Route: Lincoln Amphitheatre
Elevation Gain: 3,393'
Vertical Ski: ~3,353'
Snowshoer and Skier: moon stalker (Kelly) and me
What to do with lots of snow in the mountains, a reasonable avy forecast and an iffy weather outlook for the weekend? Kelly wanted a snow climb, I wanted a ski descent, but neither wanted a long approach. Angel of Shavano - too far to drive, Audubon Crooked Couloir - too long of an approach on a long flat road, Edwardian up Mt Edwards - long road closure, Cristo - road closure, why add mileage when the snow will keep and the roads will open? So it came down to Parnassus and Bard, or Lincoln. I wasn't liking the wind blown south facing slope of Parnassus, without more research (We planned on Fri night). So Lincoln.... Thankfully I thought of the Amphitheatre route, as adding 3mi on to Kite Lake, to not get a summit ski, sounded unappealing.
We got to the winter closure at Montgomery Reservoir a lil before 6am, just as a very large group (ice climbers and skiers) was departing the very full parking lot. Hmmm was Lincoln the place to be today? The road after the closure was 95% snow free, and is drivable, so I imagine that it will open soon.
The first steep slope by the ice falls is the crux of the route. But thankfully we had the large groups directly in front of us to kick the steps in. Or at least start the trough. The recent storm snow bonded well to the slush below, and the snowpack (at least on the aspects I saw) has gone pretty isothermic. We hoped the cloud cover would stay all morning to keep the snowpack cool, as the forecast called for some warm temps up high with sun, before the afternoon storm rolled in. But this lower slope was going to be slush by the time we returned, no matter what. We used our crampons up this slope, but then stashed them for our return.
At the falls we passes by an ice climbing class. Based on what I saw, the falls might be in for a little while longer.
First slope is the crux
Lincoln ice falls - class in session
Morning light on ice falls
Once above the headwall, the snow was firm and easily bootable without breaking though. I put my skis on for the short duration that I could skin. We found a sizable critter hole with a ton of paw prints. We're thinking a marmot family?
First view of Lincoln
A little ways up the Amphitheatre, I see that there is a small white ribbon connecting the upper slopes to the base. So there is currently only a couple foot gap in snow in the middle of the Amphitheatre to worry about. The first ski group kicked in some wonderful step all the way to the upper ridge, and up to the summit. Thanks guys!
Ski is in!
Thank you for the kick steps!
The snow remained quite firm all the way to the summit, but the sun beating down on our back was unrelenting, so we pushed on as fast as we could.
Kelly loving the kicked steps
The never ending snow slope...
First ski group making summit
Once on the ridge, it was a short walk over to the final summit pitch. Another group of 2 ladies approached from the Quartzville trail head, and made for quite the group on the summit! It was a fairly quick turn-around for all of us, as the snow was softening quickly. Snapped a few photos, and readied the skis for the way down.
Peaks to the North
Second ski group approaching summit
A Lincoln Summit Party! 7 skiers, 1 snowboard, 1 snowshoe
Quandary - Cristo is in!
Ski summit #6
Summit Pano - South -> West -> North
Kelly glissaded what she could, but the snow was too soft, and not steep enough to go very far. During my short ski breaks, I would keep an eye on where she was. I didn't drop out of the Amphitheatre until I knew she was down into it.
Kelly trying to glissade...
Skiing into the Amphitheatre
White ribbon - up
White ribbon - down
Can you spot Kelly? Hint: she just passed the narrow snow section
A fun, mellow ski
Overall, this was quite a fun, mellow corn snow ski. Glad I caught it before it melted out. Though the lower slope was a nasty affair of side slipping, stepping and slush weighted jump turns down to the trail head. I turned off the GoPro at this point, as the skiing was rather tortuous and painful.
Slush slope from hell - survival skiing at it's best
Bross & Lincoln - storm rolling in
Thanks to the group of guys for picking out the sound track to this video... It was great to be able to talk with you while I waited for Kelly to get down the last slope. Also great to meet fellow female skiers. Hope we can get out sometime in the future!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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