Choss & Ice Couloir

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Half a day
AI 2+
Rock Difficulty:
5.4 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 0 Votes

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Choss & Ice Couloir
Created On: Jul 12, 2012
Last Edited On: Jul 13, 2012


This route is a couloir that rises from just above Anderson Lake over 1,000 ft. to the saddle on the ridge just below the summit pinnacle. When we did the route on 7/11/12 we found snow near the bottom, and alpine ice towards the top. Depending on the time of year and winter snowfall level (2011-12 was an infamously low snow year) you could likely find anything from powder snow to alpine ice to loose scree. You will always find loose rock and should treat every protection and every hold with suspicion.

Getting There

As described in the main page for this peak, follow CO-82 just east of Aspen to the turnoff at Lincoln Creek Road. Turn here and follow Lincoln Creek Rd. 6 miles to Grizzly Reservoir. Continue past Grizzly Reservoir another 2-3 miles up the valley. Eventually, there will be a fork in the road. If you continue left you head up to the abandoned ghost mining town of Ruby. Instead, head right all the way until you reach a locked gate. The road is rough past Grizzly Reservoir and 4-wheel drive is recommended. There isn't much room for parking at the gate, but its unlikely that you'll be up here with anyone else, but nonetheless try to park as far off to the side of the road as you can.

Walk past the locked gate a 1/4 mile and you will pass another locked gate and a "caretaker" cabin. Continue up the road for another mile and you will eventually reach Anderson Lake. The approach is easy and shouldn't take more than an hour.

Continue around the right side of the lake and scramble past talus to the base of a scree-field (snowfield depending on season). Once you reach snow crampon up and bring out the ice axes, as the route only gets more and more committing and steep from here.

Route Description

The route follows the couloir that is 2nd from the left as seen from the lake. From the lake, it may look pretty choked with no exit, but it will go. Head up 30 degree snow and into the couloir. From here the snow gradually steepens to 50 degrees and turns into ice higher up. Although the ice at points tapers to 2 feet wide, do your best to stay on the ice as the rock is very loose. If you choose to carry a rope, you may be able to find some protection in the rock to the sides of the couloir. Ice screws may also work, depending on the conditions. After climbing ~600 feet the route will turn to the right and reach a prominent ledge upon which you can rest. Before this ledge the route is very exposed in places with little places to rest. Directly behind the ledge (upslope) is a narrow chimney that goes at 5.4 and involves a 15-20 feet of stemming and chimney climbing. Past this, continue to scramble up on 3rd class terrain and the ridge will become visible. Continue on loose scree another 100 feet to the ridge. From the ridge, it is possible to gain the summit (look right) by traversing and some more 5th class climbing (not to exceed 5.5). From here to the summit is probably another 200 feet.

To descend, carefully reverse your steps and downclimb back down to the ridge. From the ridge, very gradually traverse downslope towards the valley. There are few ways down that don't cliff out, so look and choose your path carefully. From the valley, re-ascend 100 feet to a pass that will take you back to the side of the mountain you started the climb on. Descending this way avoids the talus fields that you came through on the way up. Be sure to take a celebratory swim at the lake, get changed, and hike back down the road to your vehicle.

Essential Gear

1 60m rope
2 ice screws
2-3 cams
handful of nuts

I don't know any sizes for protection because we did not carry a rope and we did not place any pro. Sorry. However, I would not do this route again in the conditions we found it without a rope.

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Choss & Ice Couloir

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