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Dana Couloir
#57146 06/05/20 02:28 AM
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I'm going to attend an ace axe/crampon seminar this Saturday and plan on doing mt Dana through the Dana Couloir this Sunday. Does anyone know if the route via the Dana Couloir is suitable for beginners? I've heard that you need to cross Dana glacier, and I ain't trying to get eaten by a crevasse.

On a side note, a buddy and I are planning on hiking up White Mountain Peak. I've brought a spare tire in case, but I plan on traveling as far as I can on the dirt road then summit on the same day. We have an extra day if things don't plan out, but I don't want to cover more than 25 mi in a single day. Does anyone know if this seems feasible at the moment?

Re: Dana Couloir and White Mountain Peak
climby_climber #57147 06/05/20 06:12 AM
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You might call the White Mtn ranger station 760-873-2500 to check on the conditions of that road. White Mtn. is a good altitude test for you; a long hike on a dirt road.

The Mt. Dana "Hour Glass" chute is pretty straight forward at about class 2, with a long run-out at the bottom. The hardest part might be the approach through the willows from Tioga Pass, which have many confusing deer tracks through them. Nice camping meadow below the chute.

Re: Dana Couloir and White Mountain Peak
climby_climber #57148 06/05/20 08:48 AM
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As Bob said, the approach to the Dana Couloir can be a bit of work. I vaguely remember some large blocks and small cliffs to navigate on the approach. It’s an excellent beginner climb. You can tag the summit of Dana and just walk down to your car when you’re done.

Re: Dana Couloir and White Mountain Peak
bobpickering #57149 06/05/20 10:40 AM
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I went up the Dana Couloir once in July, and it was probably the most treacherous exposed thing I've ever done. I took several others who, like myself, were not very familiar with ice axe and crampon use, but we made it up without incident. Looking back, it was extremely dangerous -- because all the snow had melted off, so it was down to really hard ice. We each had crampons and a single ice axe. No rope protection, no anchors, nothing. A single slip could have been deadly.

Googling Dana Couloir brings up lots of pictures, and most of them show people climbing and making tracks in decent snow. But then there are a few showing double ice axes and blue ice. I think my climb was made in conditions somewhere in between.

Please be careful!

Re: Dana Couloir and White Mountain Peak
climby_climber #57157 06/06/20 09:37 AM
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I was really into snow and ice couloirs back in the 90’s. The guidebooks were all over the place with their ratings and estimates of steepness, so I made up my own rating system. I actually measured the slope of most of the couloirs I climbed. Each climb got a score based on slope, length, and whether there was a bergschrund. I won’t bore you with my complicated calculations, but I gave 34 couloirs scores from 40 to 171. The Dana Couloir was in 31st place with a score of 44.

My wife and I took a half-day course on Rainier in 1989, so we both knew how to walk on a glacier and self-arrest. Dana was my first couloir climb in October 1993. It was mostly very hard snow, but there was some ice near the top that was so clear that I could see about two inches into it. It didn’t seem that hard, and I had one tool and no rope. Two years later, I took my wife and a relative newbie from work up Dana. One tool each, and no rope. Wife was a little nervous. The newbie was fine.

The Dana Couloir isn’t a good place to fall, but there aren’t many good places to fall in the mountains. It should be firm snow, with no unavoidable ice, this weekend. When you finish the seminar, ask the instructors whether you’re ready for Dana.

Re: Dana Couloir
bobpickering #57158 06/06/20 09:47 AM
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Ive climbed the Dana couloir many times and skied it several times.
The approach is straight forward. Park at the Tioga Lake overlook and follow the trail up Glacier Canyon which begins with a short descent from the parking area. There are a few moraines with talus to cross before getting to the glacier proper but there will be no crevasse problems. This time of year it will be just firm snow and no bergshrund. People are probably skiing it. It's snow filled so less rockfall.
It's about an 800ft couloir at apps. 40-45 degrees; moderate in climbing terms.
Enjoy.

Re: Dana Couloir and White Mountain Peak
bobpickering #57188 06/08/20 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bobpickering
I was really into snow and ice couloirs back in the 90’s. The guidebooks were all over the place with their ratings and estimates of steepness, so I made up my own rating system. I actually measured the slope of most of the couloirs I climbed. Each climb got a score based on slope, length, and whether there was a bergschrund. I won’t bore you with my complicated calculations, but I gave 34 couloirs scores from 40 to 171. The Dana Couloir was in 31st place with a score of 44.

Bob, I would be interested in seeing the list!

Re: Dana Couloir and White Mountain Peak
BFR #57194 06/09/20 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by BFR
Bob, I would be interested in seeing the list!
Hi, Ben. I just emailed you a copy. Unfortunately, global warming (the hoax created by the Chinese) has melted out many of these routes.


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