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Torre Couloir (NW Ridge Var) T 

Torre Couloir (NW Ridge Var) 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a AI2-3 M2

Type:  Trad, Mixed, Ice, Alpine, 3000', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a AI2-3 M2 Mod. Snow [details]
FA: ?
Season: Winter/Spring
Page Views: 383
Submitted By: Riley McDonald on Dec 17, 2015

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BETA PHOTO: On the approach in early season.


Three prominent but slightly hidden couloirs ascend the NW face of the buttress connecting Torre de Mierda and the NW ridge of Morrison, providing an extension to the NW ridge route.

The rightmost couloir provides the fastest access to the NW ridge proper, but contains the worst rock and ice. The middle and left couloirs are more straightforward, often containing good ice or neve. Once at the top of any couloir, turn right and climb easy (5.5 with good route choice) but poorly protected terrain along the ridge toward the NW ridge of Morrison. The leftmost couloir obviously entails the most ridge climbing and raps/downclimbs into two notches at the top of the other couloirs. Down climbing into these notches may look improbable, but is doable at about 5.7.

Once on the NW ridge, turn left and continue to the summit. (See NW ridge route for description.)

The rock quality throughout is quite variable, often fear-inducingly bad, but rewards with constant trundling opportunities.


Hike the trail around the east side of Convict Lake to the southern end, then cut left (south) into a long open area with aspens bordering. At this point it is easy to see the start of the couloirs, but the upper reaches may be hidden from view. Go through the aspens at the end of the open area and left up the slope toward the base of the couloirs.

It is possible to start to traverse along the hill above Convict lake earlier (as for entrance to the hanging valley & north face access), but involves more bushwhacking when snow levels are low.


Late season the ice/neve will take screws or pickets. Std. alpine rack to protect the ridge. Pitons can be useful in the icy cracks. Good horns for raps to the notches.

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By Preston Rhea
From: Mammoth Lakes
Oct 19, 2016
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c AI1-2 M2

This route has some excellent ridge climbing along with some standard Morrison house of cards junk. That said, for the novelty of the good sections, I would take this route over the NW Ridge.

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