Peak(s):  Buckskin, Mt  -  13,865 feet
Loveland Mtn  -  13,692 feet
Date Posted:  04/19/2010
Date Climbed:   04/18/2010
Author:  Jon Frohlich
 All alone on Buckskin  

Route: Loveland Mountain and Mount Buckskin via Southeast Ridge
Climbers: Jon, Jessica
Stats: 8 hours, 8 miles, approx. 3,200 feet gain

I've had one ranked centennial left in the Tenmile-Mosquito range for quite a while. I'd just never seemed to get around to getting up Buckskin. I didn't want to spend part of a weekend in the summer on it so I decided to give it a try in spring now that the snowpack has settled down a little.

I talked my friend Jessica into joining me for the adventure and after meeting up in Aspen Park we drove up to Alma to see how far up Kite Lake Road that we could drive. We made it to a winter closure just shy of the Paris Mill about 2.5 miles below Kite Lake. After gearing up we set off up the road about 8am.

The road went quickly and we started to evaluate our options for the best way to get up to the ridge above us. We spied a good looking route that went up towards Loveland Mountain and left the road. We wound our way through the trees to a more level area where the snow was mostly blown off. It turned out that the wind was blown off in this area for a reason as the wind tried to push us around repeatedly. Close to the ridgeline we were finally able to remove the snowshoes and hike the rest of the way. Around 11:30am we reached the top of Loveland Mountain.

Our real target was about 0.8 miles away and before our motivation failed us we set off across the ridge. Parts of the traverse looked a bit sketchy and our movement was careful and deliberate at times. Towards the summit of Buckskin we were careful to stay left and avoid the very large cornices on the ridge. Finally about 12:10pm we reached the southeast summit of Buckskin.

Elbert and Massive on the horizon:

Back towards Loveland Mountain where we came from:

Knowing from reading other reports and Roach's book that this was indeed the higher of the two summits we stayed put and took summit photos and enjoyed the relatively windless summit for a few minutes. There wasn't much room to move around as the snow dropped off severely on both sides of us.

Our stay was relatively brief. Now the question was how to get down. Neither of us were interested in going back over Loveland so we studied our options and saw a dry strip going down to around 12,400 from near the summit. We carefully made our way back off the summit and I ventured out towards where we'd seen the dry rocks to verify we could safely get down. Satisfied that there was a safe path that didn't involve a quick ride off a cornice we made our way down to dry land.

The descent went quick with a stop for lunch about halfway down. Looking across towards Democrat I noticed some wet slides coming off the south side and decided to err on the side of caution the rest of the way down. We made our way down towards the power line. We had one rather steep section we couldn't find a way around that took some time to get through safely not far above the lake.

Democrat and Cameron:

We then postholed our way across back to the road below Kite Lake through the willows. By now the snow was ridiculously warm and we couldn't help sink almost every other step. Eventually I gave in and put snowshoes back on but it was still slow and rather hilarious going. Finally back to the road we cruised down and made it to my car at 4pm.

Tired but happy about our successful day we drove back into Alma and had food and beer at the South Park Saloon.

My GPS track is below.

Link to the rest of my pictures:
Buckskin gallery on Picasa

 Comments or Questions

04/20/2010 23:42
Good TR. Thanks for the GPS track.

I‘ve meant to try it, how‘s that South Park Saloon?

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