2011 Blog (28 ski days in May/June/July; last day: July 4)

July 4.  Big Bad Wolf from Red Peak summit with John Jaycox. 10.5 hours (5.5 hrs to the summit; 4000 ft total climb). Long day but good conditions. The snow depths in the alpine valleys are still very high, but this marks my last ski day of this phenomenal spring season.

June 28. With Dave Blakeslee to top of E E Red and then I skied down the steep S Facing line from the top. 4000 ft. 7 hrs round trip. Fun.

June 24.  To top of Dyer (13855) out of Sacramento Gulch, Alma. Climbed and skied E Face. Pleasant. Good corn. Nice flowers on the walk out. With Jonathan, Chet, and Tom Brennom.

June 22.  I’ve wanted this line for many years: E Face of Valhalla. Jonathan and I took 7 hours to gain the summit and 5 hours to my patiently waiting wife at Rock Creek. The descent had some issues (avalanche), but we skied it. Doing a traverse of the Gore range in one day with skis is hard work, but satisfying. 6000 feet of climb.

June 17.  Chet, Jonathan, and I skied the E Face of Sniktau on a poor-weather day. We contoured back around to Loveland Pass and that was pretty awful.

June 14.  Skied a bit at Loveland Pass, down to near the bottom of the S Face of Sniktau. Saw a snow buttercup.

June 12. To top of Peak 8 with Dave and Janet, by a direct climb to the 7/8 saddle. Superb corn on descent, right from the summit, and skied down to within a half-mile of the car at the Siberia Loop parking area.

June 10. To top of Crystal and then down south face halfway; then hard right to a steeper finish, which one might call Crystal Ball. There are several lines down this part of the face, all worthy. With Dave Blakeslee and Elke Dratch,

June 7. Solo from Montgomery Reservoir to near E Summit of North Star and skied Butterknife. Bit of an annoying ascent on rocks. Never used skins or ax. Descent was fine, 2000 feet to the valley bottom.

June 4.  Solo to the Tweto-Arkansas Saddle. Kicked 500 steps to get up. A little mushy, but it skied fine, and was a fine single downhill swoop back around to get to the car.

June 3.  Squaretop from Guanella Pass, then descended the NE face. Despite strong sun it was very firm. With Chet Roe and Dave Blakeslee. Road closes at 1 pm weekdays. Made it! The views from this summit into Summit County and in particular the Grays Peak area are stunning.

June 1.  Skied solo in the Arkansas Valley, looping to top of knoll E of Arkansas. Great views of Tweto, Arkansas, McNamee. Conditions excellent. Saw three marmots. Air was hazy, however.

May 29. A nice 4200-ft day on two pretty north-facing lines. West Sheridan and then West Dyer. Car shuttle. With Fritz Sperry, Nate Straubinger, and Rob Steinmetz.

May 27. Solo to top of Peak 8. Peaks Trail parking was full of construction workers’ cars, so I went to Otter Slide parking instead (Peak 7 area). That turns out to be better anyway. Bit of a slog up (10000 -> 13000), but a fine ski down from the summit. Measured 43 mph winds at the top. Good views of Peak 10, Crystal, etc. I see it has been exactly 20 years since I have been to top of Peak 8.

May 26. Solo to top of bump on left of Mayflower Gulch. 8.5 ft of snow above treeline. Great views of Drift, Bartlett, Atlantic, Jacque, etc.

May 24. Cloudy and cool; a fine morning on firm slopes in Dry Creek with Katie, Elke, and Leslie.

May 22. To top of Shrine Ridge. Wonderful view of so many great ski lines! Used my probe to measure over nine feet of snow at a spot below treeline.

May 21.  Short ski from house. Snowing all day. There was an avalanche fatality on th E side of Torreys today.

May 20. David’s Wave on Buffalo, then wrap around, reclimb, and ski Lakeview. A fun double. Small avy had gone at the bottom of the Wave.

May 19. Solo 1200 ft. to top of Shrine Ridge in snowstorm. Found 20-foot cornice wall at the top.

May 18. Solo into Dry Creek for 1200 feet in a storm. One has to park at the highway interchange because of snow. Skiing beside the interstate is not pleasant.

May 17. Up the Monte Cristo valley on waxless skis for 2100 ft. The road has snow blocking it well before the dam. It took us almost an hour to reach the dam.

May 16. Up Loveland ski area to Continental Divide. Firm high, perfect corn low.

May 12. Two laps of Guyot shoulder in perfect powder and full winter conditions.

May 10. Skied Barely Legal (maybe others have another name for this as it does get skied) on the SW side of McNamee above the Climax Mine.

May 8. Climbed Buffalo S Summit with Elke (3 hrs), and skied Lakeview in perfect corn. Car-to-car skiing.

May 7. Crust cruising on skate skis in valley that is the source of the Arkansas River. Got to 12500. Poor skating conditions. Beautiful day though.

May 6. Crust cruising on skate skis in Corral Creek. Superb conditions (though I fell into one water hole!).

April 30. Skied N face of Tuk in Moab. Details at LaSal link.

April 26. Superb heavy gear tour in powder up Meadow Creek trail to summit of Chief Mountain.

April 25. Heavy gear tour up 2000 feet on the slopes of Buffalo near the up-trail.

April 2-9. A week of superb skiing at Icefall Lodge north of Golden, British Columbia. Full report. One avalanche of note. Averaged 6150 feet of climb per day.

March 24–27. Three days of skiing in Moab, including ascents of PreLaurel Peak and Horse Mtn, and some skiing below Tuk. Full report. Stormy weather, but nice terrain and lots of good skiing.

March 19: Coureur des Bois 90 km ski race in Steamboat. Sixth consecutive finish. Tough conditions with high headwinds. Time = 8:12. Most enjoyable weekend though. Next day Joan and I toured on the road straight west from the back of Steamboat Lake.

March 15: Returned to the same area of Jacque Ridge, approaching much more efficiently, and again found superb north-facing snow. The extra efficiency allowed us to do a second lap. Pictures of this area are in the Gore Range subsection of the Summit County section.

March 10: Jonathan and I started at Union Creek at Copper, skied on the Janet’s Cabin trail, and, at the junction halfway up, headed left to get the bowl below the N face of Jacque Peak. Then we climbed to the point marked Jacque Ridge on the map (11400+). From there we had a fine descent, first NE back the way we had climbed, and then around to the NW to descend superb glades to the Janet’s Cabin trail well above where we had left it. Five hours total. I have wanted to get into this pretty basin for a while.

March 5: Snow Mountain Stampede. 25 miles of skate skiing with over 2000 feet of climb in 3:10:44. I was quite pleased as I worked hard the whole time, got into some nice races with people, and improved on my time from 2003 (3:15; the course and conditions vary of course).

Winter news: Big gear: On Feb. 15, Kim, Elke, and I skied from Coon Hill to Ptarmigan over 9 hours. Some good skiing on a little side trip into upper Laskey Gulch. A report is in the Coon Hill section of the Summit County section.

Earlier this winter Jonathan Kriegel and I got very high on East East Red and enjoyed a nice powder descent in the east facing trees. And earlier still Jonathan and I did many nice light-gear tours: The Super Trail up the slopes of East Keller, the Gore and Willow Lakes Trails to the true summit of Rain Peak, a long circuit: Vail Pass → Fowler-Hilliard → Hornsilver → Wearyman → Wilder → Vail Pass, another longish day: Yeoman Park → Estin Hut and back via Ironedge Trail, the classic Rabbit Ears to Steamboat ski area and back, and a memorable tour up the valley that leaves West Vail from the terminus of the Northside Trail. Also Bob Salazar and I went to Salmon Lake and back.

Mostly though I am skating in preparation for the mid-March Coureurs de Bois 90-km race in Steamboat.

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