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Routes in Mears Peak

North Face Couloir (submitted as Wet 'n' Wild) WI2-3 M3-4
Ten High T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Type: Mixed, Ice, Alpine, 2000 ft
FA: likely years ago
Page Views: 382 total, 15/month
Shared By: Grimpeur on Oct 11, 2015
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Description

Ascend an awful, steep, scree-talus slope to gain the upper basin below Mears' north face. Aim for the obvious break in the large cliff line to the west, and climb steep snow up past it.

Once above the cliff line, traverse up and right into a steepening and narrowing couloir system, some low angle ice may begin here. The couloir will bend hard left and become very inset into the face. Several near vertical WI3/M3 steps mark the cruxes of this couloir, and do not be enticed into following other chutes that branch off from the main couloir. After 500' or so, the couloir will end with a short, steep dihedral (M4?) and put you onto a large snow slope running horizontally across the middle of Mears' North Face. It's a snow/ice route, so the difficulty is dictated by conditions; it is probably easier early season with fuller coverage than when we did it.

Traverse the snow climber's left, passing above a small gendarme, to a wide, steep couloir, and continue up this couloir (300'). At the crest of this couloir, traverse right into a final snowy couloir that ends at the notch between Mears' twin summits.

Descend east of Mears' summit down the ridge line towards the saddle with Wolcott. Make sure to continue past the small bump in the ridge to the true saddle low point, and then descend steep snow to the basin below. We descended before the small bump and had to downclimb horrible, rotten 5.6 and melting WI3.

Location

From Ridgway, drive up Dallas Divide, and turn left on CR 9 up West Dallas Creek. Follow CR 9 to Box Factory Park. From the parking lot, follow West Dallas Creek south for 3 miles (no trail) to the base of Mears Peak. Camping is sparse, but a few decent spots are present before the scree fields.

Protection

Very light rack, if at all: a few screws, set of stoppers - it's all comfort level. We brought gear but ended up soloing because the ice was melting and too thin for gear and the rock was poor.

Photos

kyliegrace
Montrose, Colorado
  AI2 M1+
kyliegrace   Montrose, Colorado
  AI2 M1+
We met a guy at Box Factory Park in 2014 who said he'd climbed this line. I agree that an appropriate name for this route is North Face Couloir. Climbed the line yesterday and had great conditions - wasn't wet! Jun 20, 2016
erik rieger
Ridgway, CO
erik rieger   Ridgway, CO
This is a classic snow climb on a cool peak. However, the difficulties of the line shown are pretty overstated, as the max angle is around 50° with a barely fourth-class rock step or two. One tool would suffice and no need for gear. Probably a good and challenging ski descent with no rappels earlier in the spring.

To approach, there's some bushwhacking to reach an old hunting/game trail, but it's not awful; we went from car to summit in under 6 hours.

Also, this route could have been climbed as early as the Lavender era — and definitely before 2015. Probably best to just call it the "North Face Couloir." Jun 18, 2016