Grand Couloir

Fiordland National Park

The Remarkables

A fantastic couloir, well away from the crowds

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
3.1 km
Ascent
442 m
Descent
606 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.7 km
High Point
2.3 km
Gradient
53˚
Grand Couloir Map

This is the classic couloir of The Remarkables, yet isn’t visited too often. As such it doesn't often become tracked out and you generally won't have folk climbing/skiing above you.

Description

We’ve detailed the ascent as climbing up the couloir itself, however it is also possible to climb along the ridgeline to access the summit of Double Cone – from here it is possible to either ski or down climb down into the Grand Couloir, depending on conditions.

Take one of the Alta Chutes to get yourself down into the western end of Lake Alta. From here, skin up as far as the pitch and snow conditions allow, before taking your skis off and bootpacking up the rest of the couloir.

The only technicality of the couloir consists of a short steep section, which can become an icy step in lean snow conditions – ice axe and crampons are highly recommended for this ascent.

From the top of the couloir, you’ll get a stunning view over the south face of Double Cone and further afield – a view very few get to see, so take it all in.

The couloir skiing itself is brilliant and in a beautiful position looking over the entire resort of The Remarkables. A short, steep upper section is the only difficulties faced, where you’ll need to ski that same steep and narrow section that was initially climbed.

Following the couloir, you’ll be out on the apron slopes leading down to Lake Alta. Follow the lake round onto its northern to traverse/skate back to the resort, for possibly another lap?!

Difficulty

Severe

Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September

Features

  • Couloir

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area