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Torrey's Peak - Dead Dog Couloir

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yesterday I wanted to slip in a quick solo of Torrey's Peak (14,275') and ski Dead Dog Couloir ahead of an approaching storm.




Torrey's is an impressive peak as seen from I-70. The 3000' couloir comig straight down the north face from the summit is Emperor Couloir, one of the longest descents in Colorado




Dead Dog Couloir is the 1500' chute down the east face, almost from the summit. It is 60 degrees at the top, with an average angle overall of about 45 degrees.




Summit photo.




The 150' downclimb from the summit to the start of the couloir was the crux of the climb.  By the time I decided I really should have put on my crampons it was too late.  Downclimbing 4th class loose rock in AT boots over really big drops to my left and right was the scariest part of the day!  Sure is easier in the summer!




The view down Dead Dog Couloir from the top. Just below it's ~60 degrees, and it would be a very quick tip to the bottom if you fell. Definitely terrain to ski with an ice axe.




After the steep bit I stopped for a self-portrait




A beautiful line!





post #2 of 8

Nice work!


post #3 of 8

No kidding.  Nice work, nice TR.  Sometimes I really miss living in Colorado.  Not often, but sometimes.


I did Kelso Ridge in the spring several years ago - I can definitely attest to the pucker factor of that downclimb.  Some guys were topping out on Dead Dog right when I got there.  I was super-bummed I didn't have skis, conditions were perfect.

post #4 of 8

STEEP! A line through the couloir route you navigated up/climbed down to it, and then the chute itself, would be most visually appreciated.

post #5 of 8

Looks like a great day, nice pics!

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Sorry; I don't know how to add a line to photos readily. In photo #2 Dead Dog is the couloir beyond my right shoulder dropping from the col just north of the summit. The skiing line is basically a straight shot down the middle of the funnel in photo #5 (in photo #7, straight up), though I tended to stay slightly skier's right of center, where there was a ~15 foot wide lane of firn snow almost all the way down (basically the line of shadow in photo #5). Near the bottom you beeline across the flats to the rocks to get back to the hiking trail.  Sorry there are no pics of me skiing; I haven't figured out how to engineer that yet! 

post #7 of 8

I have hiked Torreys in summer. A beautiful area.  That is an impressive tour to solo.  Being alone with your thoughts on scary lines is an interesting experience.  Was anyone else out there?


The Couloir looks well filled, but from your first shot, the Colorado snowpack seems unimpressive for April 1.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Actually, there were about 10 parties hiking the normal route on Gray's and Torrey's (mostly succeeding if they had crampons or snoeshoes, mostly bailing if they didn't), one party training for Denali climbing Torrey's Kelso Ridge roped up, and two parties climbing Dead Dog who bailed low down.  I've have very extensive technical mountaineering experience and have soloed all of these routes many times, summer and winter, so I was a bit embarrassed to have made such a beginner mistake and wind up feeling gripped on the downclimb.  

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