Notchtop couloir (Notchtop mountain)

Notchtop couloir (Notchtop mountain)

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 40.31713°N / 105.69926°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 7, 2020
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring

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Notchtop couloir, across from Ptarmigan Fingers in RMNP. We found the couloir in good shape (continuous coverage). Climb with Emily Anderson and Adam on Sunday 2020/6/07.


We drove to RMNP from Westminster starting at 3 am (the park gate is open overnight, even during the recent CoViD reopening). It was 44F on arrival at the Bear lake parking lot. We geared up and started from the parking lot at 4:45 am. We departed from the trail to the base of the couloir at about 7 am. We reached the lake (''moat') at the combined bases of ptarmigan Fingers and Notchtop couloirs at 8 am, to gear up and start climbing at 8:40. The couloir starts at 10985' and exits onto the alpine plateau at 12263' (gain of 1278'). We found reasonably wide channel of snow, that starts at 40 degrees, increases to 45 degrees, then approaches 50 degrees, before decreasing significantly in the uppermost section. We reached the top of the couloir at 11 am. I took a lunch break on the way back at the top of Dragons Tail coulor at 12:30 . We reached the Bear lake lot at 3:15 pm.


We did not bring snowshoes and found the drifts to be mostly frozen hard in the morning, from the overnight radiative cooling. There were not a lot of drifts on the approach, but it was all snow after we departed from the trail to the base of the couloir. There was more (and deeper) snow in the trees on the way down from Flattop mountain and it was softened by the daytime sun and temperature.


Starting pack weight: 28.0 lbs. End pack weight: 27.0 lbs.



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