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North Face/West Couloir

 
North Face/West Couloir

Page Type: Route

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Object Title: North Face/West Couloir

Route Type: Skiing

Season: Spring

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: 55 degree snow

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: Primomo

Created/Edited: May 30, 2008 / May 30, 2008

Object ID: 407916

Hits: 1188 

Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

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Overview

This is a great ski route accessible from the west side of the Pyramid Massif, and probably only "in" on a good year. The peak is quite a ways from the winter parking, and is likely only "in" when the gate is still closed. This cuts the crowds out of the area, and gives the opportunity to experience the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Massif as it should be, sans traffic. Big vertical and steep ski mountaineering routes abound in the area.

Getting There

Take Maroon Creek road to the end, then follow the trail or stay on snow up the creek toward Crater Lake.

Route Description

From Crater Lake continue up the valley until a series of benches provide passage to the upper basin in between Len Shoemaker Ridge and the Pyramid peaks. Climb the prominent couloir splitting the high points between Lightning Pyramid and Thunder Pyramid. Cut to climbers right once a few hundred feet above the choke, then follow the snow up and left along a ridge to where it narrows into the summit ridge. Route finding on the upper north face can be a little tricky, especially if snow is thin. The steepest pitch was near the top at 55 degrees, most of the couloir was 45 degrees.

Essential Gear

Crampons, Ice Ax, Helmet, Beacon, Shovel, Probe

Images

Climbing the north faceLightning Pyramid ski routeclimbing the couloira view of the upper facefrom below