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Peak(s):  Mt Toll - 12,979 feet
Post Date:  06/27/2011
Date Climbed:   06/25/2011
Posted By:  pioletski

 Fathers and Sons on Mt Toll   

A Father's Day Card...

Climb and ski descent of Mt Toll (12,979'), Indian Peaks Wilderness
Crew: Chris (cjw), Matt (pioletski), Bob (Matt's dad)

Some of you may remember my dad from a trip to Grays Peak a couple of years ago. Since then, a few things have happened that remind me how precious a gift it is for us to continue doing these trips together. Our 3rd partner from Grays, Mike, is no longer with us, and Dad has had to deal with some significant injuries. Thus I am grateful for the opportunity to share another day in the backcountry with him.

We chose Mt Toll, an old favorite. OK, it's not a 14er or even a 13er, though it's close. It is an elegant peak with a nice snowfield down its southwest flank. It is also the setting of many pleasant memories of spring skiing; in fact, it was my first ski mountaineering trip. Here is Dad's picture of me at about age 10, with my Head Standards, blue jeans and flannel shirt, on that first outing:


Chris joined us, and we left Brainard Lake at about 5:30 am. To our surprise, 5 days after the summer solstice, we found the Long and Mitchell Lake trailheads already closed for next winter. Talk about a short summer!


Still, that added perhaps 1/2 mile to the hike, and we were soon looking up at Mt Toll from Mitchell Lake:


Here's Bob steaming up the trail:


Chris looking studly:


Blue Lake, mostly white:


Skinning above Blue Lake:


At the col between Toll and Pawnee one gets a first glimpse into the Lone Eagle/Crater Lake basin:


And the view from the top is grand. Southward it's a little complex: r to l, Apache, Navajo and Arikaree, with Arapaho peeking between Navajo and Arikaree, Shoshoni in the middle foreground, and Pawnee in the (left) foreground:


North: Paiute, etc:


Northwest: the Never Summers, which might just live up to their name this year:


East: Blue, Mitchell and Brainard lakes, and Left Hand Reservoir:


Group portrait courtesy of a Mini-Pod and a handy rock:


Chris kindly provided dark chocolate and a dessert wine - a stellar combination!

Photo: Chris

Now for the real fun. The snow was perfect corn for about 800 vertical feet and marshmallows below that. Chris took a nice shot of Dad mixin' it up:

Photo: Chris

I didn't do quite so well but got this shot of Chris:


My tracks above the blue part of Blue Lake:

Photo: Chris

Leaving Blue Lake:


Mt Audubon:


Practicing the Willow Float:


Returning to Mitchell Lake:


And dealing with the dirty mounded snow back to the trailhead:


Happy Father's Day and thanks for reading!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Bravo!     06/28/2011 11:41
Well done!


Congrats to you and your Dad     06/28/2011 14:35
Great stuff in beautiful country. Gotta love the IPW.


So bummed I couldn't make it!     06/28/2011 15:04
argh - oh well, next time! Looks like you guys had a great day on an old fave.


Great Day     06/28/2011 18:40
Awesome to see your dad out with you skiing some backcountry still Matt. Totally awesome. On a side note how does your buddy Chris like those Black Diamond Slant? Prime? boots. Congrats on a sweet day with you Dad.


Prime     06/28/2011 23:39
Nice pic from 1970, must have just been pre-Vuarnet.

I previously had Radium's, but they absolutely killed my feet, and in multiple spots. The Prime fit like a glove, tight but no pain point anywhere. They noticeably do not drive my skis as well the Radium's though. I did not get to try on the Scarpa Maestrale when I was shopping around, they were sold out everywhere last spring.


A 12er!     06/29/2011 02:23
Nice work Matt, thats a classic face you guys hit and in solid, bluebird conditions.


Happy Father's Day     06/29/2011 03:08
I got a picture of your descent from Pawnee's summit... I've a few more if you want 'em...


Nice!     06/29/2011 19:46
Great shot of you getting after it a few decades ago. I remember enjoying your Grays TR too. Sorry to hear about Mike.


Thanks Prakash!     07/02/2011 15:39
Nice running into you at the TH, hope you had a good run too.

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