TBT: Dragons Tail Couloir Ski (April 2006)

(Last Updated On: March 23, 2017)

This post is part of a Throwback Thursday series featuring trip reports that we haven’t had a chance to write about until now! Look for them at least every other Thursday!

Rocky Mountain National Park harbors some great backcountry skiing. Many of the lines are not easily accessible until Trail Ridge Road becomes plowed around Memorial Day weekend. But, thankfully the Bear Lake trailhead remains open all year and offers great skiing for those who are looking. Perhaps the most popular crown jewel of the area is Dragons Tail Couloir.

This steep line cuts down from the ridge of Flattop Mountain into the glacially carved valley below. There are probably almost as many pictures of this iconic view as there are of the Maroon Bells.

View of Taylor Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Tyndall Gorge, photo taken May, 2015. Dragons Tail (and Dragons Tooth, or Dead Elk couloir) on the right.

Back then I knew nothing about skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park. But, my friend Dave did. We had attempted Dragons Tail Couloir back in March, but inclement weather and dangerous conditions forced us to save our goal for another time.

Backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir.
Close up of Dragons Tail Couloir.

Dragons Tail, the jewel above Emerald Lake. I’m the tiny dot at the bottom.
Backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir.

Dave always climbed faster than me. Good thing he was the one with the camera πŸ™‚
Backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir.

Near the top, there was a bit of a crux move. But, there was already a fixed rope in place to help.
B

Of course, it got steeper.
B

Dave at the top of the line. The day could not have been more beautiful.
Dave Bourassa backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir.

It was then time to reap the reward for the ski down. Dave handed his camera over to me so I could catch a few shots.
Dave Bourassa backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir.

Dave Bourassa backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir.

Dave Bourassa backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir.

Dave Bourassa backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir.

And then a few shots of me.
Brittany Walker Konsella backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir.

Brittany Walker Konsella backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir

Brittany Walker Konsella backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir

Brittany Walker Konsella backcountry skiing Dragons Tail Couloir

This is one line I have not forgotten. Easy to access, good vertical, and wonderfully aesthetic, Dragons Tail Couloir has become a popular backcountry ski for a reason. I went back to repeat it just last year, but again bad weather got in the way. Don’t worry. I’ll be back again πŸ™‚

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate πŸ™‚ Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

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Summary
Dragons Tail Couloir Ski
Article Name
Dragons Tail Couloir Ski
Description
Easy to access, good vertical, and wonderfully aesthetic, Dragons Tail Couloir has become a popular backcountry ski for a reason!
Author

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

2 thoughts on “TBT: Dragons Tail Couloir Ski (April 2006)

  • March 23, 2017 at 1:37 pm
    Permalink

    If you’re not into climbing you can just skin up to the top of the Dragons Tail.

  • March 23, 2017 at 1:47 pm
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    It’s true! Although it can sometimes be tricky to find the entrance from the ridge on Flattop! It’s not as obvious as some, like the Corral Couloir.

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