Peak(s):  Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Date Posted:  05/09/2006
Modified:  12/03/2009
Date Climbed:   05/07/2006
Author:  doumall
 Missouri - Summit Ski Descent   

Starting the day:
Woke at 3:30am and hit the road at 5 from Boulder. The trailhead is accessible (barring a big spring storm) with any vehicle for the remainder of the summer season. A group of three were just heading up the hill when I pulled up and two other trucks were in the lot. I started at 7am. The now very familar switchbacks up into Missouri Gulch went by quickly. I caught the friendly snowshoeing party of three just past the creek crossing, where snow coverage began. They were doing Belford and Oxford, hope they had success. My skins allowed me to move quickly over post hole snow up to the old cabin, where the snow became on/off for the next quarter mile up Missouri Gulch. I was then able to skin up shallow gullies to the base of Missouri's N. Face.

Ascent Couloir:
The other two trucks in the parking lot were from campers high in Missouri Basin. I watched them climb the same couloir I had in mind: nice, free boot pack! As I approached the bottom of the couloir around 9:20am, a large group of rocks fell from above, rolling down onto the snowfield to my right. Always cool when this sort of thing happens, but a little eye opening. I dug a quick pit to ensure a strong freeze: green light for me. The couloir, pictured below, was very melo toward the bottom then approached mid 40's at the top. The final 50 feet were the steepest.

Ascent Couloir on NE. Face of Missouri Mt

To the Summit:
Once on the NW ridge, the summit of Missouri was obvious about 1/2 mile away. I could see the other two skiers starting their line down the N. Face. Here is a pic looking toward the summit from on top the ascent couloir:

Final 1/2 mile of Missouri's NW ridge

Just before reaching the summit, you have to pass some gendarmes by dropping slightly SW off the ridge. Some moderate 40 degree snow traverses are required through here:

Snow traverses shortly before summit on NW ridge:

I summited at 11:20 and enjoyed the great views earned from climbing this moutain. The view of Harvard from Missouri's summit is the best IMHO, and Huron and the Apostles are sweet! An apple, cliff bar and lots of water had me ready for the best part of the day.

Ski Descent of N. Face:
I put my skis on and touched the summit cairn with my pole. The snow below me looked too good to be true. Here is a look from the summit down the central couloir:

Ski route couloir from the summit

I considered using another route for a prisitine ski, but this route looked so good I couldn't pass it up. 4 inches of powder filled the couloir consistantly from top to bottom. The pitch was very consistant at just over 40 degrees, making for very enjoyable turns. Euphoria and the sight of slough poring past me near the rock band in the middle overwhelmed my senses with joy. The best 14er descent so far for me. Here is a pic from below after the ski. My route marked:

Ski route couloir from below

I was able to ski all the way back to the cabin. The snow from here out was a mess. Felt for the snowshoers. The next major, stand alone coulior to lookers left of the one I skied looked even better (not pictured here). Consider it if you decide to ski this mountain. 6 hour 20 min day.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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