Sunrise Couloir

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 39.59662°N / 105.6548°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering, Mixed, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 3
Sign the Climber's Log


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Whether you are hiking up, or leaving a car, Summit Lake, at 12,830 feet, is where you can scope out the whole north face. To the west is Sunrise Couloir, so named because it faces due east, rising from the edge of the lake. A large cornice usually forms at the top of the Couloir, which reaches at saddle between Evans and Spalding. Sunrise collects tons of snow, and can usually be climbed into mid to late summer.

Class 3
Steep snow
From Summit Lake Trailhead:
4.7 miles, 1,740 feet
With descent of Northeast Face:
3.2 miles, 1,580 feet
Sunrise Couloir rises 700 feet above the west end of Summit Lake to the Evans Spalding Saddle. The route is easily visible from Summit Lake, where you can preview conditions from the comfort of your car. This route will gratify those looking for a technical snow challenge with a minimal approach.
To avoid trampling tundra, walk around the north side of Summit Lake and walk west to the bottom of the couloir. Although the couloir itself is a straightforward climb, it is almost always capped by a pesky cornice, even in late summer. Climb the steepening couloir and find a way to overcome the cornice. In most years, you can execute a clever climb by sneaking between the rock and snow on the north (right) side of the cornice (Class 3). Mortals will appreciate crampons and an ice ax. From the Evans-Spalding Saddle, continue on the Summit Ridge and West Ridge Routes to Evans' summit.


Getting There

The Mount Evans Road and Scenic Byway (Colorado Highway 5)is  typically open the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the firstweekend in October, depending on weather conditions.  The road and accessto the top of Mount Evans  is open to  Summit Lake(weather permitting).

For the latest information about the road visit 


From I-70: Take exit 240 in Idaho Springs. Follow Highway103 south until it meets Echo Lake. Take Highway 5 tothe Summit Lake Trailhead, (just before mile marker 10 is Summit Lake Park)

From Bergen Park: Take Squaw Pass Road/Highway 103 west andtravel to Echo Lake. Take Highway 5 to Summit LakeTrailhead, , (just before mile marker 10 is Summit Lake Park)

Route Description

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This route follows the obvious couloir due west of summit lake in the middle of theEvans-Spalding saddle. Hike around the north end of the lake to the bottom of the gully and continue straight up to the top. To continue to the summit of Evans, go left from the top for 3/4 of a mile to the top, or you could take aright for a 1/4 mile or so to Spalding. This route has a large cornice every year which, when it melts out to vertical, is fun to play on if you bring two tools (and get to it before sun-hit), or can be avoided totally by going to the right. Max angle is 50 degrees. The route faces east, so get an early start.

Addition to this page and Sunrise couloir route i’m suggestion coupleof snow lines or variations locating left of couloir. Northeast face offers couple of alternative routes in case snow condition on Sunrise couloir are not right.

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Essential Gear

- Mountaineering axe

- Crampons

- Gaiters

- Shovel

- Sunscreen/hat

- Glacier Glasses

- Poles

- Regular winter clothing/gear

External Links

My Picasa Album:



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