Peak(s):  Missouri Mountain  -  14,067 feet
Date Posted:  05/20/2009
Modified:  05/21/2009
Date Climbed:   05/15/2009
Author:  pioletski
 Mizzou, North Couloir   

One of the goals stated in my user profile is to make a few friends while working on the Quest. This weekend was a good start; I climbed and skied Missouri and Democrat with Chucky and Mike, both from Albuquerque. Quite the social networking site Bill has put together here...

As seems to be the theme for my trips this spring, my plans came together at the very last minute. Mike and Chucky were camping at the Missouri Gulch trailhead. My plan was to rise at 3:00 am and hightail it, meeting them at 5:00. It almost worked. At about 4:15, near Pando, I realized that I had left all my carefully packed food and water in the fridge. Not knowing if the stores in Leadville are open 24 hours or not, I decided to turn around and retrieve it. The best-laid plans of mice and men...

It was snowing hard in Leadville when I finally did get through, but the clouds looked thinner to the south. By the time I arrived at the TH (finding, as expected, a truck with NM plates), the sky was clear. I set to hiking, hoping that even if I didn't catch Mike and Chuck I would at least meet them someplace. It's hard to remain angry at yourself for long while hiking up a gorgeous valley; soon I was noticing the pasque-flowers...

(One of Mom's favorites)

... and looking at the waning half-moon...

In Missouri Gulch

... and eventually I did catch up with Mike and Chuck near treeline. Bernie, the dog, was the first one aware of my presence. Once on snow, we paused to change footwear.

The gear change.

Our goal, the main north couloir, came into view shortly after.

North face of Missouri

We climbed the short steep ramp into the upper bowl...

Mike and Bernie

... and up the chute...

Chuck and Mike get serious

... to the top.

Chuck at the summit

Please join me and Bernie in congratulating Mike on his first 14er summit!

Mike, victorious

We were blessed with decent snow cover, and had a ball on the descent (which went from the summit). This picture captures the scale of the place (thanks, Chuck)...

Pioletski drops into the couloir

Mike rips it up

Chuck gets after it

Chuck posing for the camera

Here Chuck finishes the run

Our progress back to the trailhead was a happy stumble. Chuck provided this shot of the route:


Our thoughts then turned to the next day's plan: Mt. Democrat.

Snowpack notes: Comparing our photos to other recent TRs, it's amazing how fast it is disappearing.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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