This is a fun snow climb on the northwest face of Eagles Nest, offering over 1600 feet of continuous snow, up to 55 degrees. Due to its aspect, this route likely has a short lifespan (we found it in ideal condition* 06/08/14).
Eagles Nest northwest face
As for Cataract Lake/South Ridge. The route can be accessed from the meadows southwest of Mirror Lake. When the route is in condition, expect deep snow in the basin and on the trail, making the approach more difficult than even its length suggests.
Approx. ~0.5 miles southwest from Mirror Lake, leave the trail and cross the stream (on snow!) to the east at the outlet of a small lake or marsh (39.78283,-106.36191). Travel southeast through forest to reach the slopes at the base of the northwest face. Climb these slopes (600') to reach a brief talus field and the base of the couloir (39.77783,-106.35721).
Climb the narrow couloir. Around 12600' the couloir turns left and opens up. From here trend southeast until the snow runs out. Scramble the last 200' or so to the summit ridge and go north to the summit.
Eagles Nest Northwest Couloir route
Mountaineering axe, sturdy boots, crampons. Two axes or tools can make the climbing more secure.
* hard packed snow when climbed around sunrise.