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Keplinger's Couloir

Rocky Mountain National Park

The original first (recorded) ascent route of Longs Peak that very occasionally provides a summit descent.

Ski Touring Severe

5.9 km
3 m
1.3 km
1-2 hrs
Low Point
3 km
High Point
4.3 km
Keplinger's Couloir Map

This line is notoriously hard to time, so keep a good eye on it throughout the season. Hike or skin up the Sandbeach Lake Trail, taking a right once you hit Hunters Creek. Find your way through the trees up the drainage until you reach the base of the couloir. To summit Longs: climb to just below the Notch (the top of the couloir), taking a climber's left-hand turn on the easy ledges that take you to the Homestretch. Booting this upper section would be pretty difficult in ski boots if it were dry, but it's totally possible.



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.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between April and May


  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Couloir
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons