Peak:  Mt. Aetna (13er)
 Route:  SW Ridge/Grand Couloir
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  KyleS
 Date of Info:  04/11/2014
 Date Posted:  04/12/2014

FR230 has snow coverage all the way from the trailhead, but it was well frozen when we left the car at 5am and we ended up carrying our snowshoes all the way to the base of the couloir where we stashed them.

We started up the couloir at 7:30am on supportive snow and gained the southwest ridge at treeline. There's a swath of wind-packed snow on the ridge between the cornice and rocks that was perfect for crampons, but one of us scrambled up the loose class 2+ rocks instead with no problems. The 30 mph winds made things interesting with snowboard sails on our backs, but it also kept the snow from warming up too much and we didn't see any warning signs of wet slide danger the whole day. We made it to the summit at 11am.

On the descent, the top 500 vertical feet of the couloir was hard-packed by the wind, but doable. Below that was soft corn that made for great turns, especially on skiers right. The road had turned to mashed potatoes, but with judicious use of poles, we were able to snowboard pretty much the entire way back to the car. We made it from summit to car in 45 minutes.

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