Post subject: TR - 6/9/07 Wheeler Mountain, NE Couloir
Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:42 pm
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am Posts: 1169 Location: Denver
Wheeler Mountain 13,690'
NE Couloir via Blue Lakes
6 Miles, 4200' (w/cristo couloir)
Wheeler Mountain and its NE Couloir have been in the back of my mind since I first laid eyes on it. This weekend I needed something relatively short and sweet en route to Buena Vista and Wheeler fit the bill. I left the dam at Blue Lakes at 5:00am and hiked up the drainage between Quandary and North Star. Temperatures had been cooperating the past few nights and the snow was frozen stiff. I carried the splitboard but didn't use it until the descent. I reached the the base of the climband put on crampons and harness for my ice axe. This is the first time I used the Alpine BOD (with a daisy chain around my axe). It was quite light and comfortable, and switching the axe from hand to hand was effortless. I think it will be my harness of choice for alpine climbs that don't involve a lot of rappelling.
Snow in the couloir was 3-4 inches on top of a very firm layer. This made for great climbing.
I topped out around 7:30am and continued on to the summit of Wheeler contouring around the west face. This was an exciting finish on steep but fairly solid rock. Nice views of the valley from the top.
Back to the top of the couloir at 8:15am and began the descent. Turns were smooth on the top few inchesof snow. It got a little bumpy towards the bottom on old sluff slides. Down the valley I went, and I was able to ride to within a few hundred feet of the inlet to the reservoir. On the way back to the TH I decided to stop by Quandary and get a few more turns down the Cristo Couloir.