Type: Trad, Ice, 600 ft, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 3,936 total · 19/month
Shared By: ClimbandMine on Dec 10, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

12 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick


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.


Ice screws or rock gear or pickets, depending on the season.
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! May 17, 2002
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. Jul 30, 2003
Kurt Johnson
Estes Park, CO
Kurt Johnson   Estes Park, CO
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). Sep 16, 2007
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. Aug 23, 2008
Woodstock, CT
MattD1881   Woodstock, CT
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). Jun 14, 2014
Andy Hansen
Longmont, CO
Andy Hansen   Longmont, CO
600' route is more like it. Hardly 70 degrees. More accurately sustained 40-45 degree snow with perhaps a few spots of 50 degree terrain. Awesome route in a great setting. Jun 25, 2017