North Coloir

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.98660°N / 107.7924°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Moderate-some ice
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.4 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 500
Additional Information Grade: II
Sign the Climber's Log


The north face coloir of Gilpin begs to be climbed. In early spring, summer, or late fall, the accumulation of snow and ice make this route enjoyable. Most of the route is a cruise with a good set of tools and crampons but a few well place pieces may give a sense of security in a couple of spots.
The valley is breathtaking and camping at the lake a joy. I've only climbed it once and saw no traffic on the peak. The summit gives a great view of Sneffels, Telluride, and the plateaus of Wilson to the west. I highly recommend it.

Getting There

Drive up Yankee Boy Basin as far as your truck will carry you. 4x4 for sure. If you can make it to the tarn, great. If not, hike the faint 4 wheel drive road until you get to the tarn looking directly at Sneffels (to the right) and Gilpin (to the left). Cross the scree field and begin ascending the scree/snow slope to the obvious snow/ice filled coloir in the center of the face.

Route Description

Climb the gradually narrowing ice/snow coloir. The pitch will get steeper and steeper until the coloir chokes down to about 2m. Here is gets steep enough to offer some excitement. You may want to get a few nuts in here and there and possibly a micro cam. As you climb, look up and right for another coloir that keep ascending. That's where you'll want to head to. Climb up for 10m or so in this narrow passage until you need to traverse right. Head right then up the narrow slot-like coloir. This will exit out onto the summit ridge. From my memory, there's a fun little move to make mid-way up the coloir. It's filled with ice and has a WI2/3 feel to it at times. The feeling of exiting a north coloir into sunlight is second to none.

Descend the ridge connection Gilpin to Sneffels. A trail appears midway down the ridge exiting you back to the tarn and your parking spot.

Essential Gear

A 50m rope works well. Ice tools and crampons for sure. Small alpine rack of nuts, micro cams, a few knife blades, and a stubby screw or two.

External Links

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