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Emerald Lake / Tyndall Gorge

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Bear Lake and Bear's Den 
Emerald Lake & vicinity 
Flattop Mountain - S side 
Hallett Peak - mixed/ice 
Nymph Lake 

Emerald Lake / Tyndall Gorge  


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Location: 40.30996, -105.66821 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: ClimbandMine on Nov 30, 1999
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Hallett and Flattop, Tyndall Gorge.

Description 

Tyndall Gorge is comprised of the alpine rock routes on Hallett Peak, rock and alpine routes on the south face of Flattop Mountain (The Dragon's Tail), and Emerald Lake bouldering. Easy access from Bear Lake increases its popularity (let's play Dodge the Tourist!), not to mention some stellar routes. The area has something for everyone - easy alpine cruises, long trad routes, hard ice climbing, and boulders.

[Eds. for this section, it seems reasonable to split this into Bear Lake & vicinity, Nymph Lake & vicinity 0.5mi, Emerald Lake & vicinity 1.8mi, Flattop Mt 2.5mi, and Hallett Peak, 2.5mi. You're unlikely to need GPS in this area.]

Getting There 

From the Bear Lake Trailhead, follow signs to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. A 45 minute hike up the canyon on good trails gets you to the upper-most lake - Emerald Lake. The alpine routes and rock climbs on Flattop Mtn. are accesses by rock hopping around the north side of the lake. Hallet Peak is reached by traversing the slope above the south shore. Allow an hour to the base of Dragon's Tail Couloir (in the summer) and an hour and a half or more to the base of Hallett.

Climbing Season



Weather station 9.2 miles from here

35 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',9],['2 Stars',18],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',3],['5.7',2],['5.8',1],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Emerald Lake / Tyndall Gorge:
Tyndall Gully   Mod. Snow     Snow, Alpine, 800'   Hallett Peak - mixed/ice
Steep is Flat   M5-6     Trad, Mixed, Alpine, 4 pitches, 500'   Flattop Mountain - S side
The Slit   M5-6     Trad, Mixed, Alpine, 5 pitches, 900'   Hallett Peak - mixed/ice
Dragon's Tooth   M2 Mod. Snow     Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine, Grade V   Flattop Mountain - S side
Bullet   WI3+ M6+     Trad, Mixed, Ice, Alpine, 1 pitch, 130'   Hallett Peak - mixed/ice
Dragon's Tail Couloir   WI2 M2     Trad, Mixed, Ice, Alpine   Flattop Mountain - S side
Hallett Chimney, AI5 M5   M5     Trad, Mixed, Alpine, Grade IV   Hallett Peak - mixed/ice
The Squid   WI5-6 M6-7     Mixed, Ice, Alpine, 2 pitches, 140'   Emerald Lake & vicinity
Englishman's Route   M5-6     Mixed, Alpine, 6 pitches, 900'   Hallett Peak - mixed/ice
Great Dihedral to Upper Buttress   M4-5     Mixed, Alpine, 5 pitches, 1000'   Hallett Peak - mixed/ice
East Ridge   4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b Mod. Snow     Snow, Alpine   Hallett Peak - mixed/ice
Enter The Dragon (aka Old Route)   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b M4 Steep Snow     Mixed, Snow, Alpine, 6 pitches, 800'   Flattop Mountain - S side
Browse More Classics in Emerald Lake / Tyndall Gorge

Featured Route For Emerald Lake / Tyndall Gorge
Close to the top.

Dragon's Tail Couloir WI2 M2  CO : CO Ice & Mixed : ... : Flattop Mountain - S side
Dragon's Tail Couloir is the first of two couloirs on the south face of Flattop Mountain, above Emerald Lake. Snow up to 50 degrees is possible, as are a few rocky steps that may or may not be iced over. 1,500 feet of "fun" snow climbing interspersed with a couple short, steeper steps puts you near the summit of Flattop, with some incredible views of the park. Climb it in the early season, it may be threatened by a cornice. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Emerald Lake / Tyndall Gorge Slideshow Add Photo
taken 1/2002 looking up tyndall gorge
BETA PHOTO: taken 1/2002 looking up tyndall gorge

Comments on Emerald Lake / Tyndall Gorge Add Comment
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By Anonymous Coward
Apr 29, 2002
Attempted Hallet's Chimney on Sunday. Found similar conditions as people in Dragon's Tail. Very deep snow, no ice.
By Jeff St. Pierre
Feb 18, 2003
Sunday (2/16/03) we (my two friends, Sean, Sara, and myself) headed up Odessa trail, cut off to ptarmagin glacier. Climbed up the south edge of ptarmagin glacier, crossed Flattop and came down Tyndall Glacier. 5:30AM to 3:30PM car to car. High winds on summit. Had crampons, but did not need them. Wind-packed snow in places made kick-stepping difficult, but not impossible. Alpine axes a must in my book. Harnessed up, but never got the rope out. Fairly safe route, good alpine day trip.

A wind packed layer of snow on the surface of tyndall glacier broke free... about 100 meters across, about 8 - 10 inches deep. Sean was below it, having just finished his glissade. He was just on the edge and was able to brace himself as I shouted a warning. Had he been in the middle He probably would have been swept off his feet, but doubtful he would have been burried. However, High winds coming across the divide continue to move snow onto the lee slope. Another slad broke free when we attempted another glissade towards emerald lake. Plunge stepping seems to be the better technique.
By Greg Sievers
From: Estes Park, CO
Sep 29, 2003
Hallett, "Bullet" is awaiting a second ascent. WI-3, M-6 this route went up a couple winters ago by me and Brad Grohusky. It is easily found below and left of Hallet Chimney, in a small flow that exits the lower left buttress at the top of the snowfield. The ice peters out about 50' up. The following rock diheadral ends at a huge roof. exit to the left, thru the crux. Hike up onto the next ledge, and find a fixed pin on the next wall to make a 200' rappel to the ground. I will try to post the topo, too.
By Ben
Nov 3, 2003
My buddy Matt and I climbed a couloir next to the Tyndall Glacier last weekend. It was fantastic neve for about 800'+. We don't know if it has a name, though. Anyone have any idea about that or is it considered a branch of the glacier? High winds on top of the divide, 50-60 mph. The glacier has a lot of exposed grey ice. The only new snow was a light dusting that fell while we were there.