| Lincoln (Georgia Chute), Bross (Moose Creek)
Perhaps the most important piece of safety equipment in the spring skier's collection is an alarm clock... Anyone know where to purchase a childproof one?
Gordon and I have both wanted to ski the Russian Couloir on Lincoln for some time. I knew it had been thin recently, so having Monday and Friday free this week, I offered to reconnoitre from Bross on Monday so we could ski it Friday if it looked good. Gordon's unhesitating response was, "Let's do both on Monday." Yeah!
After getting over the alarm clock snafu, we left the trailhead at 6:30, an hour and a half behind schedule. Fortunately, wind and cold kept the snow safe. Under a brilliant blue sky, we hiked into Cameron Amphitheater, looking back on the clouds hanging in the valley:
Looking down lower Cameron Amphitheater
From the seasonal pond at 13,200', we could see that the Russian was dry as a bone. However, it looked like an efficient ascent route, so we put on the spikes and started hiking up the hill. (Edit) The throat of the couloir was talus bonded with verglas, definitely crampon territory, though the ice was firm enough to feel very secure.
Gordon climbing the throat of the couloir
Back on the snow
We summited at 9:00 am, no longer concerned about being on schedule.
Gordon at top, Elbert and La Plata to his right
Pioletski at top, Pike's in the (way) background
No problem skiing from Lincoln's summit today:
Gordon; Quandary behind
We traversed over to skier's right and dropped into the Georgia Chute. Here the blown-in and slightly sun-softened snow hadn't bonded to the underlying consolidated snow, which made the skiing "interesting" down to about 13,400'. In other words, Gordon is a much better skier than the picture suggests...
Gordon negotiates the Georgia Chute
Back at the pond, we stopped to eat and began the hike up to Bross. As we were off the official route, we observed all safety precautions, such as tapping with our ski poles to listen for hollow areas, and listening to the ground with a stethoscope for the sound of burrowing dwarves.
Gordon looks back wistfully at the Russian
By the time we gained the ridge, the wind was strong enough to make it hard to stand - at one point I was blown like a leaf about 10 feet downhill. The only snow anywhere to be found at the summit of Bross was in the semicircle of the summit windbreak:
Pioletski trying hard to stand upright
We stumbled like drunken sailors over to the top of Moose Creek Gulch, somehow got our skis on and started down on the only corn snow we found all day. Not a true summit descent, unfortunately - although the top of Bross is so flat that we were still above 14,000' when we put our skis on.
Edit: Through various conversations and research, I have found that the descent of Moose Creek, as we did here, is typically counted as a summit descent. Given the access issues, etc., I'm only to happy to do so as well.
Gordon in Moose Creek
With a little creativity we kept the skis on all the way down to the trailhead (11:45 am) and headed into Breckenridge for lunch. A gorgeous day shared with an old friend, and we will be back for more - more snow, that is...
Snowpack: Consolidated spring snow, disappearing fast.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):