Dead Dog Couloir Trip Report

Mike Whitfield dropping into Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

COLORADO – Torreys Peak is located in the Front Range Mountains of Colorado with a summit elevation of 14,267 feet.  The first man to ascend Torreys Peak was a local botanist Charles C. Parry in 1869. I left my house at 4:30 in the morning, its been a while since I have been up that early. By 6:30 am we were leaving the trailhead, heading out toward Dead Dog Couloir.

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

We hiked, snowshoed and skinned into the Torrey’s Peak drainage. The views were amazing, we had ample time to spot our lines from the valley floor as we started to gain the ridge.

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Brett George on the Torreys Peak approach Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

After seeing the potential lines I decided my goal for the day was to ride the “Dead Dog Couloir”. Now keep in mind at the time I didn’t have a mountaineering gear axes or crampons so we opted to hike up the shoulder between Grays and Torreys Peak instead of climbing up the center of the couloir which would have been a much more direct route and surely would have saved us some time on the approach.

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Knife Ridge going up Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker

After 6 hours of climbing and scrambling, we found ourselves standing atop Torreys Peak.

Torreys Peak Baggers

Torreys Peak Baggers

Now it was time for a little Avalanche talk before we descended 2,500 feet to the valley floor. The newly formed cornice has 1-2 feet thick so we cut it off with a rope and nothing moved aside from a little sluff which was to be expected on a slope of this degree.

Cornice Cutting on Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Cornice Cutting on Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Just to be safe we then hooked one of the guys up to a rope and sent him over the edge to do a ski cut. We wanted to be extra safe with the all the fresh snow we were about to ride. Honestly, it was a bit of a surprise for all of us to see mid-winter conditions in early May at 14,000 feet.

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Our ski cut didn’t get any results, the group felt confident and we began to ski and ride the slope one at a time.

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

The turns looked amazing from the top, full on AK style blower pow. The guys weaved there way down the rocks, chutes, and powder going fall line down Torrey’s.

I had another line in mind, the “Dead Dog Couloir” when I got to the top of the line it was untracked, not a single blemish. Just waiting for me to lay down my art on the slope. I dropped in ski cut the side, nothing moved and proceeded to fly down the mountain.

I say fly as I only made about 6-8 turns down the entire face. The snow was perfect. Probably the best line I have ever skied in Colorado… Reminded me of heli-skiing in Haines, Alaska. Actual it is the best line I have ever ridden in Colorado, hands down!

Dead Dog Couloir Photos

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Views like this won’t ever get old Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

.. and same with views like this from atop Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

This random nutbag went for a second lap… Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Brett and Mike chat about the universe Photo Mike Hardaker

Mike Whitfield Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Mike Whitfield Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Can’t wait to ride that line again Photo Mike Hardaker

Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Everyone was stoked after ripping that face Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Brett George riding Dead Dog on Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Brett George riding Dead Dog on Torreys Peak Photo Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

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About the Author

Mike Hardaker
Mike Hardaker grew up surfing and snowboarding in Orange County and followed his love of surfing to Hawaii before eventually moving to the mountains to concentrate on snowboarding. When not on a board, Mike worked for Snowboarder and later oversaw TGR's online publication. He went on to found Mountain Weekly News where he is still CEO and Editor in Chief.

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