Ice Climbing, Rock Climbing and Mountaineering in the Marble Area
If you look carefully at some of the waterfalls in the Marble area during the winter, you may see bright-colored specks on the ice, like ants on a tree trunk. You guessed it, they’re ice climbers, enthusiasts of a rapidly growing winter sport.
The Upper Crystal River Valley is home to many beautiful waterfalls, and winter ice climbers have flocked to them like bees to flowers. From Redstone to Marble, there are several good ice climbs.
The most famous climb in the Marble area is Milton Falls, located directly across from the west end of the Marble airstrip at Mile Marker 4 on County Road 3. Access to Milton Falls is private, but the landowner is willing to allow ice climbers to cross his property, if they are respectful.
The access to Milton Falls is across the bridge next to the airstrip, then left through Hermit’s Hideaway subdivision. Take a right onto Holland Drive straight south until the road makes a left turn. There is a red gate at this point. You may park here to access the falls, but you must park out of the way of snowplows and any other vehicles. The trail to the falls crosses private land, owned by the Levitz family, and overseen by Terry Patten (963-2972). Some neighbors get upset at climbers’ erratic and inconsiderate parking habits, so stay out of everyone’s way. The climb is high, and the ice is constantly coated by a fresh flow from Milton Creek. Note: Though this waterfall is often called “Marble Falls” in many guidebooks, it is MILTON FALLS. Marble Falls is actually located above Beaver Lake in the Crystal River Gorge.
Avocado Gully is another famous climb in the Redstone area. Located just ½-mile north of Penny Hot Springs, the 200-foot climb is accessed directly off Highway 133, immediately across the road from The Narrows section of kayaking whitewater. The granite cliffs on the west side of the road spill a pillar of ice out of the canyon walls. This is a classic column of ice that makes for great climbing. It is easily accessible from the road, and there are no problems with private property.
Hays Creek Falls is easily located from Highway 133. It’s a short, easy 60-foot beginner’s climb and has good ice throughout most of the winter, though it’s south-facing. Hays Creek Falls is just to the right of the highway as you’re driving upvalley from Redstone to Marble, about 2 miles from Redstone.
The Redstone Pillar, The Redstone Slabs, and The Drool are three other climbs that are well-known in the Redstone area, but are located on private property. Some of the landowners are known to be hospitable to ice climbers, but we’re going to let you sort out the aspects of gaining permission on your own.