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|Type: ||Ice, 2 pitches, 300 feet|
|Consensus: ||WI3+ [details]|
|FA: ||Zeilman, Rees, January, 2011|
|Season: ||January - March|
|Submitted By: ||Vic on Jan 24, 2011|
Approaching the climb - January 2011.
Shadowfax is a tucked away, two pitch ice climb located off the East Portal Road (about 5 miles or so up canyon from Gandalf's Beard) Although you don't have the incredible views of the North Chasm Wall like on Gandalf's Beard, the area is wild feeling and has great views down canyon. The climb itself is about the same length as Gandalf's Beard, with a shorter approach. On a clear day, it's a relatively quick, 30 minute bike ride on the plowed road to where you enter the drainage.
Mid January is likely the best time to start climbing this route. December could offer a more challenging and mixed climbing experience, since the route itself follows a dogleg chimney with iced up slabs below. For this reason, the route could vary between WI3 - WI4 and potentially a fairly stout mixed rating in November/December.
Once reaching the top of the ice climb, at the end of of the stream bed, down-climb or do a short rap over a 20 foot section of WI2. From here, you will find a rap station around a pine tree. Double-rope rap with two 60s down the iced up chimney and over a steep curtain to a pine tree with slings below (close to 200 feet) From here, you can single rope rap to the base of the climb.
Pitch 1 (WI3+) - climb the iced up slabs to the steep curtain above. Either belay back at the tree you rapped from, or continue over the steep section to belay on screws in the alcove above. If you belay at the tree, the second pitch is nice and long.
Pitch 2 (WI3+) - Either start by climbing the steep curtain or continue up the iced up gully/chimney as it turns to the right and heads back up the the tree from which you first rappelled.
This route is located at the bottom of the massive drainage descending towards the canyon on the left side of the East Portal Road. To access the route, park at the closed gate at the beginning of the East Portal Road (your immediate right after entering the National Park) Remember to go to the visitor center and fill out a free permit prior to climbing. This will explain the presence of your vehicle at the gate, and will help the park know who is out in the backcountry. It only takes a few more minutes to drive to the visitor center from the entrance.
Although the East Portal Road is closed to public traffic, it remains plowed all the way to the river because of the Crystal Dam. The best way to approach the climb, if there has not been any recent snowfall, is to ride a bike the 2.5 miles on the road until you drop into the drainage. When parking at the East Portal Road do not block the gate. Park to the right or left of the road and keep it clear.
The approach to the top of the ice will take about an hour if you rode a bike, and about two hours if you walked the road. Use the following directions and landmarks.... It is very important to follow the road the entire 2.5 miles and not drop into the drainage early as this is all private property and needs to be respected.
In about a mile or so from where you parked, you will pass a private residence on your left hand side. Further up the road you will pass a large BOR warehouse on your right. The road will began to curve around to the left, as it circumnavigates the large drainage that is moving towards the canyon rim on your left. Continue down the road until you reach a second gate (it may be open, or it my be closed) 200 yards past this gate you see a large, open, snow covered parking pull out on the left side of the road. This pull out is across from a road grade sign stating "use low gear"
From here, you're about 1/4 mile from the top of the ice climb, located in the drainage below. Walk towards the oak brush thickets ahead (entering further away than closer) Bushwhack for about 5 minutes or so until it starts to thin out a bit and you realize that you're on a ridge, heading into the drainage on your left. Do not get suckered into the gully on your right and stay left of all the pine trees on your right-hand side. Follow this ridge, down the hill into the drainage/stream bed below. Once you're in the stream bed, follow it to the top of the ice.
A selection of screws, including a couple stubbies and perhaps some rock pro if it is early season.
The first pitch of the route.
BETA PHOTO: This shows the location of the ice climb.
|By J. Thompson|
From: denver, co
Jan 24, 2011
Nice to see folks out exploring for cool new stuff like this.
|By Jeremy Werlin|
Feb 14, 2011
Was just on this climb yesterday (2/13/11) and it is still in good condition. A fun little adventure in a very cool setting.