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Y Couloir - 5.4

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Route sequence (left to right): 1
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Light rock rack and maybe snow pickets or flukes. Ice screws unlikely to be useful.
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This is one of the classic snow climbs of Colorado. In early season there is generally a huge cornice at the top of this route. It is safest to wait until it falls down (which often seems to be around July 4th). Hence this route is in best condition later than most snow routes, early July through August. You can bivy below the couloir or start early and blast in a day. From the Spectacle Lakes, head up easy snow and branch right at the Y (the Left Branch I consider a separate route, hopefully someone will add it). This lower section is not that steep and we did it unroped. Soon the right branch enters a nasty chimney filled with dripping water. Before you get too far back into it, look for the 5.4 rock exit on the left. Rope up and do two leads up the left wall (some loose rock) to a nice grassy ledge above the top of the chimney. Traverse right on this ledge back into the Couloir. The upper section steepens to about 55 degrees. Romp up this to the final cornice/headwall. If training for Alaska, you can attempt to tackle the headwall directly. When we did this it was 80 degree snow wallowing, and we backed down. We bypassed the headwall on the right (via some rock). According to Rossiter you can also exit left via a gully. Descend south to Chapin Pass if you have a car there, or drop down the south face into the drainage between Ypsilon and Chiquita and follow this down to Ypsilon Lake.

Submitted by: crazyj on 2002-10-21
Views: 466
Route ID: 25853