May 30 2011
I had the chance to ski last Monday but after hearing about the fatal slide on Torreys and 4 other incidents that friends got into I chickened out. I decided to fix my band saw and do some work in the garage. 2 feet of new I thought should have some time to relax. The weather was looking good to get some things done towards the end of the week and I thought perhaps a little warm up and cool down was in order. A few trips prior we got shut down due to rapid warming and approaching storms so West Dyer was high on my list. A few days later I got turned around after skiing Prospect Mtn. That was due to grauple. I figured combining the 2 north facing lines and doing a car shuttle would be a great way to go.
Nate, Rob and myself met the famous Stan Wagon in Leadville and dropped off a car at the Mosquito Pass snow line. We then headed to the Iowa Gulch trailhead and got ready. The original plan was to try and drive up to Long and Derry Hill to save about 1000 vert but there was too much snow still so Iowa Gulch would have to work. We made decent time to the base and skinned up the gully just to the west of our intended line. It got a bit steep and we booted a ways. Then the skins went back on till we got to the grassy slopes on the ridge. For the ski we leap frogged the line taking pics and enjoying surprisingly good snow. The lower half of the gully tightens up and gets a bit steep. This was a really fun line. The only detractor was the wet debris in the lower 200 feet. Fun stuff.
We then re-skinned and headed for the saddle between Dyer Mtn and West Dyer. This was a really easy skin except for one steep section. The snow was soft enough and well bonded enough to make this reasonable. On the east ridge of West Dyer I noticed something really cool and unexpected. The chutes coming off the North Rib all had these really cool towers. These towers are also known as gendarmes or hoodoos. It makes you feel like you’re in a strange land when you’re amongst these towers.
This line had a bit more snow loaded into it. It wasn’t super wet but it was deeper. We skied it carefully. It was a blast. The out was a bit collapsy but that’s to be expected in spring. Great getting out again with you guys and nice to finally meet you Stan.
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