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 Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
 Post Date:  05/23/2011
 Date Climbed:   05/21/2011
 Posted By:  bergsteigen

 Angels and Demons   


Mt Shavano


Route: Angel
Mileage: 7.5
Elevation Gain: 4,600'
Vertical Ski: ~3,550'
Snowdevil Skiers: kansas (Darrin) and me

Other stats....
Start of snow (end of ski down): ~10,800' & ~1mi from TH
Skinnable slopes: ~10,800 - ~13,750'
Summit Ski: In

Once again, with fresh powder in May, and iffy Avy conditions - I was searching out a reasonably easy ski for the weekend. With the Angel's ~30 degree slope and 'minimal' inherent avy danger, as well as the recent snow should fill in the summit ski, it was the best to be found.

So Darrin and I head up to the dry trailhead Friday night to sleep for a few hours before booting up the annoyingly rocky trail for a mile. Thankfully around 10,800' the snow becomes continuous so that we can start skinning. The wind started as occasional gusts, but as we neared the base of the Angel, had picked up and was a steady annoyance. We geared up for the windy onslaught just at treeline. Once out onto the Angel the wind would pick up snow and ice shards and throw them at us from all directions.

We could see Eric (lostsheep5) and Zach (EatinHardtack) up on a higher slope digging a pit on the most avy prone slope. With the swirling winds, there wasn't a consistent wind direction to cause much of a wind slab layer. Within a few feet of each other, you would have reworked powder, old crust surface and wind slab layer. I felt that with the lack of continuity in the snow surface, the wind slab patches would be isolated and wouldn't be a problem on the lower slope angles we would be experiencing. Plus the wind kept the snow surface very cool most of the day. So we only had to battle the winds today, and the less than ideal snow conditions, that made either booting or skinning up a challenge. All the skiers, except me, booted up after the skinning the first slope. I found it easier to battle the winds with the skis on my feet. Learned a few lessons about wind on Columbia earlier this year...

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First view of the Angel, shrowded in snow mist

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Skiers booting up...

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Skinning up the angel - Photo Credit: Darrin

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Darrin battling the winds

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Darrin booting up


The wind was absolutely horrid, almost knocked me down a couple times. Most of us would brace during the worst of the wind, and then sprint as far as we could go before the next gusts or ice tornadoes hit us. Any exposed skin got quite the exfoliation. Snow vortexes were the worst, as it was hard to gauge the wind direction to brace for, as it rapidly changed. Little did I know at the time, but my camera would fall victim to this snow pelting, and refused to work until I melted out the snow that filled in my light sensor. So I missed all photos from the top of the Angel and back from the summit.

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First view of summit

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Winds cleared for a momment


After 7.5 hours we reached the summit, all 6 skiers in attendance. The last 1k was brutal, and it felt never ending. At 13,750' I had to swap out my skis for crampons, as the fresh snow was all ablated away, and an icy surface remained. Thankfully the summit wasn't as windy as the Angel, so we could relax for a few minutes, before we all departed. The fresh snow filled in all the rocky spots, and the ski was almost perfectly continuous. Only a few side stepping areas.

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Me dropping in - Photo Credit: Darrin

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Darrin dropping in - GoPro Image

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Darrin fighting the warm ski, snow sticky - GoPro Image

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First Turns - Photo Credit: Darrin

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Photo Credit: Darrin

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Darrin standing like a skier, so proud! - GoPro Image

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Fisheye effect.... - GoPro Image



Ski conditions were pretty good, and the areas of fresh snow were nice! I think we had most every type of snow type along our route down, powder, sustrugi, ice and corn. Lots of fun was had by all, including ulvetano's dog. Who while uncomfortable looking on the summit, had tons of fun racing down the snow! (Got some GoPro video of the happy dog)

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Darrin skiing. My camera started working again! Hurray!

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The valley, winds have died down

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Skiing the body of the Angel - Photo Credit: Darrin

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Ripping it past the snowshoers - Photo Credit: Darrin

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Having some fun - Photo Credit: Darrin

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Darrin enjoying the corn

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Darrin throwing some snow

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Me enjoying the final corn turns - Photo Credit: Darrin

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Darrin's perspective of the ski - Photo Credit: Darrin

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Darrin with a Smile! - Skiing is NOT stupid ;) - GoPro image

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It looks so nice... now!

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6 sets of ski tracks

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Shavano in the late afternoon light


Music inspired by the failed Rapture while skiing the Angel....




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
dmccool


great report     2011-05-23 14:15:43
Another summit ski - you're racking 'em up. Nice work, Otina


Gueza


That was...     2012-03-04 11:31:45
...A brutal day. Good work and nice seeing you again.
you gotta get Darrin to say skiing is NOT dumb.


KeithK


Skiing IS DUMB.     2011-05-23 17:07:05
There, now Darrin doesn't have to say it.


Barb4rian


The climb looks familiar     2011-05-23 17:26:16
Elbert felt the same way on the route up the east ridge. The wind never made up its mind as far as direction. Sounds like the descent was really enjoyable though, grats! Wish I could say the same of the northern side of the range hahah.


centrifuge


nice report     2011-05-23 17:49:13
and I wish I had come out and went up with the 14er folk instead of staying on the front range, we would have had a much better day from the sounds of it. looks like you all had an awesome time!


Gueza


Darrin     2012-03-04 11:31:45
Ha your on...
The snow was shallow and variable near the summit, the first turn I made I broke through the whole snowpack and caught my ski on a piece of talus that lay hidden in sugar snow. I did one summersault and stopped. My camera slid down another 5ft.
Heres the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvk97RLAkz0 /> Let me see the signature Darrin.


EatinHardtack


Horrible Wind, BUT...     2011-05-23 18:14:57
A great ski down. It's too bad I went first off the summit. I didn't see Eric take his digger, video was good.


dmccool


Haha!     2011-05-23 18:22:35
Bold, Eric. That's awesome! You are a true man of your word. Darrin???


BillMiddlebrook


Eric     2011-05-24 06:59:45
Classic video! Good thing you didn't do that on Crestone Peak.


bergsteigen


Ski 'em while you can     2011-05-24 10:04:42
Dan - With such a great snow year, it would be sacrilege to not ski a few

Eric - Great to see you too. That was one awesome video! I wasn't expecting to see skis up in the air after you dropped in


bckcntryskr


nice group     2011-05-24 19:12:40
Looks like you guys had a good time. We were'nt to far away on Huron (only ones). Glad to see Otina got her guy on the slopes. Eric, nice vid, great to see you on skis. Nice group and TR. What a season.


AmanSnowMan

Well Done!     2011-05-25 00:39:58
Quick question: I and a friend plan on climbing the angel this saturday (not skiing), would you recommend snowshoes or crampons since we will not be skinning? Given the relatively low degree of slope, did you encounter many slide paths or avy prone areas? Thank You.


bergsteigen


Depends on snow conditions...     2011-05-25 10:19:21
As long as your snowshoes have good metal prongs (?) on the bottom, or have decent grip, they should be fine. The problem will be if the surface has turned thick with ice. (Ie previously really warm day followed by significant freeze at night)

The biggest avy prone slope(s) is the one above to your left as you start up the angel. Also wet slides could be a problem in general, late in the day if the slopes have been baking in the sun. Try to be down and off the Angel well before noon, and earlier if it's a hot sunny day. We didn't see any recent activity on any slope around us

bckcntryskr - I bet Huron was fun! Hope the slog in/out wasn't too long...



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