Mt. Ouray (North and NNW couloirs)

Mt. Ouray (North and NNW couloirs)

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 38.42274°N / 106.22472°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 1, 2019
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring

Mt. Ouray (North and NNW couloirs)

Climb of Mt. Ouray North couloir and descent of NNW couloir on Saturday 2019/6/01. The snow conditions were good - it did freeze overnight (in contrast to the weather website i use). A brief rain/snow storm formed before sunrise that cleared out quickly after the sun was up. It does stand out that there was 8'' of unconsolidated graupel pellets in the low contour in the couloir. That stuff must have remained funneled to there from the previous day. The steps were terrible there so i got out of the low rut to continue to ascend above.

On the approach, there was a section of aspens collapsed from an avalanche. I suspect many similar locations will be discovered in CO this summer after the Avy-prone month of March, 2019. The snow was hard through the climb, except the top section had the usual balling of snow in my crampons while climbing piolet dagger style.

I car camped at N38.45116 W106.19128 near the end of the jeep road at N38.45127 W106.19207. I woke at 3:45 am to get going at 4:56. I put on crampons at started to the plateau below the couloir at N38.43765 W106.22324 at 11,137' at 7 am. I started the North couloir at N38.43765 W106.22324 at 11,137' at 7:41. I topped out the North couloir at at N38.42780 W106.22455 at 13,304' at 10:35. I reached the summit of Mt. Ouray at at N38.42274 W106.22472 at 13,988' at ~noon. It was more of an effort to the summit from the top of the couloir than i expected. I started down at 12:42 to reach a good glissade point at N38.42609 W106.22677 at 13,123' at 1:19. I reached the base of the NNW couloir at N38.43212 W106.23180 at 11,155' at 1:59. I was back at my truck at 4:25 pm. In retrospect, i wish i had got going an hour earlier to ensure good weather at the summit.

With no previous information, I trusted there would be a good line on Mt. Ouray in the Cochetopa valley. I did find a good route up, with a separate lower angle chute for a 2000' glissade (granted some lateral steps were required because of the crooked fall line). During the climb, i did see a great chute on peak 13472 across the valley from Ouray. Angles: 39.0 deg (NE rise to plateau below North couloir), 35.1 deg (base of North couloir), 37.8 (middle of North couloir). In my mind i mistaked the Cochetopa valley for the Devils Armchair couloirs on the east face of Mt. Ouray. From the top, those seemed to be filled with snow, probably relatively low angle (vs. North couloir), and possibly a fun ski.

Album of camera photos at:


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