|US Highway 550
OTR is located in a small gully system to the right of Gravity’s Rainbow. It is a 2-pitch climb that could make a nice alternative if the crowds on Gravity’s Rainbow are too much. By itself, I think it is a worthy objective, too.
The first pitch is a 30-meter curtain with 2-steps that goes at about WI-4. Above the first pitch, a short snow slog will lead to the second pitch, which is a 30-meter pillar that goes at the lower end of the WI-5 range.
The two pitches are completely differently in character; the first pitch has the same exposure as Gravity’s Rainbow, so it is somewhat sun-baked. The second pitch faces to the west, so it does not get as much sun, and the ice quality is much better.
At the top of the second pitch, wander over a short section of lower angled ice to a tree with some slings.
Rappel from the tree at the top of the second pitch. Then wander down the snow slope between the first and second pitch and back to some trees that are located skiers left. Either rappel from the trees or continue to slog down even further to the left.
To reach the route, hike up the same road as for Gravity’s Rainbow. Just past where you would head uphill to Gravity’s Rainbow, look for the entrance to the gully that would eventually lead up to the base of the first pitch. The approach, the slope separating the first and second pitch, and the descent could be prone to a slide; so be sure to check the avalanche conditions and plan accordingly. Floatation definitely helps if there is any significant amount of snow cover.
A few ice screws and 2 ropes should be all you need to enjoy this route.
BETA PHOTO: From the 1st curve in the road.
BETA PHOTO: From the parking area.
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