Type: Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine, Grade V
FA: unknown by me
Page Views: 3,750 total · 17/month
Shared By: Neal Braswell on Apr 30, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

10 Opinions

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Hike the trail to Emerald Lake and continue along the right side (careful of water running underneath snow/ice). The route is to the left of Dragon's Tail. Both are pretty much the same type of climb. Dragon's Tooth had a pretty nice snow cornice we chopped through. Perfect route for beginners to see mixed climbing and to adjust to using crampons/mountaineering axes and to practice anchors with little to no risk of a serious fall.


We used picket and mountaineering axes and used small-medium tricams on a short, 3 move, rock section.

Toprope Protection

This is a good beginner route to test skills and practice snow anchors.


Scott Bower
Fort Collins, CO
Scott Bower   Fort Collins, CO
Climbed on 5/24/03. The snow was consolidated, but there wasn't a hard freeze the night before. A recent, large slide had destroyed some of the trees directly above Emeral Lake. Higher in the couloir, conditions were better for climbing. A dead, mummified elk blocks the easiest route through the first rock step. We climbed over the step at the far left, which made for an exciting move or two with crampons. Take the right branch right above the rock step for a more challenging finish including a little more rock and a very steep cornice with a little ice on it, but beware of all of the loose rock. May 25, 2003
Andy Leach
Denver, CO
Andy Leach   Denver, CO
I climbed it April 7, 2007. It was pretty much continuous snow with the crux at the rock step with the elk carcass. We passed through it on the left by thrashing through some very steep snow. I shot a video of our ascent: leachfam.com/securearea/1mo… Apr 9, 2007
Luke Koppa
Fort Collins, CO
Luke Koppa   Fort Collins, CO
Climbed 3/5/16. Snow was good, nice and firm, so no deep postholing. There was a lot of sugary blown snow beneath the crux which made getting above the chockstone interesting (fun, high step move). We took the left side, with the right side being slightly overhung. The rest of the route was in similar condition, with options to take a more mixed option instead of snow. We descended down Dragon's Tail around 10, I think, which had similar dense snow that was softening up a bit from the snow (would've made a great ski descent). Car-to-car took about 7 hours, but we were definitely taking our time. Would recommend leaving early (we left the car around 4:30) for snow conditions, an amazing sunrise, and avoiding the massive tourist influx that occurs later. Awesome climb with an easier approach compared to many other routes in the park. Mar 6, 2016
Denver, CO
RangerJ   Denver, CO
This is a fun alternative to Dragon's Tail, but your grading seems to be a little exaggerated. There is no way that this is a Grade V route. This route can be done in a few hours car to car, and commitment grades do not include the approach.

National Climbing Classification System (USA):

NCCS grades, often called "commitment grades," indicate the time investment in a route for an "average" climbing team.

I and II: half a day or less for the technical (5th class) portion of the route.
III: most of a day of roped climbing.
IV: a full day of technical climbing.
V: typically requires an overnight on the route, or done fast and free in a day.
VI: two or more days of hard climbing.
VII: remote walls climbed in alpine style. May 22, 2016