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Classic AI3+/4 alpine ice route at the head of Odessa Gorge, northwest of Flattop Mountain - the center of the three couloirs. 900 feet of perfect gray alpine ice steepening from 50 to 70 degrees if you climb it in mid-summer. The last 40 feet can be hairy where the cornice breaks off and leaves vertical snow. It's doable in early winter before the cornice forms, too.
Ice screws or rock gear or pickets, depending on the season.
BETA PHOTO: The Hourglass!
BETA PHOTO: The Hourglass on August 12, 2006. Except for very ...
Looking up The Hourglass from near the bottom, 7-2...
Self portrait from near the top of The Hourglass, ...
The top of The Hourglass, 7-21-2007.
Looking down The Hourglass from the top, 7-21-2007...
The view from the top of The Hourglass, 7-21-2007.
|Comments on The Hourglass
|By Kevin Craig|
May 17, 2002
Climbed the Hourglass on 5/11. Trail from Bear Lake was mostly snow but very well-packed (no snowshoes). Basin below Ptarmigan glacier is snow-filed. Hourglass has a cornice on the right and steep headwall on the left. Excellent snow for step-kicking and minimal/no avy danger at least on Sat. We traversed out left just below the rock band at the top to 50-60 degree snow left of the rib, but still very stable and excellent for steps. The snow version of the route is definitely "in." Enjoy and be safe!
|By Richard Rossiter|
Jul 30, 2003
This is a wonderful alpine route, while not being too committing. It climbs 1000 feet and tops out on the Continental Divide. I soloed this gully in late September, 1979. I do not know if it had been climbed previously, but it was great fun. By late September the seasonal snow is usually melted and nearly the entiire ascent covers hard, grey gully ice. This is a good time of year for the climb. The weather is usually good too. I named it The Hourglass for its shape. It is the middle of three gullies just south of the Ptarmigan Glacier.
|By Kurt Johnson|
From: Estes Park, CO
Sep 16, 2007
I climbed The Hourglass on a whim after climbing Tyndall Gully on 7-21-2007. After summiting Hallett, I decided to downclimb Ptarmigan Glacier and head back on the Fern/Odessa trail. A little ways below the glacier I looked up and saw this enticing couloir overhead. The day that I climbed it, the snow was soft and I would've classified it as a steep snow climb (moderate at the bottom, steep at the top). I topped out and headed down the Flattop trail instead. I thought about downclimbing the East Couloir, but it looked a lot steeper from above and to the west (I ended up climbing it a week and a half later and found out it was really mellow).
|By Brendan Sheehan|
Aug 23, 2008
Climbed this on 8/23/08. Found hard snow top to bottom with no real ice. Max angle about 50 degrees, we avoided a small blunted cornice. Did not find this one to be longer or steeper than east couloir.