All three of us have wanted to ski the Angel for years. We finally got a chance.
530am departure with great visibility on the rolly rock sections of the lower trail.
Signing in at the trail register 530am
We had been told 2 weeks prior that snow came down to the first half mile from the trailhead. Not today, trail was dry past the 11,200ft exit point into the angel couloir. A local had told us it had been very hot in Buena Vista the previous week. In fact we didn't find continuous snow until about 11400ft. The entrance into the couloir wasn't too difficult, except for tree branches snagging our skis.
While gratefully moving our skis from out packs to our feet, we ran into a large group from the CMC HAMS (High Altitude Mountaineering School) course, working on the snowclimbing technique.
View up the couloir just below 11,400ft
The snow was badly suncupped, usually 8" deep, with a slight radiation freeze the night before. Climbing skins had problems bridging between the suncups. Dan and Dominique were smart enough to use Ski Crampons, I ended up pushing on my poles alot.
We climbed the climbers left arm of the angel, as it was much longer than her head or right arm. We ran out of snow at about 13,300ft, just below the saddle.
Top of the Angels right arm (climbers left)
A Watcher on the skyline
Stashing our skis, we hiked to remaining ~ 1000ft to the Summit of Shavano. Dan and Dominique were very impressive, climbing in their AT boots, I had switched from teleboots to light approach shoes. There was a large group of climbers at the summit, including the CMC course.
Shavano Summit Party
We made it!
After hiking back down and putting on ours skis, we found only a few good turns; suncups, boot tracks and glissade runnels made things a bit dicey. Sorry, no photos of the skiing, just trying to stay upright.
Fairly unremarkable hike back down to the car. Driving out, we shot these photos of the Angel. All in all, a good day in the Colorado mountains.
Remembering the Angel