OverviewThis is another popular climb located in Eureka, Colorado, in a very close proximity of Silverton. The climb is one of the easiest climbs in the area, it meanders up the east face of Peak 12,896. It is a great first long climb. It does have fixed anchors at each belay station.
From the Main Street in Silverton, continue onto good dirt road - Hwy 110 - which is snowplowed for the first 9 miles. 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 buried in the snow).
You can see Stairway to Heaven from the parking lot if you look northeast - it is the largest ice pathway on the western slopes of Peak 13,419. First Gully is located on the opposite site of the valley and about 0.1 miles further away.
Approach is on the snow road. You will get great views of Stairway to Heaven climb. Continue past Stairway to Heaven, and look to your left. You will see First Gully just a little bit above the road. Hike up on a steeper snow slope towards the start of the climb.
Eureka is an abandoned mining community nine miles northeast of Silverton on Hwy 110. Highway 110 is a bit misnomer, as it is an unpaved road that connects Silverton to Lake City via Cinnamon Pass. The first section of the road is well maintained and accessible by low clearance 2WD vehicles. The road is kept open even in the winter to Eureka Gulch parking lot. There is a nice cross country ski trail leading along this road.
Elevation in Eureka: 9,862 feet (=3,006 meters).
There is a high avalanche hazard on this climb, so alway check snow conditions prior venturing on this climb.
Northern San Juans avalanche forecast
Route DescriptionPitch 1 - First pitch starts with a short steeper section climbing, WI3. Above this shorter steeper section, there is a low angle rolling ice/snow. Anchor is at tree with several slings on it.
Pitch 2 - Second pitch is an easy WI2 rolling ice. Could be easily soloed if one is confident in his skills. A fall here would be dangerous. There are bolted anchors at about 50 meters on the rock.
Pitch 3 - Third pitch is again rolling ice, rated more WI3, about 55 meters long. There are again fixed anchors on the rock.
Pitch 4 - Forth pitch is a very easy long angle ice/snow climb to get you below the base of the biggest and most interesting section of this climb. There are fixed anchors in the rock on the right side below the main icefall.
Pitch 5 - Definitively the best part of your outing. We had WI3+/4 icefall, about 35 meters long pitch. There are fixed anchors at its top.
There are great views of Stairway to Heaven climb.
Descent is by rappels. You need two 60 meter ropes.
Essential GearIce climbing gear: ice tools, crampons, small rack of ice screws, slings, 2 sixty meter ropes
Personal climbing gear: harness, helmet, warm clothing
External LinksFirst Gully on Mountain Project
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