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.
Approach from the snowy road
Looking down onto approach slope, see road below
From the Main Street in
Silverton, continue onto good dirt road - Hwy 110 - which is snowplowed for the first 9 miles. (All maps and books call the road 110, but when you are passing through Silverton, 110 will bring you to the Silverton Ski Area, and the road you actually want to take is marked as San Juan Country 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 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
Pitch 1: First pitch starts with a short steep section of climbing, WI3. Above this short steeper section, there is a low angle rolling ice, or it could be covered with the snow. The anchor is on climber's right at a tree with several slings around it.
Pitch 2: This pitch is an easy WI 2, again rolling ice sections with snow climbing. Could be easily soloed if one is confident and comfortable enough. There are bolted anchors about 50 meters up.
Pitch 3: Another easy pitch of rolling ice, rated WI 3, about 55 meters long. Fixed bolted anchors.
Pitch 4: Another easy rolling low angle ice/steep snow, which brings you to the base of the biggest and the most interesting section of the whole climb. There are fixed bolted anchors in the rock on the climber's right.
Pitch 5: This is definitively the best part of the climb. You can make it WI3 + or even find steeper sections WI 4. It is about 35 meters long. There are fixed anchors at its top.