i climbed this centennial via the atlantis couloir on tuesday june 21st. no one was at the mccullough gulch trailhead monday evening; this wasn't a surprise considering it's not a 14er. i hiked around and explored for awhile. this is definitely an area you should visit. it's not mundane like the south side of quandary. after a nice campfire and some reading it was off to bed around 10:30.
just before 4:30 my body decided sleep was no longer an option so i awoke, prepared my pack, and had a little breakfast. at 5:31 i began the climb up the closed road. quickly it turned into a singletrack which led me through pine groves and over several boulder fields. all the while i could hear the creek to my left, i thought it added a nice touch to the cool morning hike. soon enough i reached my first snowfield of the day. it was here that i lost the trail. there was no footprints but it was clear the general direction i wanted to travel in order to reach atlantic's slopes. unfortunately, there were many small snowfields to cross and with the previous night's temps only reaching the low 40s, i settled in for short yet very frustrating sessions of postholing, sometimes waist deep. this continued until i reached the base of the prominent "V" couloir on atlantic's east face. this is not atlantis. atlantis is the couloir just north of the "V". after donning my crampons, i started the climb. i fond it to be more soupy/slushy than i would have preferred. the shaded portions of snow had a thin layer of ice so i hugged the north(right) side of the couloir until ultimately i could hide no longer from the sun. here i left altantis and started up the steep couloir which extended southwest from just below where atlantis meets the summit ridge. after topping out here i took off the crampons and followed the cleared boulder path to the summit which was reached at 9:47.
for my descent, i noticed a clear ridge on the northern side of the gulch so i made my way over there. after an hour of walking and two screaming, fast glissades i had reached a small lake about halfway down the gulch. it was here that i saw my first people of the day as the tourists(20-30) were here and further down the trail. another 45 minutes and a few conversations later i had returned to my truck, and just in time. dark rain clouds were building over the fletcher-altantic ridge, and it started raining just after i began driving off.
i would recommend this route if the nights were cold enough to refreeze the snow. also, i counted 15 recent wetslides. nothing big, there's not too much snow, but you might consider keeping an eye on conditions if you venture out this way. if you're one of those people who has to have a snowfree route, wait a month then climb altantic via the north/northeast route. it's a nice, relatively untraveled area.
No comments posted yet.