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Grande Couloir

Grande Couloir


Page Type: Route

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Object Title: Grande Couloir

Route Type: Skiing

Season: Winter

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: D5?

Route Quality: 
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Page By: C Wenker

Created/Edited: Nov 5, 2013 / Nov 5, 2013

Object ID: 874907

Hits: 1161 

Page Score: 72.19%  - 3 Votes 

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The Grande Couloir (or, just Grand?) is a popular backcountry ski descent off of Storm Peak, outside of Silverton, Colorado.

The Grande Couloir, dropping off the east shoulder of Storm Peak.

Getting There

From Silverton, drive north on County Road 110 for a little more than 5 miles to the Silverton Mountain ski lift.  Continue another mile past the ski area to the intersection with County Road 52.  Park in the plowed lot here.

CR 52 leads in to Velocity Basin.

Storm Peak, with the Grand and Gnar Couloirs, will be visible from the trailhead.  Skin south up CR 52 into Velocity Basin toward your objective.

Not really as stormy as it appears here.

Route Description

We went in blind, without any beta, so there might be a better approach than the one described here.
The road basically ends at an unnamed frozen tarn at the NE foot of Storm Peak.  We skinned around the east side of the lake and approached the base of the couloir from the (climber's) lefthand side.  This led over one recent avalanche debris pile, but this approach overall looked less exposed than coming in from the other side.
Then, just go up.  We skinned, switched to booting, and then back to skins.  Expect many steep kick-turns.

Up, always up.

Boots = wallow.

Back to skins.

Once at the top, go back down.  The saddle elevation is roughly 12,850 feet; the lake is 11,300.

Grande top.
View north from saddle. Sneffels, Teakettle, Potosi on the left.

The Grande faces pretty much due north, and this basin is known to load up.  Know the conditions and check the avalanche forecast before heading out.

Take only pictures, leave only tracks.

Essential Gear

Standard BC essentials: shovel, beacon, probe, avy poodle.  The top couple hundred feet of the couloir might be windblown, so a Whippet might be useful too.


Approaching Storm PeakStorm PeakStorm Peak and its couloirsGrande CouloirGnar CouloirSkinning up Grande CouloirTop of Grande Couloir
Skinning up Grande Couloir