5.5 miles total
3,000' vertical up
~500' to regain ridge
Because the warm weather in Denver wasn't meeting our standards of being 'nice' out, a trip to ski some good corn needed to happen.
We were able to drive my Outback to the radio towers at 10,800' with no problems at all thanks to the 8.4" of clearance, which outranks a Jeep Cherokee by a striking .2". After getting a great night's sleep next to the hum of transmitter generators and cooling fans the alarm went off at 4:30. It was decided that the best plan of action was to drive the more capable truck up as far as we could get the next morning. Snow blocked the road at 11,200' and punching through upon trying to cross prevented any more progress so we began here.
We followed the road up to 11,400' and then started up the ridge to intersect the normal trail.
From here to the top there wasn't much excitement. We crossed at least 5 or 6 snowfields. The weather was incredibly calm except for a few gusts along the ridgeline.
– Antero to the south
- summit shot of the group
a nice reprieve getting the AT weighted down pack off at the top.
The summit ski was still marginally in from the top. We summited about 9:15 and the snow up top was hard in spots but softening nicely on the eastern aspect which would be skied shortly. We actually felt like we had a large amount of energy left once on the summit given the short(er) approach than some and were ready to get the skiing underway.
Ready to kill it
The corn flavored ice-cream went down nicely.
Descending a 14er on skis tops any other method by far. The 2200' vertical brought some satisfaction to all. Our tracks are visible on the couloir on lookers right. It was definitely a wise decision to take this couloir instead of the one farthest to lookers right (at the upper right of this picture) as that one didn't have as continuous of a fall line and looked less exciting.
After converting back to hiking boots and securing the skis, we slowly navigated up to intercept the trail where it rises from the summer 4wd portion of the road just as it nears treeline and followed it back to the car.