(530) 582-0909 | info@thebackcountry.net | 11400 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161 | Open Daily 8am-6pm!

Coke Chute to Kidney Couloir

Location: Lee Vining, CA – Tioga Pass
Elevation Change: 5000′ from the gate closer on hwy 120 to Dana Plateau
Recomended Map: Tioga Pass

This post is primarily about a tour I like to do, but so many variations are possible. There is too much to say about the Tioga Pass area and the Dana Plateau for one post. The Kidney Couloir is on the south end, and quite protected from wind. This is the most likely soft snow if all the gnar couloirs you might be aiming for are scaring you with their hardened snow. If they are powder, stay over there and forget trekking all the way to the end of the Plateau. You could climb the Kidney Couloir and return the same long way, but I prefer the loop of ascending Coke Chute in the center of the Dana Plateau. Ideally, hwy 120 would be open and you would just skin a few easy hours from 9500′. The park service doesn’t get the gate open in time usually for snow to stick around down low for the old car shuttles of the past, so you are probably going to get up there the hard way.

You park near the power plant, below V Bowl on a side street parallel to hwy 120. As you drive the power plant access road west towards the building, look for a small clearing on the left with willows and a small meadow. The essential bridge you need to cross is 100 yards from the road right here. We used to cross sketchy logs and not even realize this bridge was here! Then head up V bowl, usually with ski crampons to the huge cirque below all the cool couloirs. Many people just ski up to the bowl and play around all day. Liberty Chute, Ripper Chute, Coke Chute, 3rd pillar chute, and more extreme lines are commonly skied up there. You’ll find some more mellow terrain in this area as well as awesome couloirs coming off the plateau all along the eastern edge.

For the ultimate Dana Plateau drop of Kidney Couloir or Coke Chute (the least extreme with 2000′, half at 40 degrees steep), try this one. Climb Dana Peak to it’s 13k summit and ski off the south side, dropping into the north facing classic Dana Couloir. Skin or walk 800′ back up to the Dana Plateau and drop off down to the power plant road, for a total descent of 8000′. If you shuttle a car when the hwy 120 gate is open, you’ll only have to climb half of that vert. However you will be walking down dry forest slopes near the bottom even in a huge snow year. So just go from the bottom and put in a Mt. Shasta size day in a beautiful setting above Lee Vining. No, I haven’t done this loop yet. I remember the car shuttle days and am soft. We do usually put in about 6000′ vert to ski this Coke – Kidney Loop, because you won’t want to miss a few sweet slopes you cross on the way back.

 

Previous

Next

2 Comments

  1. Mike

    on 4/4/17 Gabe Metzger and Paul Bradicich joined me on this tour up V bowl, Coke Chute, and down Kidney Couloir. It was cold and windy all the way to Kidney Couloir and firm at the top, but after 2 turns it just turned to money corn snow everywhere all the way to the car. we couldn’t help but yo you a bit along the way and ski some of the virgin wide open backcountry slopes beneath the east side of Dana Plateau along the route home.

    We tried to climb the far right side of Coke Chute to the plateau but the last little bit was too sketchy without a rope. We down climbed really steep snow to re-join the standard route, which is still quite steep and firm. Snow coverage is perfect right now to skin from the car, but it’s already starting to get patchy in the first few hundred vert.

  2. Mike

    pics from today. up coke chute, down kidney couloir. money corn everywhere.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Backcountry skiing Dana Couloir California - TheOutdoorClick - […] GREAT Article were info was resourced  https://thebackcountry.net/coke-chute-to-kidney-couloir-dana-plateau/ […]

Submit a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This