| San Luis Ski
Sometimes the best part of skiing and climbing in the mountains is just being in the mountains, away from it all for a few days. Focus too much on the climbing and the skiing and disappointment can follow too quickly. For me, another best part is getting to share the experience with my brother Mike, who has been my partner now on 35 of my 39 14er ski descents. I know that no matter what happens, he'll persevere with a positive attitude. That perseverance definitely paid off on San Luis where we managed to get a successful summit ski descent despite horrendous snow conditions, skiing too far down valley, losing the trail, and numerous face plants into the hollow snow.
We made the drive down to Creede on Friday, after being unable to find the trailheadd, we decided to head to a bar in Creede and got to watch Kansas hang on for a victory against NC State, as well as get good directions to the Equity Mine trailhead. The approach to follow is like this: from the bridge that is just south of town go right on 504, which is a wide dirt road, from there follow the signs to Equity Mine. The road is very wide and very obvious, if you're on a steep rough road you are on the wrong road.
We pulled off the road a little bit below the mine and went to sleep around midnight. Up at 6am we hit the road and followed the cattrack up to the 12,300 saddle by the pyramid rock as the sun was cresting over the saddle.
From the saddle we skied down way too far skiers right and found ourselves in some heinous trees.
After skiing way too far down the valley we ended way above the valley floor and traversing across snow and unstable talus to regain the ridge. Here Mike is wondering why we can't ever seem to find the easy way.
We traversed over and finally made it into the main yawner gully proper and began skinning up the gully, it was steep but manageable and Mike had the pedal to the medal.
The climbing got a little bit steeper and we switched over to bootpacking, making our way up sparse snow, the leftmost gully had snow it in for all but about 100 feet. All the other gullies were basically dry.
We made it to the summit at 2pm, happy to be here after 8 hours of climbing.
Mike takes good care of his skins.
The skiing down was not terrible, but it wasn't good either, downclimbing the 100 feet of scree was less than pleasant, but once we got into the main gully the turns weren't too bad, if not a little soft.
Looking back up on San Luis.
Back down in the valley we found the famous trench that some famous 14ers.com users made and that truly saved the day, after we had to make our own trail on our way through the valley. Thank you for that. We did see some mountain lion tracks and an elk vertebrae around in the valley floor, at this point being attacked by a mountain lion didn't sound that bad. Slowly we made our way up from the valley to the 12,300 saddle, just as the last bit of light was fleeing the day.