OverviewA striking couloir seen very clearly from the Telluride Ski Resort when looking to the E/SE (around Revelation Bowl). I have not seen too much written about this couloir, so I figured I'd add a little bit, from a skier's perspective. The San Joaquin couloir reaches an angle of close to 50 degrees and is narrow towards the top and relatively narrow the entire way down. From a skier's perspective, optimal conditions are a must when descending this, for a fall could end poorly, given the narrow walls and length of the chute itself. For climber's this is an aesthetic enough couloir to warrant a trip as well, primarily from the Bear Creek approach.
If the resort is open, you could exit the gates around Revelation Bowl and ski right down to the base of this guy, hopefully with a good snowpack and ski all the way back to town and take the gondola back to the crowds. It'd be a nice break from the masses and an incredible route in well consolidated powder conditions. Unfortunately, when my buddy Chris and I were up there, the snow had experienced abnormally high temps and dust for days beforehand and we decided to find another way down. Skiing veriglass, punchy, crusty, unpredictable snow was not in the cards for us that day, sun hit the chute around 11:30pm, it was windy and we didn't feel like waiting around till it reached prime skiing.
On a side note, here is a little bit of recent news on the drainage that houses the San Joaquin. Not sure how it would/could affect this ranked 13er, could either be bad or good, depending on which way you look at it, just a FYI.
Getting ThereThere are a number of ways to access this peak.
Bear Creek TH
Right in the middle of the town of Telluride, down the street from Smuggler's Pub at the end of Pine St. You need to park along the street, since the TH is right next to a private condominium parking lot. The upside to choosing this route is the scenery up Bear Creek, a prominent waterfall, and the ability to climb what you will ski. The downside is, depending on the season, you might be walking atleast 2-3 miles each way in either approach boots or AT boots. The vertical is similar to the Ophir approach, but you don't get as much skiing, depending on the season.
Town of Ophir
Drive through town of Ophir via Granite St, which eventually turns into 9th St east of town. At the intersection that takes you towards Ophir Pass, stay on the road heading straight and veer left on to Aurum St. Follow this road to the end or wherever it looks feasible to hike up the drainage towards San Joaquin. The upside to using this approach is there is generally more skiing involved and less mileage to obtain it. The downside is you need to regain the ridge to access your descent back into Ophir, which is south facing and can become an issue with sunhit and snow conditions. Also, you don't get to climb the couloir and assess conditions.
This involves a car shuttle, beginning at Ophir Pass, ending in the town of Ophir and involves a triple 13er ridge run from Lookout Pk to Silver Mtn B. A detailed TR of this route is described here from 14ers.com, this is more of a summer outing.
Red TapeThe only thing to worry about is the parking situation at Bear Creek TH. The parking around the TH is all private parking with possibility of a tow. Park along Pine St., which shouldn't be a problem early in the morning, depending on the season you choose to climb this 13er.
CampingThere is good camping spots all around the town of Telluride, as well as great car camping ops outside the town of Ophir and Ophir Pass.
External LinksSome trip reports from a number of different approaches :