Thanks! We did this climb about 2 weeks ago, and this picture, out of all those that I took , really gives you the best sense of the couloir . I suspect that with the recent warm weather we have had there is little good snow climbing left this season. According to Roach, the pitch of this couloir is 45 degrees at the bottom and 50 degrees at the top (classified as steep snow). It is not recommended as a good ascent route once the snow melts out because of rockfall. I would love to climb this and descend on skiis next spring!
By the way, did you see Sunday's Denver Post? There was an article about an author who wrote a crime novel about an attorney who is also a climber (as is the author). In the article, there is a short passage about how the author no longer skiis chutes in the 14'ers because he got caught in an avalanche once in Dead Dog Couloir!
No I missed the Post. I guess he is basing that on fact?!
This weekend I did Skywalker on S. Arapaho, more difficult than Dead Dog it turns out. Highly recommended, but it avalanched last weekend. Roach says at least one fatal avalanche accident occurred there.
We were using crampons and an ice axe, although it is not too easy to tell in this picture. Climbing helmets when near the rockfall areas at the upper end of the couloir. This is a 45-50 degree slope, with a soft layer of snow on top, and did not warrant ropes or belaying. This is described as a Class 3 climb in Roach's guide (steep snow). I do not know of anyone who does or recoomends this climb roped.
I think that Class 3 on the Yosemite Decimal Scale is somewhere between a I and II on the UIAA scale . I looked it up, and there isn't an exact correlation until you get to class 4 or 5. The scale that Gerry Roach uses in his guidebook of the Colrado 14'ers classifies this as Class 3, Steep Snow (meaning 45-60 degree slope)
I have climbed and skied this route 4 times, the first 2 I used crampons and ice axe, the next 2 times, we climbed in AT boots without crampons or axes...it just depends on your comfort level on steep snow, of course we had avalanche beacons, shovels and helmets. It's always fun to ski past roped teams with full-on glacier climbing gear in the couloir.