downclimbed safely, and a dozen stitches later was home safely. Moral of the story...everything I had been told about not looking up, judging the conditions, and being delicate, is true. I think in this case, if you are climbing something that spends a good deal of the day in the sun, you should wait until it gets a bit sticky, or watch your ass a little. Either way, be careful out there, this could have been much worse!
|By Ben Bruestle|
From: Pueblo, CO
Jan 14, 2005
The FA of Chalk Creek Falls and of the private Climax Falls was most likely done by long time Leadville local Frank Crum in the early to mid 1970s.
|By Zak Munro|
From: VT, Leadville CO
Jan 18, 2014
Nice little flow with several different lines, good tree at the top to set up a TR.