Alaska Range - LIttle Switzerland

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Alaska Range - LIttle Switzerland

Submitted By: Pdiddy on April 26, 2012

Administrator: Pdiddy

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Colorado » Ten Mile Range

Cristo Couloir

Cristo is a fairly wide snow gully, and is not particularly technical to ski.  That said, it is steep enough to demand advanced ski abilities.

Cristo is rated D8 or D9 depending on snow conditions.  For information on the D rating system, see here: http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/ratings/ski-board-d-rating-system.html

In good snow conditions, Cristo can be skied right off the summit.  Depending on snowpack, there may or may not be a few rocky patches to navigate.  The gully has a few rollovers, the steepest reaching 40-45 degrees.  The slope has a double fall-line, and is generally a bit mellower if you stay towards the skier's right side.  While not a true no-fall zone, the double fall-line nature also means that a sliding fall in the couloir could be dangerous.

Cristo Couloir is a very large avalanche path and has claimed it's share of victims.  As such, this route is recommended as a spring descent in times of good stability only.  Also, whether you're driving or skinning up Blue Lakes Road, be aware that several major avalanche paths threaten the road near the dam.

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Details

Little Switzerland is more popular for long, moderate rock and alpine climbing in May and June.  There are many opportunities for descents from mild to wild.    Views of Mt. Foraker and myriad 10,000 to 12,000 ft jagged peaks never get old.  Crevasse danger is real and one should be familiar with crevasse rescue here.

How to Get There

You will need to take a plane to get to the Pika glacier- Talkeetna Air Taxi is the choice of most climbers.

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