Peak:  "East Storm" (13er)
 Route:  Northeast Couloir
 Range:  San Juan
 Posted By:  supranihilest
 Date of Info:  05/30/2021
 Date Posted:  05/30/2021

This CR starts from the top of Storm Peak A's Grande couloir in Velocity Basin. See the route overview for more info.

We plunge stepped Grande, retrieved our snowshoes, then traversed on annoying sidehill all the way across "East Storm"'s north face and into the upper bowl below its northeast corner. This is the northeast couloir, which starts going climber's left and bends climber's right halfway up. We French stepped all the way up it to the right of a large tower on "East Storm"'s east ridge. Snow was similar to Gnar - mostly good with a short section of punchy trash. The upper section was nicely stepped out.

At the ridge we traversed on snow underneath steep, ugly choss and joined more moderate but dry slopes, crossing them to more snow on the south face. This slope is quite steep, stupid loose (dirt and scree with mostly useless grass here and there), and has cliffs at the bottom. I tried it dry last year and bailed, and was very grateful to have crampons this time around. Microspikes would probably work in dry conditions. Once we reached the snow covered south face we went straight up a narrow chute to the summit ridge, being very mindful of the large cornice topping the ridge, and traversed on steep, mushy snow to the summit.

From the summit we down climbed the center of the snowy face and then traversed several hundred feet of snow back to where we had left the dry slope. From that point we simply reversed the dry crossing, the snow traverse to the tower at the top of the couloir, and then plunge stepped the couloir, glissading the last few hundred feet to the lake. We took our crampons off at the lake and then booted back to the parking area.

Gear (for "East Storm"'s northeast couloir and south face): axe and crampons mandatory. The down climb from the summit was much easier with a second axe but it probably isn't necessary. Flotation not necessary. Early start highly recommended.

Photos (click for slideshow):
#1) Route overview from parking area.#2) From our snowshoe cache looking east across slopes towards "East Storm".#3) From near the bend in the northeast couloir.#4) Farther up the couloir. Stay to the right of the large tower.#5) Down the couloir.#6) Traverse from the top of the couloir#7) Dry slopes. Traction was useful.#8) Up to the summit ridge with the narrow gully visible.#9) Summit ridge.#10) Summit ridge and south face. We down climbed the face.#11) Looking straight down the face. It’s significantly steeper than it looks.#12) Traverse back towards the dry slopes.#13) Heather down climbing the face.#14) Heather on the traverse back to the top of the couloir.#15) Storm group north faces without route overview.

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