Peak(s):  "South Bross" - 14,020 feet
Date Posted:  03/08/2015
Date Climbed:   02/22/2015
Author:  moneymike
 Skiing South Bross   

Ok, so you're all probably wondering one thing, "what the hell is South Bross? Is that even a 14er, or did Mike just make that up?" I did not make that up. It's an unofficial 14er, and if you don't believe me, look at your 14er list. It's there!

Now that we got that cleared up, you're probably wondering just one more thing, "why the hell would anybody post a ski trip report on Mt. Bross, let alone South Bross?"

The answer to that question is clear to us C.S. residents who drive HWY 24/9 to get to summit county. It's not often that Bross' east flanks have any snow on them, but when they do, it's hard to not stare. After a huge winter dump and you're headed to the resorts because the avy danger is in the orange or red, it's hard not to fantasize about skiing Bross' expansive, low angle south east slopes as you drive by.

A little over a week before writing this report, or a couple days before skiing S. Bross, my four wheel drive stopped working on my xterra. Needless to say, the heavens opened up and started dumping snow all across Colorado (nearly every day for over a week). If you're a're welcome.

Armed with rear wheel drive, two chains, and a shovel, I headed out from Manitou Springs towards Alma (after sleeping in for three hours past my alarm).

Mosquito range from Wilkerson pass

Mt. Princeton and Antero from Wilkerson pass

Bross, Cameron, Lincoln from Wilkerson pass

Bross is on the right. The point on the left is a false summit on ridge towards S. Bross

At the southern end of Alma, I turned onto C.R. 8 and slowly gained elevation on the snow packed dirt road. Around 11,000' elevation, I got stuck in the new snow. After a little digging, I was able to get chains on my right rear tire and free my car.

I parked on the side of the road, away from the tire tracks, slightly down hill from the getting-stuck-point, and geared up. I figured the day would be a walk in the park, so I wasn't too concerned about my 10:50 a.m. start time (Note to beginner backcountry skiers: early start times are usually wise, and late start times are usually unwise).

Around 11,100', according to my not-very-detailed map, 787 road joins C.R.8 and traverses the south side of Bross towards the east. This was the route I was hoping to take before ascending the S.E. slopes. I made the assumption that my uncalibrated altimeter was reading incorrectly and that I was above the 787 junction...somehow missing it on the way up and decided to bushwhack to the east, just below the south face cliffs. I figured I would be able to find it eventually.

After ten minutes of bushwhacking, I heard a motorized vehicle slightly above me. I made a bee-line upwards, out of the jungle, and onto the cat-packed road (turns out, my altimeter was more-or-less correct). Thanks to the cat, I had a Nordic track to follow around the mountain to the east. For a couple miles, the road gains an almost negligible amount of elevation.

After one to two miles (I estimate), I came to this sign, which marks a road that takes a left and gradually heads up the mountain.


As a side note, if you would prefer to put on the miles at low elevation, you can stay on 787 road to tree line, or wherever you would like to start the true ascent. I started the ascent earlier rather than later so that I could quickly gain the south ridge (for the sake of the views).

Leaving 787 road, the true trail breaking began. After a short distance, the road terminates with a boarded up shed (of unknown purpose). From the shed I headed directly up hill. Well, it was mostly uphill, with the exception of a few wanderings so that I could stick to the shadows (I was hoping to hide from the dreaded glop monster).

My evasive maneuvers seemed to work. However, looking back on my wandering tracks, I decided I might have to wait a few days for my tracks to disappear before posting a conditions or trip report. I knew that anyone who noticed my meandering tracks would immediately wonder to himself "was moneymike drunk when he came up here?"

Onwards and upwards, I trudged on. Within only two days of the last major dump, the snow was already sastrugifying at tree line and above (I guess that's typical Bross).





Before I continue with the story, I would like to pause briefly for a minor rant directed at Dynafit. Dynafit, I love my Manaslus, on the uphill and the down, but why why why would you make a dark colored touring ski? What's the point of making a light ski if it is destined to pick up a 2 cm thick layer of ice and snow? Is it for the cool graphics, because you can't see them when your skis look like this.


So anyway, just above 13,000' I gained Bross' south ridge.

(South ridge with false summit in background)

The false summit seen in the previous and following photos is apparently above 14,000' according to my more-or-less correct altimeter. If this is the case, I propose we name this unofficial 14er "South South Bross." Either that, or "Mount of the Money Mike" (I'd be happy with either one).

Descending South South Bross (aka Mount of the Money Mike), I continued along the ridge towards South Bross and quickly made my way to the summit.

S. S. Bross in foreground, S. Bross in background on left, Bross on right

Boot eye view of Democrat

Following the ridge: Bross, Cameron, Lincoln



Me on summit (I broke my usual sunglasses)

After a few pics, I made my way down towards the invitingly snowy gully that separates Bross proper from South Bross (and, of course, South South Bross).

New storm snow is usually always a blessing. One exception is when it shallowly covers rocks. "Aaaaaah!" I screamed every time I hit a hidden rock with my brand new skis. I very carefully made my way through a maze of snow down and leftwards into the gully. Straight down, traverse to the left, straight down, traverse to the left. I felt like I was following the NASCAR instruction manual...go straight, turn to the left, then repeat.

Finally, we have arrived in the gully with minimal damage to our skis! If you're wondering why I'm talking in present and plural tense, it's because I want you guys to come ski with me!

I'm ready for the descent, are you? Well, whenever you're ready, just press play on the youtube video and we'll head down! And maybe we can even listen to The Clash on the way down!

Wow! That was fun, wasn't it? Thanks for joining me. Here are a few more pics I got on the way down.






The flat road out:


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

Comments or Questions

South Bross
03/09/2015 03:04
Nice! Thanks for posting this, Mike. I’m not the only one to ski SB!!!!!! It’s low-angle but Dolly Varden gully can be pretty sweet with fresh snow.

When conditions are good, another fun ski option off South Bross is the Red Amphitheater (the top of which can be seen in your photo #10). Short climb from the Kite Lake approach and fun descent.


03/09/2015 04:40
yeah, I definitely noticed the gully you mentioned. It looked a bit too steep and loaded for me to want to take a chance with it though. But it would probably make a fun early spring descent.


Mmmm South Bross
03/09/2015 18:06
I tried to ski a line off South Bross 3 weeks ago, but 50mph winds and that darn setting sun got me! I’m thinking Bill skied the line I was trying to get to. Yours looked like better conditions that what I had.


Red Amphitheater
03/09/2015 21:23
Otina, Red is a bit more challenging than other ski routes on Bross/South Bross and starts right near SW side of the South Bross summit. You can preview the entire route while walking up the Kite Lake road. Both times that I skied Red were in May, with corn. Fun

03/10/2015 07:24
Hey Mike,

this looks like a nice intro ski tour in the types of good conditions you had – so how many miles is that round trip (your way)?


03/10/2015 15:53
Pikes’ East face is looking really good right now

mountainute: maybe about six miles, give or take. It’s definitely an easy intro tour. Low on miles, low on elevation gain, and low on avy and other hazards.

Dave B

Piles of shit
03/11/2015 18:04
Look much better covered in snow


Dave B:
03/14/2015 18:56


Humor is back!
04/02/2015 19:45
Holy macro, that’s a lot of snow up there, especially for the elusive Bross. Will you please ping me the next time you see it covered in snow like that?

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