Honored to have been invited to take part in the ClimbTalk radio show on 1190am KVCU. The radio station is run by CU Boulder. Looking forward to the next time. Thank you Mike Brooks for having me. Also it was great to meet Mike and Bryan from FacingHomelessnessBoulder and Big City Mountaineers respectively. Please support the fine work these gentlemen are doing.
As always use your head out in the backcountry. Just because you want to ski a line doesn’t mean you should. Dig in representative zones to figure out if it’s the right call. Use extra caution when under avalanche slopes. Remember that every line has its time and it will still be there if the conditions this time aren’t optimal. You can never eliminate the risk but with knowledge and practice you can mitigate it; if you’re wrong though it can cost you everything.
The last time I was in this zone I spotted this line from the ascent of Prairie. We’d already skied Berry Gulch but I thought this might be a good winter objective too. It’s pretty short but doesn’t see much use. We did see two tracks near the top, though we only used the lower half of their skin track and lost the other half in the woods. So it was basically a sufferfest on the up. I ended up breaking trail through 20-30″ of fist the whole way. It was a painful 2000′ of vert. It was really interesting to see an almost complete lack of layering in the snow pack. I dug a lot along the way. Except for the area right at treeline we found almost no slabs; though you could say the entire pack was one big, barely cohesive slab. The going was a lot tougher than in Utah. But we got it done. This is a really cool line with well spaced trees, a great angle and some loading. There are certainly zones to use extra care in, like in the gully proper, but the main hazards are plenty avoidable. Multiple sections approach 40 degrees though, so stability is essential to avoiding trouble here.
4.8 miles roundtrip and 3,200 vert for the day. Very slow due to breaking trail. Would rate advanced, winter. It was good to get a book line done; it’s been way too long.
Thanks for a great tour Allison. The sunset was one of the coolest I’ve ever seen in Colorado or anywhere for that matter. Anywhere however doesn’t have the Gore Range though. It’s always good to take a visit to Sperryville and exit in the dark. This day was very similar to the last time we were on this mountain, however much less painful due to the warmer temps and a better plan for the exit.
After spending too much time in the Salt Palace for the Outdoor Retailer show I was in need of some alone time. The first night it snowed a decent amount up at Alta, or so I heard. However the idea of Wasangeles wasn’t too appealing. I was looking to get away from the crowds. I was drawn to the Ogden area for my love of hot springs but I couldn’t tell from the internet whether the springs were still open. You never know till you go though so that’s just what I did. I headed up to the trailhead and camped. At about 1 am I woke up in a sweat and promptly emptied my stomach of the MacDonalds that I had for dinner. Feeling much better I went back to sleep at least until the other groups arrived.
I started up the mountain at about 9am. I made great time for a guy off the couch. In my excitement I forgot my water but luckily had a half liter of three week old Gatorade. It didn’t smell bad so I guess it would work. I ended up getting about 4000′ of vert in 2 1/2 hours. Pretty good for off the couch or more accurately off the kitchen line. It’s so good to be out of the kitchen and back to what I love. Axios in Denver was a great restaurant and being Sous Chef there was an honorable pursuit but I’m a skier not a chef. It’s been a tough 8 months and especially tough after we were on Food Network. But that phase is over now and this solo was just what I needed to put myself back in the right mindset.
I reached the summit ridge amid pea soup skies. I debated what to do. Should I push on for the summit or ski. It looked like the summit pyramid was going to be pretty spicy. I wasn’t sure it was the best thing to do. As if on cue the viz got better and I could see the line. My decision was made and I went for the pow. It was so good with about a foot of new.
Sore and tired I headed for my Utah tradition of In N Out Burger. Then it was time to head back to Colorado.
It was a beautiful day to ride in the alpine; the winds were light and the sky was blue. With temps skyrocketing on the Front Range lately getting up high seemed like the way to go. The CDT offered a nice challenge on the up and the down. I love bikeneering; there was some of this. I know that’s not a word but it should be; this isn’t the same as hitting the local trails, you have to take into consideration so many factors throughout the day. We both have been a little under the weather lately so it was nice to get out and play. The up was tough and the down was just as tough, especially coming off Stanley. Not sure if we broke the wilderness rules as it looks like the CDT follows the border of the Vasquez Peak section. We didn’t see any no biking signs, in fact the sign at the Loop Trail trailhead on Jones Pass Road said bikes were permitted. With a giant mine present for much of the ride it didn’t feel like wilderness
With clouds building, phlem being coughed up and a leaky tire we decided to call it a day. Hmm the 3 negatives makes an appearance in the summer; perhaps it’s a credo.
Got up early for some fun after some clear nights. It was good to stretch the legs and get up high. The snow is melting fast with minimal freezing at night but there is compaction and stability to go have some fun; just be off the snow early, or else. The bigger, higher lines should be holding snow for a while.
Thanks for a great couple tours my lady, always a pleasure.
Just a video this time around. Be sure to watch it in HD.
It’s amazing how much snow can be lost in a week. With minimal freezing just that happened this past week, at least on west facing lines around Berthoud Pass. The Bear Claw on Parry is no longer in from the summit and the line we wanted in Flora Creek was no longer in, not that we could see it anyway. It felt line Scotland up there on the divide in the fog, so that was good as “If it’s not Scottish it’s crap!”; sounds better with a Scottish accent and a few whiskies. The skiing was really good and it was fun to be back in there again. The last time was with Doumall and a foot and a half of pow in January a few years ago. With the bottom section melted out the walk out was very steep and focused. It was tough getting a ride back to the pass.
With all the snow this spring has delivered to Colorado it seemed like a good time to talk about summer backcountry lines.
Arapahoe Basin is set to close the weekend of June 14 and may yet push that date out even further; they have been known to stay open till July 4. With more than 100 inches in some locations since mid-April, the snow pack is deep this year and should last till late in the summer.
However, with less than cold temperatures in the evenings, the snow pack at the moment needs some time to stabilize. When planning a day out in the summer remember that a nice freeze the night before is key to avoiding avalanche trouble. Risk can be mitigated by starting early and finishing early. We’re here for corn turns and fun. Wet slides are no fun.
This has been an interesting spring. There’s been so much weather. It’s hard to justify heading up to the hills to get work done on the next book when I’m not sure if I can get the shots I need. Plus I started back cooking, gotta pay the bills thru summer, unless sponsors wanna come thru with large amounts of cash But the weather gods aligned for a fun tour yesterday. We accessed via Ruby Gulch and had a fun trip up the West Gully. There was enough of a radiational “freeze” to allow for safe skiing even though the steepest slopes approached the mid 40s. We then headed over towards Winter Park to go for Parry’s Bear Claw. But we arose to rain and clouds and a forecast of 70% thunderstorms. Another time I guess.
Still it was nice to get back to center. Next week I’m hoping to accomplish more and I’m also hoping the weather will cooperate. Bring on the sun, just a few hours in the AM please.