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The Duchess

A steep and complex couloir with a wicked exposure.

Ski Touring Extreme

584 m
0 m
386 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
1.6 km
The Duchess Map

To lookers right of Hillman’s Highway, you’ll see a large buttress with a sketchy chute down the middle, this beast of a Line is known as The Duchess. The chute splits the cliff face in half, meandering down through chokes, cliffs, shrubbery and other obstructions. The best way to access Duchess is to ascend Hillman’s Highway, and hike over to the top is The Duchess. It’s very wide and easy to find at the top. You can also ascend from the bottom, but this is very difficult to do. The Duchess greets its visitors with a terrifying hanging snowfield. You can see the first hundred feet, but after that the terrain rolls and appears to drop all the way to Hojo’s. The upper snowfield is wide open and very rewarding due to its low popularity. Some great turns can be had here, next comes the real challenge. The chute steepens to 50 degrees and the first crux comes shortly after. This crux comes in the from of a tight, rocky choke. Sometimes this is a mandatory air, sometimes you can sidestep around it. If you high traverse it to skiers right you can skirt this section. After this the next crux is apparent. The chute is split in half by a huge cliff, you can go left or right around it. Both options are no more than 6-10 feet wide. To skiers left it is tight and rocky and occasionally has a small mandatory air. To skiers right it is narrow but clean all the way through. This area might be scraped off if other skiers have been through here. After this the 2 chokes rejoin into a fairly wide couloir. This section will feel like a relief after the top half. The pitch mellows a bit for the next few hundred feet and holds good snow. Eventually you’ll hit the Lower Snowfields, a wide open face to lookers right of Hillman’s. This differs drastically from the gully run outs below the other chutes. The Duchess is one of the sketchiest, most exposed lines in Tuckerman Ravine, and should only be skied by experts. If conditions are icy, it’s best to avoid this line altogether.



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

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between February and April


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

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Guidebooks in this area