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blueBlack Silver Couloir

  4.6 ( 10 )

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Trail

2.1 mile 3.3 kilometer point to point
Ski Line
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 309' 94 m
Descent: -3,016' -919 m
High: 12,736' 3,882 m
Low: 9,720' 2,963 m

Grade

Avg Slope: 30% (17°)
Max Slope: 92% (42°)
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Trail shared by Andrew Yon

Avalanche risk for Apr 22, 2019: Low

Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.

Full forecast for CAIC: Vail Summit Zone — Brought to you by CO Avalanche Information Center

Avy tweets from @CAICsummit

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Weather

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Current ascent conditions

All Clear 16 days ago See History
Chop, Crusty, Firm

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Classic line on Buffalo Mtn in Summit County, Colorado.

Andrew Yon
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry

Need to Know

Ice ax and ski crampons are a good idea if the surface is hard.

Description

This route starts at the Buffalo Cabin trailhead at the top of Ryan Gulch Rd in Silverthorne. This route does not climb up the couloir.

Follow the (usually) well-tracked trail passed the 4-way trail intersection [~0403940 4386558] and up to the Buffalo cabin remains. At around 10,400 ft [~0403547 4386072], go left off the summer trail and begin to climb southwesterly and then westerly up the somewhat steep east side of Buffalo Mtn. You're aiming for the "mushroom stem"**. Reach treeline at around 11,500 ft [~0402828 4386045] and head left up and over the mushroom cap. Switchback through this area until the slope eases considerably on top of the cap. The summit is obvious from there and the route up easy. It's not necessary to go to the summit, but ski from the summit if the snow is continuous.

The Silver Couloir starts .25 miles north of the summit. The entry is at the top of a broad "Y". Most start down the skier's left of the "Y", at around 12,500 ft [~0401980 4386235]. There's no mistaking the route from there; it's 2,700 uninterrupted feet down. The pitch may briefly hit 45 degrees in a couple spots, but not more and there's plenty of space left-to-right.

Ski down to around 9,765 ft [~0402941 4387127] and cut right into the trees. Look for tracks and contour around until the first opening in the trees (an old avalanche path). Pick up the exit route that follows the top of an old canal. Follow it around approximately .3 miles where the trail leaves the canal [~0403401 4387014] and begins to climb east and then southeast out of the drainage. Your legs will feel this short but annoying climb. At the obvious top of the climb, cross a small rocky avalanche path and then continue to the 4-way trail intersection that you passed through earlier on the way up. Ski or boot from there back to the trailhead.

Summary : 5.2 miles, 3,435 ft., 4.0-4.5 hours (avg pace)

**If you don't know what the "mushroom" is, take a look at Buffalo Mtn from almost anywhere in Dillon in the winter and look for the obvious right-leaning avalanche scar with a large rocky outcrop at the top that together form a mushroom. The summer trail goes over the mushroom's cap. There are actually two mushrooms on Buffalo; the other one is on the viewer's left, not relevant for this tour.

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Check-Ins

Apr 21, 2019
Ryan Treais
Super fun, whiteout at the top but a great run down to the bottom. Got lost on the exit but still amazing.
Apr 19, 2019
J. Surette
Apr 14, 2019
Michael Clemente
Apr 6, 2019
Antonio Conte
6.4mi — 5h 27m
Mar 31, 2019
Sinclair Myrick
Mar 30, 2019
Austin West
4h 50m
May 12, 2018
Britton Thomas
Great day on a classic line. The approach is mixed (snow, ice, postholing, mud, dirt). Skied down at 10:30am in good spring conditions.
Jun 2, 2017
Lisa Grice
Still lots of snow. Started skiing around 1030, snow was heavy but creamy top to bottom. Hike ou was a pain,totally dry carried the skis of the trees

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 10 votes

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  4.6 from 10 votes
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