Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
This approach is accessed off the Pikes Peak Highway. Be aware of the current road conditions and closing times so as to avoid fine. The best plan is to be back at your car well before 4pm in the Spring.
This is the standard approach for the Y Couloir and ice climbs on either side of the Corinthian Column. The approach involves mostly bootpacking, so put your skis on your back, however it also advisable to carry a mountain axe so that you can self-arrest in the event of a fall. Ideally, this approach is best done in the Spring when snow conditions are more stable.
From a large pull-off on the shoulder of the Pikes Peak Highway, walk east towards the ridge that overlooks the Bottomless Pit and north face of Pikes. You should aim for a low spot on the ridge that is on the left as you are looking at it. When you get to the ridge, pick the easiest way down and over the initial cornice. Once you are established on the slope, look towards the north face of Pikes Peak and identify the large rock buttress of the Corinthian Column. You are aiming for a large snow apron below this buttress. From where you are standing begin traversing downward and across the slope. It is best to face the slope and sidestep as you travel, kicking solid steps into the snow. A FALL IN THIS INITIAL SECTION WOULD LIKELY RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH (hence the name). You can generally follow a snow ramp across this slope, staying below any major cliff bands.
Once you have arrived at the snow apron below the Corinthian Column, you must then navigate across it and over a rocky ridge on the far side. The Y Couloir is just out of view, tucked behind a cliffband. Once you have gotten over this rocky ridge/rib, you'll be in a wide snow gully. This is the Y Couloir. Continue upward to access this mega-classic ski descent.
Shared By: Chris Dickson