January, '05



Checking out the Whorehouse Hoses with Steve-o



The Elephant's Perch as seen from the approach trail.


    One of the best things about moving to a new locale is that you get a new list of area classics to work on. Now that I'm living in Silverton, that means most of those classics are ice climbs.

    Steve is an old friend from Fort Collins who now resides on the West Slope. In fact, Steve was the first person ever to take me ice climbing back when I lived on the Front Range. We've managed to get out together a few times since I moved back to Colorado and this past Saturday, our objective was the Whorehouse Hoses. Luckily for me, this climb is only 6 miles from my house in the deserted mining town of Eureka. This meant that I slept in while Steve drove up from  near Montrose.  :)

    We enjoyed perfect weather all day and climbed both finishes since we were already up there. Steve-o led all the hard pitches and I enjoyed a no stress day of toproping.  :)  What more could you ask for? After we lounged in the basin above the climb for a while, we began our uneventful descent.


Eureka retains some of that "old west" feel. Note the bullet holes in the stop sign. Whorehouse is visible in the background.

A close up of the route and half of the avalanche danger that lurks above. Fortunately that conditions look very safe today.

A close up of the route itself.

Looking across the valley on the approach. There was slide activity everywhere from the snow in the preceding weeks.

Starting up the approach gully. The ground is solid from other climber's steps and from the effects of the avalanche that ran here 10 days earlier.

Nearing the first pitch, which has just begun to come into view. Normally, there is a 15-20 foot ice step that must be climbed but the avalanche had covered it entirely and we were able to walk right up to the base of the route.

This picture and the following one give some perspective to the size of the first pitch.

I should have waited until Steve was up next to the ice to give the true size relationship.

Below a forshortened first pitch.
Self portrait. Notice all the degree that has fallen down the climb and come to a rest at the base.

Steve taking off on lead on the first pitch.

Placing a screw about 30 feet up.

Still on the first pitch.

Steve and myself racking up at the base of the right-hand finish.

Steve starting the last pitch. (right version)

This proved to be the hardest pitch of the day. The difficulties taking the form of a chimney of ice.

Steve-o found a couple good screws though and soon he was on the easy ice that leads to the top of the climb.

Steve nearing the end of the difficulties on the last pitch.

This is me rappelling down the upper crux pitch.

A closer shot

This is above the ice climbing in the left-hand finish. We hiked up to scout out potential climbs.

A shot of me with the parking lot visible in the distance below.

This is the potential avalanche slope that is not visible from the parking lot.

A shot of me just before the descent with Eureka Mountain in the background.

Steve flaking the ropes down the couloir to avoid having to coil and uncoil them at the next anchor.

Saying goodbye to a perfect day in the hanging valley above Niagara Gulch.

Looking down the couloir at steve who is approaching the anchor at the top of the left-hand finish of Whorehouse Hoses.

Here he is beginning the first of 2 rappels that would take us back to the base.

Nice lighting on the descent.

Another party had also gone up to the hanging valley that day to bag a peak. Here they are descending though after forgetting their sunglasses at the top of the technical climbing.

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