Peak(s):  Buffalo Mountain - 12749
Date Posted:  04/19/2010
Date Climbed:   04/18/2010
Author:  dubsho3000
 Buffalo Mtn Silver Couloir   

Buffalo Mountain's Silver Couloir

Buffalo Mountain stands tall over Summit County despite its lowly status as a 12er. It was the first mountain I knew by name in Colorado. It's also across the way from a house in Silverthorne I've rented for the past four winters. So I've spent a lot of time looking at this mountain with skiing on the brain.

Brian (Lord Helmut) lives about as close as legally possible to Buffalo Mountain so he was in the same frame of mind.

We started at 5:45am out of the standard Buffalo Mtn TH. We wanted to climb the Silver Couloir (shown in a trace of silver above) rather than the more common approach up the east face. So at the trail intersection where the left points to Buffalo Cabin, we went straight. From there it is an awful ~300' decline over less than a mile around the base of Buffalo to the northeast slopes. Many falls and hugged trees later and we were at the base of the Silver.


edlins was good enough to share with us that the Silver gets plenty of early morning sun this time of year. He was right.

Sunhit - 7:00am

From here we put our skis on our backs and started the ~2500' of booting. The snow was good though, and we didn't have to break much crust, if any. Oh how would I know, Brian probably lead 3/4 of the way.

Lord Helmut leading the way

Dubsho3000 following

A look down from around 11k

We traded off for about 3 hours. Closer to the Y in the couloir, as the day heated up, the snow started to soften. Still no problems though, just a little more difficult, little deeper steps. I actually counted my steps for the first time ever, pacing myself. It worked.

Brian kicking steps

Polemarks suggest some soft snow

We took a 5 minute break at the bottom of the Y. There was some powder on top here and we noticed some dust underneath. Pretty soon after this point the slope levels and we were able to put our skis back on. We quickly reached the round summit from there.


Brian skinning to the summit

Matt following

On the summit at 10:15 we had nice views in all directions.

Tenmile Range

Red Peak

And then it was finally time to ski. We headed off the summit to the northeast in search of Silver.

Brian ready to let loose

Entering the Silver Couloir


Matt joins the party

Brian again

Once we were in the tighter part of the chute, the snow became more variable, but predictable given the angle of the sunlight. On the right, in the shade, it was harder, while on the left it was nice and soft. I ventured out to a south-easternly exposed slope and almost stopped in my tracks due to the soupy snow.

When we did take a break, we were treated to this view of Grays and Torreys.


Then, off again. More good snow and beautiful surroundings.


The chute chokes down at points, but the snow was pretty forgiving so it seemed effortless.

Brian above a tight section

He rips it

The couloir just keeps going and going,

Still lower

but finally ends.

Finally out

After a celebratory Dale's Pale Ale with Brian I was off to my winter rental to bask in our reflected glory:


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

04/20/2010 05:27
Living under this guy gets me itchy all Winter. The only cure, more Silver!

Lord Helmut, we‘ve gotta get out - I‘m down in Silver Queen West and have been touring Buffalo all Winter.


nice work Matt
04/20/2010 15:46
Really shows the day well, I enjoyed this line immensely and now can look at it that much more fondly. And I think we split up those boot kicking duties pretty evenly. Nonetheless, its nice to call Buffalo Mt your backyard.

KansasBoarder - Hey man, I live in Buffalo Ridge (The Ponds), just a switchback up the road. Matt and I were eying some lines from Buffalo (Red, E.Partner, E.Thorne, among others) and I‘d love to get back out there ASAP.


04/20/2010 21:51
Did you guys use crampons for that climb or just booting it?


04/21/2010 00:01
I used crampons because I brought them but we didn‘t need them. Lord Helmut didn‘t use them.


Nice Work
04/21/2010 04:35
Lordhelmut, glad to see you got to check this one off!


Great report
04/27/2010 18:09
Awesome report. My folks have a place right there too and I‘ve been itching to get some lines on Buffalo. This looks perfect. Weather permitting I hope to try it this weekend. Thanks.

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