Niagara Peak sits in the back of Burns Gulch in the Upper Animas valley north of Silverton. Being adjacent to Jones Peak - another high 13er - they make a wonderful outing for Colorado peak baggin. It's north face offers classic San Juan climbing; a combination of mank and solid rock. The Green Serpentine starts at the base of the prominent buttress in the middle of the lower face and climbs what could be called a Diretissima.
Follow the dirt road north out of Silverton heading towards the old mining town of Forks of the Animas. Burns Gulch lies east of the Upper Animas. Look for signs.
Drive up the 4x4 road in Burns Gulch to where the road levels out. Good camping and abundant water.
Each pitch is a rope stretcher and a 70m is suggested.
The Pitch 1 starts with stellar solid face climbing with a small bulge/roof. Sustained moves at (5.7) with the bulge being a tad bit harder. (Small gear - nuts and micro cams for Pitches 1 & 2). Pitch 2 continues up the slab. Look for a belay below the large roof (5.7). Pitch 3 traverses left along the roof to a hand crack. Crank the corner roof (5.8) and follow the hand crack to a belay. The rest of the route follows a direct line to the summit following scree at times, and steep snow/ice (AI2). Pick your exit coloir to the summit and go for it. I remember the summit section of our coloir to be pretty steep i.e. mixed so ice axes and crampons are a must for the upper face.
For the descent, follow the East Ridge down to the saddle between Niagara and Jones then hike back to the truck.
1 70m rope
Light mountain rack - rack of nuts, micro cams, 1 red camalot for the hand crack on Pitch 3
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