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Jaws Falls 

WI4

   
Type:  Trad, Ice, 1 pitch, 160'
Consensus: WI4 [details]
FA: unknown
Season: Midwinter
Page Views: 5,719
Submitted By: Julian Smith on Feb 3, 2002

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BETA PHOTO: Jaws as of 12/22/07.

Description 

Jaws Falls, or just plain "Jaws", is one of the nicest moderate ice climbs in the state. In the middle of the route, a big cave forms with teeth like daggers of ice hanging from its mouth. Hence the name. Thin, brittle ice leads up to the base of the cave. Climb out of the cave (crux) and cruise easier ground up and left to a big tree with rap slings. 170' If the ice conditions are thin. Alternate belays and variations to the climb can be found on the right. With 1 200' rope, you can rap from the tree at the top down to the ledge on the right. 1 more 90' rap will get you to the ground. 2 ropes would be safest. Park at the Fern Lake trailhead and hike west along the trail to Odessa Gorge. You can't help but notice Jaws on you right about 2 miles up the trail from the parking area in 2002. Information in some climbing guides will give distances based on a parking area further up the road, but this was closed to vehicle traffic in the winter of 2002. Use "Colorado Ice Climber's Guide" by Cameron Burns - 1997 or "Rocky Mountain National Park - The High Peaks" by Richard Rossiter - 1997 as an example of references. Enjoy.


Protection 

Bring a rack of ice screws. If the ice on the 1st pitch is thin, bring a little gear.


Toprope Protection 

Nope.


Sun aspect 

Eds. Note, this climb can be quite variable if it is a sunny day. Beware, this climb has been known to fall down in less than a day. However, it does go into the shade in the later afternoon.



Photos of Jaws Falls Slideshow Add Photo
Mark Regier leading the first pitch of Jaws.
Mark Regier leading the first pitch of Jaws.
Jaws on 2/9/2008
BETA PHOTO: Jaws on 2/9/2008
Dan loves his ice axes.
Dan loves his ice axes.
"Jaws"... You can see how the climb gets its name.
"Jaws"... You can see how the climb gets its name.
Jubal Smith plays with the falling ice on Jaws.
Jubal Smith plays with the falling ice on Jaws.
Aaron climbing a 'tooth on Jaws (1/17/08).
Aaron climbing a 'tooth on Jaws (1/17/08).
Jaws - 17 Jan 08
BETA PHOTO: Jaws - 17 Jan 08
Can you say THIN?
BETA PHOTO: Can you say THIN?
Too warm, stuff was coming down like clockwork.
Too warm, stuff was coming down like clockwork.
Leading the steep right side. <br />Photo: Rick Witting.
Leading the steep right side.
Photo: Rick Witting.
The falls are looking very thin on 1/4/04.  There is a route on the section left of the cave, the ice is rotten and thin in many places.  It may be possible to do the entire falls starting on this route then continuing up along a thin pillar, however the upper sections may be mixed.  Consistent drip coming off the "jaws".
The falls are looking very thin on 1/4/04. There ...
12.31.2007 Beta pic.
BETA PHOTO: 12.31.2007 Beta pic.
Following Jaws.
Following Jaws.
Conditions as of 1/11/8.  8 climbers on 1/11/8, 13 on 1/12/8 (slushy).
BETA PHOTO: Conditions as of 1/11/8. 8 climbers on 1/11/8, 13...
Jaws on January 15, 2005
Jaws on January 15, 2005
Jaws Falls - February 4th, 2008
BETA PHOTO: Jaws Falls - February 4th, 2008
Ron climbing the WI4 section of the first pitch.
Ron climbing the WI4 section of the first pitch.
On the Jaws (1/17/07).  Photo by Shileikis's buddy?
On the Jaws (1/17/07). Photo by Shileikis's buddy...
Jaws - 2/13/05 - Melting Away
Jaws - 2/13/05 - Melting Away
Jaws Falls as of 12/21/2008
BETA PHOTO: Jaws Falls as of 12/21/2008
Jubal Smith on Jaws.
Jubal Smith on Jaws.
Wet and brittle conditions, 1/29/12.
Wet and brittle conditions, 1/29/12.
Comments on Jaws Falls Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 25, 2010
By Julian Smith
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Feb 5, 2002

Sorry, but I forgot to mention the sun. If you find yourself basking in warm sunshine at the base of the climb, bear in mind that large, exciting blocks of ice will exfoliate from the upper part of the route from time to time.

By Dougald MacDonald
Aug 31, 2002

When Jaws is thin, but still cold and safe, there can be a terriffic mixed line on the right side. Look for a cracky, corner thing through a steep bulge on the right side of the big curtain. You'll know you're in the right place if you get good pro. Short but very steep cranking off good tool placements in the crack lead to easier ground. Good pro, too. About M5-M6 when I did it.

By Christopher Roberts
Jan 10, 2003

I was up at Jaws yesterday 1/9/2003 and the bottom part of the falls is not in at all the top part is kind of in. You can hike around back and lower someone in and get about 50 feet of climbing or if you are a mixmaster the bottom would go.

By Brice W
Aug 7, 2008

In fat conditions (like winter 2007-08) this felt 3+, about the same as Pumphouse in Vail, but longer. Great route, it goes in a nice long pitch. Traversing over to the tree rap anchor at the top was a bit exciting as my last screw was way below me. There is a small, but decent ledge to traverse on, but I didn't find many good pick or hand holds.

By Brice W
Jan 25, 2010

As of Jan 2010, there is an intermediate anchor consisting of two beefy bolts in the rock 30m up. The anchor is on the left as you climb or rap.