Ames Ice HoseMany climbers consider Ames Ice Hose one of the Top 5 routes in the San Juans. Cam Burns calls it the area's classic hard climb. Jack Roberts says don't even pretend that any pro on Pitch 1 will hold a fall. Try it anyway.
Getting ThereFrom Telluride, take 145 east for about 20 minutes until the road heads down hill and you come to the signs for Ophir (left) and Ames (right). You should get a good view of the route from the crest of the road.
Head down the hill toward Ames. Take the first left (that is, the first left that isn't a driveway) and park at the Ames power plant. If you'll lucky, there'll be a trail broken to the left of the parking area.
If not you'll head up the hill to the left, crossing a stream (Ames Falls below) and up some more, aiming for a flat section below the cliffs. Traverse to the right until you come to the gully below the climb. Slog up to the obvious start. Be mindful of avalanche danger.
Route DescriptionPitch 1 is usually the crux. Conditions vary greatly but expect steep, thin ice and only marginal pro until you no longer need it. A rock variation to the right supposedly goes at 5.8/5.9.
About 30 feet off the deck the angle kicks back. Follow easy terrain to a bolted anchor on the left.
Pitch 2 is a rope stretcher. Climb thin ice in a narrow chimney, stemming on rock. Again, conditions vary drastically. My partner said the first time he climbed it he could only get in a tied-off stubby and a knifeblade to protect the steep crux. When I led it I got pretty good screws and a couple of cams (BD .5 and 1).
After the last steep ice step, follow a snow ramp to the base of the (usually fat) pillar, looking for a fixed anchor on rock to the right. You might have to dig in snow to find it. A decent crack will also take a couple of big nuts.
Pitch 3 is another rope stretcher. Climb good ice to slings on a tree. The pillar is often wet and running.
Rap the route with double ropes.