Tuning Fork Couloir

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Tuning Fork Couloir

Submitted By: mtnfiend on January 21, 2011

Administrator: mtnfiend

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Route Type:
Descent Difficulty:
Season:
Ascent Type
- Skin Track: Easy
- Bootpack: moderate
- Mountaineering: easy
Starting Elevation: 9800 depending on snow conditions ft.
Elevation Gain: 4400 depending ft.
High Point: 14,267 ft.
Max Slope Angle: 40°

Approach

Start at the bakerville exit off I-70.  Depending on snow conditions, you may have to park at the winter parking area adjacent to the interstate.  Follow, FR 189 for about a mile and turn right towards Grizzly gulch.  Continue SW up Grizzly gulch until about 11,400 ft.  At this point the tuning fork is clearly visible.  Head south towards a small flat at around 12,000 ft.  This is a good place to spike-n-axe up if snow conditions warrant.  Boot up the remaining 2000+ feet to the summit, either choosing the climbers left or right side of the fork.  Some people choose to ascend the dead dog couloir, or the standard route up Torrey's instead of booting the couloir directly.

Equipment Needs

Crampons and an axe may be required depending on snow conditions

Descent

Lou Dawson refers to this line as a "Big-ol-strip-o-snow" in this book Colorado's Fourteeners Volume 1.  The slope of this couloir is surprisingly consistent over it's entire length.  It's incredibly wide (100+ feet), and fun line that seems to go on forever.  It's also a very straight forward descent.  What you see is what you get, because in fact, you can see the entire line from the top.  This line may not easily go from the exact summit, so some down climbing over talus may be required.  Both Lou Dawson in his 14ers guide book, and Bill Middlebrook on 14ers.com have excellent write-ups on this route.

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