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ski descent

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
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ski descent

Postby glad2Bme » Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:19 pm

I’ve enjoyed CO’s 14ers in the summers and ski resorts in the winters and I feel its time to explore merging the two. I’ve done some springtime snow travel (Kelso ridge, NW face of Sunshine, Ptarmigan Fingers on Flattop, North face of Longs) but I think its time to look into a ski descent of a 14er. I’ve read several threads on the topic and it looks like Quandary will be the most likely peak due to access & level of difficulty.
I’m looking for information on gear and skills specific for this venture.
These are a few of the thoughts bouncing around in my head:

Snowshoe to treeline, maybe crampons above?
Skins?
Springtime?
Avi classes?
Other resources?
Hire a guide?
I’m guessing the ‘resort’ boots/skis I’ve had for the last 20 years are not ideal for BC. What's required for THIS climb/descent without a lot of overkill?
Is used BC ski equipment seen in the same light as used technical climbing equipment?

Because I’m not a resident of CO and this type of activity will not become a lifestyle, I’m hesitant about spending a lot of cash on gear but, if I do it, I want to do it right and safe.

Any and all advice, suggestions, concerns, and comments are welcomed and appreciated!
Alpinists are just optimists with lousy short term memory

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Re: ski descent

Postby Pete M » Tue Jan 01, 2008 3:30 pm

Try Lou Dawson's site http://www.wildsnow.com for a primer.

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Re: ski descent

Postby blue5oone » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:31 pm

glad2Bme wrote:Snowshoe to treeline, maybe crampons above?
Skins?
Springtime?
Avi classes?
Other resources?
Hire a guide?
I’m guessing the ‘resort’ boots/skis I’ve had for the last 20 years are not ideal for BC. What's required for THIS climb/descent without a lot of overkill?
Is used BC ski equipment seen in the same light as used technical climbing equipment?


I have skied a few of the 14ers (including Quandary). Here is my opinion:
The trail is pretty well packed down - snowshoes would be added and unneeded weight. Crampons are also probably not needed.
Skins - you can likely skin all the way from the parking lot to the summit depending on conditions
Springtime - classic!
Avi Class - YES
Other Resources - find a friend from this site, carry a beacon, probe, and shovel.
Guide? - Probably not based on your profile and post but that would be up to you. You can probably find someone here and save the $$$.
20 year old gear? - Who am I to say what works? I have seen people carry their traditional downhill gear all the way and ski down. Up to you how much you want to sweat vs spend. The gear will work but...

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Re: ski descent

Postby telehead » Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:30 pm

Quandary is a fun descent and holds snow well into late spring .

Yale and Missouri also hold nice lines.

We tried to hit Massive in early spring, but wound up postholing(in skis) in rotton snow for 2 miles below treeline. It took us 4 hours to go 2 miles, and was the most miserable time I've ever had. We thought it had to get better the higher we went, but it just got worse.

Anyway, there is just no way to predict anything. You can have nice consolidated snow on the approach, and then buttery corn for the descent, or it can be a slogfest that ends before you even hit treeline. You just got to get out there.

Fron your post, you've done plenty to know what to expect. No need for a guide, just follow the same principles you have on you're other trips, just add another couple thousand feet of elevation. :)
"Going where the wind don't blow so strange, maybe off on some high cold mountain chain"

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