| Bang for the buck on Buckskin
Itinerary: Skin from ~11,600' on the Kite Lake Rd to ~12,900' on the NE slopes of Mt. Buckskin, then hiked and snowclimbed to the summit, walked over to "NW Buckskin," ski descent of NE slopes all the way back to the car.
Crew: Nice Axe (Amy) and scotthsu (Scott)
Stats: ~4 miles roundtrip, ~2350' vertical climbed/skied, 4 hours car-to-car
Mt. Buckskin is a centennial 13er (CO rank #76) to the SW of Mt. Democrat. It is most easily accessed from the Kite Lake TH. The Kite Lake Rd area is perfect right now for skiers, lines everywhere with skinning from the car. This was just what we needed after a lot of hiking in ski boots and postholing on skis the last few weekends.
We walked a few steps down a slope from where we parked (~11,600' on the Kite Lake Rd) and started skinning around 7am through the willows, which yielded us easy passage. It was clear and windy the night before, so the snow was firm for pleasant skinning. (The road itself is not skinnable, but the willow fields just to the west are.)
Amy staying clear of the willows:
We pretty much followed the power lines all the way up to where they take a sharp bend to the west at ~12,600':
Around 12,900', the snow became discontinuous so we put the skis on our packs and started hiking. Amy after a few hundred vertical feet of hiking on grass and snow patches:
After ~950' total vertical of hiking on grass and then some very nice snowclimbing up high, we reached the summit around 9:30am:
Note the slightly shorter peak behind Amy in the previous picture. According to Roach's 13er book, this sub-peak ("NW Buckskin") is 5' shorter at 13860'.
View to the southwest, with the Sawatch in the background:
Note to self: there are some nice looking, very long snow-filled lines dropping SW off the ridge between Buckskin and "NW Buckskin."
Democrat and Cameron:
We enjoyed a pleasant hike over to "NW Buckskin" in order to get a continuous ski descent down the NE aspect below "NW Buckskin." We stopped for a snack on "NW Buckskin" and then got ready to ski around 10:15am. Looking back at Buckskin:
Amy enjoying the upper slope just beneath "NW Buckskin":
The snow was a bit uneven but soft enough for smiles:
Lower down we found perfect silky smooth snow. If you look closely, you can see our tracks just above Amy:
It was a fine ski all the way back down to the willows:
We were back at the car at 11am with snacks and beer awaiting.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):