The Milky Way and Spirit Couloir

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Scramble, Snow, Rock
Time Required:
A long day

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Created On: Jun 19, 2005
Last Edited On: Jun 22, 2005


The trail head for this route is directly 2 or 3 miles west from the Angel of Shavano TH. It follows McCoy Creek up to the Snow routes. The trail head should be on the right hand of the road and offers ample parking.

McCoy Gulch is one of the most gorgeous routes that I have ever taken on a 14er. If you are into navigation and like getting off the beaten path I would highly recommend this route.

Route Description

Start bushwhacking through the woods, you will come to a rather large and graceful waterfall. The route should be rather gentle and easy as you go up hill on the west side overlooking the falls. Once you get to the top of the waterfall you must descend down into the canyon. The easiest way is right above where the water goes over the falls. You have to bypass a bush at the bottom but the difficulty should not be more then a easy class 5 or a 4. Once down by the creek continue up hill, you will have to navigate over the creek here and there by jumping from rock to rock. There are 2 more falls that must be bypassed. The second one is the larger more difficult one. It involves a short 20ft section of easy slab climbing (5.4), it is not too hard but a slip will leave you hurtin’ a whole lot. Keep going up, after bypassing the 3rd falls there will be a junction a short wile up. There was an avalanche that came down not too long ago, just look for the fresh debris. Take a right at the junction staying on the creek. As you reach tree line you will be in the Shavano ampetheater. There is a faint trail that can be visible on your right that goes up to the Shavano/ Espirit point saddle (Spirit Couloir), this is the snow climb that goes to Shavano. The others all go the Tabequache summit. The snow route that goes directly to the Tabequache summit (The Milky way couloir) and Spirit Couloir retain the snow the longest and are still climbable into late June.

Essential Gear

Ice axe and crampons are all that you need.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

The Milky Way and Spirit Couloir

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