Dragons Tail Couloir

Dragons Tail Couloir
Distance: ~5 miles
Elevation Gain: ~2600'
Time: ~4:45
Date: 4/26/2014

Perhaps the most popular snow climb/ski descent in Rocky Mountain National Park, I have passed by this classic couloir many times either at its base in Tyndall Gorge or atop Flattop Mountain's long east ridge.  Today was the day to get it done.  Martin le Roux & I met at the Beaver Meadows Visitor center & carpooled to the Bear Lake Trailhead.  We skinned up Tyndall Gorge to the base of the couloir where we strapped our skis to our packs & donned crampons.  We took the climbers' left fork (Dragons Tail proper) instead of the Incisor variation.  The climb was straightforward, but required a minor traverse across a small rock-band.  We topped out on Flattop Mountain's east ridge, clicked into our skis & made the descent.  The upper third of the couloir is ~50 degrees & requires a brief traverse above the aforementioned rock-band.  After the rock-band the slope angle steadily decreased until reaching the apron where we encountered large runnels & avalanche debris.

Dragons Tail Couloir & Incisor Descents from Emerald Lake