Couloir and Glacier Climbs in the Denver Area

Couloir and Glacier Climbs in the Denver Area

Colorado, United States, North America
Page Type Page Type: List
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Snow climbing season is upon us and there is a lot of talk on SummitPost about a small number of popular routes. However, there are many more out there that don't get any attention. This is a list of couloir and other snow climbs within an hour or two drive of Denver. The sources are Gerry Roach's 14ers and high 13ers and Indian Peaks guide books as well as a few other sources.

About the Table

I've organized the table by access point and roughly north to south. Nearby trailheads are grouped under the same heading. I've arbitrarily not included certain areas due to lack of personal knowledge or because I deem them "too far away". Routes with a "*" are deemed "classic" in someone's (usually Gerry Roach's) estimation. Routes with a "-" are similarly "not recommended". The table has various fields explained below:

  • Aspect is what direction the climb faces. This can make a difference in what time of year you climb it; south-facing routes come into condition before north-facing ones.
  • Parent is the peak upon which the route lies. It's not always a summit route, but you can usually see it from there.
  • Rating is whatever difficulty rating is given in my source. "mod", "steep" etc refer to maximum slope angle where moderate is approximately 30-40 degrees, steep=40-50, and very steep is greater than 50. There are border cases which get multiple ratings.
  • Approach is the very approximate one-way milage to the start of the route. It does not include the route itself or distance from the top of the route to the summit.
  • Vertical is the approximate vertical extent of the snow climb itself, if known. I've made guesses on a number of these, so the values may be highly wrong.

    The Table

    Cameron Pass TH (Never Summer Range)
    Nokhuloir E Nokhu Crags4, steep3.5550'
    Grand Central SE Nokhu Crags4, v/steep3.5500'
    RMNP, Lawn Lake TH (Mummy Range)
    Y Couloir*  Ypsilon 5.0-5.4 steep  
    RMNP, Trail Ridge Road THs
    Cracktop Clr NE Cracktop 5.0-5.6 steep5.7 700'
    RMNP, Bear Lake/Glacier Gorge TH
    Ptarmigan Gl NE Ptarmigan Pt.   4.2 600'
    North Face Clrs NW Flattop Mtn 2, steep 3.5 600'
    Dragonstail SE Flattop Mtn 4, steep 2 1500'
    Dragonstooth SE Flattop Mtn 4, mod 2 1500'
    Tyndal Gl NE Hallet 3, mod   
    "Chaos Couloir"SEHallet 2, steep? 2.51000'?
    Chaotic Gl NE Otis 2, v/steep 3.7  
    Andrews Gl E Otis 2, mod 4 580'
    Taylor Gl N Taylor 3, vsteep 5 1400'
    Powell Clr NW Powell 2, vsteep 5 1000'
    McHenry's Notch N McHenry's 2, steep 6 900'
    Pagoda/CH Clr N Pagoda/Chiefshead 2, steep 6 900'
    Trough Clr W Longs 3, steep 6 2200'
    RMNP, Longs Peak TH
    Martha S Lady Washington 5.6, steep 4.7 700'
    Lambs Slide N Longs 3, steep 5.5 1000'+
    Notch Clr E Longs 5.2, steep 6  
    The Loft E Longs/Meeker 3, mod 5 1400'
    Dream Weaver* N Meeker 4-5.6 steep 5.0 1500'
    RMNP, Wild Basin TH
    Keplingers S Longs 3, mod 7.5 1600'
    IPW, Middle St. Vrain TH
    Ogalalla Expr. S Ogalalla 3, mod 10 1000'
    Ooh La La Expr* E "Ooh La La" 3, steep 10 900'
    Vrain Drain NE "Ooh La La" 3, steep 10 800'
    IPW, Brainard Lake THs
    Northeast Ramp NE Mt. Toll 5.2 steep 3  
    North Clrs N Little Pawnee 3, steep 2 500'?
    SW Clrs S-W Shoshoni 3-5.2, steep 4.2  
    Queens Way* NE Apache 2, mod 4.2 800'
    Apache Clr* E Apache 3, steep 4.2 800'
    Navajo SF NE Navajo 5.2, steep 4.2  
    IPW, 4th of July and Hessie THs
    Streetwalker SW South Arapaho 3, mod/steep 2.6 1300'
    Skywalker* S South Arapaho 3, v/steep 2.6 1600'
    North Star* W North Arapaho 3, mod 3.1 1400'
    Phoebe NE Mt. Neva 3, mod/steep 3.8 300'
    Juliet* N Mt. Neva 2, mod 3.7 300'
    Desdemona NE Mt. Neva 2, mod 3.7 300'
    Snow Lion* SE Jasper 3, mod 4.5 700'
    Snow Leopard SE Jasper 3, steep 4.5 500'
    Gateraid SE Jasper 2, mod 4.3 400'
    Challenger Gl NE Skyscraper 3, vsteep 6.5 500'
    Skyscraper Gl S Skyscraper 3, mod/steep 6.5 400'
    Central Front Range, East Portal TH
    Ice Box Express NE Heartbeat 2, mod 3.5 500'
    Central Front Range, St. Mary's Glacier/Loch Lomond/Mammoth Gulch Access
    Starbright- SE James Peak 3, mod 3.4  
    Superstar* E James Peak 5.4, steep 4 1000'
    Shooting Star* E James Peak 2, steep 3.5 1100'
    Sky Pilot NE James Peak 4, mod 4 1100'
    Starlight N James Peak 2, mod 4 550'
    St. Mary's Gl E James Peak 1, easy 0.7 800'
    Ice Lake Clr S James Peak 3, mod 1.5 500'
    Central Front Range, Summit Lake TH
    Goldfinger* E Spalding/Gray Wolf 3, steep 1.2  
    Badfinger- NE Spalding 5.7 vsteep 1.0  
    Windy City NE Spalding 2, mod 0.9 1100'
    Chi-Town* NE Spalding 4, steep 0.8 1140'
    Sunrise E Spalding/Evans 3, steep 1.0 700'
    Diamond N Mt. Evans 4, steep 1 1000'
    Crystal N Mt. Evans 3, steep 1 1000'
    Snave N Mt. Evans 4, steep 1 1000'
    Central Front Range, Stevens/Grizzly Gulch THs
    Eroica NE Torreys 3, steep 2.1 800'
    Emperor NE Torreys 3, steep 2 700'+
    Dead Dog* S Torreys 3, steep 2.4 1600'
    South Paw S Torreys 3, steep 3 1300'
    Lost Rat N Grays 2, mod 2.5 800'
    Goatfinger- N Edwards 2+, steep 2.5 1000'
    Southern Front Range, Pikes Peak Road THs
    Y Couloir* N Pikes Peak 3, steep 1.5 1300'
    Railroad Clr N Pikes Peak 3, steep 1.5 1300'
    Little Italy N Pikes Peak 3, steep 0.1 1100'
    Central Front Range, Montezuma Access (West of Divide)
    Edwardian* S Mount Edwards 2, mod 1.6 1080'
    Tenmile Range, Spruce Creek TH (West of Divide)
    Dyer Straits* NE Father Dyer Peak 2, mod 3.3 460'
    North Clr NE Pacific Peak 5.5, vsteep 5. 700'
    Tenmile Range, Quandary THs (West of Divide)
    Atlantis* S Atlantic Peak 2, mod 2.8 600'
    Quandary Clr NE Quandary Peak 4, steep 1.5 1600'
    Cristo Clr S Quandary Peak 2, mod 0-1 2000'+

    Future Work

    This table is by no means complete and will likely be a work in progress for quite some time. Things I intend to add eventually include:
  • greater coverage in RMNP
  • links to SummitPost and/or MountainProject pages with more details
  • trailhead links
  • optimal climbing season
  • farther away routes
  • routes not covered in my personal collection of guide books (14ers, 13,800ers, IPW, RMNP)

    I would love help in any or all of these areas. If you're willing to help and would like access privs to this page, drop me a line. Similarly, if you see something above which is incorrect, missing, or misleading, let me know.

  • Geography