REI Community
Loch Vale & uphill
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Central Buttress T 
Cold Storage 
Crypt, The T 
Deep Freeze T 
Dirty Peeps Variation 
Dog House T 
Double Tap T 
Dry Ice T 
Freezer Burn 
Inquisition, The T 
Leftist Activity 
Necrophilia T 
North Face Icefield T 
North Gully 
Northwest Buttress of Powell 
Northwest Face Route - Thatchtop or Northeast Gully? T 
Petit Gully, The T 
Plan D T 
Prise de Fer T 
Quicksilver T 
Sex With A Live Person T 
Sublime Vision T 
Taylor Glacier T 
Timberline Falls T 
Tunnel Vision T 
Upper Wall 
Vanquished (Powell Peak) 
Womb with a View T 

North Face Icefield 

Type:  Trad, 1000', Grade II
Original:  [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,548
Submitted By: ClimbandMine on Jun 30, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (8)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Excellent conditions on 6/25/11.


North Face Icefield or Powell Peak Icefield is the wide snowfield west of Powell Peak and Vanquished Buttress, above Sky Pond in Loch Vale. A stellar alpine ice route, it is best climbed in mid- to late summer when the snow has slid and hard gray alpine ice is revealed. A number of variations are possible, the most consistent ice and steepest line is to the right of the rock rib high on the route. When we climbed it, enough melting had occured that there was some steep slush/ice mix and a little mixed climbing to get into the right side of the route. It is definitely worth it for 200+' of perfect ice.


Ice screws and a few nuts might be helpful when this route is "in" and if you choose to rope up.

Photos of North Face Icefield Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: What goes up...Must come least the fun w...
What goes up...Must come least the fun w...
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron Miller, split board specialist!
Aaron Miller, split board specialist!
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron nearing the top of the snowfield. At its ste...
Aaron nearing the top of the snowfield. At its ste...
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron Miller climbing great snow on PT snowfield.
Aaron Miller climbing great snow on PT snowfield.
Rock Climbing Photo: Powell Thatchtop view from Taylor Glacier.
Powell Thatchtop view from Taylor Glacier.
Rock Climbing Photo: This is the panorama to the west from the ridge be...
BETA PHOTO: This is the panorama to the west from the ridge be...
Rock Climbing Photo: High on the Powell Peak Icefield.  Photo by Dave A...
High on the Powell Peak Icefield. Photo by Dave A...

Comments on North Face Icefield Add Comment
Show which comments
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Jul 20, 2002

One of the rock couloirs between the steepest ice/snow field and the less steep snow field was blasting out very significant quantities of rock 7/18/2. It was leaving a good sized fan of fresh grey granite. This may affect the approach to this climb.
By Legs Magillicutty
From: Durango
Dec 6, 2004

What is the descent off of this?
By Richard Rossiter
Nov 24, 2008

How do you get down from the top of the North Face Ice Field? There are several options, but only one of them is safe and practical. The ice field tops out on the Continental Divide just shy of 13000 feet. The best and safest descent is to hike the Divide behind Point 13015, behind Taylor Peak 13153 and descend the Andrews Glacier and Andrews Creek Trail back to the Loch Vale Trail. This means that you carry all your gear with you because a return to the base of the climb is fairly inconvenient. Alternatives: You can descend the Taylor Glacier Head Wall. I have done this, but it is no piece of cake. You can descend the NE Ridge of Powell Peak to the first col, then descend north to Sky Pond. This is dangerous and is not recommended. A final option is to follow the west side of the Continental Divide all the way to the summit of Flattop Mountain and hike down the nice trail to Bear Lake. This is the long way home.
By Martin le Roux
From: Superior, CO
Sep 26, 2011

This is called the "Thatchtop-Powell" icefield in a couple of guidebooks (e.g. Gillett, Cooper "Colorado Snow Climbs"), which is an odd name since it doesn't actually finish between Thatchtop and Powell -- it finishes on the Taylor Peak side of Powell. Powell North Face is a better name.

As of late Sept 2011, this was hard neve with a thin layer of new snow. Angle was about 45 for the most part, maybe 50-55 degrees at the top of the couloir right of the rock rib. Cooper's book says 65 degrees, but we didn't think it was that steep.
By J1.
From: Boulder, Colorado
Mar 30, 2013

How do you descend after climbing the snowfield?? Well the absolute best way is to ski down! or board if you're a split boarder.
By James Kersey
Jun 22, 2015

Soloed 6/21/2015. Firm snow on route from ~5:30-7:15. Right half still had significant cornices. Descended Andrew's Glacier.
Rock Climbing Photo: Powell Snowfield, 6/21/2015.
Powell Snowfield, 6/21/2015.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About