Type: Trad, Ice, Alpine, 800 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,484 total · 23/month
Shared By: Stiles on Nov 8, 2013
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

2 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


This is the very obvious, skinny couloir that threads up through the very center of Dallas's South face. Depending on your viewpoint, part of the couloir is obscured behind the prominent cliff face which forms the upper right half of the South face.

The route starts at a rockband parallel to the bottom of the huge cliff face on the right. This can be climbed directly at low fifth-class or skirted on the left on snow. The angle decreases slightly as the couloir passes right behind the cliff face, before steepening again. The several cliffbands above are climbed through on short stretches of vertical waterice, AI3/3+.

At the final cliffband, trend right to the slot between the huge "thumb" on the skyline and the main summit. It looks as if a direct finish is possible from this point by climbing handcracks straight up solid granite for 100' to ledges below the summit. A preferred finish if you brought enough rock gear. Otherwise, climb through the notch, down a little ways on the other side and back up and left to the East ridge. Several variations exist; the easiest in the snow conditions we encountered brought us through a tiny hole behind a chockstone, 4th Class.

The final 100-150' from ledges on the East ridge to the summit is vertical and the only spot we used the rope. Connect ledges to gain the blocky skyline on the left in one 50' pitch to a large ledge on the South face, which is situated directly above the slot behind the "thumb" below. The direct variation from the top of the couloir proper will deposit you here. A steep and exposed 20' chimney leads from the ledge to the summit, 5.7.


Approach from the south as you would for the standard route (which crosses below the huge cliff face that forms the mountain's upper right side, over the East ridge and summits from the mountains north side on easier ledges. A description can be found in 13ers.com and summitpost.com). Drive to the end of Mill Creek Road (one mile west of Telluride), and park at the Deep Creek Trailhead. Hike to and up the Sneffels Highline Trail above the switchbacks and about a mile across the traverse into Mill Creek Basin. It is obvious when you should head straight uphill to the base of the route.

Descent: there are slings around a huge boulder on the east side of the summit. Rappel east back to the East ridge. A 30' rappel gets you to a large ledge and another 30-50' rappel gets you out of vertical terrain. From the East ridge, reverse the standard hiking route, or downclimb your way down and east through the large cliffband below. A fair amount of eastward, exposed traversing is necessary to link steep, skinny couloirs to a final wide couloir that leads to the scree slope above the Sneffels Highline Trail.


Rock gear can be had to both sides of the couloir in pretty solid rock. The least fractured and best quality rock in the whole Telluride area. It is possible to rappel the entire couloir on rock gear if necessary.
Nice page - how do you think this route would be in winter, assuming good conditions? Jan 23, 2017
the Mountains
  5.7 AI3
Stiles   the Mountains
  5.7 AI3

I think it'd be doable. Deep, soft snow climbing. I do believe it would be a proper challenge, but good rock pro should be available along both walls. A near-vertical wallow/swim.

Get after it! I'd like to hear a report on what you find. Last February, the conditions firmed up quite a bit and made for great (ice), firm, snow climbing. Right now, everything is super soft, fresh snow. Mega wind event last night and today (23 Jan 17) Shirley whipped up some right proper cornices.

If those are the "good conditions" you are seeking, I'd wait for a four week high-pressure system to get Spring conditions in Winter. Full Winter conditions right meow.

Rapping off the summit may prove a challenge as well, i.e. finding the anchor. Jan 23, 2017