Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Kelso Mtn  -  13,164 feet
Date Posted:  03/16/2015
Date Climbed:   03/14/2015
Author:  jkillgore
 Steven's Gulch Ski Link-up - Dead dog, Lost Rat, N. Face   

A quick perusal of the friday snotel sites overwhelming pointed to the vicinity of loveland pass as the highlight for new freshiez. Quickly the available tour options narrowed down to something I was contemplating out of steven's gulch. Got an earlyish start out of boulder, and were moving at the trailhead around 6. Originally I thought for aesthic reasons, we would tour up grizzly gulch and ascend the n. side of torreys. At the junction, laziness set in, and we decided to just follow the existing skin track up to the summer trailhead.

We passed a few cold looking campers near the the TH, and continued up. Below the base of Kelso, we met a solo skier heading out. He reported powder snow over rocks, and advised us to follow a different set of tracks.
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Those tracks he pointed to turned out to belong to a mountain goat, but nonetheless we soon found ourselves high on NE face of Grays, a little below the Grays-Torreys saddle. A long traverse with decent coverage (and a firm bed surface that prompted some ski-pon usage) soon had us at the saddle where it was just a short jaunt up to the summit of Torreys.
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We clicked in and dropped towards the dead dog. Conditions were thinner than I remembered from last time I skied it (5 or 6 years ago), but we were still able to ski to the entrance.
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With the warming temps, I was hopeful that the couloir would still be cold. I gave the snow a few pokes and was very pleased to discover a cold, smooth, edgable surface. My concerns over stability were relieved and we dropped in.
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Ski conditions were fantastic: edgable, with good powder on skiers right. Near the bottom I kicked a small inconsequential wet slide, which served as a good reminder to avoid solar avalanche terrain the rest of the day.

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We stopped for a snack, then headed back up towards the summit of grays. We reused some of the track, but avoided the worst parts. From the ridge to the summit was rather rocky, but otherwise passed nicely.Skiing back down the ridge to the Lost Rat couloir entrance was a great way to destroy a 1-day old pair of skis. We mostly stayed on the ridge to avoid the over-ripened SE face. This meant cold snow, but no base. The entrance to the lost rat wasnt much better, but against my better judgement, we kept skis on the whole way...

After descending 80' into the couloir, we reached a section with a real base and let the fun begin. Great skiing. Cold snow. Solid, stable base. Slough management. Then beautiful turns to the apron.
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Below the apron were more rocks, followed by more great skiing.
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Even though we were a bit tired at this point, it seemed like a no-brainer to climb 1000' to the summit of Kelso in exchange for 2000' more of cold snow (and rocks). We slogged our way up, passing a few false summits along the way.
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The N. bowl on Kelso was now in the shade and conditions looked like more freshiez over rocks. Eventually, we navigated the first few hundred feet of questionable snow-depth interspersed with occasional blower pow, until we reached a long 1500' section of boot to shin deep blower pow over a supportable but not icy base.
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Skied to the road (switch of course), then busted it back to the car and down to the smokin' yard to refuel.

Quite the day!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Krullin_14ers

Epic!
03/17/2015 03:45
Looks like you hit some killer march pow pow....congrats! Love the turns! Photos are super cool too!!


AndyJB444

Nice work!
03/17/2015 12:49
and great link up. Do you recall about what time you dropped into Dead Dog?


jkillgore
Andy,
03/17/2015 13:14
I don’t think we dropped in until 11. Luckily Friday night was fairly cold. Around 15F at TH.


bigmtnskier
Nice
03/23/2015 23:14
Good work! conditions look real nice.


SnowAlien

Awesome!
04/02/2015 19:45
I was there the day after you and saw your tracks – both in Dead Dog and Kelso’s avy chute on the north side. Didn’t know they belonged to the same party until now. Wow, what a big day and a nice linkup! It think it was 10 degrees warmer on Sunday. It was hot! Snow was very nice – when one didn’t hit rocks indeed.



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