Pacific North Couloir

Breckenridge

Salida

Steep North Couloir on Pacific Peak

Ski Touring Extreme

Distance
11 km
Ascent
974 m
Descent
974 m
Duration
5-6 hrs
Low Point
3.3 km
High Point
4.2 km
Gradient
51˚
VIEW ON MAP
Pacific North Couloir Map

Description

The "crown jewel" of the Tenmile Range. This line does not always go every year. In fact, it could be up to four years before it skis well, and actually be worth someone's time. It is highly recommended to scout this line several times before it is skied. Once you have decided it has filled in enough to ski it, it is also a good choice to hike straight up it. To access this line from the bottom you will start at the Spruce Creek Trailhead and be prepared for a long route. You will start on the Mt. Helen East Face Route except when the route goes uphill right, you will stay uphill left. From here, most of the route will be self-explanatory. It will go down and flatten out and then back up. You will go across an open snowfield, back into the woods, and as the trail gets less defined, it will start to go back to the uphill right. Here is where you may get lost and there will be some bushwhacking involved so follow the route as best you can. Once things start to open up, you will see a large headwall in front of you. After you finish climbing this headwall, you will favor the uphill right towards the largest lake of the Mohawk Lakes. Be aware of this Lake because it is possible to skin across and not even know you are on top of it. Now follow the route up two more pitches, passing by two more alpine lakes. The route that is mapped out takes you along the lakes and not across them. After you pass all of the lakes, you will be in the center of the gulch. Keep following the route to the base of the Pacific Couloir. Once you are at the bottom of the couloir, take some time to plan your route up it. You must have the proper gear to hike this couloir: ice axe, crampons, helmet and mountaineering experience. Rope could also be utilized here. Skin up the line as far as you can and then switch to your climbing gear. As the line starts to get tighter and turn back to the uphill left, pay attention to the snow conditions and coverage. Understand, that you may encounter situational conditions and they might cause you to turn back on this line. If conditions are ideal, continue to climb through the crux and summit the ridgeline. The true summit is a little further if you want it. Once you are ready to descend the line, roping up the first person is a suggested option, especially if snow conditions warrant it, and at least 200ft of rope to have them on rappel. Take your time and enjoy some of the steepest turns in the Tenmile Range. The exit is the same the hike in so keep your speed and watch out for the lakes coming out.

Difficulty

Extreme

Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

Extreme Exposure (E4)

4 out of 4

In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Features

  • Cliffs

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Crampons

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