Peak(s):  Pikes Peak  -  14,110 feet
Date Posted:  06/05/2009
Modified:  12/08/2015
Date Climbed:   06/04/2009
Author:  benners
 Pikes Peak: Y Couloir Summit Ski Descent   

TR here:

 Comments or Questions

Thanks Ben!
02/05/2011 00:22
You, sir, are a rock star. Excellent TR and thanks again for sharing an amazing day.

For everyone‘s viewing pleasure: We were like kids in a candy store, spending 20 minutes deciding which line to ski (they were all in from the summit, how often does THAT happen?) and then having just as many choices of classic ascent lines from the bottom. This is no ”list-ticker,” we‘ll be back for more!


Beauty pics!
06/05/2009 20:38
Looks like you guys had a great, adrenaline-filled day!


11/30/2010 17:28
Nice job both of you. Since when did you get a whippet?!?! Has it really been that long since we've been out together? We need at least one more summit ski this season before tearing it up next year!


06/06/2009 12:55
Very nice report, Ben! I‘m planning on climbing it (no ski, unfortunately ) this coming Tuesday, so your pics and descriptions provided me with just the perfect amount of beta! Would you happen to remember about what time you re-ascended? I‘m planning on doing it quite a bit earlier, but I‘m curious as to how soft it was vs. the time of day. Thanks!


06/06/2009 23:19
Pikes gets such a bad rap - reports like this show there‘s much more to the mountain than a dirt road, summit house, and doughnuts... it really is a gorgeous peak and, living in the Springs, I love waking up to it every day. Thanks for the report - and congrats on a pitch-perfect ski day!


Thanks y‘all (on my and Ben‘s behalf)
06/07/2009 04:09
Medic, we summited at about 11:45. The snow had softened a lot by then; the best climbing will be before, say, 9:30. Good luck. This face is a little corner of mountaineer‘s paradise.


11/30/2010 17:28
Just to add to what pioletski said, we stopped skiing and turned back at 10:45 and by that time the snow at 12,400' was softening quickly. Have fun up there!


Caught it just right
06/08/2009 03:26
The Y is good for some period of time just about every year. This looks to be as good as it gets. Nice job guys...

Easy Rider

good bata on the lines
06/08/2009 16:50
looks like it really turned out to be an alright spring for you on the front range after all. It‘s all over but the cryin‘ down south here with the red dirt melting everything below 13k. Anyway, good work boys!


Nice Photos
06/08/2009 19:56
Looks like you caught it perfect. Thanks for the TR.


Well Done
06/09/2009 16:15
Your photos keep getting better and better.


06/09/2009 18:50
I wish I could have been there with you! Good Job!


Brings Back Memories
11/30/2010 17:28
My name is Brent Kertzman. Nice job on the photos and trip report. I lived in C Springs during the mid 1980's. No denying Pikes Peak offers the easiest access to some of the sickest back country terrain in the lower 48 states. It is possible to ski 5000+ vertical feet on Pikes Peak.

You can opt for Euoro style as, you can catch a one way on the 8:00AM Cog Railway out of Manitou Springs, eat breakfast on the summit, ski one the versions of the North Chimneys then hike back to Manitou Springs. The round trip takes about seven hours with 5000 vertical drop on skis followed by an 11 mile hike back to the Cog Railway station. 8)

I skied many lines on Pikes Peak with various local partners. One of my riding buddies was a punk nordic puke known as Bryan Becker. I believe he still lives in Manitou Springs. Bryan has extensive knowledge of the history of skiing on Pikes Peak.

I have skied all four of the major summit entrances (plus a number of variations) into the North Chimneys aka Y Couloir. If memory serves me correct, Harvey T. Carter first skied the Y in the early 1970's.

Bryan led me to believe that we skied the first descent of the Left Y Couloir in 1986. Bryan tele-flopped down the skiers left side in the main drain while I dropped in on the skiers right side along a steeper shallow sub drainage that merges into the main Left Y Couloir several hundred vertical feet from the summit.

The ice cliff you refered to on the Left Y Couloir is very passable due to a hidden notch on the skier's right at the cataract unless Global Warming has messed that up. Skiing the Left Y Couloir is more of a commitment than the Central Chimney aka Right Y Couloir.

I almost died in the Central Chimney during an outing in May of 1988. It was a low snow year causing the small rock slab near the summit to become a small aguille. To access the goods that day we had to down climb about 30 meters thru a chimney that is buried most winters.

There was ice hidden under six fresh inches at the exit of the chimney where I was preparing to put my skis on. As I lifted one foot to step into my uphill ski gravity latched onto my sorry carcass and took me on an 800 foot plunge. I was able to self arrest just prior to choke at the cliff bands (the crux).

The exterior finish on my Walrus Poly Pro top was melted from my attempt to self arrest. The leather palms on my new Grandoe GCS gloves were toast likewise. I climbed back up and skied without incident.

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