NE Couloir

Page Type
Washington, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Half a day
Rock Difficulty:
Class 4

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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NE Couloir
Created On: Jun 10, 2015
Last Edited On: Jun 16, 2015


Tiffany Mtn is the jewel of the eastern Pasaytens and her north side has potential for some fine short alpine climbing - a great place for a beginning alpine climber to cut their teeth. The 650' tall NE face is broken up by several couloirs, aretes and vertical granite cliffs. The snow melts fairly early in the summer (soon after the roads are accessible), so the sooner the better for the couloirs. The NE Couloir is the longest, most prominent and direct snow chute on the left side of the face.                                                                                                  

The area is beautiful and secluded feeling, the approach is easy, and the views during the climb and once on top are spectacular.

Getting There

From Conconully either drive up North Fork Salmon Creek and over Lone Frank Pass (almost an hour on a narrow 4WD road - 21.3 miles) or up the South Fork and over Baldy Pass (almost 2 hours on a longer 2WD gravel road - 30.6 miles), or approach from the Methow Valley (about an hour on a good 2WD gravel road - 26.5 miles). Park at Tiffany Springs campground (6760') and follow the pleasant trail (#373) east past Tiffany Lake to Honeymoon Pass (7150', 45-60 minutes). From Honeymoon Pass either traverse south on the grassy east slope to the small cirque at the base of the N. Face (7360'), or hike up the trail on the north side of the ridge leading to Little Tiffany Lake and drop down to the small cirque from above.

A winter or early spring approach on snowmobile and skis would be possible.

Descend by walking off the NW ridge of Tiffany and then head NE above Little Tiffany Lake to join the main trail at Honeymoon Pass. On first ascent it took 5 hours round trip from trailhead.

Route Description

From Honeymoon Pass traverse SW along the grassy and bouldery east slope below the ridge crest to the cirque at the base of the main face. The 700+' NE Couloir is the longest most continuous narrow snow gully on the left side of the North Face. From the head of the cirque veer left staying on the snow as much as possible (the slope is mostly about 40 with up to 50 degrees at the top, with a couple of steeper sections at the 1/3 and 2/3 points). Crux is at the upper narrow section (on first ascent this steeper section was melted and required scrambling up steep wet and muddy rock - if continuous with snow it would probably be more difficult, perhaps AI3, and require belays and gear - medium nuts and pickets).

Note; an emergency descent would be difficult even with a rope from the crux section due to the scarcity of good anchor placements.

Finishes on the summit ridge about 30' east of the summit register.

Essential Gear

Depending on conditions.... at least an ice axe is needed. If the snow is continuous it would probably require a rope and a few medium nuts and pickets to protect. In a heavy snow year with ice late into the summer crampons would probably be needed.

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NE Couloir

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