Mt. Aetna
Grand Couloir
print
Difficulty:
 Difficult Class 2 
Snow Steepness: Moderate  
Trailhead:Boss Lake
Start:9,700 feet
Summit:13,745 feet
Total Gain:4,100 feet
RT Length:7.50
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:5/2016
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:26 reports
Cell Signal:1 report
Downloads:Log In to Download
Photo
Show More
? (WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. All 14er routes are more difficult and more dangerous in winter.

Trailhead

From the intersection of U.S. 285 and U.S.50, just north of Poncha Springs, take U.S. 50 west for approx. 12 miles. Just after the Monarch Lodge, turn right into the parking area for Monarch Snowmobile Tours. Pass their building to find the start of Forest Service Road 230 and a small parking area just beyond the start of 230.

Route

You may have seen it - here's a view of Aetna's Grand Couloir, from Monarch Pass - 1. This classic line should only be done as a snow climb and is skied by many people each Spring. Park in the small, Boss Lake trailhead parking area or across the highway at Monarch lodge and start your day by walking up Forest Service (FS) road 230 - 2 and 3. Pass the turn-off for Boss Lake after 1.5 miles ( 4) and continue another mile to reach a corner, where the view opens up to the southwest - 5. Walk around the corner and turn right to enter the large run-out below the Grand Couloir - 6. If you've previously only viewed the Grand Couloir from Monarch Pass, you might be surprised by how low-angle it looks from this vantage but don't be fooled, this foreshortened view cannot hide the fact that there's 2,900' of gain between you and the summit.

Continue northeast across the openness of the run-out and begin your ascent of the Grand - 7 and 8. Pass through a narrow-ish section between 11,600' and 11,800' to reach easier ground, near a slight turn in the couloir - 9. Once above 12,000', the remaining 1,800' to the summit becomes obvious - 10. Continue climbing north - 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. Between 13,100' and 13,400', the couloir steepens to approx. 38 degrees and is the crux of the route. Above 13,500', angle northeast ( 16 and 17) to gain the summit ridge and the top of Mt. Aetna - 18 and 19.

Notes

None
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19
Topo

The route Google Map can only be accessed by registered, 14ers.com users. If you don't have an account, you can register in the forum.

Log In

Caution: The information contained in this route description may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this route description provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the route description author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.



© 2021 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.