Climbing in the Black Canyon

 Climbing the last 20ft of Chipeta Falls, WI-4, above the Blue Mesa area of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Climbing the last 20ft of Chipeta Falls, WI-4, above the Blue Mesa area of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Southwest Colorado has some of the best ice climbing in the continental United States.  Ouray, Colorado is the modern day mecca of the ice climbing community, having been the proving ground for folks like Conrad Anker and the Lowe's.  Most who come to this area of the state visit Ouray not only for the high concentration and quality of climbs but also for the high cliffs, hidden valleys and growing ice.  After spending last winters vacation in Ouray, I made it my goal to explore more remote ice over the coming year.  Thankfully I found Joe Roberts book, Colorado Ice.  Proving itself irreplaceable, Joe's book has become the staple for the local alpine and ice communities of SW Colorado as well as myself.  Scanning the pages I found that the climbs lining the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, exciting to say the least.  With most climbs in the area 50m +, these routes were much larger than most in the Ouray area.  So, with a sense of adventure we headed into the quiet canyon, not another car or person in sight to find our first climb of the week, Chipeta Falls, WI-4.  Here you can see the 30 degree finish about 100m up from the waters of the Blue Mesa area of the Black Canyon.