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Kirk Couloir
Route

Kirk Couloir

 
Kirk Couloir

Page Type: Route

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 37.97970°N / 105.6019°W

Object Title: Kirk Couloir

Route Type: Moderate Snow Climb/ Ski Descent

Time Required: A long day

Difficulty: AI 2-

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes
 

 

Page By: helmut

Created/Edited: Jul 7, 2004 / Jul 7, 2004

Object ID: 161454

Hits: 4737 

Page Score: 71.83%  - 2 Votes 

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Approach


Approach this climb from the Willow Creek Trailhead, hike around the Lake to whichever side looks best (left side worked best for us), the couloir is staring you right in the face towards the right.

Route Description


This can be done in a long day, but requires a very early start, around 12am. Too make the experience more enjoyable work from a high camp below the Lake. We started from a high camp around 4am and were on the summit around 10am.

This route is as straight forward as it gets. From the base of the couloir there is only one way to go, and that is up. Once the angle of the couloir relents after about 1,500 feet or so, you are now near the Kit Carson-Challenger saddle. Challenger is up and to the right, Kit Carson can be reached by the Kit Carson Avenue if so desired. We only summited Challenger. This route makes an excellent ski descent as well, the turns from the summit with Kit Carson and the Crestones in the background make for a memorable experience. Descend the route you ascended, take care to make sure that the snow in the steep part of the couloir has had adequate sun to soften. Alertnately if you are just snow climbing this you could descend the less steep North Slopes route. The maximum angle in the Kirk Couloir is 48 degrees.

Essential Gear


Depends on your comfort on moderate snow, but with good frozen snow like we had, crampons and ice axe were mandatory. I highly recommend bringing skis or a snowboard along for the ride.

Miscellaneous Info


If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and Corrections

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DharmaBum1984Route Comment

DharmaBum1984

Hasn't voted

While the Kirk Couloir makes for an excellent ski descent, do not attempt to glissade this route. It is too steep, and the snow, in summer, is too soft and pitted for an effective self arrest. Several years ago, I fell while attempting to do this, and tumbled almost all the way down to the rocks. Other climbers have died on this route the same way.
Posted May 4, 2005 2:45 am

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Images

From just below Challenger\'s...Early morning light on the...