Five Finger Couloir
AI1-2 Mod. Snow
Avg: 3 from 1 vote
|Type:||Ice, Snow, Alpine, 1500 ft (455 m), 10 pitches, Grade II|
|Page Views:||103 total · 10/month|
|Shared By:||Eli Scarborough-Weiss on Jul 22, 2022|
|Admins:||Mike Snyder, Taylor Spiegelberg, Jake Dickerson|
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This is a long SE facing snow climb that may contain sections of easy alpine ice and short sections of rock. Kelsey's description suggests variable steepness up to 45 degrees, but my partner and I found ourselves in terrain that offered short, occasional sections of steeper snow closer to 60 degrees; steepness may be dependent on the snow pack, weather, etc. Fremont Peak is a massive structure filled with complicated and interesting alpine terrain, and Five Finger offers a clean, consistent, and beautiful line to the top.
The couloir winds up and left (NW) from the small bowl between Jackson Peak on the east, and Fremont Peak on the west. The route remains tucked away and hidden from view right up until you are at the bottom of it, although it is highly visible from outside the range to the south. You are offered spectacular views of Jackson peak's complex geography, as well as Ellingwood and Elephant head on the approach and while you are on route. On the summit you are treated to an alpine visual buffet extending from Gannett Peak in the north to the plains in the south. It's a beautiful place to be, and a wonderful way to attain the summit.
We decided to simulclimb the route using a glacier rope. The route protected easily with a handful of small nuts and tricams in rock to the right of the couloir, with occasional pickets placed in mostly good snow.
There was a mix of rotten snow low down, perfect styrofoam névé mid-route, a short chossy 4th class rock step, short panels of alpine ice, and soft snow up top. We left camp low in the Indian Basin at around 3:30, and likely would have found better snow high up had we departed a few hours earlier. The couloir is protected from the sun longer than you would expect given the aspect, but the top does heat up in the morning.
The route trends into either the index/thumb and middle of the namesake fingers to finish. We chose the middle finger because it looked cool, and that brought us up to a short ridge and 3rd class rock scramble to the summit.
Descend by scrambling down the easy 3rd class standard approach via the Southwest Slope.
Approach the Indian Basin and access the Indian Basin Trail. Navigate towards the SE watershed of Fremont above lake 11,008 and scramble towards a bowl at approximately 12,220 feet in the Jackson/Fremont cirque. Depending on the season when you approach, off-trail and otherwise creative routefinding may be required depending on conditions as you pass through boulderfields, snow, and various lakes etc. Once in the bowl, the foot of the route is due east, visible as the principal couloir ascending NW.