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Y Couloir 

Y Couloir 

Type:  Alpine, 2000'
Original:  [details]
FA: ??
Page Views: 6,900
Submitted By: Chris R on Feb 2, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (15)
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A car in the left Col driven off the summit by a s...


The Y Couloir is an aesthetic snow climb on the steep, north face of Pike's Peak. It affords over 2000' of vertical gain and deposits the climber smack on the summit.

To access, get into the Bottomless Pit. This can be accomplished from either the Barr Trail (~10 miles, easy hike), from the Crags campground trailhead (~6 miles, harder hike), or have a good friend drop you off on the toll road (~1 mile, harder hike, and $10 toll, plus no easy way down). Bivy in the Bottomless Pit.

The line is obvious to the south. Head south and begin climbing up the obvious gully. The Y couloir branches to the west (climber's right) off of the main line, about 1/3 mile up. Climb into it as the angle increases. You soon come to two branches that give this line its name. The left arm of the Y immediately climbs a rock step that can vary from moderate 4th class to technical 5th class, depending on snow depth. The right arm moves over an ice bulge, which can generally be bypassed on the left. After surpassing either difficulty, continue up your chosen arm to the summit.

In February, we started climbing at 4:00am, and topped out at 7:30, just as the top of the couloir was getting sunhit. Check out Dawson's Guide to northern 14'ers for a more succinct description.

The Crags approach is by far my favorite way to get to this classic climb.


Ice axe & crampons. Pickets if you're not comfortable on steep snow.

Photos of Y Couloir Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Laura on the Y. Spring 2010.
Laura on the Y. Spring 2010.
Rock Climbing Photo: 9-18-09 just before the fog rolled in.
9-18-09 just before the fog rolled in.
Rock Climbing Photo: Nancy fogged in on the Y-Col.
Nancy fogged in on the Y-Col.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing the Y Couloir.
Climbing the Y Couloir.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Y Couloir on a not so nice day.
BETA PHOTO: The Y Couloir on a not so nice day.
Rock Climbing Photo: Skiing and snowboarding Pikes Peak in spring time ...
Skiing and snowboarding Pikes Peak in spring time ...
Rock Climbing Photo: North face of Pike's Peak, taken from US Hwy 24 ju...
BETA PHOTO: North face of Pike's Peak, taken from US Hwy 24 ju...

Comments on Y Couloir Add Comment
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By Mark Connell
Dec 16, 2003

If you park or are dropped off at the top of Rumdoodle Ridge, it is about an hour of class 3 downclimbing to the base of the route. If you drop off the ridge too soon, you get into some class 4 stuff but it saves loosing as much elevation. It took me a very casual 5 hours car to car parked at Rumdoodle.
By T-Bob
Jul 30, 2007

Did this at the end of June '06. I agree with the previous post as for dropping in from the ridge. We bivied in the grass/gravel in the trees before climbing out the next day. It's a spectacular place to spend the night right above town. With our spare time the first day we did a bit of cragging on the wall on the south side of the "cirque". There is quite a bit of alpine to be had up there with an out there feeling to it.
On the "Y", itself we really took our time and spent a lot of time scrambling amongst the rocks taking whatever line left or right looked fun. A great route for aspirant alpinists like myself so long as your aware of the difficulties of extraction should you have and issue.
Give it a go in the summer with a light rack and a spirit of adventure.
By r.f
From: colorado springs
Jan 4, 2013

Climbed this with Lee Rittenmyer in Jan. 10'. Perfect conditions, snow melted. and almost pure alpine ice to the summit. It can definitely be simul-climbed, but a fall would hurt. Small screws would have protected in some parts, otherwise move to climber's right and there is a fixed pin in place. Some small rock gear would suffice. Surmounting the rock band in the conditions we found it made for some mild dry tooling. All in all, a great way to actually climb a 14,000er.
By Board Shorts
Jun 5, 2014

Anyone climbed the Y Couloir recently? Looking for beta on the snowpack.
By Patrick H.
Dec 4, 2016

Is access to Bottomless Pit obvious from the Crags trail?

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