Ice climbing at ''Hidden'' falls in Wild Basin, RMNP. I feel like this is probably formally part of the nearby ''Copeland'' series of falls.
The volume of ice did not match up to the pictures on Summitpost. While it has been colder than average most of the past month, it was 60 in DEN several days during the week, so probably some recent loss of ice. The ice was plastic in the lower cascade. The best ice on the upper cascade was on the climbers left. Nobody believed the upper part of the standard (middle) route was very sturdy. The top looked to be a freestanding column of ice (not really attached to the rock, the water was coming down behind it) that would not support the weight of climbing or at least generate a LOT of debris. So nobody tried that out, glad that i did not rappel that stuff after all too. The upper cascade on the climbers right was a little wet. The separate sections to the left and right of falls had climbable ice. They are really only 1/4 and 1/2 pitch tall, respectively, but good for warming up or if it is busy at the falls.
If you want to top rope, it's easy to set up from above. Follow around to the climber's left, east of the falls to gain access to the top. There are plenty of trees to anchor to, but bring a long runner (expect 20'-30'). I looped a fixed line around tree, added a long (doubled) cord to that, and put the rope through a rappel ring on the cord. Our 60m rope was plenty long (including extra for the belayer) for the climb there. There are also bolts in locations, including a series to the right of the ice for sport climbing in the summer. I should say we did not explore the options available for anchoring or climbing. The big group(s) we climbed with placed an ice screw at the top left of the climb to redirect their rope.
If i can clarify the description of the route to get to the falls to you, it will have been worth my time to write this up. We tried to follow the description on the original Summitpost posting. The route does not need to be that vague, the location of the falls unknown, and crossing the variable ice on the St. Vrain creek is not particularly safe. Instead, follow the horse trail from the final horse parking lot, along the south of the creek. We found the path well traveled, even past Copeland falls. My maps are based on walking out that way. The photos after the falls include the signs and lots you will pass by (in reverse order), with the corresponding gps waypoints.
The weather was overcast with a few flurries during the day. The Wild Basin valley has always seemed a relatively dry place to me. The 8800' elevation at the falls found it a warmer place than i was expecting, no doubt a typical situation there. Still, i was glad i wore my glacier boots to keep my feet warm!
Nice fun intro to ice. A bit picked out but a great first experience. Also climbed the smaller flow to the left.
Favorite ice fall that's close. Pretty moderate. great mixed options on the side.
Flat approach, beautiful setting, no wind, and in our case no people. We all got pumped on the WI4 pitch.
My intro to the world of ice climbing. Loved it! Great place to learn
Wow! First ice climb ever. Did several climbs and had a great time! Although, for the record, while traversing east across the base of the ice, I had yet to put on crampons and I slipped on a bulb of ice. I took a 15' or so tumble; luckily, there was nothing but a few bruises to show for it.
Fun place to climb that's close! Nice, peaceful, and easy approach as well!
My first experience with screaming barfies...my hands hurt so bad after they began to thaw that I wanted to puke. Still worth it!
On a great day with great friends. This is a classic, and although it was a little pciked out at the bottom, it was an awesome and pumpy climb. Some great mixed variation too!