A 20-minute drive north of Silverton lands you in the almost nonexistent mining town of Eureka. They’re not mining there anymore, but they sure are climbing. For several miles north of Eureka along the Animas River, there is a large concentration of quality Ice climbs, ranging from relatively short and moderate jaunts to thousand-foot water falls. And although it's great climbing, it's also dangerous for the majority of the winter. Avalanches follow the same paths as the ice, and most of the time, there is little advance warning. But if you time it right, it sure can be fun picking.


A fine first placement: Allen Ottman starts the 800-foot “Second Gully.”

Allen Ottman, top, and Chris Barger, of Durango, organize thoughts and ropes prior to beginning the “Second Gully.”

Alex Spencer and Hiroki Ide catch sight of the day’s goal. Chris Barger fine tunes his crampon.
Under piercing blue skies, Chris Barger nears the top of his first pitch.
Two pics, check. Two crampons, check. One shady, freezing-cold valley, check. Two climbers hike out of Eureka.





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