Peak(s):  Trinity Pk  -  13,805 feet
"West Trinity"  -  13,765 feet
Seven, Pk  -  13,682 feet
Date Posted:  01/21/2016
Modified:  05/03/2020
Date Climbed:   03/17/2014
Author:  Easy Rider
 Balsam Firs   

Trinity Peak
West Trinity
Peak Seven

6 day solo
3/17/2014 - 3/22/2014
37 miles

TH: Green St, Silverton

It's been awhile! Hoping to get out on another one of these sagas into the deep wilderness again when the time is right. In the meantime, just browsing an old album from the San Juan and thought it would be fun to post them here.



So, it all started from Silverton,

Coffee & breakfast, followed by skiing the tracks with an old pair of nordics. It was a little unclear exactly what the formal legality of skiing the tracks is during the winter months, so go ahead and enlighten us. Also note that at some point they plowed from the south as far up as Elk Creek. If not for a couple storms since then, may've been hoofing it the rest of the way down to Ten Mile. I was able to cruise down there smoothly trailing my gear on a home made 'toboggan' built from a plank spanning the two halves of my splitboard that held a plastic Sterilite bin. Inside was my pack, cloths, boots, along with a little extra food, and a hatchet. The creek was at low flow, but there was no real guarantee that there would be a good place to cross, leaving the possibility of attempting it in nordic shoes. My old Dana pack has a detachable belt, used to tie off to the beast. Just a couple tent poles kept it tracking in line.

Down The Animas
This little experiment was working pretty well so far. The extra P-Tex sheeting spanning the plank gave my vessel a nice glide for breaking the trail, and usually kept a straight line along edges of the splitboards. Usually. But it certainly couldn't be trusted to follow the narrow sloping bulge of snow on the bridge over the Animas. I mounted my skis on top and slowly scooted it across on foot here. Another challenge was getting the (*%#!) over several large avalanche debris fans a few miles down without dropping the works into the river. A bridge crossing back over to the west bank was dry at mile 6, so slid 'er along the rail on the spanner plank, keeping the bases of my boards clearing the ties. This was the problem with hauling your equipment with your equipment: dry ground. Fortunately the coverage was there the rest if the way.

Finally the actual trailhead. Big lunch. Transition to boots, skins, and pack. A good snow bridge, and the introduction to a tangled bushwhack. Soon funneled into the gut of the gorge, progress got slower while breaking a steep and deep trail until dark.


Balsam Lake

A relaxed start time, and good eggie breakfast & tea followed by heavy trail breaking. Going light and fast all year, now with a full winter camp loaded there's no way around it: this will hurt a little. Up out of the gorge to the north side to avoid slide paths from The Heisspitz, crossing to the south side in the meadows further up the valley reaching the lake. Camp was set near the outlet, close to an opening in the ice for water. Tomorrow morning's the last day of winter, but winter is still winter. It was cold, and nippy. The plan for this trip was to go early in the season to take advantage of snow cover on the tracks, with the prediction that spring could be arriving earlier on these southern aspects. Only guess, but now here to make that decision, and with plenty of other options too. Happy just to go cruise.






Trinity Peak Southeast Chutes: Skinning for the upper basin early, glad to find the snow was pretty stiff. Content with it, & switched to crampons making good time up towards East Trinity's Col, staying clear of rock outcrops. Above that not much could be expected. A cliff band appeared to block the way to the upper gullies until passing them, noticing there is another one further up that did go through. It was steep and narrow though, and had a dry spot at the bottom of it. The snow was thin and powdery, but might work for one pass through, so finishing up getting on a thin rib of snow at the top. There was some exposure there, but it didn't seem as bad looking back down. What a nice surprise to actually get on top of something today!


As usual, feeling more at ease on the descent, and aside from the dry spot before the col, it went. The south facing snow from the col down hadn't thawed much, so a little crusty for a few turns. That was fine, cause it rolls over pretty hard before dropping into the upper basin. The snow softened just before the last pitch to the upper basin, and even a little shmooie from there back to the lake.

Looking back up at East Trinity


It turned out to be a short day, but decided to just rest up and wait for tomorrow.




West Trinity Peak: It was very very cold overnight, and hard to shake the chills. On the bright side the snow was locked up, and it didn't take long to make my way up through the icy slots to the upper slopes of the West Trinity/Trinity Saddle. From there tried to stall to let it get softer, but had to balance getting chilled on and off again.


The Trinities from the south

Trinity Peak from the saddle

The Arrows

The Needles & Pigeons

The 14ers

Peak Seven

And it goes


Ther's a different line through to the south to the middle slopes

and down the rabbit hole

Back at camp, moving the tent away fro the creek to avoid so much frost

More of this:


Thinking about going for Storm Peak, but spent the last couple of days drooling over Peak Seven, and decided to give it a shot. If it wasn't agreeable, Storm was maybe still close by? So up and around.



Peak Eight



The last little scramble up the quartzite was delicate work and had to be cleaned off a little. Dropping in from the summit was steep exposed rock hard snow that just barely allowed an entrance to the West Slot. The snow was very frozen for the first set of turns, and gave way to beautiful powder for the next set.

Opening to the middle bench, the snow was bridged and frozen below a thin layer of nice powder that slowly got thinner until riding on dirty patches again.

Down the rabbit hole! The dirty patchy snow was covered with new stuff again, and where that ended the old stuff had started to thaw for perfect corn. A great run!


Back at camp finding a broken cable on my F1s, so rigging up some cord, and calling it quits for now. I packed up and headed down before getting too tired.

Vestal will have to wait. It's not looking too appetizing today anyway. Camp was set just below the meadows.


A relaxed start: Breakfast and tea. It was balmy, warm even, and something was moving in, so it was an easy decision to start heading back. Staying up higher on the north side of the creek bottoms worked for awhile, but steep dry slopes eventually led into the creek bed again. The snow bridge across the Animas was melted out in spots, but no matter since ski boots won't be needed anymore. The hatchet was used to build a fire to warm up, dry off, eat lunch, and fashion a better system for steering the sled with aspen brush. As the storm rolled in it was just head down and turn on the tunes.


Found your Mule: Lion bait maybe

It was a little after dark before seeing the lights of Silverton again. A crust of ice sheathed by boots and the bindings wouldn't release, but no matter. There was one more item left in the sled that hadn't been used: dry socks and tennis.


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 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

Comments or Questions

6 days solo...
01/21/2016 09:07
in March... in the Wemi. wow. nice job man!


Wemi is beautiful
01/21/2016 13:03
I think the line on Pk 6 was still visible this past July from Pk 7


Good Stuff
01/21/2016 14:21
Thanks for posting. Whenever I see a report of a Weminuche ski trip (not often) it always gets the gears turning in my head. Big entry fee but awesome reward of just seeing those peaks up close under spring cover, let alone riding some of em. Nice work!

That couloir off Peak Seven looks cool. I remember peering down it from the notch a few months ago and thinking it'd go from the top given the upper-ramp filled in. Now I know for sure.


Awesome trip
01/21/2016 21:56
Kudos on getting out and getting after it. March in the deep Weminuche is no joke. Wish I had that much gumption

Easy Rider

thanks dudes
01/22/2016 10:45
That was a good time


Yup......this is
01/22/2016 14:39
Rad!! Looks like a sweet trip!


01/26/2016 23:34
...for a great trip report and photos. There are very few who venture into the Weminuche for snow season, much less on a splitboard. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.


Christmas Story
01/27/2016 22:41
"That isn't one of those trees that all the needles fall off, is it?" "Nah, that's them balsams."

I don't know, your title reminded me of that quote.

Would you hurry up and move back so we can go on some adventures!!??


02/06/2016 14:23
Super inspiring...come back this way so we can get some adventures in?

Forrest Thorniley

Nice one
03/03/2016 14:53

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