Southwest Colorado is a popular ice climbing destination and South Mineral along with Eureka are the best ice climbing places in the vicinity of the historic town of Silverton.
South Mineral Creek is a dirt off Highway 550 (= Million Dollar Highway) about 2 miles north of Silverton in the direction towards Red Mountain Pass and Ouray. The turn off is well signed. The road is open early during the ice climbing season - November, early December and it closes with the first big snow fall. Expect to either snow shoe, ski, or hike after the road closure. The South Mineral Road is also popular with cross country skiers. The road is relatively safe from an avalanche danger, but the climbs are not. Check out Northern San Juan Avalanche conditions prior venturing out there.
Most ice climbs are about 3 to 5 miles from Highway 550.
This is a large and impressive waterfall on the right side of the road (most climbs are on the north). It faces southeast and gets early morning sun. It is a little over 60 meter long and most people climb it in either one very long pitch or 2 pitches. You can either descent (long) or rappel the route. Classic!
This streamed can be fun in the early season when there is not much snow between icy steps. Descend by walking off to the left of the cliff.
This route goes up ice slabs and ramps, which lead to steep columns of ice dropping over short rock bands. The climb is long, up to 500 meters. Another area classic! There is easier ice followed by steep WI5 sections. There is a high avalanche danger here. Walk either to the left or rappel down.
This fall is to the right of Direct North Face, shorter about 150 meters. Descent rappel the route.
This climb is another very aesthetic looking line of ice inside a deep chimney. It is over 300 meter long and the 2nd pitch can be really steep, mixed early in the season. You can either walk off to the left or rappel.
This is a striking blue strand of ice about the South Mineral Campgound (about 5 miles in). Very popular climb with high avalanche danger. Most parties climb only the first 3 pitches since the ice higher up becomes easier WI2/3. Rappel the route.