Peak(s):  Pettingell Pk  -  13,553 feet
Date Posted:  05/28/2013
Date Climbed:   05/25/2013
Author:  clemsonmtneer
Additional Members:   tygrubb
 Pettingell Peak Ski (SE Face)   

Image
Pettingell Peak... the line we skied is in the center



With the month of May quickly coming to a close already, I was anxious to finally be able to get out and kick off the ski mountaineering season. Tyler (tygrubb) and I decided on Pettingell Peak, for its ease of access and relatively short approach, making it a good "warm-up" for both of our first ski descents of the season.

Warm temperatures were in the forecast, so we began hiking from the Herman Gulch Trailhead at 4:45. My car thermometer read 32 degrees at the trailhead, and fortunately, we would soon discover that the snowpack had seen a solid freeze. The first mile or so of the trail was mostly dry, before running into intermittent snow for a while. We put our skins on after maybe two miles.

As the sun rose and we approached treeline, clear skies and top-notch scenery greeted us. We had a great view of The Citadel coming out of the valley, which had a number of ski tracks down its northeast face, and still looks to be in good condition.


Image
The Citadel


Image
Another look at Pettingell




We opened up into a basin below and to the left of Herman Lake, and began a steeper ascent up toward the lake... we began skinning, but soon began to slip and slide on the hardpack, so we quickly decided to throw the skis/boards on our backs and get the crampons out and boot it the rest of the way to the summit.

We had a couple of small delays on the way up due to minor gear malfunctions... Tyler was having issues with a binding piece on his splitboard, and one of my crampons came apart. Fortunately, they were quick fixes since Tyler had packed some small zip-ties... something I never would have thought to pack in the backcountry, but it turns out they can be quite useful for a number of things.

Once our gear was fixed up, we skirted along the edge of still frozen-over Herman Lake, and began the real climb up to the summit of Pettingell... the first part of which was quite steep right above the lake.


Image
Tyler climbing the first steep section above Herman Lake


Image


Image




Overall, we both felt pretty good for having not been out yet this year, but we weren't setting any speed records either. Luckily, even though the sun was very warm, the snowpack wasn't softening too quickly and we were up there early enough that we never felt rushed.


Image
some wet slide debris on Pettingell... you can clearly tell it slid on the dust layer


Image




After the initial steep climb above the lake, the terrain mellowed out for a bit until we reached the bottom of Pettingell's southeast face. As we booted up this next slope toward the summit, we were definitely beginning to feel it. It was a take 10-15 steps, stop and catch your breath kind of deal as we got closer to the summit.


Image
Getting ready to ascend Pettingell's SE face


Image
Bald Mtn near Breck looking good


Image
View of Loveland Pass, and the site of the April 20th avalanche accident


Image
Tyler climbing




Eventually we reached a saddle just below the summit, and it was an easy 5-minute stroll along a ridge to the summit from there. The views from the top were incredible, especially with the surrounding ranges so well covered in snow. From the top we had great views of the Front Range (especially Torreys and Tuning Fork), Indian Peaks/RMNP, Gore Range, and the northern Sawatch, including Holy Cross. Pettingell is well positioned in a central location so that you really get a 360 panorama of big mountain ranges.


Image
nearing the summit


Image
summit ridge





We topped out shortly before 10 am, and the snow was still holding up just fine, so we took a nice break on the summit, ate some food and took some pictures.


Image
Pettingell Peak summit


Image
Torreys Peak... Tuning Fork looking good!


Image
Longs Peak and the Indian Peaks


Image
Gore Range


Image
Buffalo Mtn view... and Holy Cross in the distance


Image
Ready for the fun part




After our short break, the fun part began... skiing! Tyler snowboarded off the summit first back to the saddle, and I followed. We then started skiing the same face we climbed, before cutting left into the fun-looking chute we eyed on our ascent.

We caught the snow in absolutely perfect conditions... nice, soft, corn snow, but not too slushy. The descent was awesome... a nice, decently long and moderately steep (35-40 degree range) face... and the steeper section exiting out onto the lake was fun as well. Some pictures from the descent...


Image
Tyler snowboarding off the summit


Image


Image


Image


Image
Here's a cool one Tyler came up with using his photo software


Image


Image
Tyler enjoying the corn turns


Image
The exit out onto Herman Lake




Once we descended below the lake and back below treeline the trail quickly flattens out, and by then, the snow had turned to slush in the valley which, combined with the dust layer, was making for slow travel... more so for Tyler since he was snowboarding. Overall, though, the hike out was uneventful, and we were back at the car by 12:45.

It was an awesome day to be out in the mountains, and I'm definitely pumped to get some more ski descents in over the next month or so before the snow melts.


Image
Looking back at the beautiful Herman Lake Basin



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29


 Comments or Questions
Dave B

Very nice!
05/29/2013 03:02
Looks like a great day was looking that way from Bancroft on Monday and am impressed with how much snow there is. Citadel's looking pretty sweet too!


bergsteigen

Nice ski!
05/29/2013 21:10
Great to see the Front Range holding so much snow! Hoping it last for a few more weeks, so I can get to my objectives there.


clemsonmtneer

Thanks
05/30/2013 03:16
Dave, I was also impressed with the snowpack, and yeah Citadel was definitely looking good. Hopefully we can get out there and ski soon!

bergsteigen, thanks for the comment. Snow is definitely holding up well in the Front Range, I think June is going to be a good ski month up here this year. Just read your TR, looks like you had quite a weekend!



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.




© 2020 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.