East Couloirs

Page Type Page Type: Route
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Sign the Climber's Log


Great snow climb in the middle of nowhere - you will have the entire mountain to yourself

Getting There

Bighorn trailhead does not allow anymore overnight parking and the  overflow parking at interstate exit 180 does not allow overnight parking either. You need to park at Village Center Parking Structure (free overnight parking) and take East Vail bus close to trailhead.


Route Description

Hike from Bighorn Trailhead to the Dolly Mine Cabin. Cross the creek and work your way up the valley. Any trail will be covered by large snow fields deep into the summer. Turn around the Northeast Ridge of Climbers Point and hike into the most upper part  of the Bighorn Creek Valley. There is an obvious notch in the ridge between Climber's Point and Keller Mountain - Bergschrund. Hike up  grassy slopes to the notch. Now the fun starts. You need to climb down a short but very steep snowfield. The moment the gradient has lessened so you can walk again, start walking uphill (West) parallel to the ridge to the saddle above you. From there you will have a great view of Mount Solitude. 

Mount Solitude offers four snow routes up to the summit - to simplify it - I name them clockwise from north to south - E 1 to E 4

E 1: north of East Face (not visible from the pass) - narrow, steep , prone to rockfall, most likely covered by a cornice until summer - leading straight up to the summit

E2: straight at the East Face - narrow, steep, prone to rockfall - ending at the East Ridge - requiring a short but nice scramble to the summit

E 3: southeast of the East Face- wider, not too exposed to rockfall - ending at the East Ridge - requiring a short but nice scramble to the summit

E 4: south of the East Face - mostly wide, not too exposed to rockfall but exposed to cornices on the ridges above -leading straight up to the summit 


Option 1: hiking down the grassy slopes to Pitkin Creek Trail.

Option 2: continue on the ridge to Climber's and then on to Skier's Point. Hike on the ridge past Skier's Point down to Bighorn Valley and make your way down to Dolly Cabin back to the trail.




Essential Gear / Camping

Helmet, crampons, ice axe are a must.There are few suitable spots for camping in the basin below Mt. Solitude as long as it is snow covered. I would bring a bivouc sack instead of a tent (I could not find a single spot suitable for a tent).

The East side of the Gore Range is a very remote place. You are on your own if anything goes wrong.




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