North Buttress Couloir

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 47.47850°N / 120.8452°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Difficulty: Moderate Snow
Additional Information Grade: II
Sign the Climber's Log
A pretty good view of the...
North Buttress Couloir


View of the North Buttress...
North Buttress Couloir


At approximately 40 percent...
In the couloir

Probably the second most climbed route on the peak, the Northwest Buttress Couloir is a far more interesting alternative to the much easier Colchuck Glacier Route.

The route is most often climbed in winter or early spring while the couloir is entirely filled with snow.

It is an easy 3 to 4 hour climb from a camp at Colchuck Lake, or can be accomplished in a long day from the trailhead.

The first ascent of this route was by Ray Lilleby and James Wickwire on 15 July 1962.



Reach Colchuck Lake as per the main page. (About 4 miles of trail).

Colchuck Glacier is visible from the lake and easily reached over talus or snow depending on the season. (less than a quarter-mile). The base of the North Buttress Couloir is obvious from and easily reached from the toe of the glacier.


Route Description

Four Pacific Northwest...
North Buttress Couloir
North Buttress Couloir, Colchuck Peak
In the couloir

A very straightforward route - from the base of the couloir, climb to its top.

In winter and early season, it is snow the entire way. Later in the summer, there can be Class 4 rock exposed.

The couloir tops out on the North Buttress Route which is Grade II, Class 3 & 4 if one climbs west of the crest as suggested by Beckey, but with some very nice easy class 5 climbing directly on the crest.

Most parties descend via the Colchuck Glacier Route.

See Images below for more climbing photos.

Essential Gear

Ice ax, crampons, and rope.

Snow and rock protection depending on the season, the parties' comfort level on steepish snow, and the parties intended route to the summit from the top of the couloir.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.