Peak(s):  Cathedral Peak A  -  13,943 feet
Mt. Buckskin  -  13,865 feet
Cronin Peak  -  13,870 feet
Atlantic Peak  -  13,841 feet
Date Posted:  04/25/2017
Date Climbed:   04/23/2017
Author:  bergsteigen
Additional Members:   joelmpaula, EatinHardtack, BillMiddlebrook
 Touring the Centennials in 4 ranges   

Cathedral Peak

Date: April 13
Trailhead: Ashcroft - winter closure
Mileage: 10.83
Elevation Gain: 4,500'
Route: SE couloir
Partners: Joel

Joel and I have been wanting to ski Cathedral for at least 3 years now. The snow looked like it was going to be great, but it wasn't. This is a peak ski I will have to repeat, just for my desire to have good memories and not bad ones. We kept our skis on from summit to car, but neither Joel or I really "count" this one. Good thing there are other lines that also looked great on this peak.

So, I'll just let the photos do the talking for this one, since at least we had stunning views! Type II or III fun on this one

Sunrise - moonset

Booting up the apron

Looking down

What Joel thinks of the ~52 degree choke

Sill more up

Don't look down traverse. So I looked down - GULP!

Castle North Face looking too thin to ski

Pyramid and the Bells, with Capitol

Castelabra ski tracks

The traverse off the summit to the couloir.

A good turn at the top

So much down to go

Well, we "skied" that!

Till next time Cathedral

Mt Buckskin

Date: April 14
Trailhead: a mile or so from Kite Lake
Mileage: 4.73
Elevation Gain: 2,341'
Route: North face
Partners: Solo

After a long tough day in the Elks, I decided to go for an easy peak in the Mosquito Range. I was able to drive pretty far on the road, so that made this day even shorter and nicer. After a lazy sleep in morning (nice after only getting 2 hours the night before Cathedral), I got started up the road well after sunrise. I angled up and got onto the ridge so I could get a view of the north face. I hoped there was some snow. What I saw looked like a labyrinth. It would take some effort to get this one as complete as possible.

Buckskin native

So the peak ski will be a challenge...

Even taking a glacial pace to the summit, the snow was still not warming up. The wind was howling out of the SW and my patience to sit on the summit and wait it out was not there.

The Decalibron

Looking down the route

Completing the maze

Skiing off the face was interesting. The sustrugi was mostly soft and I even found some pockets of reworked powder. Within the maze, I only had to billy goat for 2', so I consider that quite a success, given the options. Skiing off the bench was soft but a bit punchy. Still the turns were nice, since the line was fully filled in.

I decided to ski across that basin to get to a more solar aspect for the ski down to the road. Side hilled a bit up the slope and got great turns all the way down until it got flat. But from there, it was only a short distance back to where I parked.

Done with the cool north facing slopes

The Buckskin Maze

Creamy corn turns

Looking back on the best turns of the day, from the car

Cronin Peak

Date: April 16
Trailhead: Baldwin Gulch
Mileage: 11.64
Elevation Gain: 4,433'
Route: NE face
Partners: Zach and Bill

Zach and I have wanted to ski Cronin's East Face for a while now. Likely after seeing it from our super "fun" day on Antero a few years back. So thankfully with the season finally getting going, I am willing to spend more time skiing than working. Ski while it's good, since soon it will melt away and be summer!

I rolled up to the 2WD trailhead after both Bill and Zach had arrived, and grabbed a decent nights rest. With the wind and cool temps, we were having a nice start time of 5ish. A fairly quick skin up the mostly continuous road, an easy stream crossing, and we were looking at the line through the trees. It looked wonderfully smooth and ready to be skied.

Moonset behind Cronin

First view of the objective, after we left the road

We were able to mostly skin all the way up to the ridge. Both Bill and Zach made it up, while I decided to boot the last bit. A moment of inattention to form, had me sliding face first down the slope. Thanks to the whippet, I only lost 10-20' or so (and my lens cap). So not wanting a repeat, I transitioned to boot up, and quickly caught the guys as they started up the ridge.

Skinning to the ridge - almost.

This ridge seemed to last forever. On the map, it looked like a short distance. But false summit after false summit presented itself, and I could hear the cursing coming from behind me. At least we weren't in too much of a rush today. A solo skier was skiing down, as we approached the final summit push. From his tracks, the snow was still on the firm side, so that was good.

Start of the booter up the never ending ridge

So much ridge

Zach booting up the ridge, Princeton behind

Nearing the summit, as the solo skier starts down

Grizzly looking delightful!

Almost done with the never ending ridge!

How Zach feels about the climb today



Shavano and Tab

After a nice break, we started skiing down off the summit. The first pitch was the steepest, and then mellowed out quite nicely to a fun slope angle. The snow was really good, especially after what I had experienced recently.

Starting the descent

Off the summit turns

After getting into the chosen line, it was a great descent all the way down to the valley below.









Back to the trees, it was an expedient exit down to the cars below. Only a few dry sections requiring either an easy billy goat or 2 ski portages. Finally, a ski worth remembering this "spring".

Such lovely turns!

Looking back on a great day!

Atlantic Peak

Date: April 23
Trailhead: Quandary
Mileage: 11.41
Elevation Gain: 3,327'
Route: up Tradewinds couloir, down V Couloir
Partners: Zach and Bill

Zach and I attempted to ski Atlantic 3 years ago, but turned around due to extreme winds. So we have been planning our revenge for a while.

We had hoped to be able to either drive to the McCullough Gulch TH or sled there. But there's a gate at the start of the road. Drat! There's an extra 4 miles! For once this season, I made a good call and chose to wear hiking boots for the approach on the road. Zach and Bill had hoped to skin it. But the FS had plowed the road, so it was mostly dry all the way to the trailhead. At least the approach went quickly, and we found ourselves on the trail itself for sunrise.


Pink clouds and moonsicle over Hoosier Ridge

Contemplating our route

It was a familiar skin up into the drainage, where a bunch of lines presented themselves on the nearby peaks. Soon we had to decide wether to climb the line we wanted to ski, or to go the easier route up to the saddle. With the new snow, we were concerned that we may end up wallowing up the couloir, and waste considerable time. So we chose the Trade Winds route, and made quick time up into the gusty wind above. From there it was a short booter to the summit.

Fletcher's NE face looking steeply inviting

Boot up the Trade winds route

Wind blown Trade Winds route

Boot to the summit

Took a nice break on the summit, were a couple came up the west ridge route from Mayflower Gulch. Been 8 years since I went that way up to the summit!

Fletcher and Drift

Pacific got some traffic today and yesterday

Summit lounging, with Quandary in background

Off the summit the snow was soft but slightly punchy where I was. We chose skiers right branch of the V, since it would likely have more powder and be less sun effected. The snow itself was more on the hot pow side than desired, but the turns were still good!

Skiing off the summit

Summit turns

Bill skiing down to the top of the V

Bill dropping into the V

Zach dropping in

Bill skiing the line

Looking down the lower V


My off chute I took

Zack finishing out the V

Big turns down the apron

Zach coming in hot

Bill zooming by

The hot and bothered V

Such a great line!

Atlantic Summit zoom - photo credit: Bill

Once down in the valley below, we enjoyed the nice corn back to the lake. We did a short reclimb to ski a chute above the trail we had done 3 years ago as the consolation prize. Great turns again!

Sweet redemption on Atlantic

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Awesome Pictures!
04/28/2017 08:04
You always show a great variety of pictures (that appeal to us non-skiers too). The picture leading up to Cronin's summit pitch makes it look pretty sweet with the wind drifted snow.

04/28/2017 20:01
For helping me see the light at the end of the 14ers. Way to get after it!

04/29/2017 15:30
Tornadoman - Even us skiers still have to hike up the mountain

Eric - So many lines to ski, so little time! It doesn't end with the 14ers

What are 14ers?
04/29/2017 18:39
Good times. 13ers are the best. Loved the redemption on Atlantic

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