Bridal Veil Falls (Telluride)
|Bridal Veil Falls|
|Elevation||10,279 ft (3,133 m)|
|Total height||365 ft (111 m)|
|Watercourse||San Miguel River|
Bridal Veil Falls is a 365-foot (111 m) waterfall at the end of the box canyon overlooking Telluride, Colorado. Hiking and off-road trails pass by the falls and it has a hydroelectric power plant at its top. In winter the frozen shape of the falls forms an imposing challenge to intrepid ice climbers.
Bridal Veil Falls is a two pronged waterfall. The trail past the falls continues on to mountain meadows and mountain lakes above 10,000 feet (3,000 m).
The falls were opened briefly in the 1990s to ice climbers, but the area is private property so climbing has been legally prohibited since. Referred to as a "mega classic" and "the most difficult waterfall ice climb in North America" some climbers have trespassed to take a crack at the imposing and dangerous climb, but a land purchase proposal and an insurance deal may change the situation. Climbers were excited by the proposal in 2008 that would reopen the falls to climbers. In 1978, Jeff Lowe and Mike Wiess became the first to summit the falls, the effort having been broadcast on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
The area around Bridal Veil Falls is subject to avalanche and controlled shelling to create controlled slides is an event popular with spectators and photographers. Reaching the top of the falls in winter can be a precarious venture, even for the experienced family that lives there.
Electric power generation
A hydro-electric alternating current power plant, the Smuggler-Union Hydroelectric Power Plant built in 1907, sits on top of the falls, originally used to power the Smuggler-Union Mine. It was eventually owned by the Idarado Mining Company who decommissioned it in 1953. It was leased from Idarado by local resident Eric Jacobson in 1988 who restored the power house to operation in 1991 and lived in the residence with his family until 2010 when he gave up the lease. The Idarado Mining Company now owns and operates the power plant and sells the power. The power generated provides about 25 percent of Telluride's demand for electricity and the plant still contains its original 2300 volt Westinghouse Electric AC generator, one of the oldest AC generators still in operation. In 1979 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- "Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Colorado". AmazingColorado.com. Retrieved on 17 November 2008.
- Capps, Reilly (September 29, 2008). "Bridal Veil ice climbing — open at last?". Telluride Daily Planet. Retrieved 2008-11-17.[dead link]
- Healy, Pat (January 15, 2008). "Hunkered down at Bridal Veil". Telluride Daily Planet. Retrieved 2008-11-17.[dead link]
- Whelan, M. "The History of Electrification: Ames and Smuggler-Union Power Plants at Telluride". Edison Tech Center.
- Colorado & Utah Tour Book. AAA. 2004. p. 130. OCLC 704555445.
- Williams, Roger Neville (December 7, 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Smuggler-Union Hydroelectric Power Plant" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
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