Southwest Couloir

Page Type
Wyoming, United States, North America
Route Type:
Scramble, a few very steep sections
Time Required:
A long day
Class 4

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Created On: Feb 1, 2005
Last Edited On: Feb 1, 2005

Southwest Couloir Overview

The first recorded climb of this couloir was actually a descent by Norman Clyde and Ernest Dawson in 1926. It was commonly used as the route by which to reach the Lower Saddle from Amphetheater Lake.

This route is the easiest climb to the summit of Disappointment from Garnet Canyon and is commonly used as the method of descent from the tops of the technical rock routes on the surrounding cliffs. It does however make a great "rest day" scramble while doing other longer routes in the area.


The approach is from Lupine Meadows and follows the standard approach for the Grand Teton into Garnet Canyon. The hike in passes up the turn for Sunrise and Amphetheater Lakes. Continue on through the platforms area into the meadows, the large camping area just east of the Middle Teton. At this point Disappointment is due north.

Continue up to the caves from which the route can finally be seen. The SW Couloir is the very large couloir leading NE to the summit plateau of Disappointment Peak.

Route Description

From near the caves make your way to the base of the couloir over talus and scree. A faint climbers trail is present and if found can make the approach more pleasent.

At the bottom of the couloir, the first significant challenge can be seen. A large chockstone blocks easy passage and must be surmounted to continue. Relatively easy scrambling overcomes this first chockstone and quickly reveals the second chockstone. This second chock is overhanging and cannot easily be overcome directly. Instead it is typically overcome by a short scramble up the wall to the right. Several cairns can be found once this wall is climbed that will lead you around to some more scrambling and finally out into the couloir above the chockstone.

Continue up the couloir until you reach the summit plateau, from which point you can make the finish as easy or hard as you'd like. I found some excellent rock for scrambling enroute to the true summit. It's only a short hike to the summit.

Essential Gear

Sturdy hiking boots, a rope isn't required but excellent scrambling skills are. If the couloir has ice or snow, then ice axe and crampons may be necessary.

Southwest Couloir

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