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 ADVANCED
Flattop Mountain - N side
Select Route:
East Couloir T 
Flattop Gully 
Hourglass, The T 
Ptarmigan Glacier 
West Couloir T 

The Hourglass 

WI3

   
Type:  Trad, Ice, Grade II
Consensus: WI3 [details]
FA: unknown
Season: early winter or mid summe
Page Views: 2,481
Submitted By: ClimbandMine on Dec 10, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
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BETA PHOTO

Description 

Classic AI3+/4 alpine ice route at the head of Odessa Gorge, northwest of Flattop Mountain - the center of the three couloirs. 900 feet of perfect gray alpine ice steepening from 50 to 70 degrees if you climb it in mid-summer. The last 40 feet can be hairy where the cornice breaks off and leaves vertical snow. It's doable in early winter before the cornice forms, too.


Protection 

Ice screws or rock gear or pickets, depending on the season.



Photos of The Hourglass Slideshow Add Photo
Pitch 3 on The Hourglass - 6/13/2014.
Pitch 3 on The Hourglass - 6/13/2014.
The Hourglass!
BETA PHOTO: The Hourglass!
The view from the top of The Hourglass, 7-21-2007.
The view from the top of The Hourglass, 7-21-2007.
The Hourglass on August 12, 2006. Except for very top, snow or ice all the way up, with lots of loose rock/mud around anchor points and top-out.
BETA PHOTO: The Hourglass on August 12, 2006. Except for very ...
The second of 2 rock bands encountered on the Hourglass - 6/13/2014.
The second of 2 rock bands encountered on the Hour...
Looking up The Hourglass from near the bottom, 7-21-2007.
Looking up The Hourglass from near the bottom, 7-2...
Self portrait from near the top of The Hourglass, 7-21-2007.
Self portrait from near the top of The Hourglass, ...
Pitch 2 of The Hourglass - 6/13/2014.
Pitch 2 of The Hourglass - 6/13/2014.
The top of The Hourglass, 7-21-2007.
The top of The Hourglass, 7-21-2007.
The first of 2 rock bands encountered on the Hourglass - 6/13/2014.
The first of 2 rock bands encountered on the Hourg...
Looking down The Hourglass from the top, 7-21-2007.
Looking down The Hourglass from the top, 7-21-2007...
Topping out on The Hourglass, 6/13/2014.
Topping out on The Hourglass, 6/13/2014.
Comments on The Hourglass Add Comment
Show which comments
By Kevin Craig
May 17, 2002

Climbed the Hourglass on 5/11. Trail from Bear Lake was mostly snow but very well-packed (no snowshoes). Basin below Ptarmigan glacier is snow-filed. Hourglass has a cornice on the right and steep headwall on the left. Excellent snow for step-kicking and minimal/no avy danger at least on Sat. We traversed out left just below the rock band at the top to 50-60 degree snow left of the rib, but still very stable and excellent for steps. The snow version of the route is definitely "in." Enjoy and be safe!

By Richard Rossiter
Jul 30, 2003

This is a wonderful alpine route, while not being too committing. It climbs 1000 feet and tops out on the Continental Divide. I soloed this gully in late September, 1979. I do not know if it had been climbed previously, but it was great fun. By late September the seasonal snow is usually melted and nearly the entiire ascent covers hard, grey gully ice. This is a good time of year for the climb. The weather is usually good too. I named it The Hourglass for its shape. It is the middle of three gullies just south of the Ptarmigan Glacier.

By Kurt Johnson
From: Estes Park, CO
Sep 16, 2007

I climbed The Hourglass on a whim after climbing Tyndall Gully on 7-21-2007. After summiting Hallett, I decided to downclimb Ptarmigan Glacier and head back on the Fern/Odessa trail. A little ways below the glacier I looked up and saw this enticing couloir overhead. The day that I climbed it, the snow was soft and I would've classified it as a steep snow climb (moderate at the bottom, steep at the top). I topped out and headed down the Flattop trail instead. I thought about downclimbing the East Couloir, but it looked a lot steeper from above and to the west (I ended up climbing it a week and a half later and found out it was really mellow).

By Brendan Sheehan
Aug 23, 2008

Climbed this on 8/23/08. Found hard snow top to bottom with no real ice. Max angle about 50 degrees, we avoided a small blunted cornice. Did not find this one to be longer or steeper than east couloir.

By MattD1881
Jun 14, 2014
rating: AI3

Climbed on 6/13/14 with CMS guide Eric Whewell while on vacation; conditions were excellent. It was my first time ever climbing at altitude being a New Englander. The snow was nice and hard and well consolidated for step-kicking. We went over 2 rock bands with some thin ice and some loose rock; 1 was just after the middle of the climb, and 1 was just before the top; nothing difficult and made for a fun change-up to grinding out the snow steps. No cornice visible and minimal avalanche danger. Still a lot of snow on the approach and descent trails, but mostly well consolidated (no post-holing).