The Boudoir Couloir is the wide, shallow couloir that is the only obvious exit from the famous cirque on Horseshoe Mountain. This couloir is a great beginner snow climb and offers a fun ski descent. This route is well worth your time just to have the chance to traverse under the near-vertical walls of the cirque. I have no idea why this route is named Boudoir - a boudoir is a woman's dressing or sitting room. I suppose it's just that boudoir is spelled and pronounced similarly to couloir.
Getting ThereLeavick Trailhead
From the town of Fairplay: Drive south from the junction of CO 9 and U.S. 285 for one mile to Park County road 18. Drive west on County Road 18 for ten miles until reaching Leavick ghost town at 11,240 ft. This is a good spot to park 2WD vehicles.
With 4WD, drive 0.8 mile to a left turn off of the main road. This is a good spot to park in spring - there is often a snow bank here that melts out late. If the snow bank is gone, you can continue on this new road for as far as you wish. These are old mining roads, so continue carefully. It might even be possible to drive near to the Horseshoe cirque.
Note: There is private property in this area. Ensure your route and parking spot do not block a driveway or infringe on private land.
Route DescriptionDepending on where you parked, continue along the old mining roads toward the cirque on Horseshoe, generally following the standard route. When you are adjacent to the cirque, turn south and traverse on shallow slopes on the west side of two small lakes in the cirque. Once you are inside the cirque, contour around the cirque toward the Boudoir Couloir.
When you arrive at the apron of the couloir, the task ahead is obvious. Snow climb the couloir to the south ridge of Horseshoe's summit ridge. Simply walk to the top.
If you're just snow climbing this route, it's fairly simple. Gerry Roach claims that the apron of this couloir melts out fairly early in the year in his 13ers book, so catch this one early. Generally, the apron is fairly steep, the center portion eases a bit, and the final slopes to the ridge steepen again. I used an inclinometer to measure several spots on this route, and the steepest part I found was about 38 degrees. This would make a pretty good beginner snow climb.
This is a fun ski with great scenery. Using Lou Dawson's D Scale, I put this one at III D6 R1. Max angle is about 38 degrees, and there's just one tight spot that requires a jump turn. As I said above with the snow climb, parts of this route (including the approach) melt out early, so don't wait too long to hit this one. If you're creative, you'll probably find a way to ski back to your car in one of several gullies that drain from this area to Leavick.
Round Trip Mileage (from Leavick Ruins): 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 2600 feet
Essential Gear[img:188015:alignright:small:SP member fritzsperry Skiing Boudoir]
For a snow climb, an ice axe wouldn't be a bad idea if the snow is firm. Crampons might be nice for a novice, but those with experience on snow probably won't need them.
For skiing, just the typical gear.
This couloir is steep enough to slide, so ensure you bring your avalanche gear and know how to use it.