Peak(s):  Uncompahgre Peak  -  14,309 feet
Date Posted:  04/05/2007
Date Climbed:   04/01/2007
Author:  husker01
 Failed Avy Test on Uncompahgre  

I‘ve been itching to do some hiking,skiing and camping in the backcountry while snow is still around. I decided I needed a vacation from work and it so happened that Adam had the same time off. Adam flew in from Seattle and on Sunday we were off to Uncompahgre. I wasn‘t for sure how far up the road from the start of Nellie Creek I was going to get but gave it a try. About half a mile up we ran into a snow patch but busted through the patch and made it up another mile. I parked just before the first creek crossing. I think it will be a little while before anybody will be able to get past this point by car. From this point the road was mostly dry with some deep spots of snow until you get to the "hard" left that you need to take. At this point we needed to put on the skis and skins.

Adam walking up the road.

We reached the trailhead a little past 6pm and set up camp at 11,500ft.

We left camp at 8:30am and slowly began the ascent.

It was a bit windy but that was really the only issue. We reached 13,100ft at 11:30am and observed some recent small slides. Feeling a little uneasy we decided to test the snow. As we started the Rutschblock (shear block) test both of us thought the snow looked solid and we didn‘t need to worry. The slope of the test was between 25 and 30 degrees. Once we completed the digging Adam stepped onto the block. It wasn‘t more then a couple of seconds of him stepping onto the block and a 6" deep slab broke off. We both looked at each other and decided it was time to leave. We skied down about a hundred yards to a safer stop and started to prepare for the ski descent back down to the tent. Just above the third rock on the right is where we preformed the test.

Here is what the decent looked like back to treeline.

Adam making a turn.

We made it back to the tent around 1pm and had some lunch. After some discussion we decided to ski Monarch the next day so we packed out and made it back to the car in little over an hour.

Even though we didn‘t summit it was still a great day in the backcountry and another great experience.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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