“A moderate ascent/descent that is a good option on days when the major couloirs are unstable.”
— Jonah Seifer
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
Standard Pikes Peak Highway restrictions apply—be sure to get off the mountain before they close or else face a fine.
Need to Know
This bowl is more exposed to the sun than any other in Glen Cove—caution is advised on warm afternoons and when traveling near/under the cornice.
The Cornice Bowl is hard to miss—its plainly visible on the looker's right (north side) of Glen Cove and can be accessed via The Approach to Glen Cove
Climb to the entrance of Little Italy and traverse north into the bowl or ascend directly from the moderately forested slide path that intersects the beginning of the trail. Once at the base of the bowl, several ascent options exist. We choose to climb the looker's right side, as it steers clear of the eponymous cornice and permits one to reach the ridgeline faster than a direct ascent.
Do be cautious of that cornice—despite the relatively easy skiing this bowl offers, I have often turned away because of the risk posed by the large cornice that develops there.
Once on the ridge, a handful of descent options present themselves. For a mellow descent, take the skier's left side of the bowl toward the avalanche path. The bowl becomes progressively steeper (and more corniced) as you work your way south (looker's left). The transition from ridge to bowl also becomes increasingly convex, so be aware of that terrain's propensity to trigger avalanches. More confident skiers can continue traversing south where a steep, technical headwall guards entry into the bowl.
None of these routes are complete without sampling the famous Pikes Peak Donuts at the summit House, so celebrate a safe day in the backcountry up there.
History & Background
The now-closed Pikes Peak Ski Area is partially visible from this route. Saplings have begun to reclaim this area, and I do not generally recommend skiing it unless all steeper objectives are too risky for the given snowpack.