San Luis Peak 14,014′ Yawner Gully & UN13,300′ North Couloir 4/8/2017

One of my goals for this spring is to try and finish off the 14ers in Colorado and the Lower 48. Been dreading this one a little. The skiing isn’t hard or anything but it’s so damn far, 20 miles round trip from the winter closure. I lucked out like on Ouray and got a freshly plowed road to the junction with Bachelor Mine Road. The day still ended up being 17 miles and 7000′ of vertical. Felt pretty good for the day and got it done in 10:20. Made really good time to the standard saddle. From there I went up the ridge to the east. I made decent time to the first ski. The snow was firm on the subpeak of 13285. I scratched some turns and covered ground to the first real objective of the day. Once on top I looked at the ridge traverse ahead and realized the second objective wasn’t really looking good; UN13155. Well maybe ski this then hook up with the main trail.

I approached the edge and tried to pick out a line. I wasn’t sure if it went but I’d just ski it mellow and deal with it. I dropped in and encountered a bunch of different snow on the new variation of my set up; the Scarpa F1 and the RMU La Cabra. Both handled the challenging conditions well. There was a cool wind formed┬áspine to deal with to get to what looked like a clean exit. Near the bottom the snow got really good as you can see in the pics, I got like 20 nice turns and then it went trap crust. From there I traversed around to a short boot pack. Then I traversed Yawner valley to get to the ridge. This is where the wind really picked up. Cross wind or headwind for the whole ridge. Sustained 60+ mph. I thought I was in the Front Range or something. Head down and deal with it I guess. At the summit I caught up with the group just ahead of me. Good to meet you Tim and company.

The Yawner Gullies are about as fat as they ever get. The wind kept the upper snow cool though so for the first third we were dealing with a funky trap crust. It finally relented to nearly perfect corn to the bottom. The skin out was painful but it was mostly hidden from the wind so the sun made it pleasant. Back at the standard saddle I was stoked to start skiing again. The corn was sweet to Equity mine and then it just became a bear of skating and duck waking. It felt a little like skiing uphill for the exit.

Stoked I waited to get the Yawner line. Also stoked on Organ and some other lines in the zone. Looking forward to going back for some more suffering.

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