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Eureka, Colorado
Area/Range

Eureka, Colorado

 
Eureka, Colorado

Page Type: Area/Range

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 37.87970°N / 107.565°W

Object Title: Eureka, Colorado

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 9862 ft / 3006 m

 

Page By: CClaude, Liba Kopeckova

Created/Edited: Jan 11, 2006 / Jul 4, 2014

Object ID: 168210

Hits: 7198 

Page Score: 79.04%  - 10 Votes 

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Introduction

Sunrise, Eureka
Sunrise, Eureka

This page was originally designed by CClaude, so thank you for the idea. I will try to keep it updated. 

Eureka is a popular ice climbing destination in the winter. It is located south of Ouray, just outside the historic town of Silverton. The area has a lot to offer, not just ice climbing in the late fall and throughout the winter. There is also great back country skiing, and a cross country ski trail from Eureka to Silverton. Summer brings many people to drive the scenic alpine loop, hike the peaks, or visit many ghost towns in the area. There are even developed rock climbing routes in Eureka. 

Eureka is a mining ghost town along the Animas River between Silverton and Animas Forks. The town got its start in 1860 when a small group of miners began to dig and pan around the banks of the Animas River. The train service came to town in 1896. The Sunnyside mill was the main economic source for the town. When the mill closed in 1938, Eureka was no more. What are left are foundations that climb the mountain sides reminders of the town that was. 
There are not many buildings left. 
Campground at Eureka is open during the summer. 
Eureka Lodge (formerly Outward Bound Hotel) is open year round. 

Getting There

From the Main Street in Silverton, continue onto good dirt road - Hwy 110 - which is snowplowed for the first 9 miles. (I would like to mention that both maps and guidebooks call the road 110, but when passing through Silverton, 110 will take you to the Silverton Ski Area, so turn right onto the County Road 2). Park at the large parking lot on the west side of the road. There is a dry toilet (hard to access in the winter since the door gets often buried in the snow, and if the door is accessible the toilet tends to be very dirty). 

South of Ouray Colorado (22miles but 1 hour travelling WHEN the road is open [warning, it often closes due to avalanche hazard] is the town of Silverton. As you turn off of Hwy 550 you will drive through Silverton drive along the river for about 7 miles driving through Howardsville until you reach the end of the road at Eureka. The area around Eureka is prone to have high or worse avalanche conditions

Ice Climbing

Pitch 3 - Stairway to Heaven
Pitch 3 - Stairway to Heaven
Whorehouse Hoses WI5
Whorehouse Hoses WI5
The area around Eureka is a popular ice climbing destination, with multi pitch climbs ranging from WI3 to WI5. 

SP offers description of some of the climbs: Whorehouse Hoses WI 4-5 (my favorite, and also on the Top of 100 Ice Climbs in the World per Guy Lacelle), Stairway to Heaven WI 4+ (more difficult than Second Gully), First Gully WI 3 (easy rolling ice), Second Gully WI 4 (easy rolling ice, with only a short section of WI 4), and Goldrush WI 4+.

(1) Whore House Hoses (WI 4/5)*** Walking up through a slot canyon you will reach a 10ft ice shelf (may be covered with avalanche debris), walk up and over the ice shelf reaching the base of the route. (with a 70m rope you can belay out of range of debris but with a 60m rope you will be right at the base of route) The first pitch is WI5 on the right and WI4/5 (depending on how early in the season it is) and is deceptively long (in excess of 200ft/60m ~65m long). After completing the long vertical section on the first pitch (~42m) there is a section of lower angle ice. Use caution here since the ice CAN be thin and hollow (it was approximately 1" thick when I did it and below it is running water) The top of the first pitch reaches a bolt belay station. From here, continue up left in the slot to the 2/3 pitches (WI4/5) which can be taken as one pitch with a long rope. Rappel the route.

(2) Bad Ass Pencil WI 5/6 - depending on its conditions, this strenuous pillar of poor ice can be either thick and protected or thin and scary. It is located just above the road, nice view from the parking area. 15 min approach. 

(3) First Gully (WI3) - probably the easiest climb in the area, rolling ice with short sections of WI 3, bolted anchor stations, about 5 pitches long. Good beginner ice leader climb.

(4) Second Gully (WI 3/4)** A series of steps with the first and last one being the longest (the first step can be done as WI 4, or more like WI 3 by zigzagging up and avoiding the steeper ice) with a series of smaller steps in between the two (WI2+) connected by either snow covered ice (most probably) or ice steps. The descent is to the right at mid route, below the final flow. From the top of the route traverse left to either rap into the gully from a tree with slings, descend to the walk-off ridge or descend through the trees to a slab- descend left towards the gully to the descent ridge. I found rappelling the route easier than the descend. There are fixed anchors.

(5) Goldrush (WI4/5 mixed 600ft) - Is very seasonal dependent. In a good season can be thunker ice all the way to the top that can be taken in 3 long pitches. In other seasons the first pitch can be completely devoid or partially devoid of ice for the first 100 ft and involve dry tooling/rockclimbing. Second pitch just below the second belay/rappel station can be devoid of ice or it can be thin. Take screws, cams, nuts and thin pitons. Route is descended by rappelling or if there is another party on the route, continue up the final slabs for about 500ft. Traverse left staying pretty high until you reach the Second Gully, gully drop down into the trees on the left side of the gully and travese to the descent on the right side. Drop down and traverse back to your packs. Again, there are new rappel anchors fixed along the route, and it is easier to rappel down. 

(6) Stairway to Heaven (WI4:800ft) *** - one of the most popular climbs in the area. The climb is nicely seen from the parking area and from your approach. It is usually done in 4 pitches with the first and 3rd pitches being more difficult WI4, and pitch 2 and 4 easier pitches. Descent by rappel. 

Cross Country Skiing

Nordic skiing
Nordic skiing
Nordic Trail
Nordic Trail

There is a nice nordic ski trail along the Animas River from Silverton to Eureka. 
The length is 8 miles one way. It is good both skate skiing and classical skiing. 
Access is for free, and it is pet friendly. 

SP album with some images -click here.




Rock Climbing in the summer

Eureka is more known for its ice climbing, but there are several good rock routes as well. The area is a bit more busy in the summer with tourists visiting the old mining town and ghost towns, and very popular with 4-wheelers and part of the scenic alpine loop
The rock climbing is located right at Eureka - you can use the same parking lot as for ice climbing or drive directly below the rock climbs since the road is open during the summer. The climbs are accessible by 2WD vehicle. Most of the climbs in this area are bolted (some require a little bit of gear), but due to the nature of the rock, high altitude and its location, consider it more of an alpine climb rather than a sport climb. 
Link to Mountain Project Description of the area.

Climber on Five Card Draw
Climber on Five Card Draw

View from the top of 2nd pitch
View from the top of 2nd pitch

Silver Stage, 1st pitch
Silver Stage, 1st pitch

External Links

Images