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 Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
 Post Date:  04/08/2009
 Date Climbed:   04/08/2008
 Posted By:  Easy Rider

 Southwest Chute   

With some good storms rolling through recently, the coverage in the southern Sawatch and Sangre de Cristo Range was improving. I thought this would make a nice time for the southwest chutes, since they could already be set up with the constant sun and wind on that aspect. I was more concerned by the snow on the northerly aspects of Broken Hand Pass, and road conditions. I had been up to South Colony the weekend prior to this, & shut down by extremely bad wind, but had a chance to check things out.

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The road was only a little stripe of snow leading from the forest onto the dry prarie, but it was fine once in the trees. There were a few tricky spots where it crossed the creek, and also some springs just past that. I brought a come-along to help with any holes. It really felt good to just throttle up this road after some of the long days I've spent on it in the past.

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Initially, the weather looked like it was going to be a repeat of last weekend.

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It was not as windy, but picking up. I used several rocky features to stay left out of the main runout from the pass. The snow was thin with a nasty wind crust on top. Some pretty thick clouds were moving in, and I started to lose motivation. I called it before reaching the pass, and rode down to the lake.

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I was just in the process of beating myself up over it when I noticed a group of skiers heading for the pass. I wanted to try again, and approached one of them in a yellow jacket.
"Did you just come down from the pass?" he asked.
"Yes"
"How was it?"
"It sucked! I was going for the Needle, but this weather is so surly." (I'm a fair weather climber, since I'm usually alone.)
"Well, that's where were going" with a slight warning.
So they let me tag along.

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Photo: Andy Dimmen





The view from the pass was not encouraging, since parts of the route were still concealed. From the last col on the ridge, we entered the chute. There was a double rockband that had to be bypassed, but the snow went the rest of the way. The walls closed in extremely tight for a sustained portion...real sporty.

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Photo: Dave Bourassa

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Photo: Dave Bourassa

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Photo: Dave Bourassa





Looks like a shutter prob on the top.
Yet another photo editing project.

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I snapped a foot in on the summit, and slowly skated along the crest of the ridge, lifting my board over a few rocks before snapping in the other foot.

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Photo: Dave Bourassa

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Photo: Dave Bourassa





This chute was barely wide enough for my board in the constriction, I have no idea how these guys made it through on skis. (maybe some scratch & sniff)

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Photo: Dave Bourassa

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I took my board off to climb down the double rockband, then rode way down into the lower chute below the col before climbing out to the ridge again. I parted with the group from here. They had invited me to check out one of the chutes directly off the east side, but their beta was spotty, and many of those chutes choc out as I recalled seeing from the Ellingwood Arete (the chute they skied is one butress south of the chute boardering the face). I had a 30 meter, but that won't help you back up an overhung choc. If I had pictures from my day on Humboldt, I would have still been a little doubtful. Was it mentioned on Crossen's video?
Instead, I took a blue over towards the pass, and found a nice open chute to make big 'ol pow turns to the lake holding skiers left.

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I waited a bit for the group, then wanted to make sure I could get back down ahead of them in case I had any problems. I rode most of the way back to the summer 4x4 trailhead, and had lunch. Back at the truck, the crew was along shortly.
Thanks for an awesome day!
j~



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
benners


First to board em‘ all?     2009-04-09 13:11:40
This is an awesome TR, as are many of your recent posts. If I‘m not mistaken, you are close to being the first to complete the 14ers snowboard list correct? Keep em‘ coming!


Easy Rider


Thanks for the comments     2009-04-10 22:09:50
Hard to say anything yet about all that. It is still about the journey for me.


yellowstone96

How they made it on skis     2009-04-13 15:27:47
Dave and Andy are both REALLY good mountaineers. GReat partners.



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