Snowblind WI4

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.80297°N / 107.76955°W
Additional Information Route Type: Ice Climbing
Seasons Season: Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 4
Sign the Climber's Log


Snowblind Snowblind
Snowblind Snowblind
Snowblind is another great climb located along South Mineral Creek. I have done this climb 2x and each time it looked completely different. Early in the season there may be some steep thin ice with mixed climbing, later in the season this climb gets fat.  It is not as popular as Campground Couloir (more difficult) or Direct North Face, but I would rate it higher than Snotty Nosed Brat. All these climbs are on the south side of South Mineral Creek Road with DNF - Direct North Face being first (very obvious line), Snotty Nosed Brat is higher up and more hiddne, then Snowblind, which is semi hinding in a deep cleft and is better seen once you nearly pass the cleft, and finally Campground Couloir. 

All climbs are located on northern facing slopes of Peak 12579 (watch out for avalanches!)

Most people climb first 4 pitches, higher up there may be some eaasier flow of ice I have no explored since it was covered with snow. The crux of climbing is right in the middle and 2nd crux towards the end.

Silverton is a popular ice climbing destination. Most people head towards Eureka with a high density of multi pitch ice routes. South Mineral would be the 2nd most popular ice destination, and typically popular early in the season when one can drive in. 

Ouray ice park is located 23 miles north from Silverton along Million Dollar Hwy. The road from Silverton to Ouray goes over Red Mountain Pass, 11,018 feet high pass (3,358 m), with very exposed road, amazing scenery, and prone to avalanches. The road does get closed if there is a lot of new snow fall for avalanche control. Red Mountain Pass is a popular back country ski destination. 

Remember the area if prone to high avalanche danger for much of the winter. Always check on conditions before your adventure. 

Getting There

Sunset along South Mineral Creek Sunset along South Mineral Creek
Moose Moose
To reach ice climbing along South Mineral Creek, take Highway 550 north from Silverton for approximately 2 miles. Turnout  for South Mineral (County Road 7; Forest Service Road 585) is well marked, on the west side of the Highway 550. Typically, this dirt road is easily passable by 2 WD vehicles, and is very popular in the summer providing access to Ice Lake Basin with many 13ers, including Vermillion PeakGolden HornFuller PeakPilot Knob,  Ulysses S. Grant to mention a few. 

In the winter, it is another story. The road is not snowplowed, and I heard stories about people camping at South Mineral Campground who got stuck there during a snowstorm. Bring chains for your vehicle and a shovel just in case. Do not drive in if there is a lot of fresh snow and if you don't see any other tracks. Do not follow snowmobile tracks with your car. Also many people use this dirt road for cross country skiing.

It is 4.5 miles from Highway 550 to the South Mineral Campground. Snowblind is about 4 miles in. Park in the side of the road about 0.5 mile before South Mineral Creek Campground (or 0.5 mile past the turn off for Clear Lake dirt road branching to the left). You should be able to see Snowblind in a deep cleft from your parking spot.

Route Description

Remember avalanche danger is high on this one. 

Cross South Mineral Creek and head for the ice climb through some willows (not too bad). You may be lucky and there may be a trail in the snow. 

Pitch 1: mostly easy rolling ice, there may be a short WI3-4 step, but mostly WI2-3, all the way to the steep ice

Pitch 2: Steep ice could be WI5 or mixed early in the season. I have done this climb 2x and each time if was very different and running with water. 

Pitch 3: easier climbing above to get you to another steep flow, WI2-3

Pitch 4: steep, but not too long to tree anchors at the top.

Descent: 3 double rope rappels and one then one single rappel down. We used tree anchors at the top, then some old nuts on climber's left and then we made a v-thread too. There was some old v-thread set up, but it got engulfed by ice.

Essential Gear

  • Harness, helmet, ice axes, crampons, warm boots. 
  • Set of ice screws, runners/screamers, extra webbing or slings for V-threads higher up on route (anchors only on first 2 pitches) 
  • Two 60 meter ropes
  • Consider trekking poles for access and crossing the creek early in the season (later snow covering the creek)
  • Thermos with hot beverages is always a good idea 

External Links



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.