Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Snow Climb
Time Required:
Most of a day
Class 3, Steep Snow

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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Created On: Feb 22, 2005
Last Edited On: Feb 22, 2005

Emperor Overview

The Emperor on Torreys Peak is one of Colorado's finest moderate snow climbs. When in shape in early spring, this couloir provides up to 3000 ft, one of CO's longest, on increadible snow with an average angle in the mid to low 30's. Some portions are steeper.

The route is located on the small North Face of Torreys and has been seen by countless motorist as they catch a glimpse from I-70 near Bakersville.

The route is prone to avalanche and should only be attempted when snow conditions have stablized in the Spring. There are also several large cornices that form on the edge of the NW face and hang over this route.

For descent, those with the required experience may want to ski the route or for a more mild ski descent one might try the NW Face route.


This climb starts at the Grizzly Gulch TH. Follow the directions on the main page to this trailhead. The actual distance will depend on how far up the 4 wheel drive road you go.

From the TH, follow the road until you reach an open area at about 10,750 ft. At this point you will want to cross back to the north side of the creek and continue along the road to about 11,000 ft which at which point the road is blocked to vehicles. From this point the route can be seen to the south.

Route Description

From 11,000 ft you start to climb up the lower apron of snow. The couloir starts out relatively wide and low angle but quickly steepens and narrows. It is at just over 12,000 that the couloir really steepens and narrows. Continue on to around 12,800 ft and remain as much as possible in the central couliors. You will finally break free of the narrow confines at around 13,500 ft at which point you will want to traverse to a point where the North Ridge connects with the upper Kelso Ridge and follow this to the summit.

Essential Gear

Crampons, Ice Axe, Helmet and skis for a descent.


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