Finally got to go play in the mountains again. I have been on skins maybe 10 times this year? Too much traveling for work and a torn MCL have kept me on the sidelines. Particularly frustrating was missing out on skiing the North Face of Capitol a few weeks back. Man, I have been thinking about that line for 2 years, the invite came and Jordan even waited to do it on a weekend! Oh well, stoked he got that done.
Saturday I blew off some steam in McCullough Gulch. The trailhead is accessible with low clearance 2WD. The approach is very soggy. A mild freeze didn’t help. The snow flying up high did though, giving me time to stretch out a few different lines this day.
Fletcher was first. I intended to climb the East Face direct but with low-vis just punched steps upward and found myself in a nice couloir which meets the SE ridge a hundred feet below the summit.
Good Climbing on Fletcher
Steep snow through here. The finish was great fun, here it is. You can see my boot tracks. No angle modification. An interesting ski entrance on the trip back down.
Top out on Couloir
The summit ridgeline held snow which reminded me of a day of resort skiing on Mt Bachelor this spring.
I couldn’t quite make out the exit of the East Face direct from the snowcapped summit. It looked like it didn’t go through so I headed back down my ascent route. It turns out it barely did go through, maybe one ski length wide for 20 feet. The descent I got was great though, full value steepness up top and powder through the middle and bottom. Next I headed over to Atlantic via Atlantis Couloir.
Looking at Atlantic and Atlantis
I was astonished by all the snow on the summit ridgeline of Atlantic. Neat to see what everyone has been talking about all year. The summit cairn was actually well below and 150 feet west of the highest summit snow.
Summit of Atlantic
I was ready to pop! Four to six inches of dry fresh coated the upper slopes of my ski descent. These turns were worth every step. After a dozen fast pow turns, I came over a roll into the Y couloir. Great conditions. Smooth snow, fresh pow. June... thank you Colorado.
Atlantic East Face Y Coulior
Next was what I really came out this day to ski. The North Face direct on Quandary. Why is it this doesn’t get skied more often I wonder? More dangerous snow pack or harder access? Whatever it is, I think this is the primo line off this popular peak.
Booting Quandary North Face
The skiing began 30 feet below the summit cairn and the choke goes through.
Top of Line with Hikers on Summit
Best Line on Quandary?
North Direct Tracks
Always a good feeling when the plan comes together. I have Debbie’s banana bread and my brother’s tamarind candy to thank for getting me through all the booting this day.