“If you're looking for steep skiing, you've come to the right place.”
— Jacob Winey
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
Need to Know
This is a seriously steep line. Front Range Skimo gives it a D17 rating because much of it is above 50 degrees, and the steepest section is around 55 degrees. Any fall, anywhere in the steep section would be unrecoverable.
This line drops directly off the summit of James Peak
, down the east face. Despite this, most of the couloir is "north-facing" because the right-hand wall blocks most of the sunlight from the east. Depending on snow conditions, getting into the couloir can be tricky. Bring a rope for the possible down-climb or short rappel into the line. It's also a good idea to have the first skier on rope for a couple turns on the east-facing start of the couloir, just while they break up that wind slab.
The start of the couloir is low 50's, then it keeps a sustained ~50 degree slope through a couple slightly tight sections. After that it rolls to about 55 degrees. This steep sections lasts until the couloir opens up and traverses to the left, over some very large cliffs. The traverse dumps you out at the top of the apron where the low-consequence turns are extra enjoyable after what you just made it down.