Cataract Falls is a beautiful beginner to intermediate ice climbing area. The ice typically displays 3 main routes with good sized shelves to stop and rest on, along with some good steep runs to get your burn on! Roughly 150' tall with quality ice. On most years a WI3 section is found down low on the pitch followed by classic WI2, which can be thin with running water. The top of the climb has large trees for anchoring or belaying off of. There's also a set of rappel rings at the top of the climb.
About the Routes
Routes can be lead or set up on a top rope system using natural anchors or a set of chains to the right of the main falls. The hike around to the top begins just as you cross the creek on the wooden foot bridge and begin entering the canyon. Take the trail heading up the hill from that point.
Best Access and Parking Areas
There is only one dirt road that leads to this adventure. The climbing is located 1/4 mile from the Elk Creek Trailhead. Take Elk Creek road off of Hwy 434 SW out of Augusta. It's about an 11 mile drive once you turn off the pavement. Access can be difficult in the winter since the road is not maintained past a certain point. Be sure to bring your chains and a shovel and be prepared for some work if there has been lot of snow or wind. If the roads are passable this is easy access to ice climbing.
Best Seasons for Climbing
Mid December- March is the best time to get on the ice. Much earlier than that, the ice has not formed. Much later and the ice will be soft, patchy, and generally wet!