American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Ames Wall, Belly of the Beast

Colorado, San Juan Mountains

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Nik Mirhashemi
  • Climb Year: 2015
  • Publication Year: 2016

In December 2014, Gary Newmeyer and I made two attempts on the major chimney system right of the Ames Ice Hose on the Ames Wall. We were shut down both times on the third pitch due to smooth rock, little protection, and a large chockstone.

We made a third and successful attempt in January 2015. Again, we found ourselves under the chockstone, and, after some pacing around, I decided to punch it, executing very physical and insecure chimney moves, crampons skating all over. A couple of points of aid saw me through the roof. The fourth pitch featured a steep ice and offwidth groove. On the fifth pitch we continued up a prominent, snowy ramp system to gain an ice flow near the top of the wall. Above the ice flow a short pitch on rock gained the trees. We descended the climber’s trail above the Ice Hose.

Our route, Belly of the Beast (III WI5+ M6+ C1), is six pitches long. I wouldn't call it a classic route, but it’s an excellent adventure on par with routes on Camp Bird Road near Ouray. 

– Nik Mirhashemi

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