Joe and myself had been talking about trying to get down to the San Luis Valley since January. We had talked to the ranch in Februrary and had a green light for the 1st week in March, but with no snow on the mountain we decided it was best to hold off. $200 each for a winter trip is alot to pay for bad snow.
Things changed when the upslopes started rolling in, in April. We had good beta from Joes trip to the Crestones the weekend before. The North Face was in. A few calls were made and a date was set.
Joining Joe Brannen and myself were Caleb Wray (RoanMtnMan), Derek Dreschsel(drex27) and Jarrett Luttrell(EasyRider). We were going to meet at the south gate the night before and get a nice early start of 6am
Joe EXTREME Camping 🙂
On the trail/road
At the Four Way we got a good look at the climb to the ridge. The cloud deck seemed to be staying high so on we pressed.
Things started getting ugly as we got closer to the ridge.
On the summit finally. Not being able to see we mistook the 1st False summit for the actual summit. Caleb’s and my altimeter both said we were at 14070. We almost skied from the wrong spot
On to the skiing. The photos can speak volumes of what it was like.
The line is blocked by a 50 foot cliff about 2/3 of the way down. The skiing above this was really wild with vertigo on many turns from the whiteout conditions. The couloir was getting cross loaded by 40 mph winds. It was really fun.
Both Joe and myself carried rando ropes and harnesses but it was so cold nobody wanted to set up a rappel. Note to the next party, RAPPEL IT!
After the cliff there was another small step
Joe Takes a different route
The snow down to the lake was really nice
The skin out was horrible. My skins kept coming off every few steps. It ended up taking about an hour to go up 100 feet up. The snow below 11,400 was very collapsible. The out was one of the hardest I’ve ever been through but this day was truly rewarding.
We ended up going 12 miles and 5400 vert
From Google Earth
Some people have said this hasn’t been skied. Others say they think it has but they don’t actually know anyone that did it.
I personally think it’s a 1st descent because it’s only been offered as a winter style trip 3 times, and the other 2 groups didn’t get it. The Sangres don’t hold snow very long and by the time they open for summer climbing that route would be in bad shape. The top section was in bad shape and it had snowed 4 feet 2 weeks ago.
I’d say we’re claiming it under this frame of thinking and if someone steps up and show the documentation then it’s theirs. There arent any tr’s on the web soooo…….
It seems after further research that a group from Taos may have skied this line around 1980.