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North Couloir

North Couloir

North Couloir

Page Type: Route

Object Title: North Couloir

GPX File: Download GPX » View Route on Map

Route Type: Hiking, Mountaineering, Skiing

Season: Spring

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: Moderate Snow

Grade: III

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: metal4lyf

Created/Edited: Apr 2, 2012 / Apr 3, 2012

Object ID: 783901

Hits: 2505 

Page Score: 77.48%  - 8 Votes 

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This is a fun snow climb on the northeast face of Mt Arkansas. It looks daunting from afar, but with continuous snow it goes for 700' at Moderate. The maximum slope angle is less than 50 degrees. Ski descents have been recorded.

North Couloir
North Couloir

Getting There

The trailhead is located off Hwy 91, 11.7 mi south of Copper Mountain and 11.5 mi north of Leadville. At the hairpin turn just below the Climax Mine, turn east onto the dirt road marked by a "No Camping" sign. On Google Maps it is marked as Trail Rd, and on the ArcGIS topos it is labeled 135. Just off the highway there is a small parking area marked by boulders. It is likely you will have to park here.


Travel east on Trail Rd. (As the road is crowded by willows, hiking or snowshoeing out on a warm spring afternoon will be a challenge--skis are recommended.) After 1.7 mi on the road, at roughly 11800', the entire couloir should be visible to the southwest. Leave the road and continue to the base of the route.

North Couloir
Approaching the couloir

Route Description

Start early to minimize rockfall hazard. From 13000' the slope gradually becomes steeper to around 48 degrees. Usually a large cornice forms over the couloir. Bypass it on the left to exit onto the ridge at 13700'. The summit is a short walk to the south. For the descent, there are many options. Ski down the couloir, or east off the north or south ridges. If on foot, the 3rd-class
North Ridge would make a fun descent. Or continue south to Mt Tweto.

Looking up
Looking down

Minimal cornice after a dry winter

North Ridge
View of the exit

Essential Gear

Crampons, helmet, mountaineering axe. A second tool is probably not necessary with continuous snow.


Mt Arkansas