South Mineral Creek Ice

South Mineral Creek Ice

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 37.81861°N / 107.74259°W
Activities Activities: Ice Climbing
Seasons Season: Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 9485 ft / 2891 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Sundance WI4 Sundance WI4
4 WD road to South Mineral Campground 4 WD road to South Mineral Campground
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 ice 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.

Guide Book: Jack Roberts: Colorado Ice, volume 1 Internet Resource: Mountain Project. 

Sundance WI4/5

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! 

Cataract Creek WI3

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.

Direct North Face WI4/5

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 is a popular climb and expect parties on it. Another area classic!

Snotty Nose Brat WI3/4

This fall is to the right of Direct North Face, shorter about 150 meters. Descent rappel the route. This climb is short and the approach is long, good option if there are many parties on DNF. The parking is the same for both ice climbs.

Snotty Nose Brat on SP

Snowblind WI4

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 WI5, or mixed early in the season. You can either walk off to the left or rappel. 

Snowblind on SP

Campground Couloir WI3

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. This is probably the most popular route and easier than it looks. 

Campground Couloir on Summit Post


There are multiple primitive campgrounds along the South Mineral Road if all the way to South Mineral Campground. Be aware that if it snows heavily while you are camping, you may get stuck! Bring chains and snow shovel with you.  Nearby Silverton provides food and warm accommodations.

External Links


Click for Silverton, Colorado Forecast

Guide book

The guide book to all ice climbs is Colorado Ice by Jack Roberts, volume 1. Colorado Ice
Rumor has it that there will be a new ice climbing guide book by Jason Nelson.



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Colorado Ice ClimbsAreas & Ranges