West Couloir

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
A long day
Rock Difficulty:
Class 3

Route Quality: 2 Votes

7277 Hits
0% Score
Log in
to vote
Page By:
West Couloir
Created On: Jul 8, 2006
Last Edited On: Jul 8, 2006


A great alternative to East Couloir with potential exposed traverse on the ridge to the summit, especially when East Couloir is already melted out or you are interested in traverse of the mountain.

Getting There

Standard approach from Twin Lakes (or other approaches that get you to the east side described on the main page)

Route Description

West Couloir is on the climber's right of Matternhorn Peak. There are two branches lower down, the right one is recommmended, especially if you are doing this as a snow climb. The left one eventually joins the right one but it appears that there is some rock crossing of unknown difficulty.

Climb the couloir to the top (40 degrees steep at most). At the top descend diagonally east over the northwest side for approx 200 feet (horizontally, altitude loss of only 10-20 feet). If you go up the next gully all the way to the ridge, you will encounter some lower 5th class climbing and end on the summit ridge with quite an exposure. Follow the ridge on climber's left (above the north face) to the summit, closer to the summit the difficulty drops down to 3rd class. This is what we did and we were glad we had a 30m rope.
Summit Ridge of Matterhorn

Alternatively, you can keep traversing the northwest face, looking for path of least resistance and follow one of the chutes to the summit (Northwest Face route page has relevant description).

Descend East couloir.

Essential Gear

This was a snow climb up the couloir in early July 2006. Ice axe and crampons required. For the ridge traverse we were glad for a short rope but used only slings over various horns as protection. The rock climbing piece is doable in mountaineering boots.

External Links

Add External Links text here.