Red Slate Mountain North Couloir

Mammoth Lakes, California

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Red Slate Mountain is the tallest and most massive peak in this part of the Sierra. There is a tremendous view of the northern High Sierra from the summit and this led James Gardiner of the Whitney Survey to make the first ascent in 1864. Norman Clyde wrote, “As one looks northward from any of the [Rock Creek area] summits, he descries, not many miles distant, a group of softly-colored mountains whose reds and browns delight the eye, surmounted by one considerably higher, Red Slate Mountain, a readily climbed peak that overlooks a wide panorama.” The peak is easily ascended from most sides. The exception is the steep north face, which is split by a striking couloir. In the spring, this snow gully has become something of a test piece for extreme skiers and snowboarders. The challenging descent is made especially hazardous due to the tricky entry and off-camber fall line in the couloir. Later in the year, the couloir makes an excellent introduction to Sierra snow and ice climbing. There have been a number of accidents in the couloir, including a fatal fall by an experienced pair of Tahoe climbers in the summer of 1995.

Red Slate Mountain: North Couloir Professional Review and Guide

"Red Slate Mountain is the tallest and most massive peak in this part of the Sierra. There is a tremendous view of the northern High Sierra from the summit and this led James Gardiner of the Whitney Survey to make the first ascent in 1864. Norman Clyde wrote, “As one looks northward from any of the [Rock Creek area] summits, he descries, not many miles distant, a group of softly-colored mountains whose reds and browns delight the eye, surmounted by one considerably higher, Red Slate Mountain, a readily climbed peak that overlooks a wide panorama.” The peak is easily ascended from most sides. The exception is the steep north face, which is split by a striking couloir. In the spring, this snow gully has become something of a test piece for extreme skiers and snowboarders. The challenging descent is made especially hazardous due to the tricky entry and off-camber fall line in the couloir. Later in the year, the couloir makes an excellent introduction to Sierra snow and ice climbing. There have been a number of accidents in the couloir, including a fatal fall by an experienced pair of Tahoe climbers in the summer of 1995."

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Mammoth Lakes
Class: Class 4
Local Contacts: John Muir Wilderness
Local Maps: USGS Convict Lake
Driving Directions: Directions to Red Slate Mountain: North Couloir

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May 2018