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Routes in North Peak

North Face North Couloir (right couloir) AI2 Steep Snow
Northwest Ridge T Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
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Type: Ice, Snow, Alpine, 800 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: unknown
Page Views: 6,670 total · 64/month
Shared By: J. Albers on Dec 26, 2009
Admins: Chris Owen, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Description

Amazing alpine ice route with a relatively short approach. Generally steep snow and 50-55 degree ice for 6 continuous pitches. Generally stay on the right side of the couloir (though both sides can be climbed) because the slope of the chute funnels rock and ice to the left side. I have seen this climb in various conditions from steep neve mixed with ice to bullet-proof steep blue ice from top to bottom. I have never seen it as a snow couloir as is shown in S.P. Parker's guidebook.

The North Couloir is the farthest right couloir on the north face. It should be obvious because it is the largest chute. When you arrive at the top of the ice at the notch, either ascend low 5th class rock to the summit (climbers right from the notch) or descend south and down to Conness Lake.

Location

The route is on the north face of North Peak.

Approach: Start hiking from the Saddlebag Lake trailhead by dropping down below the dam and crossing the stream. Next hike along the west bank of Saddlebag Lake. Eventually pass Greenstone Lake on the right (north) side of the lake and continue up through a shallow slot valley past Wasco Lake. At this point you have been following a major trail. Leave the trial (to the left) and hike around the east and north shore of Cascade Lake and look for a climbers trail that heads up the rocky/grassy hillside from the north side of Cascade Lake. Once you reach the shelf and talus field that is almost even in elevation to the base of the North Peak snowfield, turn 180 degrees left and hike directly south to the base of the snowfield for the north face of North Peak. Climb the obvious snowfield to the base of the couloir.

Protection

Ice screws for protection and belays in late summer and fall. In early season you may want a small rock rack and/or a couple pickets, though I am not sure about this because I have not done it when it was snow.

Photos

J. Albers
Colorado
 
J. Albers   Colorado
 
youtube.com/watch?v=l1xarXs…

This is a video of an unknown climber ascending the north face of North Peak. We were climbing in a threesome and the third took the footage of another party. If this is you or someone you know and they want a copy of this video, just let me know.

I have some other photos of the route and I will try and post them when I get a chance to scan them in. Otherwise, Summit Post has some useful photos. Dec 26, 2009
Simon Bentley
Joshua Tree , California
Simon Bentley   Joshua Tree , California
What was the date of this ascent ? I see you posted it the day after Christmas 2009 . Just curious to know whether you were up there after highway 120 closed for the winter . Jan 28, 2010
J. Albers
Colorado
 
J. Albers   Colorado
 
I have only done this route during various times in August. During winter I would think this thing is all snow. As far as going up to the Meadows in winter though, I would love to do that someday....it has got to be amazing. Jan 29, 2010
jayd  
on august 27, 2010 my partner and I bailed off of this route- there's 4 BD ice screws, 4 wiregates, 2 lockers, and 2 slings on the right side of the Right Couloir. If you grab the booty, please email me at foursixoffsuit@gmail.com

I'll paypal a reward in return for the shipped gear Aug 30, 2010
J. Albers
Colorado
 
J. Albers   Colorado
 
Sorry to hear that you had to bail. Just out of curiosity, if the ice was good enough to set screws, why didn't you just set v-threads to get down?
Also, what condition was the route in? ....just trying to get an idea of what things are looking like. Aug 30, 2010
rhyang
San Jose, CA
  AI2 Steep Snow
rhyang   San Jose, CA
  AI2 Steep Snow
The scramble to the summit can be as easy as third class if you go a bit left on obvious ledges. You will pop out onto the SW face a bit below the true summit -- from there it's class 2 to the top. Sep 26, 2010
When I followed this route in late 2005, the top 50 feet or so was warmed by the sun into a slush, and would not hold screws for the end of the ice climbing. The scramble to the summit was well worth it. Just be careful about pulling blocks loose. Dec 1, 2011
Richard Shore
  AI2 Steep Snow
Richard Shore  
  AI2 Steep Snow
Climb this and then do the North Ridge on Mt Conness for an awesome day in the backcountry. The descent from North Peak drops you right at the start of the North Ridge on Conness. Jul 10, 2012
stuart.h
Redwood City
  AI3 Steep Snow
stuart.h   Redwood City
  AI3 Steep Snow
Posted a trip report of my 2013 climb of this so called easy alpine route TR: North Peak Right gully - ice climb 2013 sept

Depends... Aug 19, 2014
brucelacroix
Portland, OR.
brucelacroix   Portland, OR.
Attempted to climb this route on 7-15-17. I could not pass the bergschrund on either side. I have posted a couple photos to show its size. Opted to do the northwest ridge route, a pretty good route. Jul 16, 2017
Clark Hollenberg
Claremont, CA
 
Clark Hollenberg   Claremont, CA
 
Glad to see that there is an update on the route conditions. I soloed this on July 7th and had a hard time bypassing the bergschrund as well. I ended up climbing the rock on the left side of the schrund, which was chossy and felt about 5.8 in mountain boots. A fall would be very bad as you would fall at least 20ft down between the snow and the rock wall. If you brought a rope, it might be possible to protect it.

Bypassing the schrund was definitely the only scary section of the climb, the couloir itself was soft snow that felt a little silly to climb (thinking of it as AI3). I would feel ridiculous protecting the couloir right now. Probably will be fun in a month or so if it hardens up more. Jul 17, 2017
Conditions: Was there last weekend and the bergschrund is even larger than 30ft, maybe 40-45ft. Couloirs are still soft and snowy. If you want pro, bring pickets, deadman and rock gear. Conditions didn't seem great for ice screws to hold.

Approach: From saddlebag lake campground, head down to the dam and cross. Follow the rock trail along the lake. At the end of the lake continue on the trail towards Greenstone lake. Go on its left side and continue towards the ridge. Access the ridge by following a light trail on the right of the stream. Once the ridge is gained, work your way up on the ridge to the right of Conness lakes. Sep 12, 2017
old5ten
Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
  AI1-2
old5ten   Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
  AI1-2
10/7/17 conditions report - bergschrund is a jumbled maze of crevasses, caves, bridges, most of it neve with a 8-10" layer of fluff on top. it's not hard if you pick the easiest way, but it does require some route finding and good judgement. most of the couloir is solid neve, with a section of brittle ice on the 3rd/4th pitch. much of the neve and ice has a layer of fluff on top of it. we brought 10 med/long screws and probably took 2-3 too many. Oct 11, 2017
sleparc Leparc
  AI2 Steep Snow
sleparc Leparc  
  AI2 Steep Snow
10/28/17 conditions: Bergshrund is no longer an issue: the impressive crevasse and snow/ice sculptures below the berg can be easily avoided. The berg itself can be climbed from its right side. The lower part of the couloir is all nevé. There are patches of ice in the middle section. Rotten ice can be found in places but good ice can be found underneath after cleaning it. The top section is mostly just nevé/snow. We had tonnes of fun on this route. Get it while you can: snow is in the forecast for next weekend so they might close Tioga road.


View of the route. Climbers for scale :P


Impressive cave formations at the base of the climb.


The ice section in the middle of the route (pitch #3 for us) Oct 30, 2017
Evan Borders
San Francisco, CA
Evan Borders   San Francisco, CA
Has anyone ever done this in winter or even April? Would love to talk to you! Mar 31, 2018

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