| Evans North Face
I needed a quick yet fun climb close to Denver so that I could make my evening engagements. I got in touch with Van McDaniel to see if he would like to join me. He had not been able to do any alpine since 2006 due to having foot surgery. We thought that the North Face of Evans would fit our bill nicely. We made it to Summit Lake at roughly 7:30 and set out at 8:00 am. A nice, lazy sub-alpine start!
I was excited to climb the North Face of Evans as I am not much for "slog" climbs. I was also happy to be back climbing with my technical climbing mentor, Van. We made it into the amphitheater in and were ready to head up the face. After starting up the North Face direct route, there were some skiers & boarders coming down. At this point, we decided it would be best to traverse left into one of the couloirs left of the face.
There are many options to climb this face, and I'm sure I will be coming back when I'm pressed for time and want to throw in something spicy for the weekend. Mt Spaulding has some impressive looking routes that I'll be back for as well.
We took turns leading up to the start of our targeted route.
Once into the couloir proper, we started sinking to our thighs in the thinly crusted snow. This annoying process of one step up, two steps sloughing down slowed us considerably.
Finally, we were past this part and took a quick break underneath one of the many cliff faces of Evans.
After a bit of food, drink, and watching the skiers whiz past, we started for what I believe to be the crux of our route. It was a rocky band choke point in the couloir we were in. After a bit of floundering and contemplation, I was able to get my pick into a crack in the rock, and it held nicely. A cramponed foot up on the rock got me up and over this band where I front pointed up a bit to kick out a ledge so that I could watch Van get over this part.
He didn't like the route I took past this part, so he simply went around it on the left side.
After this, we were home free to the summit ridge.
We were met by tourists, some really nasty looking clouds,
and some mountain goats that running around near the summit.
We tagged the summit and hastily made our way back to the North Face route to begin our descent before the heavens opened up on us.
It started to thunder and snow was intermittently falling on us. It was time to go down…fast! I peered down the North Face and knew I would have to down climb past some jutting rocks before I could start a glissade. There were some previous tracks where skiers/boarders had climbed down below the rocks.
After this down climb, I took off my crampons, and glissaded the rest of the face amidst falling snow and booming thunder. It was quite the adrenaline ride. I practiced a self-arrest just to stay sharp on the skills. Van continued to down climb until he was about halfway down the face, whereupon he glissaded down to join me. On the way down the mountain, we saw some mountain sheep.
All in all, a very fun day! The snow looked like it would be in at least until July.