OverviewEureka, just outside the historic town of Silverton. This route is located 300 feet up valley from the Second Gully. It follows a huge left facing corner. Both Jack Roberts in his Colorado Ice and Cameron Burns in his Colorado Ice Climber's Guide recommend to bring a rock gear, especially for the first pitch. I have climbed the route in 2013/14 season and the whole icefall was very fat and nicely in, no rock gear was needed.
You can see Stairway to Heaven WI4 from the parking lot if you look northeast - it is the largest ice pathway on the western slopes of Peak 13,419. You can also catch a glimpse of Whorehose Hoses WI4/5 if looking east from the parking lot. First Gully WI3 is located on the opposite site of the valley and about 0.1 miles further away. Second Gully is another 500 feet up the road, and before Goldrush WI4.
Approach is on the snow road, which is usually packed hard with snowmobiles and snow cat (this is the approach for Eureka Lodge, formerly known as Outward Bound Hotel). Skis or snowshoes are not needed on the approach. You will get great views of the Stairway to Heaven climb. Continue past Stairway to Heaven, and look to your left. Pass First Gully, and the next large gully - Second Gully. The route is located 300 feet north = up valley from the Second Gully. Total distance hiking distance from Eureka Gulch Bridge is 1.25 miles (from parking lot less than a mile).
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 and Animas River. This road is very scenic in the summer and is part of the Scenic Alpine Route over the San Juans.
Route DescriptionApproach Time: 15 min
Some Images from Climbing Goldrush:
Ice Climbs in Eureka
- Ice tools
- Helmet (is a must, tons of ice falling down the gully, especially if another party is climbing above you)
- Full rack of ice screws, consider rock gear early in the season or if ice conditions poor
- Belay device
- Ropes: two 60 meter ropes
- Always good to carry v-thread material (v-thread tool, some webbing)
- Anchoring material in case you want to make the pitches shorter, or you miss some of the bolted anchors (we did on our first pitch).
- Warm clothing, hand warmers. Extra gloves (I like to use liners, thinner gloves for leading and thicker gloves for belaying. Keep gloves inside your jackets, otherwise you collect some snow in).
- Thermos with a hot beverage.
- Goldrush on Mountain Project
- Description of the climb - Cameron Burns
- San Juan Mountain Guides - Ice climbing conditions.
- Eureka Lodge, former Outward Bound Hotel (nice accommodation in Eureka with many ice climbs just outside your door (as well as back and cross country skiing).
- Northern San Juan Avalanche Report.
- Eureka, Colorado wiki page