| North Ridge & West Face
Matt Halbakken and I headed for Lake City at 10:30 pm from Gunnison. We stopped at Mammy's for pool & were invited to the Easter dinner at the Quiet Moose. Cinnamon Pass was cleared just a little past Sherman, still at least a couple miles to the TH, but not worth the trouble of hauling a snowmobile, since there were also long dry parts. From the obvious trailhead, we entered the woods on the north side of Silver Creek, in the direction of a lonely coyote howling at the rising moon. We cracked glow sticks and mounted them to the back of our packs to make keeping track of each other easier in the forest when we were not using headlamps. At 5:00 am we dropped our camping grear in one of the last protected areas just below the junction with the South Fork of Silver Creek, up on the southwest side.
It is a very confined valley up through perpetual avalanche terrain from there. The convoluted debris had filled the bottom from one side to the other for nearly a mile, and probably thirty feet deep in places. Getting past this monster was tough, and a bit creepy in the moonlight. We left it behind, and entered more open terrain at dawn.
When we reached the ridge we got forewarning of a false summit. We went into turtle mode. The wind was tough to deal with while sleep deprived. This route does a huge circle around the peak before climbing it. It was still early though, so we took our time rambling up the scree. There was at least one false summit, and this peak felt very tall next to its neighbors.
Views of Uncompahgre developed to the north. The wind lashed at us on the summit. The east face sure looks nice from here. The wind loading was surely the culprit for the wreckage in the bottom.
We rode harsh srtrugi crust off the north side of the summit, and connected thin snow down to the left to get to the west face gully.
This was an excellent run, and the snow felt very firm under just a few inches of new pow. A little wind stripped, but not yet strugi crust. The other side was mostly stripped, so we stuck to the middle for the most part.
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The run down the South Fork to camp was also a very nice cruise. This place was full of white ptarmigan. We slept away the afternoon, and made a huge dinner. One thing about snow camping, you can bring more perishables. I had packed a tupperware full of burrito fillings: pork sausage, eggs, cheese, potatoes, rice, pinto beans, green chile, corn, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and peppers.
We slept in the next morning, putting off Sunshine for another time. Back in Lake City, we rejoined civilization at the Quiet Moose for the Easter pig roast.
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