Forums Trip Reports TR: The Diagonal Couloir, Pinnacle Butte (11,516 feet), WY
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    by Wyomingsplit_ride

    With spring in Wyoming, the backcountry opens up a whole new aspect of riding. Three words: steep-couloir-riding. The Diagonal Couloir found on Pinnacle Butte (Togwotee Pass) is the epitome of these three words. It is truly a classic couloir that drops 1500 vertical feet, is a sustained 45 degrees (steeper at the top), and is surrounded by huge vertical walls that add to the true mystic of it. The Diagonal is not for the faint-of-heart or a place you want to get flushed for that matter.

    Shad Hamilton and Wyomingsplit_ride decided to make a second attempt on this line. We left for the mountains at 3:45 am. Unlike the Sierras, wet slides are much more common and we knew that we would need to be riding this shot before it got too warm. Our timing was perfect and we made the summit by 10:30 am. The snow was solid and had undergone a proper melt freeze cycle that would aid in our ascent and descent.

    Pinnacle Butte and our approach and descent route (Photo Kevin Forrester):

    Looking up at the Diagonal Couloir from the bottom (Photo Kevin Forrester):

    Shad climbing the apron:

    Into the Diagonal:

    Shad Further Up and starting to commit. The snow seemed pretty solid despite frozen melt balls:

    Wyomingsplit_ride in the gut of the beast. Notice the frozen melt balls. They made the riding interesting on the way down:

    About halfway up the couloir looking down:

    Shad climbs:


    Part TWO: The top pitch and summit

    The top pitch made the pucker factor climb a bit. I was thinking….gosh and we get to come down this…stoke-age or broke-age:

    Shad climbing the top pitch:

    A little steepness perspective on the top pitch of the Diagonal. Only jump turns down this section:

    Shad climbing the last 40 feet of the Diagonal Couloir:

    One of the sickest views from the top of the Pinnacles and the Diagonal. Togwotee Pass and the Tetons in the background. Truly, phenomenal!

    Mandatory summit shot…grins to boot!


    Part Three: THE DESCENT

    Wyomingsplit_ride drops the Diagonal. WHO SAYS VOILE SPLITBOARDS ARE FLEXI? I wish they let me buy a Mountain Gun!

    Looking back on the summit, couloir, and the sun shining down on the Pinnacles. The perfect end to the perfect day! Thank you Jah.

    282 Posts


    The top of that looks pretty hairy. It looks like axe and crampons are mandatory for the last part of the climb. Did you guys have to hike for a while or was it skinable from the beginning(or did you cheat?)? Definitely on the to do list, but need to find crampons and an axe first. Wait to go on nailing a nice line. Makes me feel even worse for not getting out this weekend.


    We did a tow in, otherwise we would have had to start at Midnight…not my idea of fun…three and a half hours of skinning to the apron and climbing to the top. Ice axes and crampies a definite must! Ohhhh yah…grizzly bear tracks EVERYWHERE.

    282 Posts

    Just giving ya a hard time about cheating. That is one hell of a line. If the steeps don’t get ya, a griz just might. We saw three black bears and a griz in the park the other weekend on our way to cornfest in Cooke city.
    I like the TR layout also, really puts you there.

    27 Posts

    Nice TR and sick line! Way to get after it.

    4150 Posts

    Awesome TR WSR!

    Congrats on getting the sweet line. 🙂

    61 Posts

    Can I get a Hell YA!!!!! That line so sweet. It looks like a great time. I think that Lifelinksplit and I should come out next spring and take a trip up the diagonal. Sweet TR 😛
    Well I wont be online for a least a month. Its time to head to AK. Have a good summer all. I am glad I got to see this TR before I left.

    BH OUT…..

    88 Posts

    love the view from the TOP. are you kidding me?! would be hard to head back down… good stuff

    4 Posts

    Three words: SICK ASS LINE.

    Good on ya for getting after it, WYSR!

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