Buffalo Mountain: North Couloir (aka Silver Couloir, also Elvis)

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The north couloir on Buffalo (12777'), also called the Silver Couloir, also called Elvis, is justifiably famous, as it offers a steep 3000-foot ski descent. The bottom gets mushy early, so don't wait too late for this classic line. Just climb Buffalo and ski NE from the summit. This route is a stone's throw from my house. On my first trip into it (with Katie Larson and Bob Salazar) my bindings broke 500 feet down and I had to walk down. Lesson learned. Then I skied it properly with Janet Jacks two years later. Photo taken from shoulder of East Red Peak. Below is a better photo taken on May 21, 2007, while ascending East East Red; finally I got to a perfect vantage point.

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Do not underestimate the potential for avalanche when steepness combines with warm spring weather. In mid-May, 2005, there was a serious accident due to an avalanche on this route. This route also saw a double avalanche fatality on April 9, 1993. And on March 31, 2012, in icy conditions, a skier fell to his death.

Here is the view to the summit of Buffalo from the South Summit on May 15, 2005. The N Couloir is a great line, but it appears to be best to go for this on a weekday!

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Here's a view of Buffalo from Coon Hill summit (June 4, 2008).

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And a shot by Todd Beck of Michelle Koss in the middle of it (June 13, 2008).

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In April, 2011, Mike Bennett skied a line just southeast of the Silver Couloir that feeds into the lower part of it. He reported it as 45 degrees with several steep chokes. While this has probably been skied before, a good name for it is still lacking. Here is a photo of Mike’s line -- the narrow couloir emptying into the main north couloir -- taken from the slopes of E Red on June 29, 2011.

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