East Couloir

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.29700°N / 118.658°W
Additional Information Route Type: Basic Snow/Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 4
Sign the Climber's Log


Follow the directions on the main page until you reach the locked gate on the Horton Lakes 4X4 road. From the locked gate area continue on foot, heading West, up the moderate Eastern slope of Basin Mountain.

Up the slope at about 10,200 ft., one has a couple of options as to what route to follow. You can continue straight up to a small pass, than on the back side, traverse a snow/scree slope to the mine tunnel area at the base of the couloir. The other option would be to traverse left on an old Jeep trail (covered with snow early in the season) that climbs up through a forested slope and around to the lower reaches of the couloir. From here it's approximately 300 ft. of easy travel to the mine tunnel area and the base of the couloir.

Route Description

The Couloir: Continue up the very moderately angled slope of the lower couloir to about 11,000 ft. Here it begins to steepen and the true climb in the couloir begins. Early in the season and/or during high avalanche danger periods, be cautious in this area of avalanches that can come off the mountain side to the climbers right and from the couloir above.

At 11,500 ft. a flat area with many large rocks provides a good spot to rest, watch a sunrise or get a good veiw of the White Mountain Range. From this spot, continue straight up the moderately angled couloir to the base of the rock section at approximately 12,800 ft.

As mentioned above, this is a moderately angled couloir and anyone with basic snow travel skills and knowledge of basic crampon and ice axe techniques shouldn't have any difficulties. For someone with little experience, being roped to a leader would make for a safer and more enjoyable climb.

The Rock Pitch: From the head of the couloir scramble Northwest up the 400+ feet of Class 4 rock (or low Class 5 depending on route finding or comfort level) to the Basin Mountain summit.
Added by dug on 4/30/2004: At about halfway up the rock section, ice may be encountered. Either climb directly (crampons, tools needed) or drop very slightly and traverse about 50-75 ft SW and back up cl 4 then easier rock to the summit.

The Descent: Either descend the climbing route, or if it was a one day climb, take the Class 2 route North down to Horton Lake and out to the locked gate.
Added by dug on 4/30/2004: For descent of the route I recommend descending to the south, just west of the ascent route, initially on talus then down a snow chute. It is then possible to contour around and land exactly at the head of the E. Couloir.

Essential Gear

Helmet, ice axe and crampons. If you intend to climb the rock section roped up, a small alpine rack emphasizing medium to large pro and a 50 or 60 meter rope will suffice.


As with climbing any couloir, falling rock/ice and avalanche danger should always be a concern. Stay alert to your surroundings and be ready to communicate any danger to your partners and other climbers.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.