I climbed the North Face of Coxcomb over Memorial Day weekend of 2000. We went to the Redcliff/Coxcomb saddle (climbed Redcliff first), then climbed talus up to the cliff band of Coxcomb. We roped up and climbed the obvious weakness in the cliff band. You're climbing on red rock in somewhat of a right-facing dihedral here, and I recall the crux being climbing left out of the dihedral at the top. This places you on loose, sloping class 2/3 terrain briefly. Above, I continued up a chimney (4th to low 5th class?) and belayed where the chimney turns to the right. This pitch might have been close to 50m. A short second pitch up the chimney (4th to low 5th class) dumped us out right at the summit cairn.
The excitement came on the descent. I placed a sling right below the summit and rapped down the chimney. I searched for a while for another anchor before spotting some slings up and left of the chimney. We had to ascend a bit of snow to reach those slings. A second rap from those slings placed me on the class 2/3 loose crap. Finding a suitable rap anchor here was difficult. I finally draped a sling over a solid boulder with barely a lip on the back side, and we carefully rapped off that. Yikes! This was way sketchy, from my point of view anyway.
Note that we had a single 50m rope on this trip. The route we took avoided any snow (for the most part). There was a bit of ice in the chimney, but it was avoidable by stemming.
I climbed Coxcomb again 3 weeks ago. We went up the standard southwest chimney route this time, but we planned to descend the North Face so we could more easily combine it with Redcliff. We packed two 60m ropes to avoid the "sketchy" rap. The first rap anchor I had placed 4 years ago was still there and had been backed up with another sling. However, we managed to downclimb east-northeast (?) from the summit over 3rd to 4th class terrain to reach our second rap anchor from 2000. From here, we did one 60m rappel to the bottom of the cliff band (ie, to hiking terrain). I checked out the "sketchy" rap anchor I had used in 2000, and about 4 or 5 slings had been added to it! I guess the route has seen a bit of traffic since I was up there. My recommendation is to take two 60m ropes if you plan to descend the north face. I'm not sure if two 50m ropes would reach.
Morgan sorry I didn't get to you in time. The trail is #226 and the approach I described is from the north, heading south to Coxcomb. The trail is named on the Trails Illustrated map as Wetterhorn Basin trail. If the map is wrong please let me know and I will change it. You do hike in along Cimarron creek.
If I understand you correctly, you are talking about the trailhead near the headwaters of the West Fork of the Cimarron River. I believe this trailhead is named "West Fork Cimarron", and not "Wetterhorn Basin". I was confused, because I thought you were describing the approach from the south, through Wetterhorn Basin proper. If I'm wrong about this, please let me know!
Jacobs and Ormes, in Guide to the Colorado Mountains (tenth edition) describe the North Face route as follows: "At about 11,400', leave the West Fork Trail and hike up the small drainage coming off the north face. Alternating bands of snow, and a couple pitches of 5.2 rock, lead up just east of the summit, for a short scramble to the top."
This looks like an excellent alternative to the SW Chimney, especially for day trips. Anyone have additional info? Seems that much of the snow could be avoided by going to the Redcliff/Coxcomb saddle, but perhaps the snow is considered part of the route's fun?