|Camp Bird Road
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This is a "new" route up very obvious gully. Has it been done before? Proably. But it is not in Jack Roberts, Cameron Burns, Damon Johnstons or Charlie Fowlers books. Nor has it been written up on MP or Summit Post. There is no know public documentation to date, but now that gully has a known history that, we will share here. We have named it because that is the only way to identify it. If some one has a better name lets use that. It's a very fun climb that has it all, ice, rock, and snow. It is an alpine experience below tree line, a Scotland gully climb without all the walking and nasty weather. There is plenty of bad pro, runouts, loose rock, avalanches, difficult retreat, and impending darkness. In short, it has everything you need to have a bit of adventure.
Approach as for The Ribbon. At the base of the wall, head left into the trees passing under Desperado and Attractive Hazard. Follow the obvious gully for six pitches of mixed master heaven.
First pitch: in April, this is all snow except for one chockstone. Upon reaching the first large cave, stop and belay.
Second pitch: exit cave out right side. Chimney around several more chockstones. This is the rock crux. Monos and short down points will help here. The belay for us in April was a trench dug against left hand wall of the wide snowy gully above.
Third pitch: this is all snow climbing in April. Belay in first chockstone/cave you find.
Fourth and fifth pitches: these all have a series of chockstones. Use the caves to belay in. Who knows what evil lurks in the forest above?
Sixth pitch: from the largest cave yet, exit right side and hopefully climb steep sticky ice. Follow slabby ice above until you can finally escape left into trees.
Descent: continue up and left along the top of the wall until about 175 feet from the top of Out of The Mainstream. Here the cliff base reaches much higher up the wall making the coming raps much shorter. Follow the base of the wall back skier's left, and you will find the base of the gully.
The climb is in Ouray, up the Camp Bird Road. Park as for the Skylight/Senator Gulch. Please think about how you can help the miners travel safely up and down that road. Mining is an important part of the local history and economy. Stop in at Ouray Mt. Sports and get the latest word on the mining scene up there. It's complicated. For the mentally unstable, please leave your real or metaphorical, dogs, pistols, and hula hoops at home.
Standard rock rack plus, 5 ice screws, 4 thin pins. Tri-cams and Link-cams worked.
In April, if I had a snow stake, Bigbro, and a spectre hook, I would have used at least one of them on every pitch. Though of course I was glad not to have carried them around all day; however, I would have used all three at the same time on the second pitch. It eats way more gear than any other pitch. It's a fun technical pitch if you have a fat rack. All the other pitches use half as much rack. Pitch two and six seemed harder than anything on BBB. BBB is a harder climb in that it's longer and more sustained and as such remains the Queen of Ouray.
BETA PHOTO: Another shot from Camp Bird Rd.
Fall Creek drainage on left side of photo. If you ...
Closer view of center of route.
About time to get some gear in.
Approach to base of route.
BETA PHOTO: From a distance on the Camp Bird Road.
Climbing the snowy first pitch, what would be a te...
Snowy and a bit thin to get established on the ice...
Dan overcoming last chockstone in first pitch.
Another view of gully.
Dan in the belay cave on top of pitch one. Getting...
View from interior of belay cave pitch four.
Dan finishing pitch 2.
Belay is simply a hole dug...
Exit pitch in background.
Dan leading through pitch 3.
Sting in the tail coming up soon. Though not befor...
Exiting ice cave.
Pin belay fourth pitch.
On top, escaping into forest.
View of wall driving up Camp Bird Road. Out of th...
Steep ice finish.
Ice crystals roof of belay cave. Pitch four.
Wrestling with another chockstone.
In early October.