Peak(s):  Buffalo Mountain - 12,777 feet
Date Posted:  04/11/2011
Modified:  04/12/2011
Date Climbed:   04/09/2011
Author:  lordhelmut

 Silver Couloir   

Buffalo Mountain – Silver Couloir

Its always a shame when all the inspiring, endorphin riddled thoughts that bounce around in your head while playing in the mountains seem to fade when you get back to the city and rejoin the daily grind. I sat down to write this report last night after skiing 5 hours of moguls at Mary Jane and combined with the demoralizing realization of a 40 hour work week, I completely lost interest in writing a trip report altogether. Now that its Monday and the jitters of the start of another week have seemed to subside, I’m sitting here on my new patio, ready to talk about one of my favorite lines in all of Colorado.

For the last couple weeks, my friend Ben and I have been chasing the good weather around the state, ticking off the rest of the lines on his 14er list. While I have tended to shy away from set lists and rather stuck to lesser travelled regions, I’ve enjoyed my time thus far this spring. I’ve always found it odd that Ben (Benners) and his friend (and now my friend as well) Matt (pioletski) have enjoyed unnaturally good conditions in the majority of their 14er endeavors. Amazingly enough, this good fortune has continued in to this spring ski season, with bluebird skies, unbelievable snow and life long memories on the Yawner Gullies on San Luis, Birthday Chutes on Sneffels, Cross Couloir on HC and a sunset ski of Belford in the middle of winter.

When reflecting on this weekend, I guess I could've sat around watching The Masters or took a leisurely stroll around Wash Park with ipod around the bicep, double chai non-fat latte in hand, keys to a Prius in my pocket, thinking I'm prety damn special. The weather called for some suspect forecasts, so I guess I should’ve sat on my thumb and rotated for 48 hours. I can think of 1 weekend out of the last 5 years where I truly regretted not listening to the 72 hour forecast and this weekend proved yet again that forecasts shouldn’t dictate one’s plans, ever. What ensued was another weekend out on a classic ski line in a grand setting with good, trustworthy friends.

Anyways, regarding the line. Myself, Rick (Mtnfiend) and Ben got a nice alpine start, meeting at Rick’s place in Golden around 2:30am, in hopes to ski both Red Peak (13,180) and Buffalo Mountain (12,880) from the trailhead at the top of Wildernest in Silverthorne. Upon our arrival at the trailhead, we naively changed plans, thinking we’d have the motivation to grab a bite in down after Silver and hit Kelso Mountain’s North Couloir on the way home. Ha. Anyways, we were all up here for the Silver anyway, so that was the primary goal. We hit the trail around 5:30am, still dark and made quick work of the approach to the base of the Silver.

At one point, Ben made the comment “I have this perception that peaks that aren’t 14ers should have an easier approach and overall, require less physical exertion”. Yep, he said that. (I’m giving you a hard time Benners). Whether he was being sarcastic or simply trying to antagonize me, we were staring the Silver in the face just as the sun peaked over the Continental Divide.

Sun and clouds over G + T.

Ben leadin' the way.

Just as we shouldered our skies and prepared for the boot, the Christopher Walken Colonol Ingus quotes began to fly, among many others, and they wouldn’t stop for the remainder of the day. Ben took the lead on bootpacking duties initially and we’d do a pretty fair and even job of splitting them up as we climbed this beast of a couloir. While very aesthetic, it seems almost neverending, I can’t imagine what Landry will be like later this Spring. The snow was incredibly forgiving from a bootpack standpoint, so leading wasn’t nearly as bad on this day. Some shots of the climb….

Looking back down the line.

Trees and interesing side chutes along the Silver.

Headin up.

Rick and the Blue River Valley .

Heads down, one foot in front of the other.

Rick elated.

Red Peak and Co.

It took us approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes to climb the Silver, it was too windy to really enjoy the summit for too long, plus we were really pumped to get on our skis and down this chute. Upon our arrival on the summit ridge, we noticed a good 8-10 other people who had come up the standard 2.2 mile route and were gearing up quickly to hit this line first. This created a bottleneck, so we decided to find a spot that was semi shielded from the wind and wait till everyone skied down.

Finally, we were able to ski and it was pretty f’ing ridiculous from top to bottom. After a tiny section of a boiler plate special, we were able to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Ready to ski.

Rick starting things off.

Tired of waiting around.

Ben making wide GS turns on a classic line.

More wind means more deposited powder.

CD to the East.

Ben carvin up the corn around the middle of the chute.


Nearing the bottom.

Rick skiing with the permagrin - The End.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

nice guys
04/13/2011 05:14
great photos as always!
keep up the good work, looking forward to more TRs from you guys this spring


04/12/2011 14:48
The Silver is an awesome line. I haven't skied it for a couple of years now, I really should do something about that!

Have a good time in Moab and let's ski some more when you're back.


04/12/2011 15:10
Sweet TR, Brian. Great line and glad you guys got it good. I skied this a few yrs ago and it is a great couloir.


lost shell
05/09/2014 12:30
hey nice TR! we were up there on saturday as well skiing near silver. just curious if you found or heard of anybody finding an arcteryx shell on the trail? very saddend by my loss! it was everglade in color mens small. any info would be great! thanks


Side chute
05/02/2011 14:23
How come I don't see a picture of one of you carving a figure 11 down that side chute? Looks like a good day nonetheless. One of the guys I was snowmobiling with Sunday took the easy route up Buffalo on Saturday and was sitting on the top when you popped out of the couloir.


04/12/2011 16:25
Matt - thanks man, its right down the road and such an easy approach. Looking foward to the next adventure

Brandon - got it good indeed, hope your winter has treated you well and spring even more so.

Carl - side chutes aside, it was a solid outing.

rivermountaingnar42 - no luck on the shell. I lost a handful of peanut butter, malted milk balls myself on the climb up and would appreciate those be returned to me as well!


Classic Line
04/12/2011 23:24
Glad you were willing to repeat this one Brian. The consistent angle, width, and length of the line makes it a classic for sure. Rick, good to see you again!

Also, in case the Colonel Angus reference went over anyone's head or even if you simply enjoy the Colonel as much as we do, I've included a video for your viewing pleasure:


you may call me by my real name....Anal Angus
04/13/2011 01:59
If anyone is looking for Anal Angus.. to come knockin' at the rear entrance.. of Shady Thicket!!

Classic SNL skit and line!

Brian - fun as always.
Ben - I enjoyed it, let's get out again soon!!


Nice TR
04/13/2011 16:32
great work on the Silver. I hit it every year (backyard thing).


Fun Times
04/13/2011 23:33
Thanks for the TR, that is still one of my favorite lines too. Can't beat that kind of sustained moderately steep terrain coupled with accessibility.

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