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 Peak(s):  Savage Pk  -  13,139 feet
 Post Date:  05/21/2009
 Date Climbed:   05/20/2009
 Posted By:  Furthermore

 The Savage Couloir Climb ‘n Ski on Savage Peak   

Savage Peak 13,139
~6.5 Miles, ~3000 Gain
May 20, 2009

Since I had only one day off between two five day stretches of work, I figured I would fit in a worthwhile half-day trip. The Savage Couloir climb with a ski fit the criteria. I was able to sucker a friend, Tim, from work to join me since I wasn't too keen on skiing this one alone. I finished work on Tuesday, packed, picked up my partner and drove up to the Missouri Lakes Trailhead off the Homestake/Gold Park Road which can be reached from US 24. We ended up camping at the trailhead and woke up early and were hiking by 5:30 AM.

The Missouri Lakes trail was snow free until ~10,400, and was easy to follow thereafter in the snow until ~10,900 where we lost the trail trying to bypass a small cliff band. I am sure it would be easy to follow without snow. Once we bypassed this small cliff, I strapped on my skins and we moved toward the base of the couloir. Tim didn't have AT skis so he continued to hike. The snow was very consolidated and he didn't needed AT skis or snowshoes.

We reached the base of the couloir around 7:30 AM, and it was extremely warm; I was wearing a T-shirt at the start of the climb. The snow was soft enough not to need crampons but was softer than I like for climbing. At least it wasn't knee deep. We topped out at the summit around 9:30 AM where it was a bit windy but clear blue skies. After eating a quick snack, we started our way back to the top of the couloir for the ski. Since the last 100 feet of the climb was extremely soft, we decided to start our ski on a south finger of the couloir about 150 feet below the summit ridge.

Unfortunately the snow softened more since our climb and the skiing was hard work with all the slush. Tim did excellent as I struggled a bit since I use a mountaineering boot when I ski. I just had to make my turns more aggressively. At one point, due to my soft boots, soft snow and a narrow area (15-20 feet) in the couloir, I had to take off my skiss and walk down for about 100- 200 feet. When it widened up again, I strapped on my skis and continued down. As we got lower in the couloir, the snow was more consolidated and the skiing became more enjoyable.

Once we hit the open bowl, we continued to ski down through the trees to ~10,900 and followed the trail back to the car where we arrived at 12:30 PM. The Savage Couloir so far has been one of my favorite snow climbs. Although the couloir isn't extremely steep, the rock walls on both sides of the couloir are tall creating a unique setting with fluent and sustained climbing. The Savage Couloir reminded me a lot of the Cross Couloir but without the crappy long approach. Also, I think if I were to ski it again, I would wait for the snow to consolidate a bit more, and use a solid AT boot.


Skinning to the base of the couloir.
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The Savage Couloir.
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Tim hiking to the base.
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The base of the couloir.
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The Savage Couloir.
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Tim climbing up.
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Me climbing up.
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Me climbing up.
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Looking down.
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Tim taking a breather.
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Tim topping out.
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Summit Ridge.
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Looking down. The finger leading into the couloir is to the right.
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Starting the Ski.
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Tim skiing.
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Tim skiing.
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Tim skiing.
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Tim skiing.
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Tim showing how its done.
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Tim skiing.
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Tim skiing.
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Tim skiing.
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Me skiing.
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Me skiing.
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Me skiing.
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More photos.
http://community.webshots.com/album/572283596pKNFQf?start=0



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (5)
pioletski


Time‘s precious...     2009-05-21 18:26:47
... looks like you are using yours wisely. Nice route, nice TR!


Prairie Native


Very Pretty line     2009-05-22 00:49:54
Im adding this to my list for a couple weeks from now! how steep is this and is the trailhead melted all the way out?


Furthermore


TH     2009-05-22 15:46:02
The trailhead is melted out and a 2WD vehicle will make it without a problem. The beginning of the trail is practically a running river. I would say the couloir is 40-45 degrees sustained, nothing more. Hope this helps!


Prairie Native


Sweet thanks!     2009-05-22 17:06:00
This fit the bill PERFECTLY, shorter approach, not well known climb, beautiful line, not over the top technical and I was already planning on driving through leadville on the way to independence pass! Looks like I will be staying in Leadville.


aHudge


Very cool     2009-05-24 07:56:56
I‘ll have to look into this one.

Good work.



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