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Dragontail Couloir

Very Difficult
 4.9 (28) SKI LINE

A rocky mountain mega-classic

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Ski Line

11,784' 3,592 m


10,151' 3,094 m


0' 0 m


1,633' 498 m



Avg Slope (30°)


Max Slope (47°)
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry

Need to Know

Cornice at the top of the couloir. There's rock fall potential, and this is definitely avalanche terrain. I recommend a springtime descent.


Fantastic springtime skiing. It's very common to skin up Flattop or to climb the couloir from Emerald Lake. From the top, there are two entrances—the classic entrance is to the looker's left, and the Incisor entrance is to the right. The Incisor is probably skied more commonly since it's not as steep or narrow as the classic line, however it does involve an exposed traverse over a cliff band where it connects to Dragon Tail.

After the two entrances merge, the couloir gets much wider and far less steep. From there out, it's a consistent, mid-30s slope the rest of the way making it an absolute blast to ski. After you get out of the couloir, there's an apron to ski down to get to Emerald Lake. This apron can be enough fun on its own that people lap it on clear days.


Shared By:

Eric Internicola

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 28 votes


  4.9 from 28 votes
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in Colorado


96 Views Last Month
28,200 Since Mar 12, 2015
Very Difficult



Approaching the crux of Dragontail, Emerald Lake is far below.
Mar 2, 2018 near Grand Lake, CO
Making headway down Dragontail towards Emerald Lake
Jan 9, 2020 near Grand Lake, CO
Getting closer to the bottom of Smoke and Dragons; here's one of the spots where you really need to stay left.
May 19, 2018 near Grand Lake, CO
Sam, skiing the first snowfield in Smoke and Dragons
May 19, 2018 near Grand Lake, CO
Marking the location of Smoke and Dragons relative to Dead Elk and Dragon Tail
May 19, 2018 near Grand Lake, CO
Looking up Dead Elk (left) and Dragontail (right). April 2015.
May 2, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO


Current Trail Conditions

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Add Your Check-In


May 8, 2021
Chris Stellato
Snow coverage appears to be good, fully in. I viewed the line from the top (main entrance) but did not ski it on this day.
Apr 18, 2021
Dave Manago
Linked Dragon's tail up with East couloir. Entered DT from looker's right, & it was a little spicy (steep traverse). snow band might melt in 1 week. 7.2mi — 4h 45m
Apr 18, 2021
Kyle Mahanes
Apr 10, 2021
Matt DiPrimio
2021- not completely filled in, if entering from top- mandatory downclimb not for the faint of heart.
Apr 7, 2021
Hogan Warlock
Apr 4, 2021
Joseph Wilson
Jun 29, 2019
Nate Mitka
route was filled in, bottom choke is tight and will run out of snow soon, but still very ski-able.
May 4, 2019
Dave Manago
chill skin track round the backside. Decided to drop skier's right entry. BEWARE cliffband in upper middle. We traversed skier's left to right. Good. 5.3mi — 3h 28m