Mt Columbia 14,073′ East Ridge to South Gully 3/18/07

So the call (actually a pm) came on Tuesday from Brittany. “Let’s go ski something this weekend.”

Ideas were thrown back and forth, Should we go get Massive, no we don’t have a sled, and neither of us want to do a 20 mile slog. Hmmm what about Columbia, that should be easy. We saw the TR on 14ers.com and it looked reasonable. We’d go up the ridge so we had options. After last weekend an easy trip was needed, so 4900′ vert and 12 miles later easy trip in the bag. 😉

We met up at the T-Rex lot in Morrison a little after 3am. We blazed westward to Bailey and gathered Kya. From there we sped past the UFOs of South Park to the trailhead just outside Buena Vista and the fourth of our group Doumall.

The group getting ready at the crack of 6

Working our way up to the ridge from the Main(Colorado) Trail

The light, I have seen the light

This ridge is LONG. That is the only way to describe this route. 6 miles and just short of 5000′ vert, and with all the up and down it might just be 5000. I have to say though that I really like it. The views were good and the company was awesome. Each section of the ridge seemed to have it’s own mood. From the snowy wooded zones, to the rock bluff, to bristlecone corpses and corniced drops, each zone had it’s own feeling or personality. Columbia’s a cool mountain.

Columbia way, way way off in the distance

Yale looking a little thin from the north

“You mean we’ve come all this way and we still have to go over to there?”

Finally on Top

A nice look at Harvard from the Top

Time to ski. Piecing it together for the summit descent. We skied across the east face to the south ramp thinking that we’d get more vert and better conditions. Here’s the summit and ridge portions. The wind was really kicking up there. It pushed MBSC to the ground a couple times, while she was hiking.
[IMG]http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w43/killingcokes/Columbia_Ski_3_18_2007233.jpg?t=1174359896[/IMG]

After perhaps 500 vert of skiing we hiked down 100 or so vert down to the entrance of the South Ramp. From here we had a 2200′ shot to the valley. The corn was good. Creamy and sweet with just the right seasoning. It wasn’t overcook in the middle. It was nice to let them fly in some of my favorite conditions.

Cool zone at the bottom of the gully. It was surprising to me how firm the dirty snow at the bottom was. I was thinking with the darkness of it there would be more heat absorption but it was nice and carvable.

The end of real skiing was the beginning of another adventure that involved getting stuck 2 or 300 times in waist deep collapsible sugar snow. It took us about 2 hours to get down the 1000 vert to the trail. Props to Kya and Doumall for breaking trail. I was too heavy to be of much help. Thank you so much. Once we found the trail things were a hell of a lot easier. It was a tough day but a day with no caves was what I was after

Great skiing with you again MBSC, we should do it again sometime, though maybe let’s not wait a year again. Doumall a pleasure as always, it was nice not having to spoon you again. Kya it was great to finally meet you. I felt like I knew you already from all the TRs I’ve seen you in. A fun day indeed. Thanks alot.

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