Gannet Peak S.E. Couloir
This route is an excellent alternative to the Gooseneck Gully route, particularly if the Gooseneck bergschrund's snow bridge has melted out. It may be a bit faster than the Gooseneck route, and obviates the need to ascend chossy rock on the lower Gooseneck ridge. The route is not described in Joe Kelsey's guidebook, but the couloir is easily seen from Bonney Pass.
The route requires a long approach from Elkhart Park or Trail Ranch. Most parties will take 2 days each way for the approach, i.e. 5 days round trip. (Gannet has now been climbed in 12 hours car-to car!) From Titcomb Basin the elevation gain for the climb and the return trip is 5800 feet. This includes the 1400 foot re-ascent to Bonney Pass on the return to Titcomb.
The approach hike is long, but beautiful.The climb involves travel over a relatively safe potion of the Dinwoody Glacier. Unlike the Gooseneck route, this one does require that you negotiate an area of densely packed crevasses. Some of them are deep. The couloir is about 45 degrees in steepness, and gains 600-800 feet of altitude, from the Dinwoody Glacier's N.W. arm to the summit ridge of Gannett. An uncontrolled fall down the couloir would probably be fatal, and there is some potential for rockfall danger.
I descended the S.E. Couloir, and retraced my steps through the crevasses. If you (unlike me) are smart enough to bring a rope, you can descend the Gooseneck gully, and rappel over the bergschrund, instead of descending the S.E. Couloir.
The difficulty of this route will depend greatly on snow conditions. I encountered a surface of corn snow, bonded nicely to an icy/frozen layer underneath, which took my crampons well.
Update 7/6/12: This route was skied in Spring 2012. You can find a nice write-up with some excellent photos at 14'ers.com. Well done, folks! PL
It is easily seen from Bonney Pass, and is the obvious snow couloir on the East aspect of Gannett. Approach from Bonney Pass as for Gooseneck route, but instead of crossing to the Gooseneck Glacier, you will ascend the N.W. arm of the Dinwoody Glacier. Ascend the couloir, then the summit ridge. Descend the way you came, or down the Gooseneck Gully.
I brought two short ice tools, and crampons. A rope would make the glacier travel safer, and would allow for rappels on the descent.
No need for rock gear, unless you wish to belay from the walls of the couloir. This would slow your progress and expose you to more rockfall danger.
BETA PHOTO: Gannett Peak. SE Couloir on left. Gooseneck Pinnac...
BETA PHOTO: SE Couloir
A look up the southeast couloir, July, 26. 2013. M...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the gully
Looking down the SE Couloir on the descent.
BETA PHOTO: Wide angle view (from summit ridge) of climber sty...
Mark & Jeremy on South East Couloir, August 2010
BETA PHOTO: Telephoto view from (summit ridge) of climber sty...
Crevasse as you head toward the southeast couloir ...
|Comments on Gannett Peak, South East Couloir
Oct 9, 2011
Looks great, nice job climbing an undescribed line!
|By Roger Harris|
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 10, 2011
Climbed this route September 1 of this year and descended the Gooseneck Route via one rappel over the bergschrund. Couloir was in great shape and crevasses on the Dinwoody Glacier heading up to Glacier Pass were modest and easily passed without any need for roping up. Thanks for writing this route up ... nice job! I have a few pictures posted in a MP album at www.mountainproject.com/v/107285295 and more at www.panoramio.com/user/2362370 Cheers, Roger
|By Andrew Smith|
From: Estes Park, CO
Oct 13, 2013
rating: 3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a AI2 Steep Snow
Did this route end of June this year and descended via Gooseneck. Titcomb Basin had a good amount of snow on it still which made the summit day longer. Bergschrund was completely covered on the Gooseneck route which made plunge-stepping and glissading down a breeze. Watch for fresh snow near the top of the SE Couloir as conditions can be hazardous. Extremely fun route, I would suggest this over the standard route if time/fitness/weather/competence call for it. Didn't grab the summit due to very poor weather unfortunately.
|By Brett Verhoef|
From: Greenville, WI
Oct 27, 2013
We completed this route July 26, 2013. More snow would have been nice as crevasses were wide open and almost impassable once we left the main Dinwoody Glacier. We reached the southeast couloir around 10 AM and found the snow to be already slushy but still climbable. We unroped for the couloir but ice axes were a must. As we started to ascend, a large boulder went screaming down the right side of the couloir. Needless to say, we stayed left for the rest of the steep climb. Getting to the couloir earlier would have helped with snow conditions and rockfall. We got an early start from Bonney Camp but our folly was not traveling faster (too much picture taking and gawking). After summitting Gannett we decided that descending the southeast couloir was not safe and instead rappelled off of the Gooseneck route around the open bergschrund. Although the southeast couloir route requires a bit more know-how it seems like the more direct and faster route to Gannett.