The Lower Alcove is a great place for long grade 4 ice climbs. Be careful in that some of the routes share the same start and it can be easy to knock ice down on each other. Belays are from trees and bolts (usually marked with flags). These routes are typically top roped so leave and anchor setup on top of your route if you are leading it. This way it will be less likely that someone will rappel onto you while you are climbing. To access the base of the routes it may be best to rappel. The other option is descend the trestle ladder just upstream from the Alcove and run the gauntlet of climbers and obstacles.
The Upper Alcove (aka Mixed Alcove) features some ice routes along with some of the classic traditional mixed routes found at the Ice Park. Such routes include Jesus Built My Finger Crack (M7) Easter Rising (M8), and others. Routes in this area are frequently top roped so leave and anchor setup on top of your route if you are leading it. This way it will be less likely that someone will rappel onto you while you are climbing. The mixed climbs are best led since the cruxes are sometimes low and there may be a lot of rope stretch. You can either rappel or walk to the base of these climbs via the trestle ladder just upstream from the Alcove.
Grade Range: WI3/4 – M9
WI3/4 – **
WI4 – ***
WI5 – **
Mixed – ******
Jesus Built My Finger crack (M7, gear) begin with ice then climb a finger size crack up a concave wall. The crack becomes a hand crack at the top where you pull onto and ice curtain. Finish on grade 3 ice to the top of the canyon. It is often possible to climb the crack with one tool and ice with the other. Pulling onto the curtain is the crux, and may put you in danger of hitting the lower angle rock in lead fall. Check out the conditions. Gear to 4″ plus ice screws.
Easter Rising (M8+, gear) This route begins on the upstream side of the Verminator Pillar. Climb an polished overhanging finger to hand crack with some fixed gear. Clip a few pins above the crack and gain the ice of the Verminator Pillar. You may be able to continue straight up or left for a harder finish. Gear to 5″ plus ice screws .