Yard Peak, North Flank, Pine Beetle Couloir
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I initially referred to this route as the Left Hand Couloir, but have since decided to name it in honor of the insects which are decimating the pine forests of the Rocky Mountains. It is still the Left Hand Couloir seen as one faces the North Flank of Yard Peak. Hence it shall now be known as the Pine Beetle Couloir.
The crux of this route may be the 9 mile approach!
This route offers 1200 feet of excellent snow climbing at an angle of (est.) 37-40 degrees. A few narrow spots steepen to (est.) 45 degrees. The difficulty will obviously vary greatly depending on amount and quality of snow.
Although the seasoned alpinist will find little challenge here, this route is too sustained and steep for beginners. The climber should be skilled in the fundamentals of snow climbing, including use of crampons and ice axe. Self arrest technique should be second nature. An uncontrolled fall down this route would probably be fatal.
Belays might be feasible from the rocks at the sides of the chute, but I would not count on this. Count instead on your snow climbing skills.
This route could make an excellent ski descent for a qualified individual. If you have any doubt at all, you are not ready to try it! (I have not skied it.)
I doubt this route will have continuous snow in it, later than in early June.
From Lake Allsop, ascend the slopes West of the lake, and skirt the East Face on the right. Pass the NE couloir which splits the East Face, and continue to a small saddle at the base of the NE Ridge. Contour West to the where the Left Hand Chute joins a large snow field. Ascend the Chute straight up to the summit ridge.
Descend the route carefully! I managed to plunge step the whole Chute, but conditions will dictate your style.The NE Ridge might be an alternative descent route if snow conditions are unsafe.
I wore crampons and used a single ice axe. I carried a second axe, but never used it.
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The Pine Beetle Couloir.
This attractive N Face is adjacent to Yard Peak's...
end of the trail
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