Ice Climbing in Vail

A couple weeks ago Matt Lloyd asked if I wanted to join him for some ice climbing in Vail. After my short introduction in Ouray a few weeks before I was psyched to try it out again. I meet Matt and Jose Rodriguez outside of Golden, and we head west on I-70 into a snowstorm. The tunnel through Loveland pass is closed just behind us; we were lucky to get through (would have made our day a lot less productive). The approach to the Rigid Designator Amphitheater starts among fancy condos with hot tubs and groomed cross country ski paths (that if you step on you get yelled at), but soon we’re knee deep in fresh powder pushing up the mountain through an aspen forest. Still being relatively new to this altitude, hiking at 10,000 feet is very strenuous for me, especially in deep powder. 

Matt’s hands are cold

Matt jumping on The Thang (WI 5+, M 5+)

Matt leading The Spiral Staircase (WI 4)

My first ice climb lead (sport?) on The Spiral Staircase