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dblack Lift gully headwall (gaffneys, rush, nitro)

  4.0 ( 1 ) Favorite


0.3 mile 0.5 kilometer point to point
Ski Line
Extremely Difficult


Ascent: 0' 0 m
Descent: -312' -95 m
High: 11,624' 3,543 m
Low: 11,312' 3,448 m


Avg Slope: 21% (12°)
Max Slope: 44% (24°)
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Trail shared by Powder Project Staff

Avalanche risk for May 30, 2019: Moderate

Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.

Full forecast for CAIC: Front Range Zone — Brought to you by CO Avalanche Information Center

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Rush Headwall

Powder Project Staff
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry

Need to Know

Prone to slides, best to wait until you know it's safe.


This is the obvious headwall to the lookers right of the old lift line. There are numerous lines that have been picked through it. I have personally cut a 3 foot deep slab across the whole headwall, and I don't recommend dropping straight in unless conditions are perfect. It's safest to ride the ridge between Lift Gully and Rush Chute, trying to get the headwall to go without you on it.

Starting on the lift line side, there is a huge cliff that usually gets doubled in the 50'+ range. This is Gaffneys playground as per the old backcountry Berthoud guide.

There is a very small shelf that makes for an exciting line just riders left of Gaffneys (riders right of rush chute) and actually ends up dumping into the landing zone of Gaffneys. This line is very tricky to get into as you have to sneak in on top of a 30' cliff and shoot a narrow gap off a spine between potentially shallow rocks into the ramp. I have used a short rope to get into it about half the time I've done it which is around 6 times. You can jump off the ramp for extra excitement or if you're feeling it, just send the 30' cliff in the entrance. The landings aren't really steep enough for going real big in my opinion.

The next line to the riders left is Rush Chute and looks to be the main obvious line down the headwall closest to the road. Everything funnels into a short narrow choke (maybe 10' wide) then opens up quickly in the bowl below. You can also air into rush from the sides if done properly.

Rush 2 comes in closer towards the middle of the headwall. there is usually a small tree in the entrance that has to be dealt with or you can jump the cliff riders right of the tree landing in rush 2 proper. Rush 2 is tricky to find from above and it could get really ugly really quick if done wrong. The middle of the headwall is quite rocky.

I think there is something like a rush 3 but I have not personally picked my way through the actual middle of the headwall. Riders right of where I would assume rush 3 billygoats down is a clean 40' cliff that I haven't done and just riders left of that there is one last chute that comes down called Nitro chute. Nitro is the most casual chute on the headwall in my opinion.

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May 2, 2018
Ethan Davis

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