Type: Ice, Snow, Alpine, 600 ft, Grade II
FA: Unknown.
Page Views: 9,003 total · 101/month
Shared By: Peter Lenz on Sep 12, 2011
Admins: Lauren Heerschap, Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

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Gannet Peak S.E. Couloir

This route is an excellent alternative to the Gooseneck Gully route, particularly if the Gooseneck bergschrund's snow bridge has melted out. It may be a bit faster than the Gooseneck route, and obviates the need to ascend chossy rock on the lower Gooseneck ridge. The route is not described in Joe Kelsey's guidebook, but the couloir is easily seen from Bonney Pass.
 Although I encountered no problems at all on my ascent, there is clearly potential for major rockfall on this route. An early start, climbing quickly up the couloir, cold temperatures, and overcast days my reduce, but not completely eliminate this issue. 
The route requires a long approach from Elkhart Park or Trail Ranch. Most parties will take 2 days each way for the approach, i.e. 5 days round trip. (Gannet has now been climbed in 12 hours car-to car!) From Titcomb Basin the elevation gain for the climb and the return trip is 5800 feet. This includes the 1400 foot re-ascent to Bonney Pass on the return to Titcomb.
The approach hike is long, but beautiful.The climb involves travel over a relatively safe potion of the Dinwoody Glacier. Unlike the Gooseneck route, this one does require that you negotiate an area of densely packed crevasses. Some of them are deep. The couloir is about 45 degrees in steepness, and gains 600-800 feet of altitude, from the Dinwoody Glacier's N.W. arm to the summit ridge of Gannett. An uncontrolled fall down the couloir would probably be fatal, and there is some potential for rockfall danger.
I descended the S.E. Couloir, and retraced my steps through the crevasses. If you (unlike me) are smart enough to bring a rope, you can descend the Gooseneck gully, and rappel over the bergschrund, instead of descending the S.E. Couloir.
The difficulty of this route will depend greatly on snow conditions. I encountered a surface of corn snow, bonded nicely to an icy/frozen layer underneath, which took my crampons well.

Update 7/6/12: This route was skied in Spring 2012. You can find a nice write-up with some excellent photos at 14'ers.com. Well done, folks! PL


It is easily seen from Bonney Pass, and is the obvious snow couloir on the East aspect of Gannett. Approach from Bonney Pass as for Gooseneck route, but instead of crossing to the Gooseneck Glacier, you will ascend the N.W. arm of the Dinwoody Glacier. Ascend the couloir, then the summit ridge. Descend the way you came, or down the Gooseneck Gully.


I brought two short ice tools, and crampons. A rope would make the glacier travel safer, and would allow for rappels on the descent.
No need for rock gear, unless you wish to belay from the walls of the couloir. This would slow your progress and expose you to more rockfall danger.
Looks great, nice job climbing an undescribed line! Oct 9, 2011
Roger Harris
Boulder, CO
Roger Harris   Boulder, CO
Climbed this route September 1 of this year and descended the Gooseneck Route via one rappel over the bergschrund. Couloir was in great shape and crevasses on the Dinwoody Glacier heading up to Glacier Pass were modest and easily passed without any need for roping up. Thanks for writing this route up ... nice job! I have a few pictures posted in a MP album at mountainproject.com/v/10728… and more at panoramio.com/user/2362370 Cheers, Roger Oct 10, 2011
Andrew Smith
Minneapolis, CO
  3rd AI2 Steep Snow
Andrew Smith   Minneapolis, CO
  3rd AI2 Steep Snow
Did this route end of June this year and descended via Gooseneck. Titcomb Basin had a good amount of snow on it still which made the summit day longer. Bergschrund was completely covered on the Gooseneck route which made plunge-stepping and glissading down a breeze. Watch for fresh snow near the top of the SE Couloir as conditions can be hazardous. Extremely fun route, I would suggest this over the standard route if time/fitness/weather/competence call for it. Didn't grab the summit due to very poor weather unfortunately. Oct 13, 2013
Brett Verhoef
Northern Utah
Brett Verhoef   Northern Utah
We completed this route July 26, 2013. More snow would have been nice as crevasses were wide open and almost impassable once we left the main Dinwoody Glacier. We reached the southeast couloir around 10 AM and found the snow to be already slushy but still climbable. We unroped for the couloir but ice axes were a must. As we started to ascend, a large boulder went screaming down the right side of the couloir. Needless to say, we stayed left for the rest of the steep climb. Getting to the couloir earlier would have helped with snow conditions and rockfall. We got an early start from Bonney Camp but our folly was not traveling faster (too much picture taking and gawking). After summitting Gannett we decided that descending the southeast couloir was not safe and instead rappelled off of the Gooseneck route around the open bergschrund. Although the southeast couloir route requires a bit more know-how it seems like the more direct and faster route to Gannett. Oct 27, 2013
I am interested in climbing Gannett and I am curios to the bergschrund. Can I bypass it or do I have to climb it. I have done several other mountains in the Tetons and in Idaho and I want to do garnet but have not climbed snow/ ice like that. What gear might I need and do I need 60 meter rope or something shorter? Thanks! Jul 13, 2015
Peter Lenz
Salt Lake City
  3rd AI1-2 Steep Snow
Peter Lenz   Salt Lake City
  3rd AI1-2 Steep Snow
Response to Jobot 88''s question:
You will need to negotiate the bergschrund or climb around it on some rock ( which LOOKS about 5.7 to me) if you climb the Gooseneck route. I have not summited via this route, but was stymied by the bergschrund in 2010.
When I climbed the SE couloir, there was no bergschrund to deal with, but there were crevasses on the glacier just like in Bret's great photo. The couloir itself is moderately steep, and you could die if you fell down it. If you are a seasoned snow/ice climber this will be an easy ascent, but it is not a good place to learn snow climbing. Regarding gear: most people will want crampons and at least one ice axe. I brought two 50 cm axes and steel crampons. Regarding the rope, I would take a light glacier rope, probably 8.8 mm or less. Since I have not descended the Gooseneck Route I do not know what length of rappel would get you past the 'schrund. Bret? Jul 14, 2015
Brett Verhoef
Northern Utah
Brett Verhoef   Northern Utah
The rappels down the Gooseneck Pinnacle were two 20+ m rappels. We had one 60 m rope and had no problem. The first rappel is from the top of the pinnacle to the obvious ledge halfway down. Bring webbing & bail biners because the existing anchors get weathered, if they are there at all. Jun 8, 2016
DavisMeschke Guillotine
Armchair Asshole
DavisMeschke Guillotine   Armchair Asshole
I've seen a couple of comments regarding large blocks/boulders coming down the couloir.. This is true, and its a shooting gallery in the right conditions. You should plan on getting up the couloir EARLY. The objective hazards on this route are quite easily managed. Dec 3, 2016
Thomas Keefe
Ankeny, IA
Thomas Keefe   Ankeny, IA
We took a variation of this route on 7/19/17 where we took climber's right branch of snow about 1/3 - 1/2 way up the couloir (new route?). Decision seemed obvious since most of the rock fall seemed to originate from the left (main) arm of the couloir. Did a running belay placing pickets (mostly t-slots) on the way up. Snow was in great shape and we got a good early start and moved quickly. Got a lot steeper as we got closer to the the top (maybe 50-55 degrees which was a bit more than we had been expecting).

We then climbed about 1 1/3 pitch (2 full 40m rope lengths) of 5.4ish rock and then an easy traverse and came out right at the top of the Gooseneck Couloir at the pinnacle. Should have had some rock pro, but ended up not needing it as there were plenty of good flakes and horns to throw slings around (quad was a lifesaver). Not sure if anyone has done this variation, but with the added rock climbing it was a fun alpine climb!

Came down via the Gooseneck (standard) route.

Got a video:

Unfortunately missing some of the more interesting part of the climb since my battery died and I was unable to change it for a good while.

There was a good deal more snow in the area this year, not sure how easy the route we took would be in drier years... Aug 23, 2017
Kyle McCrohan
Brier, WA
  3rd AI1 Mod. Snow
Kyle McCrohan   Brier, WA
  3rd AI1 Mod. Snow
MP wouldn't let me do it, but I rate this as 2nd class, AI0 (no ice), and Mod. Snow (45 degrees) as of early June 2018. We ascended this route to the summit and skied down it. In early June, it was definitely just a moderate snow route, no crevasses or ice showing. It was bitterly cold our summit day so the snow never softened, but there was a boot pack up the couloir (seems like most everyone does this route early season as it is much more direct). I ascended it with no crampons (but would've been needed if no boot pack), two poles in one hand, two skis over the shoulder, and two more skis on my pack. So it wasn't very hard (technically). Skiing down it was icy chatter, but it is pretty wide, so not too bad. If the snow had softened it would've been a great easy couloir run. Highly recommend this route in June or earlier. Oct 5, 2018
Peter Lenz
Salt Lake City
  3rd AI1-2 Steep Snow
Peter Lenz   Salt Lake City
  3rd AI1-2 Steep Snow
Response to Kyle McCrohan:
The nature of ice and snow climbs is that seasonal changes are the norm. (My guess is that you know this, already, and I am writing for the benefit of less experienced climbers.) A late Spring or early Summer snowpack will virtually always differ substantially from one in September. A moderate to advanced ski run in June can easily be a moderate alpine ice climb in September.
My rating of this climb reflects the condition in which I found it. The glacier below the couloir had extensive regions of bare ice, and there were numerous open crevasses. (There are photos from me and from others on MP which show this.) When I climbed it, the top surface of the couloir was snow, and underneath that was a layer of ice. I cannot imagine climbing it with ski poles and without crampons in those conditions.
My rating of this climb also reflects the fact that many relatively inexperienced climbers attempt Gannett every year, and I want them to understand that this is potentially hazardous one, especially with regard to rockfall potential.
If other climbers feel I have exaggerated the difficulty of the route, let me know, and I will consider changing it to AI 1-2.
Congratulations on your ski descent!
Pete Oct 6, 2018
Kyle McCrohan
Brier, WA
  3rd AI1 Mod. Snow
Kyle McCrohan   Brier, WA
  3rd AI1 Mod. Snow
Response to Peter Lenz:
I totally understand and agree with what you're saying. The current rating (AI1-2) is appropriate. I just wanted people to know what it's like early season because I struggled to find information on which route people did in spring and how it would be as a ski descent. I had seen photos of this couloir and wondered why it was not the obvious route to the summit. I was just trying to rate the route in the conditions as I found it. Dec 17, 2018