Ice Climbing

Big Thompson Canyon

Colorado

With such a large name, you'd think Big Thompson would have a bit more depth to it, eh?
It may not hold alot of winter ice, but it is known for carrying alot of water. Besides its namesake river,
the canyon has enclosed catastrophic flood waters in 1976 and 1982.

There is some climbing to be had around the dam store at the mouth of the Narrows, but I
find this to be too close to the highway for my liking. Farther upriver, there is a quiet ravine
which holds atleast one forty-foot wall of ice, and in better years, several tiers of big, fat water ice.

I first went here in the late 1990's, but I didn't have a decent partner until my
brother-in-law Dan came with me, and we climbed all of it, including the roadside
dribbles, to the big slabby first tier, a 60-foot, moderately-angled slab of ice.

All of this was before Dan discovered snowboarding, and he was a great ice climbing
partner at the time. He led the stream-lets and the first tier, then I led the upper tier.
Danny was a good Water Ice 3-to-4 climber, but he gave it all up to be an insane backcountry
gonzo snowboarder. That left me to find new partners, and even to go up there by myself
to climb this tiny little pedestrian formation. No matter, I like it all the same...

Approach streamlet at BTC

Dan on approach
9 January, 1999
Big Thompson

Coming up the lower tier

Dan on the
lower tier,
9 January, 1999

Choppin' steps... must be ME!

Upper tier,
9 January, 1999
The B.T.C.

Upper tier in a good ice year

Ben leading,
9 January, 1999
Big Thompson

Midway

Ben leading,
9 January, 1999
Big Thompson

Near the top

Ben leading,
9 January, 1999
Big Thompson

Donny rockin' the BTC

Donny Sherard
smackin' down.
February, 2008

You gotta get up to get down.

Donny on the
upper tier. Feb, 2008

Erich Bochmann looking balanced as usual

Climbing the 2nd tier,
15 January, 2007

Having a 'Me' day, 15 February, 2007

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