Peak:  Ice Mountain (13er)
 Route:  Refrigerator Couloir
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  supranihilest
 Date of Info:  07/13/2019
 Date Posted:  07/13/2019

Refrigerator is in great shape! There's a lot of dead fall across the trail below treeline but it's not terrible to skirt around. There's a little bit of avy debris too but most of the snow has melted. Once you get to Apostle Basin the trail ends and the route turns into a hellacious willow bashing bog thrash. Avoid the standing water and streams as best as you can; every stream/creek crossing on the entire route can be done without getting wet. Stay to the left and go up the tree covered slope instead of through the willows, it's mostly dry and you don't have to fight through. Above treeline there's still a significant amount of snow. I only used my snowshoes for one snowfield but if you get there early enough you can boot it on solid snow. Find your own way to the couloir, there are many.

The couloir itself was very solid in the morning, to the point where I could only get my crampons' front points in. It stayed this way most of the morning until the sun hit. I also used an axe and tool both in dagger position for security. On the way down the snow softened a lot and I was able to kick better steps and plunge step the bottom third. There's a small cornice at the top but it didn't seem very threatening. The ridge to the summit is extremely exposed and quite loose but dry and overall easy. Bring shoes you feel comfortable scrambling Class 3 and 4 in if you don't like scrambling in boots. There was tons of snow still on the southwest face so if you plan to traverse to West Apostle be extremely careful. North Apostle also has lots of snow and would be best to attack after down climbing the couloir instead of the standard route off Ice.

Photo 1: Three Apostles from afar.
Photos 2-5: in the couloir. Lots of snow coverage.
Photo 6: the crux headwall at the top of the couloir. This was pretty scary in boots. Easily 4th Class with a bad fall onto rocks and/or down the couloir or southwest face. There's a bypass to climber's right but it's crazy exposed to the south and a slip sends you flying down the southwest face. I found it easiest to go up the headwall and down the bypass but your mileage may vary.
Photo 7: the rest of the scramble from atop the headwall.

Photos (click for slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice job
07/13/2019 17:16
I was looking at it yesterday from La PlataĆ¢‚¬„¢s SW slopes route.

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