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Although you're just across the canyon from the highway, it feels further away. Perhaps because the water is rushing over the cliff edge not far from where you are climbing, drowning out the highway noise.
Drive S on US Hwy 550 from Ouray (maybe 5 miles?), pass the alpine loop/Engineer Pass turnoff on your left, go another mile and park at the second launcher site sign/pulloff on your right. Directly across the street is a mine shaft. You will be directly across the canyon from the wall and a waterfall. About 20 ft. up the road from the parking, a faint trail will lead down into the trees following a ridgeline. Do a tyrolean across the top of the waterfall, and hike up the other side. You can rap in on a ledge near a giant pine tree (watch for sharp edges! Rap 35m and some down climbing or with 2 ropes) or scramble (4th or easy 5th class) to the top of the wall up a gully (go around the corner at the first tree to a ledge). Do not continue up the broad buttress or you will be nowhere near where you want to climb. Walk around the tree and locate and bolted anchor with chains and rappel the route. These anchors are visible from the parking lot just above the steep part of the all and to the right of a small tree. You will do 3 raps with a single line to get to the base of the route. You'll want at least a 60m rope.
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Browse More Classics in Waterfall Wall
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Waterfall Wall:
Princess Ella's Magical Adventure 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport, 4 pitches, 270'
Princess Ella`s Happy Ending 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 150'
El Sueno 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 250'
Featured Route For Waterfall Wall
El Sueno 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c CO : Ouray vicinity (rock) : Waterfall Wall
This is one of my favorite climbs in Ouray and the location is just spectacular. Gear is only needed for the last pitch. Pitch one and two are bolted. Keep in mind that once you rap in, you're committed to climbing out. Keep in mind that the San Juans are subject to Colorado's afternoon storm systems. The first pitch may get wet in the spring from high water flow and mist from the waterfall. This wall gets late morning sun until about 2pm and then goes into the shade. Pitch 1 (10b, 29m): ...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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