Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by pctjeff23 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:21 am

Although certainly steep, it looks doable to go up. Going down just brings no appeal based on these photos.
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Jorts
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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by Jorts » Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:22 pm

Brian C wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:45 pm
I did the NW Couloir for my first route on the Peak as well when it was in dry conditions. Sounded like a great idea until we were in it. The middle was wet/icy so we were forced onto harder terrain on the right side. It was scary and made worse by copious amounts of rock fall coming down from a herd of sheep above us. I went back and did the North Buttress and felt that although it was technically harder, it was an overall safer route (no rockfall). Here are two photos from when we did it...

Image

Image
Remember roughly what date you did it?
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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by Wentzl » Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:03 pm

Hey Jorts, why are you dusting off this ancient thread? Got a question about the route?

I have done that route 4 times and I would bet the photos, plus the description of ice, make it likely that photo was taken in late September. I once descended it early summer when the ice was melting out was able to "rock hop" past the icy bits and twice hit it ice free and once ascended and found ice mid way up. I dodged to the left and found pretty easy passage. To the right looked much harder.
crestone ice.jpg
NW Couloir 9-27-19
crestone ice.jpg (127.59 KiB) Viewed 713 times
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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by pfiore1 » Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:06 am

Brian C wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:45 pm
I did the NW Couloir for my first route on the Peak as well when it was in dry conditions. Sounded like a great idea until we were in it. The middle was wet/icy so we were forced onto harder terrain on the right side. It was scary and made worse by copious amounts of rock fall coming down from a herd of sheep above us. I went back and did the North Buttress and felt that although it was technically harder, it was an overall safer route (no rockfall). Here are two photos from when we did it...
Had a technical rescue of four people who got cliffed out in icy/snowy conditions in a similar area you are kind of describing. They went up the NW Couloir in October, encountered more ice and snow than expected near the top then began to traverse/skirt up to the climber's right towards the summit. All four got cliffed out in sketchy and very slick conditions around 13,800' - 13,900' and had to be rescued. Even I and another technical rescuer were sketched out trying to reach them. (And no, it wasn't Brian C, it was was a few years after his post here). I guess the point of my response to this post is that the NW Couloir has a limited window of good, quality, "safe" conditions (i.e. ideally solid snow). It is doable, but most of the year especially mid/late fall it can be very hazardous with thin ice and snow surrounded by loose rock. By the way, all four rescuees were pretty cool guys and very grateful and appreciative of the rescue.
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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by dpage » Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:57 am

Jorts wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:22 pm

Remember roughly what date you did it?
http://www.brianinthewild.com/crestone-nw-couloir.html
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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by Jorts » Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:12 am

Thanks. I'm going to be linking Crestone from bears playground in the first half of July. Was trying to determine if I should focus on the NW couloir or the north buttress. I'll have an axe and crampons with me. If it's still a snow route I'd be comfortable, if it's iced over I'd rather just avoid it. I know the other side is easy snow that time of the year.
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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by Wentzl » Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:28 am

The start of the NW Couloir is not hard to find and not technically difficult. If you find conditions you don't like, the loss of time to descend and restart on the N Buttress route would be like a 30 - 45 minute detour. I also did a hybrid once where I wandered across the wall below the N Buttress and gained the Buttress route just 100' or so to the north side of NE Crestone. This was stout and sustained class 4 and I got onto some of that terrain (exit couloir to climbers LEFT) when I encountered ice in the Couloir on my September 2019 trip. The most difficult part was getting down off NE Crestone, where I would rather have had a short rope.
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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by ltlFish99 » Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:31 pm

I read in roach's book he mentioned that a least 1 fatal incident occurred in that area.
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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by Jorts » Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:55 am

ltlFish99 wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:31 pm
I read in roach's book he mentioned that a least 1 fatal incident occurred in that area.
I'm assuming it was the one on the North Buttress a little while back:

http://www.100summits.com/articles/colo ... 2012#Chris
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Re: Crestone Peak - Northwest Couloir

Post by Eli Watson » Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:50 am

The N Buttress of Crestone is a fantastic route in its own right; it's a scrambler's delight. Unless you specifically prefer to opt for a snow route, I'd suggest the Buttress. The climb of "NE Crestone" direct is 5.easy with some significant exposure, and the downclimb is class 4. You can circumnavigate the direct climb by staying low to the right and sneak up the class 4 backside.
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