“This is an aerobic route across an alpine ridge above a series of steep avalanche paths.”
— J. Bella
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
This is a wilderness area, so no mechanized equipment, drones etc.
Head about 0.3 miles up the Long Canyon
trail to where it levels by the stream, about a hundred feet past the new Columbine-Hondo Wilderness sign. Find any of the natural bridges created by fallen trees across the stream and begin making ascending switchbacks through the forest. A few hundred vertical feet up, the terrain steepens as it leads to the ridge and the top of the Snowshoe Approach
. Enjoy the open views here, then start the climb to the northwest across a series of steps and peaks above various small forested bowls and slide paths. The route leads to a large rock outcrop, which is an important landmark—beyond here, the terrain becomes steeper and more avalanche prone. Continue above some north-facing, forested chutes to the top of the first open slide path. Here the route aims more north and crosses above several larger, open, east-facing avalanche paths on the long climb to the summit point. By now it will be obvious why this is named Avalanche Ridge. North of the summit, the route continues as it crosses the broad, south-facing bowl at the head of Long Canyon