South Arapaho Peak 13,397′ Skywalker Couloir 7/16/05

This is Rob’s report from TGR. Rob if you want me to take this down just let me know.
Here’s another try under a new name. Sorry for my part in the immaturity. PlatinumPete – thanks for your objective evaluation – it was enlightening in that it was phrased objectivley and not in the form of an attack. Iceman – sorry for the attitude – I have bowed to your request.

So, without further adieu…

The participants
Dside11-11 – formerly Darksider not Darkside

Elevation 13397
Distance 4.5 miles roundtrip
Vertical Gain 3200
Vertical Skied 1200
Start 9:00am
Duration 5 hours car to car

It started with a recon mission on Wednesday. KillingCokes (Fritz) and his son, KillingDiapers (Calvin) had a few potential routes in mind, and set out to see which one looked the best for a quick trip Saturday morning. Calvin was gettin’ after it on some small snow patches – a glimpse of the future.

They scoped the Skywalker and it look good, as did the Phoebe Couloir on Mt. Neva.

I got the call on Wednesday night, Fritz saying that he had decided Skywalker looked best, and I told him I was in.

Saturday morning, we drove to the Fourth of July Trailhead among throngs of Boulderites in their Subarus. After a couple miles of hiking and enduring the obligatory, “You are going skiing?! In July?!” comments, we were hangin’ with some marmots at the foot of the couloir, or as some Texan guys called it, the “coolyer.”

We geared up and I took the lead on the climb.

Snow was good and firm, despite our late start. The Skywalker gets late sun hit, so leaving Denver at 7 AM worked out just fine. Climbing moved fast, and we were at the top of the coolio in 45 minutes. We took a break, had a Clif bar, and realized it was noon – about the time we had hoped to be back at the car, seeing as how Fritz told his babysitter we would be back no later than 1:30; whoops. Instead of making a poke at the summit, we decided to just go ahead and ski.

Here’s a few shots of me, after pretty much having called it Mtn Bike season for the last month+.

Snow was perfect corn, letting just enough slough fly to make it interesting. Top section approached 50 degrees (KillingCokes said it was steeper than the crux of Apache which he measured at 48), mellowed out to 40’s for the rest of the run. Not much in the way of hazards except for a few holes in the pack and a pretty big runnel which proved to be more fun than anything.

Here’s some shots of Fritz skiing.

After getting down and throwing our sneaks back on, it was time to haul ass back to face the wrath of Ellie – Fritz’s friend who, regrettably by now, had volunteered to watch Calvin kill some diapers. When prompted for an excuse, Fritz replied simply, “sorry.” – Dolt. She was two hours late for a family reunion – he tried to smooth it over with a few bottles of wine, but I’m thinkin’ he’s gonna need to find a new sitter or teach that little guy how to ski for next year.

We ran the whole trail back to the car, but not without snapping a parting shot of our tracks, and one of a spectacular cascade across the valley.

And here’s a funny shot of me practicing my snarl (I watched Rocky and Rambo movies every day as a kid) – feel free to have a field day with this one

Great line – any turns I get in July make me feel lucky to be living in Colorado. Huge payback for minimal effort on the approach and climb.

Thanks to KillingCokes and KillingDiapers for doing the recon and getting me to drag my lazy ass out into the mountains. Thanks and sorry to Ellie as well.

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