Savage Peak Couloir
Submitted By: mtnfiend on November 30, 2010
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|- Skin Track:||Moderate|
|Starting Elevation:||10,000ft depending on snow ft.|
|Elevation Gain:||3,200+ depending ft.|
|High Point:||13,139 ft.|
|Max Slope Angle:||45-50 degrees°|
When snow covered this approach becomes a route finding challenge!! Start by heading west on the Homestake Reservoir Rd. from hwy 24 (towards the Homestake Reservoir). After a few miles turn right onto Missouri Creek Rd. When snow free, you can drive all the way to the Missouri Creek TH (several unimproved camp sites exist along Missouri creek and Homestake roads), however you may be forced to park on the shoulder should snow bar further passage (a good 2wd would normally suffice).
The general way to get into the basin is to follow Missouri Creek to the best of your abilities and find a bridge to cross (around 10,400), directly North from the Wilderness Boundary sign. There is a pt. 11,010 that sticks out, obstructing easy passage to Missouri Lakes. The basic idea is to traverse the eastern slopes of this point until you get around it, then hug the northerly aspects in the trees and make your way west. You will finally be rewarded with great views of Savage Peak. Make for the bottom of the prominent NE facing couloir. Navigation around a cornice at the top of the couloir may be necessary depending on the time of year. Dave Cooper recommends ascending the climbers left side of the couloir to minimize rock fall danger from the wall on the right.
Crampons and an axe are recommended.
The couloir is skiable from summit to bottom (1200+ feet), however, when we skied it we entered the couloir from a side inlet 200' below the summit as a sizable cornice existed at the top. The upper pitch can reach 50 degrees, but the majority of the couloir is sustained 45. The bulk of the couloir is fairly shaded from the sun, except for the top 100', so an early start is prudent. No narrow chokes exist and the majority of the couloir is wide at roughly 30', but it does have a double fall line.
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