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Dragontail Couloir

Extremely Difficult
  4.9 ( 21 ) Favorite


0.5 mile 0.9 kilometer point to point
Ski Line
Extremely Difficult


Ascent: 0' 0 m
Descent: -1,633' -498 m
High: 11,784' 3,592 m
Low: 10,151' 3,094 m


Avg Slope: 58% (30°)
Max Slope: 106% (47°)
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Trail shared by Eric Internicola

A rocky mountain mega-classic

Eric Internicola
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.

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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 8, 2019
Brian Huber
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
Apr 20, 2019
Antonino Del Rossa
Apr 20, 2019
Will Finley
Awesome spring conditions! Make sure to get up early before the sun warms the snow up too much
Apr 20, 2019
Mitch Massey
Apr 18, 2019
Austin West
3h 07m
Apr 7, 2019
Joe Martinet
We had a great day out and road from the left side shelf before it got all the way up. The snow was shaved and conditions good. Got to go back.

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 21 votes


  4.9 from 21 votes
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in Colorado


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21,114 Since Mar 12, 2015
Extremely 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


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