| Missouri MTN
Missouri Mountain from Missouri Gulch.
Trip length: 19 miles. (Including the hike to the TH)
Time: Nearly 40 hours, ish.
CAIC Avalanche Danger: moderate
Fun level (0-10): 10.5
This was my first time skiing a 14er. My buddy and I drove up Clear Creek Reservoir road and were hoping, that just maybe, the road was plowed all the way to the trailhead. It turns out it wasn't. Huge suprise. We parked about four miles from the trailhead, packed up and started skiing/shoeing in at around 4pm on Friday. Probally around 3 hours or so later, we made it to the parking lot/TH. It was pretty strenuous because both of our packs weighed at least 50 lbs.
We set up my tent, made dinner, drank some whiskey and fell asleep.
Alright now my dog does not bark at anyone, except my partner for this trip. As he was cooking dinner, with a stove, inside my tent, he lit the floor on fire and half of his stuff. He throw the flaming stove and some of his gear out of the tent, which hit my dog, and then he caught on fire. Like a real good chunk of his fur was burned pretty bad. So he wasn't too happy...
We woke up and it was pretty cold. Almost didn't feel like moving. We got ready and started skinning up at around 7am. Some poor guy's truck got stuck in the lot earlier in the year...
After about 10 minutes we had lost the trail and just ended up making our own paths up the mountain.
The whole snowshoe/skiing/hiking in the winter thing wasn't working out for my partner, so I pressed on without him.
Right about here is when he turned around and it was just me and my dog.
12 pm ish: Coors ambitiously leading the way. Missouri in the background. (Yes I was skinning pretty slowly) And the clouds moving in...
Approaching the base of Missouri.
About now it started snowing and it got real cloudy so it was real hard to get clear pictures.
The ascent route. Couldn't see the top because of the snow.
I was pretty apprenhsive to do this with just my dog. I don't think he would be able to use a beacon. But at this point, I was willing to risk dying to ski down.
Looking down the ascent route. I also did some climbing on the rocks, I have no idea why. The skis were on my pack at this point and I just had my ski boots on and it was pretty slippery. I almost slipped and fell a couple of times.
4:00 pm exactly. (LATE!) The ridge.
I had about 200 feet of visibility. Now, I really had no idea where on the ridge the summit was because I hadn't acutally down that much research. Dur. I walked along it and when I started losing elevation, I called that point the summit, and turned I around. I knew I was probally wrong, and it killed be to turn around, but I was freezing, my dog was freezing, and it would be dark in less than an hour or so. My clothes were rock solid and Coors' fur was frozen solid.
Looking down my ski route: You can't see the shape that much, but it opens up into a giant bowl and hooks off to the right. It was epic!
I don't have any pictures of me skiing, because no one was with me. And I couldn't see my tracks behind me I skiied down to the base, doing all types of turns, my god it was amazing, and waited for my doggie. I skiied down to the treeline and Coors was almost beside me for most of the way. I fell a couple of times at treeline, and got even more soaking wet. I got to the woods at dusk and it was dark in the trees. I've skiied sticks alot at night in Pennsylvania, so I wasn't really too worried. I did stay on the trail that my partner had left however and it was real difficult to navigate the narrow switchbacks. My legs, body, and mind were extremely exhausted. Half the time, at a switchback turn, I would just turn up the side to slow down, then stop and just jump to make the turn. Other times I would be going too fast and I would just fall to slow down. I had some close encouters with trees, but I didn't hit any too hard. I got towards the bottom after about an hour of all this, and it was pitch black and snowing. I skiied past a tent in the woods, the first sign of another person all weekend...(My partner told me he was attempting Belford and Oxford the following day.) Then I see my buddy's backpack just sitting in the snow!? I guess he was just too tired to carry it the 1/4 mile to the tent so he just left it on the ground while it was snowing. Dur.
I crossed the bridge, and the little hill that takes you up to the 14er sign and parking lot seemed like the biggest mountain I had ever seen. I was so incredibly exhausted, cold, wet, and hungry. I popped off my skis, and literally crawled up to the parking lot, on all fours. My clothes were frozen solid on the outside. I just threw my pack on the ground and crawled into the tent. I caught up with my buddy who was just in there chillin. I stripped down and crawled into my bag and slept naked. All my clothes were drenched, but I decided to wear my coat hoping that it would dry out from my body heat during the night.
So it turns out, my buddy was all paranoid something happened to me when I wasn't back by sunset. He somehow got a hold of his father and told him what was up, and then lost service. So I guess his Dad then called the sheriff and a bunch of search and resuce guys came up on sleds the next morning...That's another story.
Coors' fur was straight up frozen and I tried getting him into the tent but he didn't want to because he hated my buddy. He curled up in a ball and burried himself in the snow for the night. All our water froze and I was honestly too tired to dig through my bag and get out the stove. I chugged a decent amount of my cheap whiskey and then passed out.
We woke up at about 8am the next morning. It was the hardest thing ever to put my wet clothes back on and to get moving. We packed up, and I was real sore so I decided to make Coors carry the tent and I tied it to a rope and attached it to his collar. My partner was going so slow on the road, so I went on ahead of him. Then the search and resuce guys from Buena Vista came up and told me their story. They were so nice and helpful. After explaining everything to them I declined a ride and started skiing out and they went to check on my buddy. He was apparently in bad-shape, just tired, and they gave him a ride out. They came back after they dropped him off and told me that I should get him to a gas station, so I finally gave in and took I ride. It was my first time on a sled, it was pretty awesome. Coors ran behind us for the 3 miles out. They took me to my jeep and we both thanked them and they went off to follow up on another call.
My partner viewed the trip as a total disaster. I viewed it as a kick a$$ adventure. It really made me pumped to do so many more winter ascents this year. I've since gotten so much faster and, what, we have like another month until it starts seriously snowing,? OH YES!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):